Wednesday, April 26, 2006


I post the second part of my trip to Sabalan Mountain here and I'm waiting for the results of the contest which will be announced at the end of Sep.! I don't think I send any other story as I don't find 'em as attractive as the ones I've sent. But nothing is determined.
There was no phone line in Ghotoor-Sooei and I had to make it to Ardabil as soon as possible. Finally after about one hour I and one of the Azeri climbers left the shelter together. I was lucky finding him because if he had not been there, it would have been really hard or even impossible to finish that trip safely! But I kind of helped him as well! He was very afraid of the dogs and when we faced them in our way down, few times, I was the one who told him what to do! He was extremely scared and I still wonder why someone so coward would go to wild remote mountains?! Once we saw a flock from few meters away and the sheepdog ran to us. That made the guy jump back and yell! The shepherd called the dog back and the beautiful animal just stood ready beside us. When I tried to tap the dog, it moved his head away form me and did not let me to get even close! The Ardabili guy looked very agitated and said something in Azeri to the shepherd. The guy only smiled and said something back. I asked him what had happened and he said the shepherd did that intentionally to scare us. He ordered the dog to rush at us! I do not know if he was right, not even today but if he had done that I would not have blamed him because in that remote mountainous area where there is no one to talk to and nothing exist but pure beautiful nature, frightening of two tired hikers seems like a lot of fun!
Local villagers usually do not trust strangers and also as most of them only speak Azeri it is hard to communicate with them. When we got to Ghotoor-Sooei it was completely dark and cold. On old truck parked in front of a cottage got our attention: A family was loading the vehicle. The guy started talking to them in Azeri. Those moments were really hard for me because I did not know what would happen. The conversation took more than what usually takes when you ask for a lift! Finally the Ardabili guy said that the driver had agreed to give us a ride to the main road which goes to Ardabil. We all had to sit in front of the single-cabin truck because his family was sitting in the back! So four of us, the driver, and family member of him, the Ardabili guy and me sat in! I could not even move and had to hold my backpack to me too! Imagine having a ride in a mountainous, gravel road with holes, rocks and other obstacles in absolute dark with no light and traffic sign! I do not know how long it took but I knew when the driver dropped us off the road, I was really happy while felt like someone who has been beaten up for few minutes and was aching all over! The other thing that bothered me is I noticed what I did to my friend when I got off the truck: He had some of his belongings including his wallet in my backpack!
He found a ride to Ardabil shortly after we stood beside the road and we exchanged phone numbers and addresses after we got to the city. I tried to call my family after we said goodbye. As it was late, there was no communication office open and you could not make long distance call trough public phones. I was thinking what to do and suddenly saw a cab was approaching me. I raised my hand and he stopped. I walked to the cab and the driver said something in Azeri. I explained to him in Persian that I do not speak Azeri and he immediately asked me where I was going in Persian. I asked him if he would drive me to the closest bus depot on his way home and he accepted. Obviously at about 11:00 PM there was no office open and no bus waiting but I was hopping to catch one of the buses which were not full and looking for passengers. Bus drivers usually do that in there. But even that idea did not help me. I did not go back to the city and decided to spend the night in the there. So I took out my sleeping bag and slept on the floor in front of one of the offices!
Tomorrow morning I tried to get a ticket. When I purchased a ticket to Tehran I noticed that people who were talking very load in Azeri. I had no clue what was going on. Finally I asked one of the guys whom his face looked a little friendlier compare to the others. He explained that the time indicated on the ticket was different from the time the bus leaves and that caused an argument between the passengers and the company man. I do not know how they figure that out but the bus finally got there and we all boarded and headed to Tehran. My friend later told me what happened to him: He has been lost in the mountain and was climbing down to the south while Ghotoor-Sooei and the shelter are located at east. He did not know where he was going and just was walking until he encountered nomad people. They gave him food and accommodation. He also added that when he was there they faced a flock of dogs and he thought his trick would work there as well as the time we performed it the other day but the nomad guys told him that they are wild dogs and gave him a thick stick and asked him to fight for his life! He mentioned that fortunately he did not have to use the stick and nomad guys dealt with the animals and made them ran away! After spending a night in their tent, he, the next morning got to another hot spring called Sareyn and got a free ride to Ardabil. He went to a distant relative’s place to ask for help and from there he went to Ghotoor-Sooei to find me! Obviously he did not find me there and after spending a few hours there and asking the residents and passengers, got back to Ardabil and headed home.

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