Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Some of you may be wondering what the title of today's post alludes to. Is it a nod to George Orwell's Animal Farm, or perhaps an obscure allusion to a Kevin Smith movie. Actually it is neither, and has more to do with a compacted ball of frozen water. You may think that I'm off my rocker to be talking about snow when Iran is obviously a hot, dry country, where fully one quarter of the land is dessert; but more than that it is a country of mountains, especially in the north and west. Tehran itself sits nestled under the shadow of a range of mountains and even now, at the beginning of June, there are significant patches of snow on the south facing slopes which I can see every day from our apartment window. This was a temptation that I could not resist, and so, the other day, I set off into the mountains to find myself some white stuff. Although Tehran itself is perpetually shrouded in a cloak of car-exhaust smog, it only takes a 5 minute drive from Tajrish Square (the northern transport hub of the city) to get to the base of the mountains and another 5 minutes walk and you are free of the smog. Because of this the mountain paths are very popular amongst Tehranis who flock there on weekends and holidays, for a family picnic or to chill out amongst the many riverside restaurants, chewing on a kebab and puffing lazily away at hookah pipes. I, however, was there for adventure and not bourgeois pampering. And that isn't hard to come by either, as within an hour the easy path peters out and the scrambling and bouldering begins. It's all good fun and you can never get lost as you are always within sight of the city, which gives the whole experience a rather surreal twist as you don't expect to find such terrain on the doorstep of a city of 10 million people (the only other city I've seen that even comes close is perhaps Rio, where you can go rock-climbing up Sugarloaf Mountain). After a fair amount of scrambling I reached the snowline and made myself a couple of snowballs (I don't have any gloves so I couldn't build myself a snowman). Unfortunately there was no-one there with me to throw it at. Next time I'll be more prepared and take a thermos bag with me so that I can take a snowball back down with me for my cousin. Mwahahahaha!

No comments: