When I woke up, I had a Lady Gaga song stuck in my head.
The NA clock was still there:
And so was the NA tea pot:
I said goodbye and left the little mosque:
The village still looked a bit like a frontier settlement from the Wild West:
But the black chadors everywhere broke the illusion:
I got some hot water for my tea from this little shop:
The shop owner was very friendly, and she didn’t wear the chador:
Then I was out on the desert road again:
A guy in the mosque had insisted on buying me a box of carry-out food. I had it as a sort of “roadside brunch” in the desert:
Here’s the Let’s Walk video of the day:
One time a motorcyclist stopped for a chat:
We didn’t understand each other very well, but well enough to establish that: I was German. I was walking, not cycling. I had come from China. I liked walking in Iran. I was trying to walk to Europe.
Apart from this, it was a quiet walk, though. Sometimes I would see a herder:
And sometimes a truck full of guys who were apparently on their way to one of the little Imam Hussein pavilions in the village:
I found one of their black flags laying on the ground next to the road. I figured it must have fallen from one of the trucks, so I picked it up and fastened it upright:
It felt good. Like giving back a little.
The road went up and down after this:
Rolling hills announcing the beginning of the mountain range that I would have to cross:
Two men got out of their car, handed me two puddings and then hastily drove off:
Other dudes stopped for a picture:
A picture with the Caboose and me:
There were abandoned buildings:
There were little pink flowers:
There was the winding road:
And then I arrived in the village of Shurloq, where I went straight to the mosque:
These two were already there:
And so were they (again, trying to look serious because it was a time of mourning):
These two gentlemen took me to an office building where I would be spending the night:
And these little biker dudes came along because it was a spectacle:
I was told that the main service for the holy month of Ashura would be tonight in the mosque, and would I like to be there? Sure, I said, if that didn’t mean bothering anyone. I was told not to worry.
They showed me an instrument of self-flagellation that some people used:
Though today it was just going to be about beating one’s own chest with one’s hands.
So we went to the mosque, and the Imam, after leading the prayer, started talking:
It was a long speech of which I didn’t understand a single word, so I looked around, and I was surprised to find that a little girl was there, too, running around in the midst of all the men in their reserved part of the mosque:
Everyone was looking at me:
Especially the kids:
And then it got serious. The lights were turned off, and the imam’s speech started sounding increasingly sad:
Some people took out handkerchiefs and started sobbing:
There were wailing sounds from the part of the mosque that was reserved for the women.
And then we all got up:
And the rhythmic beating of the chest started:
People did it with different fervour, and especially the teenage boys were really going at it:
The self-beating lasted maybe an hour or so. Then we sat down and had a meal:
It was simple, and I liked it:
When I got back to my office building it was almost midnight:
Quiet and clean, and right next to the Caboose:
It was a great place to sleep.