singing with happiness, burning with rage

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I had some more trouble with my tires, but the dudes from the Red Crescent helped me get it fixed.

They were overall nice guys, and they had given me great food and a warm place to spend the night:

Red Crescent dudes

I was a bit shocked when I noticed that the barbecue stands outside were already up and running – at nine in the morning:

BBQ in the morning

But then it was Friday and a holiday on top of that. And the weather was good. So there were plenty of reasons for people to come up here and enjoy some of that morning kebab.

I was excited. Very excited. I would see the jungle today!

And indeed, it was getting greener:

Caboose in the green

This gentleman stopped and gave me some herbs he had been collecting:

herb collector

And then, after a bend in the road, it began:

the jungle begins

There was a big fat lush overboarding greenness everywhere, it felt like diving into a salad bowl:

jungle

And then there was a street sign that said Tehran was only 580km away:

580km to Tehran

I wasn’t planning on going there (Iranian cities were maddening to walk, and Tehran was behind a massive mountain range), but still, this felt exciting.

I walked around a little tunnel, and I saw parked cars and even parked buses everywhere:

parked buses

It seemed as though everyone in the province had come out to the jungle today. And it was a jungle alright, at least judging from the signs that said “Deer Habitat”, “Brown Bear Habitat”, “Wild Boar Habitat”, and “Leopard Habitat”:

Leopard Habitat

I was still happy, and everything got even better when I found two trees that allowed me to finally, finally, finally use the hammock that I had brought with me:

hammock time

It was so awesome I started singing involuntarily.

Other people were happy, too:

family playing in the water

How couldn’t they be? Just a look at the scenery was enough:

hills

But then, slowly, ever so slowly, my happiness gave way to anger. There were cars everywhere, and most people were driving like idiots:

traffic

And sure, the trees were beautiful when you looked up:

in the jungle

But below them, at their feet, people were leaving their trash everywhere:

trash everywhere

I never saw a leopard. Or a bear. But I saw wild boars. They came close to the road, and they looked very happy, because people were feeding them:

wild pigs in the jungle

And even if no one were feeding them, there was trash everywhere. It was hanging from the trees:

trash in the trees

And it was scattered across the ground:

more trash

How could people do this to a place that was so beautiful, I wondered:

idyllic road?

Sometimes I found myself so mad with anger that looking up at the tree tops was the only way to calm me down:

trees from below

I walked until after nightfall, and, being thoroughly fed up with all the crazy drivers on the main road, I took a little detour through the jungle:

night in the jungle

I could hear the wild boars grunt when my presence irritated them, and I caught myself thinking: shut up, pigs.

light

Then I was back on the road again, with only a few kilometers left to go to a village that apparently had a hotel:

road out of the jungle

I had descended more than 500 meters at this point. But the only thing that I could think of was bacon. And how much I wanted to sleep.

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