Sheep stroking seemed to be a favourite pastime with the tourists here. Mind you, the sheep were seriously cute, so became rather tempting to pet. As you can see in picture two , it wasn’t just the visitors who were making a fuss of this sheep, the local children did too. I reckon this one was more like a pet than potential dinner, judging from the...more
While we were there, more families arrived, and it was fascinating to watch them erect their tents and set up their camps. Everybody gathers around to help their ‘new’ neighbours, and each family have the same pitch from year to year. Many of the families use trucks to transport their goods these days in addition to the donkeys.more
Iranian hospitality is legendry, and the Qashqai nomads are no exception. As soon as we arrived, we were invited in for the ubiquitous tea. Their tent is black and large, and the whole family sleeps in the one tent. One side is rolled up during the day and then lowered at night. We were guests of Dastani, his wife, two children and mother-in law....more
During the time of the Shah, the Qashqai were forced to settle in one place, now they are on the move again, despite the government trying to encourage them to settle down by giving them various facilities in their winter camp by the Persian Gulf. I have been led to believe they have electricity, running water and even internet access at the other...more
The Qashqai Nomads originally came from Azerbaijan, but were forced out by the Mongols. These Turkic-speaking people are the most educated of all the nomadic tribes in Iran. Many of the Qashqai have now settled, but around 300 people (all related in some way) live the traditional nomadic existence in this area. Iran is said to be home to the...more
Dinner was provided for us: a beautiful eggplant khoresh (a type of stew made with lamb and eggplant – very tasty), with boiled eggs for the vegetarian. There was of course mountains of rice as well as the beautiful Iranian bread, and for afters we had melon.
We spent the early part of the evening sitting around the camp fire, playing music on Reza’s mobile phone (singing is not allowed in public in Iran for women, so no song around the camp fire unfortunately. Dancing in public is not permitted for either sex.) We did have quite a laugh though, even without alcohol, singing or dancing. When it got too...more
Donkeys are still used by the Qashqai to transport their goods from one camp to another. They are very noisy animals, and their bleating (or whatever you call the noise that a donkey makes) kept us awake half the night!
The Qashqai herd about 500 sheep and goats from place to place. With more and more privately owned farms springing up, moving is a major problem for the Qashqai, and many accidents happen as they move their huge herds along the main roads.The animals are often attacked by a biting insect which gives them symptoms almost like a human cold – coughing...more
OK, what happens when nature calls? You are given a ewer with water and pointed that-a-way. See that hill in the background? Over the top of that is where you go. Anywhere you like, although we did find a very nice little indentation – almost like a crater – which was quite suitable. Just make sure that the men haven’t gone the same way. I...more
If you are going to be spending the night with the Qashqai nomads, make sure you wrap up warm, as it gets very cold as soon as the sun goes down. It is not just the temperature, but also the wind chill factor. I did have a lovely and warm fleece, but it wasn’t windproof, and I so wished I’d taken gloves. It was about the only time during my stay in Iran that I was actually glad of the head scarf! A fire was lit (picture two) to try and keep us warm, but it didn’t work too well. It warms your front beautifully, but your back still remains cold. Another problem with a camp fire, is that all my clothes smelt of smoke for days afterwards. As you can see from picture three, Yasmina had been clever enough to bring a blanket, and was generous enough to share it. Thank you Yasmina. By the way, it dropped down to 3°C during the night.
One of the most surreal moments was when one of the nomads turned up on his motorcycle (they use motorbikes and trucks to get around a lot) with his video camera to film the visitors. As I explained earlier, in their winter camp, these families have electricity as well as an internet café, and they were very keen to keep a memento of our stay. We...more