Day 74: 200km/h through the desert
Kaluts Travel Blog› entry 106 of 260 › view all entries
Thanks to the people I met here and/or travelled with: Michael (Australia), Khashayar (Iran)
Today was the day of the tour to the Kaluts desert. The Kaluts are a unique geographical feature on earth and both Michael and I were quite keen on doing an overnight trip. We had agreed to meet Hossein at 1 pm to finalise the trip and then we'd leave around 16.30. The Kaluts get sizzling hot in summer, dangerously hot even. Mid-summer the temperatures can reach a soaring 65 degrees Celsius. Well, it wasn't mid-summer yet, but daytime temperatures could still reach 50 degrees, so we would leave as late as possible, to enjoy the, uhm, cool of the evening, so to speak (at night temperature drops to a 'comfortable' 38 degrees).
When we met Hossein he had some bad news: His Land Rover had broken down and he had tried to lend one from a friend, but had not succeeded.
Back at Khashayar's Michael and I contemplated phoning other guides. Hossein had been a nice guy, but this just sounded like a big risk. I had no idea how busy the paved road through the Kaluts was, or how rough the off-road tracks, but I had no intention of finding out in a Paykan.
Then Khashayar came with a solution. He loved the Kaluts, he loved photography and by now he loved our company. Why didn't we go with him? He had a good, new, air-conditioned car, so we could leave in the afternoon and watch the sunset and then come back at his place.
Great idea, even though this wouldn't give us our overnight in the desert, at least it would be a whole lot cheaper.
However, there is also a danger of doing a trip with a drug addict instead of a reputable travel agency. Things can go wrong in the planning department. Basically we left Kerman too late. We were already somewhat late by the time Khashayar had finally finished his ritual in his little den, but as we started driving he suddenly had the great idea to show us a cemetery on the way, only to get stuck in traffic because the whole city visits this cemetery on Fridays. Despite racing along the desert road to the Kaluts at speeds nearing 200 km/h we arrived at the Kaluts with only ten minutes of sunlight left.
The road was beautiful.
We walked around, taking some pictures in the dusk instead. The heat was almost unbearable. 49 degrees, the temperature meter in the car said. I had very mixed feelings about this trip. On one hand I was looking at a stunning piece of scenery, but on the other I was pissed off we couldn't have arrived here half an hour earlier, when there was some sunlight left.
Khashayar offered to drive us back tomorrow morning, to watch sunrise, but it seemed a little bit too much to do the same 300 kilometre drive again tomorrow morning.
I tried to enjoy it as much as I could though. I like deserts, and this was a very special one indeed. And it was so quiet here. Silence is a rarity in Iran, so I savoured every moment of it.
The Kaluts desert is considered a unique geographical feature on earth, as it consists of a relatively small area of rocks, eroded in a north-south direction. Apparently it puzzles scientists, since there is not anything like it elsewhere on earth (though opinions on that differ as well).
Due to the extreme temperatures nothing grows or lives in this stretch of desert. Well, almost nothing, as the Kaluts is home to a sizeable population of sand flies.