It was at the end of a long day exploring ancient Sassanian cities that Kazem suggested we stop for a picnic by a lake south of Shiraz. ‘A picnic? What with?’ I asked. ‘Don’t worry, I have everything in the car,’ he replied. And he did. Kazem proved to be a veritable professor of the picnic, producing a plastic blanket, hot water, tea, coals, qalyan, biscuits, sugar and a wire cage in which he swung the coals until they lit in a sea of sparks. We sat, smoked, sipped tea and just enjoyed life as the sun settled behind the hills…it was pure Iranian hospitality.
This is an extract from Iran 5 by Andrew Burke, et al. Published by Lonely Planet, 2008.