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Tehran: Up the mountains in Darakeh

By Syma Sayyah, Tehran

Last Wednesday was a happy public holiday and since it was near school opening, Mehr 1 ( September 23rd), most people had taken Thursday off and gone mainly to Shomal to the Caspian. Tehran was once again quiet and peaceful and the air quality enormously improved, especially as autumn breeze have started to play their soft gentle tune.

 My friends had made me promise to go hiking with them to Darakeh (one of the several spots in north of Tehran, where people go to hike). I used to go there at least once a week up to when I hurt my knee and had to stop. On many occasions, my heart would want to jump up there and feel the much fresher air up in the kouh (mountain). At the beginning, we used to go there on Thursdays and meet on a particular spot for brunch or breakfast. We would chat even to people we did not know, who soon became our friends from kouh. Even today, some of my dearest friends are those I met up on those narrow paths. Once this became a very popular thing to do and we had to spend so much time just to move up or down the mountain, we changed our arrangement and went there on Wednesday afternoons instead. We would go when we wanted, and as high up as we could manage; and there was a big local café there called haft howz (seven ponds), where we would all meet and have dinner or whatever. At times the group would become as large as 20 to 25 and we would stay until they closed the place.

When I was working, at times I would take some of our foreign guest or visitors who came to Tehran there, if they were a little sporty people. Sometimes we would find a nice spot, especially if there was moonlight, and sit and would sing songs; someone would sing and the rest would join the chorus. It was so great and refreshing. At times we would take the not legal liquid along and carefully pour it into our legal cans or bottle of soft drink. We would stay on until early hours of the mornings. The atmosphere, the spirit, the conversations, which was present then, was kind, gentle, intellectual, good and healthy, all at the same time. Besides, in those days, more than 5-6 years ago, the area was not so commercialized; people whom one met in the mountains, not only came there for fresh air but also were truly, at least a little, into sports and all that it manifests. It has changed a lot these days. It is not as much fun as it used to be. Still, it is worth the effort.

It was such a delight to see Shoukat and Abbass sitting next to each other, on the other side of the stream. We saw them as we passed, when we turned to main pathway in Darakeh. They were a middle age and traditional couple. What pleased me so much was to note that they were enjoying being there and seemed to enjoy each other's company. What a big difference and what a pleasurable sight to see, as it is so rare these days, almost anywhere. Later on when we stopped for lunch a little further up the path, they came along too and that was when I went to them and learned that they were Kurds from the South. They had lost their home and livelihood during the war and moved to Tehran 21 years ago. They have six children, 2 girls and four boys. Their children are all educated and have good jobs and or professions as lawyers, teachers, and engineers, and one is a businessman dealing in cars. One of their daughters is a school chief in Boushehr (in the south by Persian Gulf). Like them we had ordered a most wonderful 'abeghosht' (lamb stew) in a Dizi (a small pot). The place, run by a former school teacher, was not very crowded. The owner had a wonderful voice himself, and we had the pleasure of hearing him and one of the gentleman guests over lunch. The place was very clean, food was good, and we were quite happy with the service. The only problems were the bees, as there was a big fig tree nearby. That is the price of enjoying lunch out in the open, but I assure you it was worth it!

Here in Tehran, there are a few things that one can do that does not costs too much and can be both enjoyable and good for you. Try Darakeh next time you are in Tehran!



... Payvand News - 9/17/03 ... --

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