Wondrous Surprises

Along our travels to observe folk dances throughout Iran, we often experienced wondrous surprises. Like the day before we were expected at an engagement ceremony in Sanandaj…. From Kermanshah we chose to go through Ravānsar and further north. Green pastures and mountains in the distance accompanied us until we arrived to the famous water cave: Ghār-e Quri Qaleh.

As we walked through the cool cave, we stopped every now and then to admire the stalactites and stalagmites.

By the time we walked back out, we had worked up an appetite. We went to a traditional restaurant within Quri Qaleh park where we could choose the trout we wanted caught and grilled.

Our guide went above and beyond being helpful…he personally chose the trout and oversaw the washing, cleaning and grilling. Once we sat down to our fish kabāb with plenty of rice and torshi (pickled vegetables), he tried to convince my daughter of all the benefits eating fish had over the lamb kabāb she had chosen as her meal.

Iranians in general never hold back any wisdom they see fit to share and his concern to improve my seemingly too skinny daughter’s eating habits made it feel more like we were traveling with an uncle rather than just a driver-guide.

Once we headed back and made our way to Sanandaj, he went further to insist that I should not go to a hotel in Sanandaj if the family who invited us to the engagement ceremony was offering us a place to stay. No Kurdish hosts will let you stay in a hotel he said, and he was right.

When I called the groom-to-be to inform him we were on our way to a hotel, he insisted we stay with his relatives. Soon we met him at an intersection in Sanandaj where our driver-guide-uncle helped us switch our bags from one car to another. Then we were on our way to meeting the most hospitable and kindest family that we could have dreamed of.

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