The Night Shift

18 Jun 2020

Shiraz, almost midnight, firsts days of january, 2020

After days of national grief in the city of Hafez: rain, markets, nighty roamings, hashish smoker who panhandle fire and bread.

We are three, we thought about going to Kerman but there the funeral of General Soleimani is going to take place.

We are somehow atracted to the idea of sumerging ourself into the crowd and be part of a cause that does not belong to us, just to taste the course of the events that, with passion and without regards for what the future will actual think, are considered historical.

After a quick reflection, and a brief discussion we thought that was wiser to avoid following the sorrow and turn our heads to the sea.

We want to reach Hormuz island.

We are improvising, we try to book last minute three seats on a night bus but everything is fully booked to virtually anywhere: we are not dissuaded, we are convinced that directly in the bus station we will find some last minute seats to Bandar Abbas.

We warmly say goodbye to our friends who immediately bet on our return to the hostel: the trip has just been transformed into a dare.

Once in the bus station we are bouncing from ticket seller to ticket seller: every seat is booked until the next morning at 7.

Is already 23h00, the last bus departs at midnight. We try alternative routes, difficult connections from Kerman, or even going backwards all the way to Yadz: sideral distances that are not worth it: better to depart from Shiraz at sunrise.

No. They bet on our failure: we are not going back to the hostel.

A brief idea emerges: to order a taxi via app but there are 600 km: it seems absurd and an insult.

We opt to negotiate with the taxi drivers. Our good fellow P. who bites a bit of farsi, knows the numbers and all the key words: he has fun bartering.

Taxi drivers wander around like an omogenous body that expells an appendix in hopes to capture a client.

First taximan offers us a bloated price: we want at least half of it. Second taxist seems more willing, more desperate to find a customer: negotiations seem to go smoothly, however P. commits two capital sins: pride and stinginess: he is conviced he can get an even better deal: he won't: our taxi driver walks away, we feel almost defeated.

Seated in the waiting room we discuss on what to do, we count our money, we make our calculations, what is wiser? Go back to the hostel, pay for a room we will use for few hours before the sunrise? We try another taxi driver? (there seem to be none left) We decided to look for the last man, to accept his offer.

A group of young army boys have just arrived, they are following that taxi driver: the one who at first accepted our offer but it then refused to make a discount on it

Is midnight already. Taxis are no longer to be seen, at least not the one willing to do long distance.

Fortune, according to the dictionary, is an immaginary being, which as an unknown cause, are attributed by the masses the effects and the improvise events, unexpected, without obvious and known cause.

A man approached us. He was not there when we arrived to the station, he was not there when we were looking for a taxist faces of our liking: he appeared, like certain insomniac people appears whilst looking for something to do.

He asked if we need a driver, we explained we want to reach Bandar Abbas.

P. is getting excited again, he wants to haggle: panic.

With his cellphone in hand the man writes a number. It was not only a reasonable price but is what the exact same one we had in mind. P. in the role of a gambler wanted to bargain: we stopped him.

Fortune is not something you play with, at least not at quarter past midnight and 600 km away from where we want to be.

This person is not a real taxi driver: the car seems too personal, not very clean. P. seats in the front, me and M. on the back. We are comfortable. Our driver, I. makes a sudden stop: he has brought wine, and cigarettes. He stops a second time: he buys chocolates and crackers.

We depart. The highway is an obstacle run: is fast, is at the edge of the mountain, is dark, is heavily congested with heavy trucks, is covered in bumps, is interrupted by check points, is a incredibly long line under the stars.

Music. Silences. Some brief exchange of words between P and the driver, quick sips of wines, some fears, we take involuntary turns to sleep (me and P. because M. has dropped dead). The moon brightens the outlines of the road, the stars are shiner than the few street lights.

\ We make one stop, a brief one.

The long night is still hanging and does not want to collapse. Sleepiness. Overtakes. Motor noises. Darkness.

As long as you are next to the peaks everything is a straight line. The sunrise coincide with the descent, with the curves of the mountain, with the sea at the horizon and the sky scrambled in pink that splash back into the sea. I feel we are about to airbone, that we will fall into the sky, that we will fall into the glitter of the sea.

The light makes the faces of the mountain blush. Silence. Music. The waves of the sea.

After 7 we reached our destiny. We stop. We open the windows. We let the sun go in, the wind, the sound of the morning people, the screams of the seagulls.

Bandar Abbas.

#iran  #taxi driver