Browsing through the March pages in my 1986 diary, I found a tasty entry. I had just finished a horrible job at Bandar-e-Taheri, on the Persian Gulf, in Iran. I was there to supervise drilling exploration for a proposed oil terminal. The job was horrible for several reasons, none of them due to being in Iran, or working with Iranians. Rather, it was a lot to do with working with some unlikeable ex-pats. And the food was dreadful. And I was sick (as was almost everybody in the construction camp, including the doctor) due to some mix-up between sewage water and drinking water…
On the day the drilling job ended, I happily commandeered a vehicle and went playfully exploring along a dirt road to the hamlet of Jam. En route I saw a magnificent sight: the fossil core of a syncline, that arrangement of folded rocks in which the strata are swirled in a “U” shape. I skidded to a halt and raced up the hillside to get a better view – a view that I sketched and photographed, as if on a safari.
Further along the road to Jam I met a honey seller and bought a large jar of honey from him for 1500 Rials (about $20 at the ridiculous official exchange rate). All I needed was bread to fashion my own meal, reminiscent of my childhood favorite British meal: bread and syrup. Finding bread was easy. The road to Jam ended in a tessellation of narrow alleys, where I found a delightful bakery, which made large, thin, floppy bread (sangak) that people draped over their arms, while warm and fresh. The baker was a very friendly man, typical of so many people I met in Iran.
A couple of days of bread and honey were enough to quell my queasy stomach. At least until I resumed my journey and encountered the next place with poor water….