We postponed our departure from Qazvin because no one was looking forward to a day of snow-cycling. After our pizza and ice cream breakfast we left the city, under the loud, supportive honking of cars passing by. One car pulled over at the side of the road and gestured to come to him. He was holding a mobile phone and pressed it against Stef's ear, who casually answered it as events such as this one were becoming common. "Hello this is Maryam. Can I or my friend help you? Are you going to Tehran?"
The friendly guy guided us to the highway towards Tehran. When we called for a Banana Milkshake stop after fifteen kilometers, he suddenly entered the building (we thought we lost him) and pointed at his watch to make clear it was time to go. We didn't argue and followed. We didn't know where we were going, and we didn't know why, but we listened to our heart. all the way to a mansion in Mohammadie, a small village after Qazvin. Here Ali, our mystery man, showed us our new private mansion, equipped with a kitchen, shower, living room with television and two bedrooms.
Then he handed us the phone again and the lady on the phone explained she and Ali knew the pains and gains of cycling and said we should enjoy and relax. "Welcome to your new home." The famous life is a generous one indeed.
After our routine baggage explosion all over the place was more or less contained, our friend knocked on the door and came in with two of his friends to share diner. Since Ali didn't speak any English, Chalid, his friend, translated. Shortly after them, the Mayor of their municipality entered the building. Apparently it was time for a modest photoshoot and an inquiry about our journey before we were allowed to sleep. You're only big in Iran!
We didn't cycle the next day, as the snowcarpet outside was still steadily increasing in thickness. Maryam, the mastermind behind the secret operation to keep us away from Tehran, informed us that they arranged vehicle transport to Tehran and we can enjoy a free da today. Ali took us around town, bought us a surprise ice cream and guided us to the nature museum to show us the wildlife we can spot on our cycling days.
On our way back to the mansion we dropped by the Municipality building where Ali went inside for moments, only to come back out with a ticket in his hands. We swear we heard him saying in Persian : "Diner's on the Mayor today lads, let's have it!" We had some more fun in the powder on the way back and snowshowered by heel-stomping the snow out of the biggest trees.
Because the road to Tehran was 150 km of snowy highway, Ali offered to drive us and our bicycles to the next host he had arranged. We accepted his generous offer and after Ali passed on his precious guest-gems, we followed Kamiyar's motorcycle through a wild river of traffic and planted our cheeks softly on his tigerprint carpet.