He struck lucky in May 1, feet down, his team found oil and ushered in the modern era. The nearby town of Lali feels like a Bakhtiari frontier post where nomads go to buy ropes, tent pegs, oak walking-sticks, bells, flour and whatever else is needed for a long journey to the mountains.
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Because I arrived at the moment of departure, the town was teeming. To the waterfall, was the answer. The road crossed the Karun, one of the rivers said to have flowed out of the Garden of Eden. In summer it slows to a trickle, but in spring it is a torrent and before bridges were built, Bakhtiari nomads in their tens of thousands crossed the water on inflated animal skins.
The Karun river was soon a memory as the road wound up through a landscape of wild rock formations to a highland valley along which were scattered nomad camps, tents, basic stone houses and some more elaborate buildings. People were bent over the wheat harvest in fields that ran down to a small river below the road. I sensed a whiff of disapproval.
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The waterfall had attracted a mixed bunch, with kids paddling on the edge of the stream and campers pitched up the steep bank. Down in the water flowing from the falls, perched on a metal-framed bed, six young men toasted each other with a drink that looked more potent than lemonade.
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Across the stream, a bent old man moved some 50 goats along the bank. He was getting ready to move, he told me.
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With four others, he would herd sheep and goats, as well as a horse, which they rode only when they were tired. It is the same story across this part of the country.
Women were harvesting wild flowers and thistle heads before summer burned it all. That was where I met Fereydun.
Leadership Is a Journey, Not a Destination
He was a short, stocky, greying man, with a twinkle in his eye, who was talking with some other Bakhtiari about a wedding that evening. When I told him I was looking for Bakhtiari on the move, he suggested we head into the hills right away. We got into his car and drove through wheatfields studded with oak trees. Most nomads now drive between summer and winter pastures rather than walk — a journey that once took a month is now made in a day. At the head of the valley, several hours up, we came to the village Fereydun wanted to show me.
Men were shearing the last of the goats and women were hand-spinning wool.
Plan a journey
You can use the service for travel anywhere within the Falkirk area. You cannot use the service for journeys to or from hospital. Please contact the Patient Transport Service on for transport to or from hospital.
'A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step' - the meaning and origin of this phrase
The service runs from am until pm Monday-Friday. The last pick up is at pm. Journeys may be possible outside of these times, but special arrangements may be necessary with Order of Malta Dial-a-Journey Ltd and you may have to pay additional charges. If there is a vehicle and driver available there is normally no limit to the number of journeys you can make.
All members can take one escort to help them when travelling.
The escort cannot be another Dial-a-Journey member. Additional friends can travel with you if there is space, but they must be picked up at the same point as the member making the booking. They will pay the same fare as the member. Journeys must be booked in advance. You can do this by calling the Dial-a-Journey office on You may be able to book up to six months in advance for occasions such as weddings or holidays. Demand for the service is high so please book as far in advance as possible. If you need to cancel your journey, please call Dial-a-Journey on by 4pm the day before you travel.
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