Always with you, to my Iran, my everlasting Iran.
My whole being is defined by you, near or far away from you,
Sated and hungry, free or bound, happy or anxious, without you, I cannot live,
Your glory gives value to my death, it is then that life has meaning.
Love is my destiny, my existence;
My heart is with you, always. For you I live.
– From a poem by Fereydun Moshiri
Sefidab is a village in Gilan province of northern Iran nestled between the cities of Chaboksar and Lahijan. On my last trip, I had a chance to go there and have a scrumptious meal more than a few times at a seafood restaurant called Ghezelsara. [PHOTOS]
The owner of the restaurant, a former soldier who lost an eye in the Iran-Iraq war, took out a loan and started his business from scratch. He has breathing problems from the gas he inhaled during the war. He has asthma. He also has an artificial eye. He is a wonderful, witty man, with a grin. His restaurant has become a tourist attraction and as a result he started to raise fish, the famous Ghezel Ala or rainbow trout. He has built several fish tanks and proudly says that almost all the fish of the area is produced by him at his place overlooking the awe-inspiring Gilan Mountains.
We immediately became buddies and he took us to the mountain peak the other side of which leads to the famous village of Siahkal. Siahkal in Gilaki means dark cloud. Siahkal has a sad story behind it, known to all Iranians. The late singer Farhad once composed a song called Jom’eh referring to that infamous Friday in Siahkal.
Sefidab, which means white water, takes its name from the roaring, almost white colored falls and rapids which are seen as you enter the area. The mountains are covered with tea bushes and hazelnut trees, while at the bottom you see nothing but rice plantations. The scenery of these mountains and valleys which comes in many shades of green is serene; it takes your breath away.
Mr. A, the owner, has built a few rooms for guests who wish to spend the night, and on the bottom of the hill he has put up a few rooms made of straw where guests can take an afternoon nap and drink tea or smoke hooka. He has become successful in his venture and hopes to attract more visitors every year. We had a splendid time on that day, in his restaurant, on top of the mountain and in that little hut drinking tea, and walking around, chatting with the villagers. He took us up the mountain where he spread a cloth, cut up melons and told us to get hazelnuts from the surrounding bushes.
I always loved fresh fandogh (hazelnuts). I could not have enough of them. We talked about Iran, its politics and his own life. Mr. A has grand visions. He wants to build a resort where people from all over the world can come to relax. He told us that he has had many European visitors. He said he had moved to the area with his family because of his breathing condition. Mr. A is very proud of his business and knows how far he has come.
Next time when you are in Iran, if you do not end up in Evin or if Iran is not attacked, courtesy of Bush and Ahmadi Nejad, go and visit the beautiful village of Sefidab and have the most wonderful Gilaki food at this restaurant and enjoy the scenery! It is worth every minute of your stay. Sefidab is Iran and Iran is Sefidab and much more…[PHOTOS]