Mashhad was supposed to be my last station in Iran before heading on the Silk Road to Turkmenistan. Here I should meet my brother Stefan and his friends Cirk and Stephan. I preferred a hotel because with four people Couchsurfing is probably not the best thing. So I asked in the community for a suitable hotel and Mahtab offered me to stay with her. Mahtab is 38 years old, is a teacher for mathematic and biology. “I prefer traveling. Mathematic is a unthankful subject. The kids don’t understand why this I am teaching is useful for them. I like Couchsurfing because also my children can learn different cultures and practice some English.” Mahtab lives together with their children (8 and 11) and his husband in the west of Mashhad. The kids room is becoming the guestroom. The kids are happy because they can sleep with the mother in the bed. The husband has to sleep in this case on a small mattress next to the bed.
Also Sahid was staying the first night at Mahatbs place. Mahtab is lovely. Right after we arrived she served us something for lunch. After lunch we went out and she showed us around with her car. We saw paintings on stones which are more than 4000 years old at a place out of the city which is not protected by anyone. We visited a park and had a very good dinner. She served me breakfast at the next morning and while I am writing this line her children are preparing lunch for me because Mahtab and Sahid went out to see an old village. Later we want to see something in the city where we also going to see Azar from Yazd. She even told me to join me tomorrow morning to the airport where my brother and his friend will arrive. Just incredible!
Thanks to Couchsurfing I met a lot of incredible people in Iran and could have some insights in their culture and daily live. It is better than any guide book. The Couchsurfing community in Iran is an symbol that even with the strict rules and restriction an international exchange is possible. And this can be a base for a positive change. Both for the tourist of the country and also for the Iranians.