There, sitting in the middle of the open desert was a tent made entirely of Persian carpets. The around sheet was another enormous Persian rug of exquisite workmanship. Next to it were several smaller ones, each a masterpiece, evidently placed there for wiping boots. Off at a discreet distance was a privy made of Persian carpets.
A half dozen white-coated cooks wearing elaborate chef's hats were grilling kabobs of mouflon and ibex over an open fire, stirring great caldrons of steaming sauces with huge spoons, and sprinkling a little turmeric here or a dash of curry there. In the clear, cold waters of a spring that bubbled mysteriously from the base of a single, umbrella-branched tree, a steward carefully turned bottles of beer and fine wine.
Inside the dining tent the table was set with tissue-thin bone china, hand-cut crystal and heavily monogrammed silver. Vast platters were heaped with salads, cheeses, fruits and golden Persian melons. There were tall stacks of two kinds of bread and round bowls of strangely nut-flavored rice.
It was already dusk on the desert when the last course was served and the last wine poured. The hunt was ended. Outside the horses waited in artistic silhouette against the darkening sky, and a new moon, rising regally above our tent, touched long silver fingers to their manes. The soldiers stood in small groups talking among themselves and the musical flow of their language drifted across the evening. I said nothing. I wanted to hold every impression tightly in my hands.