Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Pilgrimage from Yenice to Sultankoy 31/05/08

The alarm goes off but there is no way I'm getting up this early. I have only had a couple of hours sleep and I'm feeling it. Rolling back over I pass out for another hour.

Emerging around 7am there is no sign of my wonderful hosts, or any military facilities at all...can't say I'm sorry about that ;)

I pack up and get going, only to stop for a lentil soup breakfast at the first service station. A wonderful way to start the day!

One of the funny things I have noticed so far in Turkey is that even at the restaurants there are no fixed prices. One of the waiters let me look through his receipts the other day so I could get a rough idea what things were worth. I had to laugh when every receipt had a different price for the same item. He also laughed and just shrugged :)

So knowing that the MOST I should pay for my soup and two teas is 5YTL I hand the waiter a 5YTL note and wait for him to ask for more. I know it is always best to agree on a price before hand but sometimes I just can't be bothered...and the Turks don't seem to mind bargaining afterward either...

I'm pleasantly surprised when he hands me 1.50YTL back. Champion!!! I think this is the first time since arriving I haven't had to argue about the bill :)

I'm not so lucky at the next place though. After eating a soup, dessert and a juice I hand him 100YTL and only get 85YTL back!!! Fifteen YTL for breakfast, this is a new record! I just laugh and ask to see a break up of the bill. He starts by writing 3YTL for the soup and then pauses, obviously realizing it's now going to be hard to make up his 15YTL. Glancing over at the owner he says a few words and then right in front of me writes over the 3YTL with 5YTL!!! This isn't the first time I have received a bill that has had the first lower number written over by a higher number :) He then charges me 5YTL for the dessert and 4YTL for the drink. I point out that this still only makes 14YTL and he just smiles. I then take the pen and write 3YTL for the soup, 3YTL for the dessert and 2YTL for the drink. More than reasonable I think...

The owner is chuckling in the corner and finally decides to come over and help...

"OK, OK, 10YTL" He hands me 5YTL back.

He speaks Bulgarian, so in my broken Russian I explain that I eat at restaurants every morning and that 8YTL is more than enough...

He smiles and waves me away instructing his young helper to give me another 2YTL.

From then on it's an another boring walk along the highway. Around early afternoon I reach Marmaraereglisi and as I walk into town three old guys bail me up for a cup of tea and a chat. They are really good value, can't speak a word of English and are very keen to get across that they are Kurds, not Turks. It isn't long before the whole cafe is out on the street with me and everyone is in great spirits, joking away. The owner's sons can speak a little English and I have to laugh as they make fun of their Turkish friends...

"Hey, Turkish delight...Come here Turkish delight" :)

Around 7pm I get to Sultankoy and once again the guys sitting round on the street get me over for a chat. Yavir lived in New York for many years, was a sailor and has a very great understanding of humanity. We spend a good half an hour laughing about the funny idiosynchrasies of humans. We are a crazy race :)

I go to leave and as I am saying my goodbyes Najate explains that he has an empty apartment across the road and if I like, I am more than welcome to stay. I really wanted to get another 8kms but the chance of a soft bed is an offer too good to refuse.

Spotting a hairdresser I head over for a quick shave. Sultankoy is just one of these towns where the townspeople are all incredibly generous! The hairdresser doesn't take my money, then when I get back the locals have all bought me some cheese, olives and bread for dinner. Najate's wife has also made me a meal at the same time so the picnic gets bundled up for lunch tomorrow! What a town!!! You guys are awesome :)

The apartment is perfect and I sit down to a wonderful meal. I start to dread the sound Najate's steps down the stairs though...every time he turns up he is carrying another course!!! I am struggling already but much to his pleasure, somehow I manage to finish. What a feast :)

Najate goes to pray and I head back to the cafe to drink tea and watch the guys play cards. Around midnight we all head off to bed...

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