Thursday, 24 July 2008

Pilgrimage from Cukurkopru to Karabacak 18/07/08

Tucked away behind the warehouse I get to sleep in, it's not until 8am I get moving. The heat is intense right from the start and I welcome the invites for tea that keep coming my way :)

Stopping for a kebab for breakfast I realize I haven't had to bargain for anything for ages. I don't even ask the price beforehand and still get charged a lot less than what I have been charged anywhere else in Turkey. This morning I get a kebab, ayran, salad and two cups of tea all for 6YTL! Awesome!!!

Passing a bus stop a kid calls out and stops me for a chat. He's intrigued by my mp3 player so I let him have a play and have to laugh as he bops away in front of the camera. I go to leave...

"No, no...sit for a while"

"Sorry, i have to keep moving" I indicate for him to return the mp3 player but his grip tightens.

"Come on, I'm going...please mp3, mp3"

His attention goes back to the new toy in his hands and he continues to ignore me :) Oh well, if that's the way he wants to play...

Dropping my backpack and cameras I come back over to where he's sitting, and ask a bit more firmly for him to give it back.

"No, it's mine"

I grab his wrist and tell him to hand it over and am amazed that he remains so confident. I try to force his hand open and the reason for his confidence becomes apparent when he stands up. Here I was thinking I was dealing with a 15 year old kid but the guy stands and I realize he's an inch or two taller than me! And the way he's looking down at me he is obviously use to being able to intimidate people with his hight, what started as the possibility of a fun little wrestle is now quickly escalating into a full scale brawl.

With eyes locked neither of us are backing down and even though the thought of having a punch up over a €50 mp3 player seems stupid it is more the principle. I'm not letting some smart arse little punk rob me without a fight, but I would still prefer it if he throws the first punch :)

In one last ditch effort to avoid further violence and to let him know I'm not fucking around every muscle in my body tenses as I pull him close and let out an almighty roar centimeters from his face...

Bang, just like that his confidence shatters, his muscles turn to jelly underneath my grip and the mp3 player falls from his hands. Collecting my stuff I'm pretty happy with the way it all worked out. If we had ended up hitting at each other I would have been paranoid that if he lost he would run home, grab his pistol (which even if he doesn't have one I'm certain his friends do) and come for revenge. Apart from a small cut from his fingernails we are both unharmed :)

Stopping for a rest at a service station I'm disappointed they don't have a shop, I'm dying for a fizzy drink! It must show on my face because the worker runs over to a tourist bus getting washed next door and asks them for some Coke :) Wonderful!

Going to leave the guy stops me...

"No, now we eat watermelon"

Laughing "Sorry, I should go but thank you very much"

"No! We eat watermelon!" He hurries off returning with some freshly cut goodness :)

It's a hard life being a pilgrim ;)

Making Kardili I find an internet cafe to wait out the heat of the day, with the plan being to get another 10kms this afternoon to Karatepe. I don't know what this is but everyone tells me it is beautiful. It will add a few kilometers to my journey so I decide to do a little research to see if it's worth my while. A quick look on googlemaps and I realize my road passes it by and I will have to hitch the last few kilometers and that it's just a dam. Considering the Mediterannean is only two days walk away I'll give it a miss...

Darkness has fallen by the time I finally get moving and I'm very happy my road has now turned south. From here it's due south all the way to Beirut! I'm getting close!!!

A passing car slam on it's brakes. A quick glance behind confirms the car has stopped and much to my dismay the reverse lights come on. Ignoring it in the hope it will go away, I realize it is pointless and turn to see who has taken an interest in me. Please be friendly! I have had enough excitement to last me for a while...

The window comes down and a big smiling face greets me "Hello". Gelen is great! he teaches English at the local University and is super keen to take me back to his house to stay the night. Unfortunately he lives back in Kardili so I have to turn him down but we end up having a good long chat. Cheers mate :)

Around midnight and feeling exhausted I find myself a watermelon field and call it a night...

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