Eastern Turkey

Mt Neermut has giant heads placed on a fake summit. That’s what the guidebook says. It was a beautiful ride up to the top. But I would dispute the word ‘giant’. The heads were there, granted. ‘Giant’ they were not. The view was good though, and worth the killer journey.
There were more tortoises. There were villages with 12yr-old cowboys on horseback. There were giant black lizards on rocks. There were storks on sticks. There were old men on donkeys.

There was a crazy wedding procession in the middle of the dirt-road. Young hijabed girls were dancing to a car stereo, surrounding the bride in her meringue dress. Lots of little children surrounded the bike.  We waited for the dancing to stop so we could carry on. They said ‘Hello’, and ‘Bye-bye’. At the next village people stood on roofs waiting for the wedding procession.

We got a ‘ferry’ across towards Diyabarkir. The lake was stupidly blue. Mindblowingly, inconceivably blue. We crossed and found a petrol-pump. We were in need of tea.

As we sat, a group of Kurds arrived, resplendent in their traditional baggy trousers with tight ankles, their waistcoats and checkered headscarves. They greeted everyone seriously, with formal handshakes. Their hijabed wives were kept in the back of the vans with the 8 kids in the sun as they chatted.

We arrived into Diyabarkir and it was a frontier town. There was a strange atmosphere.

We stayed for a couple of days to fix our little blackened stove. It had punctured itself. We took it to be welded, with a picture of a welder to explain.

As we walked to the welders, a stranger appeared. He somehow knew we had a motorbike. He took us kindly to three different welders, all of whom said they wouldn’t touch it as it might explode. We were in the old city walls, in the bazaar, down tiny little shack streets, where people worked in doorways like in the Middle Ages.

Another stranger appeared, following us and asking for an invitation to Britain. He wouldn’t believe I had no influence over immigration in the UK. The first stranger said the second stranger was his cousin, and whisked us off for tea in his uncle’s place.

Coincidentally his uncle lived in a carpet shop. It was dark and a bit creepy, and they shut the door behind us as we went in. The carpets were old and smelled of library-books.

It all got a bit odd. They sat us in-between them, and a chai-man appeared with tea, but only for us two. They asked us questions and we drank the tea reluctantly. They tried to show us carpets, and we explained we were riding a motorbike. They showed us more and I started giggling because he was still trying to sell them. He got annoyed I was laughing.

I got worried we had been drugged- Adam’s eyes had gone dilated. They started talking about the devil. I thought they were trying to scare us. My legs were heavy and I felt odd. I stood up and we left, right in the middle of the conversation. We ran away, and got lost in the bazaar streets. My legs were still like jelly. We found our way home, and pondered the whole thing.

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