Big Mama and me...
You would wonder why, with a language barrier (at least verbally) we would exchange phone numbers, but we did. Big Mama gave me an even bigger smile and made signs that she would call me.. - and she did! Several times even. They handed the phone to an english speaking person who translated: they wanted to know how we were and if we needed any help, was there anything that they could do for us... and so on!
We were happy to leave the area near the Syrian border, especially after we had heard gun shootings and sounds like bomb explosions until dusk when camping near Killis the following night. The sounds were far away and we didn't feel threatened, but it surely was discomforting. We were not sure where the sounds really came from. Some people thought they were from Aleppo, a big Syrian city less than 100km from Killis. Others said they were recorded sounds played by the Turkish Army (situated by the border) to frighten the refugees.. This did not really make sense to me at first, especially because 3 days later, a refugee camp was opened in one of the border towns that we had cycled through. But people were saying that the Turkish government/army was very careful to not let the Kurdish inhabitants of the area help Syrian refugees in order to prevent them to "reunite" with the Syrian Kurdish people. Also the Kurdish people might gain a good reputation with their unbelievable hospitality. I don't know if this is true or not but certainly, this is a very complicated issue...
A new discovery: Erasmus students are not only party-people!!! Two very nice Polish students hosted us in Gaziantep - they have hitch-hiked extensively in South East Anatolia and we learned so much more from them than from any guide book! I realize again, traveling is the best means of education!!
Ahhh, these two very sweet humble men, how I enjoy thinking back of them. They are guards of orange tree plantation. But when they found us pitching up our tent under an orange tree, me with two oranges in my hand, they didn't send us away. They invited us to sleep in their little room instead where there was actually just enough place for the two of them! In the morning, they gave us a breakfast, tea and told us to offered us to take as many oranges as we could carry!
Another Kurdish family that hosted us. Sorry for the not very thoughtful picture, but you can see a little bit how all the girls of the family sat on one side of the room with the eldest in front (actually in the back of the room, away from the door. This is also where the guests sit). There were 4 men sitting on the other side, and this is one family.
(And what is this man doing on this side? I don't know)
As usual, we managed to communicate somehow with the little Turkish we spoke and a lot of non-verbal language. Everything went fine, the girls were giggling most of the time and it was a hihihihahaha thing... until the one who had inveited us asked us about our religion and Albert explained to him:
-his parents were Christians but he himself was not (my eyes widened up: ohhhh, not good, not good... I thought )
-he did not believe in any God (uhhh-hoo..)
-at this moment, he was busy traveling and his bicycle was like a religion (ahhhhh...!!!!!!)
He gave them a big smile but the smile vanished slowly when he realized that his answers were not exactly what they were hoping to hear......
..though they did not kick us out, obviously:
But we did have a long conversation (?) about this religion-issue, and finally we settled everything on the level of: We are kind of lost but one day, we will really think about everything (and maybe find the way to God). Inshallah! (Albeeeeeeeeeeeeert!!!!!) I sweated a lot that evening.
Hitch-hiking to Trabzon (at the Caspian Coast).... a 19h marathon to arrive...
Why? For this!
Fingerprints.. for the Iranian Visa. Only Allah knows why mine but not Alberts'......
And back in the South...
(Ever baked a cake with camping gear???) - Albert's birthday : )