When we got there it was starting to get pretty dark and the place was just vast areas of flat wet farmland, not good for free camping. We eventually pulled over to assess the situation and a car pulled up in front of us with two men. They came up and we asked them if they knew of anywhere to camp and one guy said… “no no, you come my house, come to my house”. So after a super fast discussion, we all agreed and followed.
When we got there we were directed up onto his roof terrace. It was a small single story farmhouse with most of it still under construction. We were instructed to sit down on long rugs with big pillows behind us, very Turkish, but in a few minutes he had his daughters bringing up westerner table and chairs. Nothing but the best for the weary travellers. Then they started giving us cigarettes, and as it’s impolite to refuse hospitality, we thankfully accepted (by the end of the night though the ciggies were really starting to take their toll).
Pretty soon after we got there, it seemed everyone in the area had heard about our arrival and came up to say hello. We found out then that they were pretty much all his extended family. The main people we were ‘trying’ to talk with were Mahmet (the owner), his brother Hussein and his nephew. While we were using half a page of Turkish in the crappy Lonely Planet as our only means of communication, the women of the family were down stairs cooking away like mad. After about an hour or two they arrived up with an absolutely gorgeous meal of salad, barbequed chicken, roasted peppers and bread.
A while later, Podge got the guitar and we tried to sing a few songs... but quiet badly. I don't think they were very impressed. I think the strings must have been old or something like that. Yeah that's it, old strings. Mahmet looks like he's about to leave...
I have to say though, they were the nicest people ever. Here’s a few snaps we took during the night. They loved the camera, but the women just wouldn’t smile in any photos.
At the end we finally got a shot of most of the fam’ together…
Back Row: Mahmet's son, Mahmet, Podge, Mahmet's brother, a nephew, Me, Hussein (great craic), and another brother.
Front Row: a nephew, another nephew, and Mahmet's nephew we were talking to (sound guy).
That night we slept outside on another part of the roof. They gave us a massive rug with mattresses and the nicest fleece blanket I’ve ever felt. I was so tempted to sneak it out. Even though we were outside, after 28 days of sleeping in a tent, it was unreal to finally sleep in 'a bed'.
The next morning, even before the sun came up there were roosters cockadoodledooing all over the place. After getting back to sleep, I was surprisingly woken up by a goat stepping on my foot as he made his way across the roof to get some food in the corner…it was pretty strange!
Eventually, we went down stairs and were given breakfast. A grand cup a chi (tea) and a savory bread called chickley, or something like that. Tasted exactly like liga or rusk… unbelievable! Anyhoo, after saying goodbye, Janer got a local scarf from the mother, Mahmet’s wife. Lovely woman, but again, no smiley in photos!
Mahmet, being the sound guy he is then brought us back to the main road and we were on our way to Syria. After such an amazing experience, the balance of the world just had to kick… Johnny was not feeling the may west at all. In the wise words of Homer Simpson… “Don’t make friends with salad!!!!!” (unless it’s washed with industrial strength bleach anyway).
After all that we were then refused entry at the border as there were no visas available. So we had to drive 200 km west to another border crossing where we finally got into Syria. Gobble Gobble Turkey, I'll see you at Christmas!!!