28 days later

Van Travel Blog

 › entry 473 of 658 › view all entries

People who contributed to and improved my trip:

Back in Van the Kurdish guy who had given me a lift from Cavustepe offered to take me out for tea, and i gratefully accepted. We sat on two low chairs on the pavement, sipping our drinks and watching the people go by. It felt like a thoroughly authentic Turkish experience and one that i enjoyed participating in. After drinking a couple of glasses, which are only small compared to Western standards, we called it a day as the traffic cops came to make him move his car.

It was almost dark when we parted, so i went to use an internet cafe for a short time and then returned to the Hotel. In reception i was collared by a tour guide who insisted i join him for a glass of tea, and i thought it would also be a good opportunity to further socialise with the locals.

Unfortunately this guy was a complete and utter idiot, the first person that i really disliked in Turkey. He kept sprouting such nonsense as 'all Westerners are prostitutes because they have sex when not in a meaningful relationship', 'Every word in the Qu'ran is true, if you can tell me one sentence that isn't then i will give up my religion', 'America, Israel and Armenia are the main terrorist countries on Earth', 'Turkey has no terrorists, the PKK don't exist'. I tried to reason with the bloke, but it was pointless and i only feel sorry for anyone that might pay this mug for his company on a tour.

Monday was the first day of Kurban Bayrami, a religious holiday that celebrates God asking Abraham to kill his son, but then sending an animal in his place at the last minute.
I had been informed that finding a bus of any kind on this day would be nearly impossible, so i figured that i would just sit it out and wait until the following day. I spent three hours in the morning brushing up on my Russian skills, which were coming along nicely, before finally deciding that i had to go out for something to eat.

Entering the streets i had to pinch myself, as i wasn't quite sure if i had actually fallen asleep on my bed in the room and was dreaming what i saw. Surely i was on the set of '28 Days Later', any moment a zombie was going to appear from one of the shuttered up shops. I was stood in the middle of the bazaar and there wasn't another person in site, i was dumbfounded. I headed to the main street that runs through town and finally saw some sign of life... but was it human?

Ten minutes later i managed to search out a small cafe that was open, and ordered a sandwich and a drink, at least i wasn't going to starve now. Having gobbled this down i went to the arcade that had all of the internet cafes inside and was surprised to see that all of these were bustling with customers. The cafe i selected to go in had an incredibly friendly Iranian member of staff, who i chatted with for some time � i think i have an eternal bond with Iranian people now.

A few hours later i headed home to my hotel to find my room mate completely out of it again, but at least he slept for quite a lot of the time that i was in the room. The only problem was once again when i went to bed, as he kept getting up at regular intervals to shuffle around, smoke cigarettes and generally be as loud as he possibly could.

I felt like crap in the morning, but i dragged myself down to a bus companies office in the centre, to get a ticket for the bus to Batman. I had just enough time to eat some breakfast before we departed on the scenic journey, with the road skirting around Lake Van. A Turkish bloke on the bus took it upon himself to act as my helper, even though he spoke no English, and i joined him for some tea when we stopped for a break. As we arrived into Batman he also called my host Hasan and arranged a meeting place and then put me on the correct bus to get there. It proves that you don't need a common language to behave well to each other, and was another example of the wonderful Turkish kindness that i had been subjected to.

almond72 says:
[finally saw some sign of life... but was it human?] referring to yourself ? Sleepless nights with a powder sniffer ? lol
Posted on: Sep 02, 2009
Deats says:
Turkish people are probably the second nicest in the World - after Iranians. I erally loved my time here and even though i have spent 4 months in Turkey, im very keen to go back. I made some good friends there and few if any bad experiences. I recommend visiting!
Posted on: Jul 08, 2009
sylviandavid says:
I love the last sentence... I agree... you can be nice to each other even if you don't speak the same language... I keep hearing Turkey is a friendly country. Sylvia
Posted on: Jul 08, 2009
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
photo by: Stevie_Wes