Isparta Travel Blog› entry 79 of 86 › view all entries
Oh s....d Ramadan!!!!
This is the difference between backpacking and riding: İn Cappadocia we meet some french lads who had travelled all the way through Turkey without realizing the Turks were actually fasting. Fair enough İ suppose because in Goreme, Cappadocias very nice tourist town, you really couldn't tell. Beer and kebabs everywhere, anytime...İ'm not shure you could even tell we were in Turkey! However some 200 km south west of Goreme it was suddenly impossible to by anything but biscuits and pre packed cake in the daytime.
At night here we could hear noise from distant villages: Many rounds of prayer called over the tanoys -in Marroccos remote valleys 2 years ago these night calls could almost be incessant... Here, in addition, at around 3 am loud drumming would echo all over to wake people for their first meal which at the moment must be eaten before 4am.
As predicted our tempers suffered under this change of circumstances, as do the Turks' as they can't even eat biscuits. In this area we increasingly meet brisk and grumbeling people and we couldn't make out weather it was the region - close to Cappadocia it gets a lot of fleeting tourism. Tour busses off load people to look, take fotos then leave, leaving behind the empty impression of distant rich europeans and unfair tourism. No talking, no jokes, no money...Nothing to make us likeable, nothing to make a living from- or weather it was indeed Ramadan finally taking its toll. Here no booze was sold, no one smoked a cigarette and İ doubt Osman would have ever come out of his shead if he lived here!
Whilst we were still having many ordinarry peacefull encounters with people, the exceptionally nice encouters we had gotten so used to disappeared. Some would even loose their tempers with us when we didn't reply to a shout and some would just be rude, demanding information like they worked for the Mİ 5.
So it came that Daren suddenly in a loud and slightly deffensive voice, with the most distinct english accent said:'I'm from Moldova!'
So when suitable, were now from Moldova. The effect of it is that people stop making assumptions about that we may be French and kiss to much, English and drink to much or Danish and write bad cartoons To 'Moldova' people just scurry off. No one speaks Moldovan and no one's worked there.
The day after the Moldovan incident we wanted to ride about 95 km to Konya. For breakfast we ate yesterdays bread, for ellevenses we ate cheese and biscuits and cookies and for lunch more cheese and biscuits, some pertol station cake and 'cola Türka' (?!). Our afternoon snack was yet more of the same and i ate Darens petrol station cake too as he had a bad stomach by now. Somewhere along, when İ was starving and we passed yat another empty bread shop and realized that bıscuıts would indeed be our diet for the day İ saw no other way out of my frustration than to grumble my biggest 'İ-hate-this-line 'Oh İ'll just hitch then!'. Pointless as we both knew İ wasn't going to hitch anywhere. 'Oh just another day of COMPLETE torture' was my last, equally pointless weapon, as if it was all Darens fault....
However the endless biscuits quickly repaired my bad mood and we trotted on through something that looked more and more like kasakhstans steppe. By the time we reached konya İ had long resorted to cursing again. This time at the drivers, as they seemed to be starring so much at me they repeatedly nearly drove into me. From previous experience on İstanbuls motorways (no other way to the airport!) we both knew the Turkish are prone to road rage, as obsceneties from us resulted in a man throwing a paper ball at Daren from his car window, drive by style. Then, driven into near hysterics by Darens following obsceneties he got out of his car and screamed and shouted. (This may sound terrible but it's not always fun to be a cyclist amongst cars. We meet the most placid guy in Laos who had resorted to ride with a rock in his left hand ready to throw at any car who was planning to overtake into him and push him of the road.)
So whilst İ cursed the drivers with mild curses adapted to tyrkish male pride and temper Daren had his own Ramadan concerns to deal with as he stopped infont of every open booze shop asking me anxiously 'Do you think it's the only one?'
And well arrived in Konya, as we shopped, the girls in the shop well into their 15th our of their fasting were so cheerfull and friendly, practicing their english with us. How do they do it?????