First things first: this post requires a spot of background music. Turn the volume up, have a bit of a reminisce (for the over fifties), and read on.
This is Diyarbarkir airport. Try to contain your excitement.
It turned out to be the setting for what I’ve learned is a not unusual quandry for the ridiculously disorganised, as we are. How to get from A to B (B being in this case a really old town on a hill about 75 minutes from Diyarbakir) without having to schlep our gear through 900 transport changes.
After all of 120 seconds perusing the carpark for divine inspiration in the form of a minibus marked ‘Town Centre and Onwards to Mardin’, a decision was reached with much arm twisting (ie none), to hire a car. All previous commitments to work harder at tightening our budget, and memories of the last disasterous car-hire day, were thwarted by the irridesent glow of the Europecar sign back inside the arrivals terminal.
Unfortunately, Europecar guy had disappeared for the day.
Fortunately, we happened upon two young(ish) Americans, A and T, languishing on the tiled floor also waiting for Phantom Europecar Guy (PEG) to upgrade their work rental car.
After about five minutes chatting, the declaration came that they had nothing better to do than drive us to Mardin, and go back and find PEG another day. SUCH FUN! When does that ever happen in real life? We later learned we were about the first english speaking girls they’d seen in the city for months, and that Diyarbarkir doesnt really have all that much to keep one entertained on one’s day off, if you’ve already seen its really really old and long city wall and eaten your weight in (what might actually be the world’s best) Baklava.
It’s difficult to describe the following hour’s car trip and our subsequent dinner with them back in Diyarbakir the next night, except to say we laughed so hard my abs were sore. That wouldn’t have been a problem for A, if an accidental revelation that he’s partial to pumping out a solid 720 situps throughout the working day is anything to go by. SEVENHUNDREDANDTWENTY. That has got to be bad for your health.
Memorable quotes of the night include being very politely told to leave Suluklu Han (a popular local wine bar) with the following:
Man at table next door “Ah, excuse me, normally we have two glasses of wine. You all have had four I think? You are laughing all very much hard.”
Correct, yes, although the boys might have had five.
On the phenomenon of red-headed Kurdish locals in Mardin:
Claire “It’s incredible, I couldnt get over how many of them there were. We saw heaps”
A “Really? How many?”
KV “There were two”
Claire “I’m sure I saw three.”
On why I knew the two other tourists in town were Scandinavian:
KV “They weren’t Scandnavian. They didnt have blonde hair.
Claire “Yes they were.
KV “No they werent, they were Turkish tourists.
Claire “Um, no they definitely werent Turkish, I couldnt understand what they were saying.”
How many languages other than English do I speak? yes, that’s right, none.
Suffice it to say, our two days with the Young Americans will go down in the history books. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves to explain how the night progresses, except to note that as we drifted off to sleep in our hotel to the stench of chemical bleach from the hallway and burning plastic from outside the window, KV fell out of bed.
I haven’t seen anyone do that since the days of security rails on bunk beds. KV maintains the bed was on a distinct slope. I didn’t seem to have the same problem with my bed. I also hold my shisha better, not that that’s got anything to do with it…Much.
Kurdish hospitality: when you knock over the first shisha while doing a questionable yoga pose, sending hot coals all over the 20,000 year old carpets and scream with laughter while spilling sweet red wine served in champagne glasses, instead of kicking you out, they move you to a back room, bring a bigger shish pipe and the owner comes out with his drum. Yes, they know how to do it well.
Dont believe a word she says…
Just one more piece of baklava, i’ve only had eleven so far…Undisputed shisha master Stewart…
Feigning excitement at the jewellery sales room owned by the coffee house manager and conveniently located next door. Get the white guys drunk then sell them jewellery, yes, good plan.