This is a picture of the mule.
The two donkeys were in the car.
Look, no-one died. So it basically worked out fine. Ask Kemal may need to replace his gearbox though.
(Neither KV or I could work out for some time how to get the damned thing in reverse, so the two guards in the ticket box at the Cappadocia airport car park – dont ask – got their money’s worth watching us put the car in neutral and use sheer willpower to urge it to roll backwards, on flat ground, so we could do a 119 point turn out of our car space to finally exit the parking lot.)
We came across old mate on his mule after leaving the airport destined for the Ihlara Valley about seven hours into what was meant to be a ninety minute road trip.
You can’t see it in the pic but he was grinning like a madman, belting back down the road after he’d been to visit the men hanging out at the large red truck in the turnip field. It’s difficult to know whether he was grinning at two white girls in an old Renault, clearly lost in backroads no tourist has ever seen, driving on the one day of rest (being Friday) of the most holiest of holy weeks in the muslim calendar, or whether in fact it wasnt a grin, but a grimace. Let’s just say the saddle padding he had on that animal looked minimal.
Either way, it made my day. KV was less impressed. I think she was sick of being in the car, driving down roads lined with huge piles of rocks, which actually turned out – we think – to be turnips. The conversation went something like this:
Claire – “I wonder what all these farmers and trucks are doing? It looks like they’re ploughing and sifting the paddock for rocks. It’s pretty rocky. They’re big piles of rocks…
KV – “Why would they be loading them into trucks?
“I dunno. This is rural Turkey. Could be anything. Maybe it’s for landsacaping in Istanbul?
“No its sweet potatoes (you idiot).
“No way. Thats not a sweet potato, its the wrong size….I think they’re parsnips.
“Ah, aren’t parsnips kind of long with a pointy bit at the end?
“They’re turnips. Oh my god it’s piles and piles of turnips. We’re in the Turnip Belt of Turkey.”
“But I havent seen a turnip yet in Turkey. What are they using them for?
“Probably selling them to Germany. Germans love turnips.
(Do they? Do they really? Long road trips lost in turkey are entirely the right time for uninformed sweeping statements, as you will learn. Also, when you’ve been travelling together for more than a week, this is what constitutes an inisightful, probing conversation).
Naha, now I know why so many Turks migrated to Germany in the 70s..shared love for turnips!! bahahaha
Hi dear Clair,
Interesting reading. Thanks for the laughs. Was talking to your mother an hour ago and she gave me your blog. Stay safe. M. Xx
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