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3/1/11 & 4/1/11 – Erzin to Iskenderun – Kebabs and application

February 4, 2011
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Fully stocked with oranges and eager to leave incase workers come into the grove to collect the remaining sun fruit hanging from the trees we head up the track, the sun on our backs again đŸ™‚ A group of guys sit at the edge of the track, we don’t give them enough time to ask questions or notice the oranges peeking out of the panniers as we nip past with a quick – Muhr -haba (Hello).

The road is busy and is lined with industry blocking our first opportunity to see the Mediterranean, finally it comes into view between two buildings, yes! Looming mountians on our left are crowned with dark thunderous cloud, the atmosphere smells stormy and the wind picks up. And pick up it does we have a hard time staying up right on the bikes and maintaining a straight line as the force pushes us towards the sea and then drops to nothing leaving the bike unevenly weighted and quickly retuning back into the traffic. We tetter along like this for a few kms fighting the bikes, leaning into the wind and making pitiful progress.

At one point i see a flag and some plam trees lining the road, violently forced back and forth, looks like a scene from a BBC report from the Carribbean during storm season. We make it to the edge of Iskenderun after numerous orange stops, the peel from 3 oranges intermittenly dumped at the side of the road, our scent trail for the day.

Iskenderun is much richer than i had expected, downtown is populated by tacky bars and restaurants that wouldn’t look out of place in Loughton or Chigwelland the place is absolutely full of clothes shops and young people looking cool. Without even a second to adjust we’re accosted by a confident wideboy who takes us to a bar to use the wifi and helps us to find a place. He’s helpful but i’m not too sure about him, he seems a bit slimey and keeps talking to us as if he’s trying to sell us a 3 piece leather sofa at DFS. We’re marched around a few places and all credit to him he finds us a deal in a small friendly hotel at a decent price.

I get on with my application and the others head out to do various errands. Alberto returns with a set plan for the evening, tired and wanting a bit of control over our time we try to negotiate with him, he gets the hump and leaves, see ya. We find a good cheap kebab, which also sells good hommus. I get stuck back into the work as the others grab a beer.

Next day is back on the laptop for some hard graft. Harry and Sash decide to head back on to the road and take it slowly whilst i stay in Iskenderun undisturbed and without pressure. In the evening i head out to have some dinner at 8.30, completely unaware that even though its a city everything closes relatively early,but i manage to find a small kebab place. Back at the hotel the other guests are sat around watching Turkish soap operas and drinking tea, i join them for a few cups of procrastination before hitting it hard into the early morning armed with coffee and a huge plate of sticky backlava (Turkish sweets).

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