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21/02/2011 (julıan solo) – Al Kamishli to Guneyli (TURKEY) – Kurdısh hospıtalıty

March 6, 2011

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The building with a thousand floodlights turns out to be a private university.  I venture in to see if they might let me use their WIFI, they don’t, but I sit in on a teachers meeting and drink tea and eat fig biscuits.

Kamishli is a drab town, probably not helped by the crummy weather.  No sign of WIFI café but i do find somewhere to change dollars into Turkish Lira.  I’ve really enjoyed my time in Syria, the hospitality has been overwhelming at times but welcomely received, the people here have huge hearts and parts have been beautiful but I’m looking forward to getting back into Turkey.

The border crossing is painless but I do have to buy a new Turkish visa.  Back into Turkey the change is almost immediate, small reminders demark this place, the bread is no longer flat, tea is served in two pots and there are supermarkets!  The first café I find has WIFI and feels very European, its spotless and full of young fashionable Turks who are less fascinated by the appearance of a European on a bicycle.

I leave Nusaybin later than I would have liked, heading along the smooth main road which sits right along the border.  Security towers and barbed wire protection line the way and make finding camp difficult, I continue in the dark unsure of where would be good.  All the buildings are well-lit, I imagine to prevent any border-jumpers from hiding there.

I turn up a small track towards a settlement preparing to use my Turkish for ‘;can I put my tent here” if there aren’t any visible options.  The first house with lots of little pairs of shoes outside doesn’t answer to my knocks.  I venture up the track towards another house, suddenly a huge dog jumps up at me and begins violently barking, taken completely aback I decide not to continue but to slowly turn back.  Still the dog follows baring its huge sharp teeth, as a I pass the first house there is someone outside who tells the dog to f-off and calmly faces me to ascertain the situation.  I show him my sentence and he invites me into the house.  The family are there and I’m immediately told I can have a shower and asked if I’m hungry, camping outside looks unliklely.  The house is brand new and enormous, I have a wash feeling quite astonished at how the past hour has unfolded.  In the main room I’m introduced to the whole family, Umran, Yildiz and their three cute girls Newroz, Aya, Nejla.  I sit in the room and eat from the huge platter of food they bring out and set on the floor.  I explain that they have helped me out no end using my Turkish phrasebook, which helps to expand the regular topics of communication.  A lot of the night is spent learning Kurdish words, Umran’s brother is eager to ensure I leave with a substantial vocabulary.

They are a Kurdish family and I get a brief history lesson and told that Umran owns trucks for logistics and also owns all the fields surrounding the houses.  He shows me his collection of Nietzche and other books and I show them some photos from the trip.  I feel completely comfortable in their presence and watch Turkish TV with them until I’m shattered and go to bed in their front room on a recently prepared bed.

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