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24/02/2011 (julıan solo) – Midyat to Batman – BBQ on the beach

March 6, 2011

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My bike has got me very far without many technical problems, this is the first big one, I reckon with a bit of nursing I should make it.  I trust my friends knowledge but as well as I can explain the problem he hasn’t seen the bike and I really don’t want to cause catastrophic damage, I venture out of Midyat mildly concerned.

Every turn of the pedals I can hear the little ball bearings screaming inside the bike.  I decide to ignore them and sing some songs to the bike to ease its pain.  The road is ok but I can now see why cycling on the flat has felt harder since Damascus, hills even more so.  I climb up and then the valley drops out below me, its vast and beautiful and I’m reminded why hills are good.  the road winds round and I come out at the breathtaking Hassankeyf.  Caves cut into the hillside and remnants of an ancient bridge and a small beach beneath a village with precariously teeters at the edge.  I find my way onto the beach where I find a group of young Kurdish guys having and BBQ and drinking Raki (Turkish Liquor) they work as tour guides during the summer months in southern Turkey and relax during the winter.  They’re a great bunch and talk about how Hassankeyf an important Kurdish site is soon to be underwater as the Turkish authorities build yet another dam.  Later on two Lithuanians join us – both called Thomas and not travelling together but on this beach they are re-united.  One of the Thomas’s has cycles from Lithuania but has got fed up of cycling sop has left his bike on the Iraq border at a couchsurfers place.

We eat into the afternoon, the days weather has been perfect for this party on the beach.  I would have like to have stayed and done some drawing but I heard the village along the beach wasn’t too keen on foreigners and so decide to venture on.

I’m given a whole bag of bbq meats and bread to take with me, they can sense the cyclist needs the food and I bid them farewell.  I find a campsite in the dark next to some oil pumps, on of which hissing so I decide to move a bit further away to avoid any explosions when I light my stove.


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