“The passing scenery is an undulating mosaic of rock formations and little valleys.“
children. After a short exchange of suspicious looks, the two strange-looking tourists on their tall, red motorbikes seem to become the highlight of the day. Waving and smiling we shamelessly use up our complete Turkish vocabulary: “Merhaba! Arkada�! Motosiklet! Avustralya!“ (Hello! Friends! Motorcycle! Australia!) A hundred meters along the road we meet a moped rider on his way downhill. As soon as he has spotted us, the old man jumps off his bike with a broad smile, insisting we shake hands. We are having a great day. After a while the tarmac ends and we follow a sandy trail, leading to some large tents surrounded by goats and poultry. One of the inhabitants starts walking towards us. Dressed in an old military parka, he scowls, attentive eyes pressed to slits framed by his old flat cap and a bushy mustache. His face is deeply wrinkled and his remaining hair turned grey long ago. Green binoculars are dangling from his leathery neck and suddenly all the forgotten warnings of friends and by-passers are spinning in my mind. Another shape appears behind some boulders, wide shoulders, and a face so brown it seems almost dark red. The two men stop a few meters away and eyeball us in depth. We decide to flee forward and step of the bikes, taking off our helmets. Armed with
REVzine | #10 spring / summer 2014
the broadest smile I can muster, I slowly walk towards the two, shouting a greeting while waving with both hands. The man in the military parka waves us toward to his tent and points to the entrance. We take our heavy boots off and crouch through the narrow door flap. I begin to feel a little queasy as he starts talking to someone outside the entry in an urgent voice. By the look on his face, Hannes seems to be on the same page. Then suddenly the old man’s head peeks through the door. Smiling, he asks: “Çay?” Within seconds we each hold a glass of steaming tea and discover how cozy this tent is. Huge pillows cover the red carpet, sunlight beams through the open doorway. Our host and his friend keep us company and although we do not share a language, we are quickly engaged in lively conversation. Various goats and birds passing outside the doorway are proudly pointed out. Despite Ramadan we are served plenty of fresh bread, olives, tomatoes and home-made goat cheese, our tea glasses are refilled again and again and out of thin air a bowl of lovely sweets appears. Our host’s friend has a few bites while the landlord himself maintains his fast, seemingly unfazed by our feasting. This way, we sit through a great part of the afternoon and are being invited to pitch our tents next to his for a few nights.
The offer is tempting, but time is short. After a hearty goodbye we ride on, discovering more of the grassy and rocky landscape. We meet another local, riding towards us on his motorbike, and are being invited to another cup of tea. From somewhere between the rocks a few kids appear, and as we are setting up our camera to take a few photos of ourselves in the loneliness, we find we are far from lonely.
Descending the mountain, we come across the rider we met earlier, who waited by the road for us and is holding a huge rock melon. Waiting patiently, he watches us clearly very content as we munch the sweet and juicy fruit until there is nothing left.