Belgium - Australia on an BMW R1100 GS motorcycle, solo.

Report #7 - July 6th to 19th, 1998...

Departing on Thursday had a little draw back: The consulate of India needed a lot of time. So, I went there on Wednesday to pay them a personal visit in an attempt to find out what was going on. It turned out the procedure is to send a fax to The Hague (!) to request some kind of no objection statement. I asked when a reply could be expected. They told me that it should be there by tomorrow (Thursday). If they got no reply, they would issue a visum on Friday.

I didn't quite get that. "Why can't I have the visum today if you can apparently do that arbitrarily anyway?", I demanded. The reason is that the consulate in The Netherlands is given 48 hours to proclaim their objection. Great! I applied for the visum 8 days ago, so surely I can have it now?". Wrong again: The application always takes 7 to 10 days. I asked "Why?", but all I got were some shrugged shoulders. I took the oppertunity to ask for the telephone number of the consulate in The Hague. I rang them that afternoon. "With Van Nijendaal? First name Adriaan? We juist got the request this afternoon!". They would fax the reply at five o'clock with their approval. Five o'clock in The Netherlands is six in Instanbul. I called the next morning to inform what time I could come and get my passport back.

"There's been no answer yet from The Hague - could you come Friday after four?" Of course not. "I'm holding a fax confirmation in my hand, sent yesterday to fax number so and so in Istanbul! How could you have lost this fax already!", I excaimed, while I sat there empty- handed. So they looked agian, and gosh! the fax had arrived after all. I could come and get my passport straight away. So I got on my motor and went to Cumhuriyet Caddesi (I know the route by heart now, straight through Istanbul). The receptionist made an attempt to have me come back at three, but I told him that I had an appointment with the 'visa officer'. After some grumbling and moaning and keeping me waiting for 10 minutes I finally got my password back, now with six visa in it. That'll do for the time being.

Jo and Kamil (whom I mistakenly gave the name Kalim in my previous report - sorry Kamil!) were delighted for me, and naturally, so was I. However, they did regret that I was going to leave the next morning already. Once again they invited me to diner, that last (rainy) evening. Janel and her husband John were packing as well. Our Scottish friends took plenty of time for their decision and I sympathize with Janel very much.


John pressed on to go through Iran and Pakistan. Janel didn't fancy crossing Iran and the foothills of the Hymalaya in Pakistan in chador at all. I quite agree. With the aid of a (slightly falsified) student pass they managed to obtain a very inexpensive flight with Lufthansa through Frankfurt to New Delhi. This includes the fare for their bicycles. They were going to depart at six in the morning and the evening before they left for the airport to avoid having to mingle with those absolutely maniacal motorists. To complete the dramatic scenery the heavens opened up on us when it was time to say byebye. Now they are in the middle of the monsoon in India. I wish them well.

The next day I get up early. I can hardly wait till the break of dawn. I leave after packing quickly and saying good-byes to Jo and Kamil. The sun is shining, the roads are dry and everything is washed clean nicely by last night's rainfall. Ideal circumstances to ride along the coastal roads! From Istanbul I go to Bursa, and from there along the coast of the Sea of Marmara. From the Greek shore the landscape appears rather desolate. Istanbul is extremely crowded, and the surrounding scene is dominated by tall apartment buildings that resemble the old Bijlmer . Very depressing. Agricultural areas dominate between the cities. The surface is mostly cultivated. Closer to the shore I can hardly find any tourism - agriculture sets the tone. The landscape flattens out towards the shore, riding inland I can first see some hills and as I near the Street of Marmaris the hills become mountains.

It is cold! That's to say: I'm dressed for last week's heat-wave but now it hardly reads 22 degrees Celcius. Which is rather chilly in my desert outfit. So I dig up my sweater for the first time since ages. At the end of the day I take an arbitrary turn and in no time I run into a camp site on an island with a permanent connection: Alibey. A lovely spot: I stayed the next day (Saturday, and did some washing).

Saterday evening I had diner in the nearby village of Ayvalik. That's where I decided to have a look for the first time in a Lokanta. That's where I - away from the boulevard with all the tourists - sat amoungst Turkish people only. There I became acquainted with a kind of Turkish Moussaka. I immediately ordered two portions. Another recipe based on nuts did not really agree with my taste buds. After I finished the meal, the owner wanted to have a big talk about my bike. So his little kid - that just reached his teens - was sent out to get some 'Chay' (tea) and my tour was a major topic once again.

This country appears to be populated by three groups: women that do the hard work, boys that run at the snap of one's fingers and the men, who have endless discussions over a cuppa. Naturally this is a huge generalization - I'll make some refinements. However, one can't fail to notice that every servicable business has these boy servants running like crazy (under the guise of acquiring the tricks of the trade no doubt). They do make work pleasant: For example, in Istanbul at the barber's.

Paying a visit to a barber here is quite an experience. A space no more that 5 by 6 metre with four old fashioned barber chairs has three barbers doing their job and just as many boys in their teens to assist. All chairs are occupied and two people are waiting on chairs in a corner. We in Northern Europe are more liberated than the Turks - no dress code imposed by religion, it's no disgrace to share rooms without being married and your barber could just as well be gay. Not in Turkey. Or that's to say, not in public. So the barber feels no restraint to touch his customer. My hair is felt all over (it's rather thin compared to what they are used to in Turkey) and all irregulari- ties are traced with his fingers. When the barber thinks he knows what he was going to have to deal with, he lays his hands to rest on my shoulders and inquires what I desire.

I want short hair, no shave. I want to cultivate a small beard for the Muslim countries. I mean wanted, for those short little beard hairs tend to get themselves stuck in the chin strap of my helmet. Besides it itched quite a bit so I restricted my decorative efforts to the upper lip. (Gee! that moustache really does makes my head look aged.) The barber did a very professional job - I didn't select the most crowded shop that I could find in vain. I had noticed before that the Turks had their hair trimmed so well and this barber confirmed the reason for that. A towel is placed on one's lap, another one over the shoulders, crepe paper around the neck and an apron. That surely keeps you warm when it's 35 degrees Celcius outside. One snap of the fingers brought a towel to keep my forehead dry. Two people busy getting me rid of surplus hair and perspiration moist....

Another boy is responsible for filling the water spray when it's empty. Getting some tea, sweeping the floor, brushing off cut off hair from customers before they leave are the kind of things the young servants do. After having the hair cut you get it washed, not before - as the barber would no doubt appreciate - but afterwards, so that the customer can leave without having these minute little pieces of hair all over his head. The only thing is, you have to bend over. They don't seem to have the kind of wonderful dish where you can lay your head to rest in while it collects the water that drips off. It would not fit here anyway.

The little restaurant in Ayvalik also employs just such a little servant. He sprints for my cup of tea. The keeper of this restaurant taught me the names of the countries I'm bound for in the local tongue. After eating I cross the road for some Turkisch coffee. I have a perfect view on my motor bike in front of the restaurant. The men all seem to check it out it - woman don't find it worth noticing at all.

Apart from the little boys, the women are the ones that work the land, bent over, day in day out. To harvest, weed and even filter out the corn (you know, separate the wheat from the chaff). It would appear that the men do a lot less, but more 'inportant' work. They handle anything that appears to be even the slightest teeny weeny bit mechanical - like a little tractor, or a machine to bundle straw. Even the simple irrigation pumps are operated by men. Men also perform the task of transporting to and from the farm land: I regurlarly come across one of these 125 cc motor bikes, daddy in front with mother and child on the back. Maybe that's just why women aren't really into looking at motor bikes.

After the coffee (and the tea that inevitably follows) I drive back and come across some plodding mountain bikers. As it turns out, it is a German couple staying with their camper at the hotel just past the camp site at Alibey. Many hotels allow caravans on the premisses, hoping the campers will become good customers of the hotel restaurant. These Germans have a space on a cliff - absolutely fabulous. But then it isn't their first time here. The man very much wants to talk about travelling around the world and he thinks he has an interesting tip or two. So I drop by later that evening. It is midnight when I finally go to sleep.

I woke up at six the next morning and drove off at seven, heading for Efes. That early, it's still nice and cool (23 dergrees Celsius), the trip went without a hitch. The landscape is dominated by agriculture between Alibey and Izmir from the shore to the first mountains. As I closed in on Izmir the air - that was rather dusty already - became really dirty. A big oil refinery spewed out yellow muck, accumulating in a low hanging cloud. I payed no attention to Izmir and drove straight through it as I wanted to visit the ruins of a complete city in Selcuk.

The place of the ruins is known as Efes and is indeed worth a visit, even though it is tourist trap in all it's aspects, including carpet salesmen and other vultures. I trusted my bike - excluding the tank bag - to the tender care of a carpet salesmen that thought he would sell me a carpet after that. By that time I was long gone.

The next stop would be Pamukale. Here calcareous water flows over the mountains. This has led to white mountains with terraces that contain pools of this wholesome water. The pools are manbuilt and are fun for the tourists. An admission fee is raised, and one has to park in the parking lot. From there a path leads to the white mountains with the pools filled with bathers. Alongside, retailers try to palm off fake watches and clothing and of course the inevetable carpets. And parked there was, once again, one of these ancient police BMWs because parking is prohibited there. Every daring attempt to stop there evoked enthusiastic whistling by the accompanying officers.

Police BMW

Motor cyclists tend to first scout the area by bike before dismounting and continuing on foot. So I parked my bike right next to theirs and asked whether they could keep an eye on my bike as well. It's the usual story: His colleague was called upon and both of them posed for a picture. But then, my bike's safe now - I even forgot to take the keys out... I mingled between the many, many people walking down a bit. I must admit that I quite liked this tourist trap.

When I returned to the shore (Pamukale is situated quite a way back inlands) I saw the next part of the coast line was deprived of agricultural activities. That's due to the fact that it would be impossible as the mountains reach up to the shore. I was treated to some nice hairpin bends along the way. The air is clear compared to elsewhere, and the vegitation untouched. There's this typical scent of this little plant that odors stronger as the temperature rises. I was heading for a (fresh water) lake, that runs out into the sea. As the landscape flattened out, farmers popped up again. And with them the dusty air and other pollution returned. The lake was fun and the camp site appeared to be allright. It was late by now (Michael Schumacher just won at Silverstone - two hours time-zone, so it was nearly six o'clock) and I was looking out for a good rest. Wrong! The disco next to the camping just started sound checking. So I left.

It was getting rather hard. The area is far too remote to ever become a tourist resort. The people that do get here come by coach from large centres such as Antalya. Not a camp site to be found. Of course, I do depend on signs along the road for my bike doesn't have the space to accomodate for a camp site guide. By dusk I decided to have some dinner first (kebab again) and after that I went on to the place where Saint Nicolaas lies burried. There I entered the first pension. First I had some tea with the ladies (the master of the house and other gentlemen weren't at home). While I sat on the floor, I was continuously reminded that the carpet was on sale. I was up early and a quarter past seven I was on the road again.

I arrived in Kas (that's spelled with a s-cedilla and pronounced 'kasjh') at eight. I drove into this place, just for fun. A real marina with expensive boats and all. And... a couple of boats were fully equiped with diving apparatus! I just couldn't resist that: I quickly selected a diving club that was open at eight already. I found one, run by a German who was willing to talk to me in English. A dive, including all the apparatus and a wetsuite would cost me fifty Mark. After boarding, I met Marion, the 'Artzlich Verantwortlicher', the one giving the diving instructions. She insisted, in authoritative terms, that I must show her the buddy-breathing and mask removal procedures and that I should dive with a buddy (selected by her). This led to my immediate dislike of her.

Oh well, naturally I managed to pass their little exam succesfully and went off with Mark, the diving guide. Mark was allright, the only thing is that he expects me to follow him. After making some gestures we reached a consensus on the direction to take.

Submerged Turkey doesn't look very spectacular. The sea floor is barely overgrown and fish are not very abundant. California has a lot more to offer, despite its colder waters. We watched some enourmous shellfish, a few anemones, some snails and such lovely things. Stayed down for at least an hour, wonderful! I was lost, so much so, that as soon as I got on board again I started negotiations on the package deal for the afternoon and the night trips. We settled for 130 Mark, including the rent for a lamp, for all three dives. This morning I had already noticed that they use the smaller version of the lamp that I own.

That afternoon we dove with a third buddy. Mark was looking for a thornback ray. Our other buddy managed to find one, but Mark kept on hovering over a sand bed that could hardly be of any interest at 80 feet depth. I signalled for us to have a look above the rocks twice and eventually I wandered off. Mark was visually agitated by my inobedience. In the rocks I found a fish-bone, the hook stuck through the jawbone, the line wound around the jaws. I removed the hook and rolled up the line that was entangled in the rocks. Apparently the fisherman had to cut the line, leaving the fish to die in the end. The bones were picked clean by many bristle worms - the sea wastes little. Once we surfaced we had a discussion on who was the customers and which of us really had the most experience.

That evening Marion wanted to team up four divers. I had hardly started grumbling when Mark left, taking Marion with him. When they returned they were going to form two teams with two divers each as you normally would expect. The night dive turned out rather nicely. We have seen many octopus. I like these creatures! When you shine away a little (their complete skin is sensitive to light) you can see the colour change. Also fascinating is the way in which they can totally independently move their eight tentacles. We also came across some squid, the classic looking inkfish that actually leave a black cloud when startled.

The last two dives were particularly pleasant: I was quicker than I had expected in the outfit new to me. The regulator was one of the right kind: Scubapro R190. The vest, make Seaquest, could contain an enormous amount of air (it had to be, for I was overweighted).

Tired but content I returned to the pension and was in for a unpleasant surprise: it was located next to a noisy place... This lasted 'till two at night. So - dear me - I had to enter the night scene of Kas. There I bumped into Sandra and Andrea (same dive this morning, same pension). It was their last night and these ladies were going to celebrate this properly - intoxicated with booze. I decided it was best for me to stick to the club-sodas, because:

I was off early the next morning. Half seven, after a plenyful breakfast served by the hostess Petra, I headed for Antalya. It was hot, very hot. At just about eleven in the wind caused by my driving the temperature had risen to 37 degrees Celsius. I drank a large bottle of cold water at a petrol station. Normally these cost 100.000 TL, in restaurants 200.000. This man expected to get 400.000 TL, because in Antalya a 'tourist' is a synonym for 'wallet' or 'cash'. And of course the smallest notes I carried were 500.000 (still only 2 US Dollars). After exerting some pressure I managed to lower the price to 300.000, still I felt ripped. In the future I will carry small change and have the engine running when I pay - see if they can catch up with me when I scramble off after another attempt to rip me off.

I went on through Alanya (plenty hotels, plenty beaches). I had lunch under a large tree along the road amongst trucks and their drivers. It was still very hot, but then, that's nothing special out here. They even grow bananas! The surrounding area is still hilly and the banana fields are all small and located on the southern slopes. Bananas are sold everywhere along the road.

I turned north after a while. My destination (in time) was Kapadokya. Inland from the shore is a very steep slope - up to 5000 feet that drops off afterwards to some 3200 feet. No farming, no dust, no pollution. Wonderful mountains, nice and rough. A little village here and there, with shepherds and their herds. I took a road that was marked on my large scale map as possibly unpaved. It wasn't so at all, it was better that the road along the coast because that one's damaged by the intensive use.

In Ermenik, a small village with a large and a smaller hotel, I arrived at 3:30 PM. I took the small hotel because the large one offered me a room with a carpet that was so dirty it was sticky. In the seventies 'Turkish pensions' emerged in Holland. These had little rooms filled up with beds, one toilet on each floor and no shower. This little hotel would match that description precisely. Stuffed away in a dark place is - as far as I can tell - a boiler, fueled with wood and two taps above a stone trough. In it was an aluminum tray: "This is the bathroom, sir." I had him explain the ins and outs to me and started off with it. One tap gave me cold water, the other one gave me extremely hot water. I had not encoutered that very often lately. You mixes the water until it becomes comfortable in the stone trough and the tray is used to splash the water over yourself. This actually works better that those feeble lukewarm jets coming out of these handheld showers that can't be attatched to the wall leaving you with only the one hand to utilize.

After that it was time for some chay (tea) in the village. On foot, passing a small crowd gathering around some red motor bike in front of the hotel, I went to the local coffee bar. I bought a Turkish Daily News on my way, and was looking forward to a glass of tea, a light meal, an hour of rest and a long night.

I was barely seated, when I was invited to sit at a table with some young people. They turned out to be the butcher from across the street, a metal worker and an unemployed guy serving his military duty. They don't often see Western people in Ermenek, and talking to one is definitely something special. I had decided to better my knowledge of the Turkish language, and had started a note filled with important words (please, good morning/afternoon/evening, etcetera). After one hour of studying Turkish, lots of chay and a glass of Ayran (very convenient, those little boys running around to get you anything, even if it's several streets away) I was ready for my light meal. I was escorted by 3 men and I had my first Adana kebab (regular kebab, but made of sheep instead of lambs meat).

After that we went to the icecream shop, to get some icecream and baklava. Meanwhile more people joined our party and in the icecream shop I counted 7 occupied seats. But more and more people kept pouring in - I lost count, but there were more than 15 present. One boy approached me and asked in the best English I've heard since Janel whether I would accept his father's polite invitation to drink some kava at their home. I answered I was here with some new friends, but I would gladly accept the invitation later. The usual conversation started. "How long will you stay here?" (going tomorrow) "How expensive is that motor bike?" (no idea) "Where are you going?" (Syria, Jordan, Lebanon) "Did you visit the largest cave in the world?" "No, is that around here ?", I asked. "Suuuure!", they sounded together, for they are very proud about their village.

And so the majority of the attendance (including the teacher of the elementary school, speaking "French") was loaded into the van of the cosmopolitan father, and up we went on the mountain where the cave was built. I don't believe it's the largest in the world, but that didn't matter. We went to a terrace, and I had to try the local pride: some sort of berry juice with icecream. I sure am glad I let myself get used to drinking water of questionable quality! This stuff is surely loaded with bacteria which are so colorfully described in my little book about travel diseases in warm countries.... Evidently they could read the fatigueness off my face, they started to inform whether I wanted to return to my hotel. Darkness had settled in already, and being at 4800 feet altitude it sure cools off nicely. Indeed I was tired and ready for some sound sleeping.

The next day I reached Kapadokya in a jiffy. Just after leaving Ermenek I ended up in the Anatolic highlands. The scenery is very desolate: it's a steppe. The road is straight as an arrow, and because I'm not on some Interstate I hardly encounter any traffic at all. The highlands are totally flat - I can see for miles over grounds covered with those small clumps of grass and that's it. I do see a snow-covered mountain top but according to my map that one is still about 50 miles away. The only other diversions are the electricity and phone poles.

The camp site the German in Alibey advised me was indeed the lovelier one in this surroundings. A Turkish couple had settled next to me. The first other camping motorists I've seen! Bikers immediately bond in these situations, and this was no exception. But I couldn't have imagined spending so much time with them. I made them some tea - Lipton Earl Grey. A far cry from the stuff they are used to around here. I was talking to the man when it was almost 8:30 PM. I noticed he was constantly looking at his watch, and it turned out it was time for evening's prayers. He asked me to come over and have some tea afterwards.

Halıl en Çanan

Halıl and Çanan (those were their names) are genuine Muslims. They don't skip a single prayer, and they even got a small rug for it. The way they travel is a story on itself: the bike is an MZ measuring a whopping 125cc. The tent is tied on the back, Çanan sits atop the middle part of two canvas saddle bags. In this fashion they rode all the way from Cankiri (about 30 miles north of Ankara) to Kapadokya. Cruising at about 40 mph, mind you. Halıl has travelled all the way around Turkey on that moped.

After evening's prayers Çanan made some tea, and in Turkey that is accompanied by some bread and in this case a tomato-cheese mishmash. I definitely have to get used to such devote people. Çanan never addressed me directly, but always told me things via her husband. My compliments for the tea (and meal) went from me to Halıl, who gave them to Çanan. At first she did not join into the conversation, after all, Halıl and Adriaan were talking... After tea Halıl and I moved over so Çanan could clean things up. Çanan wears a head scarf of the type that is knotted around her hair and neck. When nobody is in sight she wears it knotted from behind, but as soon as somebody approaches that is immediately changed. I haven't seen her hair (as is customary, I suppose).

The next morning the 3 of us we went to the open air museum in Goreme. In all of Kapadokya early settlers dug out houses and churches in the volcanic ashes sediment (they were Christians). This produced complete cities that seem to have sunk into the mountains. This museum shows such a village. Towards the end of the excursion I stumbled upon a space which was occupied by one of the custodians. He just invited two Englishmen for some tea, and there was room enough for us as well (and later on some more "locals" joined us). We sat there for over an hour, in that room cut out of the mountain.

The Turks are very hospitable, but I thought it was my turn to supply the lunch. I knew each offer is declined nicely twice, and indeed after the third time we ended up in a Lokanta for Doner kebab (yes, kebab again, luckily I'm a fan of sheep meat). When the time came to do the afternoon prayers I wanted to get myself some rest. Just to gather my strength and to get some time to write. The last few days I got the feeling I had no time of my own. This of course is also my own fault, but the world over here is so very different I can't seem to get enough of it. There are new things to see or do everywhere.

I just settled down on the terrace near the reception enjoying a glass of icecold tonic and the next ones came along: Gerard and Laura! (with their truck converted into a super camper.) We all were very surprised to see eachother again, we hadn't expected this until Pakistan. They were looking for a swimming pool, and this camp site had one. But the price was too high for them and they expected to catch more wind while free-camping atop a mountain. So they left after an hour.

It sure was hot, my thermometer on my bike read 40 degrees Celsius. Time for a dip in the pool. And there I spent about an hour chatting with a bloke from Australia about the best time to visit his country. (Arrive in March, get out before winter sets in in July.)

At sunset Çanan prepared another meal, this time before evening's prayers. We all wanted to get up at 5 to leave early. Halıl gave me a present: his own pocket knife he carries with him on his belt. But I already got a knife (got it from Hamar during the farewell party) and I have (hopefully without hurting his feelings) refused. I was sincerely moved by his gesture. Getting up early went well - we were on our way at 6:30 AM, and by then we packed everything, drank tea and took pictures.

I had planned a route to the south using secondary roads - the ones which could be unpaved according to my map. Well, this time the map was right! I rode some 130 miles over sand and gravel. I must have taken a wrong turn somewhere, after an hour of sand road I was completely lost. Not that I cared - I was having too much fun! With the aid of the compass on my GPS I continued in roughly the right direction. And the inevitable came: I stumbled upon a river without a bridge. First I thought the road was a dead end, but it continued on the other side of the river (OK, creek). The hurdle was twofold: first a mud puddle, then the creek. I went on foot to check things out, but the creek was too deep for my boots. Furthermore I gathered if I didn't make it I had plenty of opportunities to get wet anyway.

The puddle was quickly conquered, but the creek killed my speed. Later I gathered this was due to the drag of the water. Giving some more throttle gave enough speed to make it in one go, although the water already splattered above my head. I still got soaking wet. I briefly considered taking on this barrier a second time, but that seemed more like tempting fate. Though the cases are water tight, if the bike went on its side in the middle of the creek all my clothes (right side) or the electronics, the first aid stuff and the spare parts (left side) could get wet.

Finally I found the highway again, and I continued to the first big city. Arriving there at noon, I had been on my bike for five and a half hours. The last service for the bike was 7000 miles ago. I wanted to do at least the very basics: changing oil while I could still get decent oil. So I bought 4 litres of the best oil I could find ( a semi-synthetic one) and I went to one of those car shops. There the whole show with the little men started all over again: water, tea, diesel oil (to clean the rims, but in the end the whole bike) and a new ring for the carter stop are speedily fetched. The rims now have some clean spots, they could only remove the black mess with a sharp knife. And I didn't fancy that.

After the lunch (at one of those slimy people, calling me his friend after 5 minutes) I mounted again to ride to the Syrian border. And suddenly in the middle of a small village my left case falls off my bike! How that could be possible is a mystery to me, but one of the hooks on which the case was secured is almost broken in two. The case can still be mounted, but I fear the case will rupture completely at the first sand road I encounter. So I stopped in the next village to find myself some super glue. I show the people what the problem is, and before I knew it they had started maing repairs. It turned into a mess - super glue all over the place, except in the rupture, where I wanted it to be. Next time I buy the necessary materials and then I split. The help is well-meant but not always effective. On top of this all the surrounding three (!) terraces emptied themselves - everyone came looking and giving advice. Some 20 people surrounded me (and I was feeling hot as it was).

I didn't want to try to cross the border that day, but I wanted to get some shelter near the border. After a couple of days in the mountains the beach seemed like a good idea, so I set sail towards the coast. I ended up in Cevlik, in a hotel called Derya. My hosts are called Halıl and Ekram. Just after my arrival I talked with Menno on the phone for a while on top of a hill. The plates of the rear brake are wearing thin and I haven't seen any modern BMW bikes or dealers. Menno will ship some plates to Beirut in Lebanon. Menno quickly noted I was very tired and I told him I had no rest at all.

I just finished my conversation when someone approached me. I was at some factory where they bottled spring water. Of course I got a grand tour, with a round of Coca Cola afterwards. I left with a box full of cans filled with water ("the best of all of Turkey", naturally) from the nearest spring. Talking about not getting any rest ...

Gule gule!


--------- for the record: ----------

The next few weeks I will be on my way to Egypt via Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Israel. I'll have no cell phone access in any of those places (unless MobiStar has signed some contracts recently) and sending reports will get difficult. Today is the 19th of July - I'll report back in about 2 weeks, but you'll probably have to wait for my report until September....

Email sent to me will be left unanswered until then. I hope I won't reach 2 hours of connect time once I reach a cell phone country....