After Erzincan a real east Turkey experience have started. The country is similar, roads are as bad as before... no just kidding... but the people have changed. How? They got even more tough. This here is a bit different from the Furkans Turkey in Tekirdag. The cloths are simple, dirty, worn out and a tear or a patch is not uncommon. The faces are rough, wrinkly, adjusted to the ceaseless winds and cold nights. We are averaging 1500m in altitude. Ramadan is taken seriously here. No more çorba or çay during the day. We have warm food only in evenings, sometimes in mornings. But our stove started to give us some trouble. NO! Please not now. Now it is highly appreciated, otherwise we'll have no warm food at all. Locals start to eat after 7pm... We are in the middle of a field or next to a river, camping, at this time.
At the beginning of this week we crawled up to our -so far- highest point on bikes: a pass in 2290m. But to be honest it was easier than the 900m one in Serbia. We celebrated it appropriately with halva and hazelnuts and here we go! Down hills oh how I love them! Straight 40km to Erzurum. Big city, but probably the most strict when it comes to Ramadan. We couldn't get anything warm so we just took a snack on the sidewalk. You should see the looks! Funny we met Sheila a girl we know from Istanbul. What a coincidence... but there are no coincidences, right!
A good way how to judge how far east we are -except looking at our bike comps - is to get into a town and check the behavior of the locals. When we stop just to refill our water bottles we stir the them a bit. There are always few busybodies around us immediately... Can you imagine what it means to got to the center and buy e.g. milk and bread. In Agri it had started with few stones thrown at us by street kids at the outskirt of the town, then all the men near the bakery surrounded Dusan, while I went inside to get a loaf. Where are you from?, where are you going?, what's your name? Do you like Turkey? All this in Turkish of course. But we've learned a bit so we can answer almost fluently... Then we moved to a grocery store and the whole circus has started again. Just people have changed, questions have remained. We know them by heart. Sometimes we even give answers when there are no questions. People are interested, amused, shocked and always very welcoming. Just the kids! Hello money, hello money is the only English they utter at us. We have seen also some rude gestures and some stones flying by. What should we do? We have tear gas but this is for dogs. Adults are very helpful with this, sometimes. If they see a kid harassing us, they usually send them away...
Last few days were very relaxing. We haven't done more than 85km a day I think. I lost track of the mileage, it's not important anymore.But the main reason for this is my buttocks. It got a bit irritated of the hours just sitting on the saddle. Plus I got a slight diarrhea so the trip started to be literally a pain in the ass... NO NO. It's not bad at all. It's better and better, because me and Dusan got really well together. Our way of traveling and dealing with daily activities is almost identical. Just the body is calling for a break. So it shall have it.
We took a day and half off in Dogubeyazit. Nice camping under majestic palace Ishak pasa saray. Our first hot shower since Istanbul. So we can continue to Iran... yeah!!!
pics will come from Iran... at least I hope since the I've heard that the internet is restricted in there now... cheers.