Diary of a Foreigner Living in Turkey (Part 4)
31 October 1994

A Bike Tour in the Taurus Mountains:
or: A Sociological Study of Rural Turkey

Kurban BayramI (Feast of the Sacrifice), 21-24 May 1994

Copyright © 1994 Pierre Flener. All rights reserved.
Do not duplicate or redistribute in any form without written permission.

In early May, I bought a mountain bike (riding a racing bike here is synonymous with attempting suicide), and those who know me well can assess how important it was for me to again have a pair of wheels to spin! The first thing I did with it was work out a trail from my apartment on East Campus to my office on Central Campus. Ever since, I commute daily (the weather being predictably good) over the steppe and hills joining both campuses on their south ends: where else but here can you do so and ride past a flock of sheep and greet its shepherd? The next thing, and I'm far from being finished with it, was to explore the numerous trails across the steppe east/south/west of Ankara. To those who know the area: I found convenient dirt-road-only access to the campus of the adjacent Middle East Technical University (a gem of a campus), to the GOlbaSI and Eymir lakes, and so on. Most people, even here, think the steppe is boring, and they never even venture out there. But if you do bother to have a look around, you'll notice a wide variety of fauna (turtles, foxes, rabbits, mice, (prey)birds, butterflies of all colors, bees, flocks of sheep, wild dogs, ...) and flora (an ever-changing colorful carpet of flowers, hence a delicious honey, pine trees, thorny bushes, ...). Even water is surprisingly frequent: large lakes, rivulets, and sources attest to huge underground reservoirs.

For Kurban BayramI ("Sacrifice Feast" in English, "eid-al-adha" in Arabic, in honor of Abraham's pledge to sacrifice his son (though God then bade him to sacrifice but a sheep), i.e. the Islamic holiday in the middle of "Hac" ("Hadj" in Arabic), the Islamic pilgrimage month to Mecca), I drove with my Turkish friend TuGrul to the Mediterranean Sea for a mountain-bike tour in the Taurus Mountains. Here's an account of how we braved physical adversity and faced the impeccable logic of rural Turks.

Pierre Flener
(and TuGrul HakioGlu)

Thursday 19 May 1994 (GenClik ve Spor BayramI)


Having driven to TaSucu, the harbor near silifke, the night before and camped somewhere near the gOksu river, we park the car there and get our bikes and luggage ready. After buying breakfast from the market and a "bakkal" (grocery), and filling our water bottles, we set out, heading west along the Mediterranean.

The Road

The road is first gently rolling, at a stone-throw from the sea. Few cars ever take this road, that's why we picked this itinerary. As the sun climbs higher and the heat increases, we stop somewhere for cooling off while swimming, and then have lunch at a nearby road-side "lokanta" (restaurant). After a short siesta, the hard work begins. Everybody had warned us against the craziness of our project, and now we shall find out whether it is feasible or not. Most of the time, the road still is at a stone-throw from the sea, but now often vertiginously high above it! We are on a horizontal and vertical roller- coaster road now, and have to scale three (without knowing it yet, having no adequate maps) passes of about 600m (from sea- level) until the next small-town, AydIncIk, our intended first staging point. The Taurus Mountains literally fall here, from over 2,000m, into the Mediterranean Sea. It is unusually hot for the season (later we learned that we had to cope with peaks of 37C during the entire week) and our energy reserves dwindle. Water is no problem, though, with many roadside springs, and we eat up our fruit and dry food during a generous sprinkling of rests (bottom, middle, and top of each climb). Considering that we have done barely 300km so far this season, we actually do quite well. Eventually, we do swish down the last slope to sea-level AydIncIk, check in at a motel, and sip a well-deserved cool Efes beer at its terrace. After an equally well-deserved shower, we have a filling dinner and a good night's sleep.

Friday 20 May 1994 (don't tell my boss I was bridging two bayrams!)


We take our breakfast from a bakkal to the nearest "Cayhane" (tea-house) (this is standard practice in Turkey), and the owner even rushes off to the grocery himself to bring additional food, which we then all share. We are his first and only customers, and since he can talk to TuGrul, he becomes quite talkative. He knows that this stretch of the Mediterranean (approximately from silifke to Anamur) is the last one to be virtually untouched by mass tourism, precisely because of the difficult access by road. And yet he is melancholic as he sees the first symptoms that things do start going down the drain. The first tourists start venturing out here, so hotels and restaurants that cater to them are appearing, and the downward spiral has started: reckless entrepreneurs and speculators will bribe their way into building permits for ugly concrete pre-fab summer residences (that will fall into pieces in a few years), grocers and waiters will start over-charging foreigners, the local men will chase the so-called "easy" foreign women, many people will become greedy as their wealth increases, but happiness decreases. Good-bye, traditional life-style! I assume many locals will start moving up the slopes again, rather than down towards the sea as in previous decades.

The Road

Expecting the worst in road relief, we set out, again west along the Mediterranean. The route is truly spectacular here, and we shoot quite a few pictures of each other, without dismounting. The numerous pine trees dispel a nice fragrance, birds sing, and the Mediterranean lingers in blue on our left side. The road actually turns out much easier than yesterday (or are we in better shape?), as it hangs most of the time high up in the cliffs. There is only one big obstacle worth mentioning, the fabled "on- sekiz" (eighteen) that everybody keeps talking about when we ask about road conditions: it is so called because one of its slopes (luckily the down-slope in our case) has maxima of 18% steepness. After this speedy descent, the road turns virtually flat, and we ride along a huge bay, past the seaside Mamure Kalesi (castle) (which must be very romantic at night), and into Anamur.


It's time for lunch, and we enjoy some excellent "pide" (a Turkish pizza-like dish) near the beach, before setting out for the shade of a Cayhane in order to raise our water/sugar levels during the biggest heat of the afternoon and for the hardest effort of the tour. Indeed, we are going to leave the coastline, heading north into the Taurus Mountains. According to our "intelligence reports" (pretty reliable so far) gleaned along the road, we face a more or less flat 10km through the hinterland of Anamur, and then a 29km climb to about 1,700m, with a village called KaS just before the pass. Pretty confident that we can do all this still today, we linger around in Anamur for quite a long time, fuel up on Pepsi and some chocolate bars at a bakkal, and leave only at 5pm or so. At the end of Anamur, where there is no more ambiguity about our itinerary, some men in a Cayhane start clapping their hands in applause, just as if we were the leading riders of a race!

The Climb

The road indeed winds through the back-country for a while, until a nice arched bridge over torrential water, where we find ourselves face to face with, and virtually encircled by, the mountains. So now comes a long set of hairpin switch-backs, and we slowly work our way up. A little dog took a liking for TuGrul on the bridge, where we stopped for some photos, and now faithfully waddles behind his bike. Miles later, I tease TuGrul by telling him the dog is still there, because it exhibited some unusual fitness in order to follow him for so long. It's still quite hot, and the road is rather far from that torrent, so we have to rely on our water-bottles for the first 11km, until we successively pull into a nicely shaded Cayhane for a rest and a chat with the owner and his wife. We actually enjoy that haven for too long, as it is 7pm and slightly dark, as we set out for the remaining 18km. At least the heat is gone, but our energy reserves dwindle too as we separately trundle along. I see a huge decapitated snake on the road, and gulp twice at its sight, because it dawns to me that we might have to camp out tonight. Indeed, when I have about 6km to go, it becomes pitch-dark and I use the last rays of sunlight to select a grassy, flat patch for the night. When TuGrul pulls in shortly afterwards, I already have quite a few mosquito bites, and it turns out that the whole area is literally infested by these little suckers. We don't carry a tent, nor any mosquito repellent or net, so we start a fire from what little dry wood is lying around. We don't have much food either (just some peanuts and dried raisins left), and barely one liter of water for the two of us, with no source in sight. To be short: we'll never forget that hungry, thirsty, mosquito-ridden, and sleepless night! It was horrible, as the options were either to cycle in total darkness, or to sweat abominably in a closed sleeping bag away from the mosquitoes (and dehydrate even further), or to donate countless drops of blood for the very procreation of these beasts... We manage a combination of the latter two options as we snap for fresh air from our wet sleeping bags, or as we lunge out of them in despair: at 2am, TuGrul starts another small fire for some relief, and at 3am, I spot an area a hundred meters away where there seem to be less mosquitoes... But the whole place itself is very nice, and the fantastic star-lit night offers unforgettable sights of the milky-way.

Saturday 21 May 1994 (Kurban BayramI)

The Pass

When we get up at dawn, disheveled and punctured all over, that new camping patch rather looks like a place where sheep use to sleep, and the odors indeed confirm this. But what the heck, it provided some comfort. After about 2km on the road again, we flag down a descending car, begging for water, which the driver has. Relieved and re-spirited, we eventually crawl into KaS, the village near the pass, and into the Cayhane, which just opened. The bewildered men ask us where we are coming from. "Anamur," we reply. "Impossible since dawn," they correctly claim. "Sure, because we slept on the road." "Allah, Allah! But the whole mountain-side is infested with mosquitoes!" "Indeed," we weakly croak. Anyway, after some tea and chocolate bars (not many other edibles available), we cross the pass per se, and enter the gently rolling lands, a couple hundred meters lower, of the "yaylalar".

The "Yaylalar" and Breakfast

A "yayla" is a summer pasture, usually on a mountain plateau. Peasants move up there with their livestock (mostly sheep and goats) as the heat becomes too intense in the valleys and plains, and they settle there in temporary villages made of wooden or stone (or concrete, more recently) chalets, if not tents ("yurt"). There may be several levels of yayla, according to season, heat, and pasture-size. Life on a yayla is in complete harmony with nature, but also a lot of hard work. People there have an excellent reputation for hospitality. As the fall comes, and temperatures in the valleys and plains become more attractive than the ones on the yayla, the peasants withdraw to the lower levels of yayla (to continue making yogurt, cheese, butter) and eventually back to their normal residences to spend the winter there.

Our first such yayla village is almost a ghost-town (it's too early in the year), but in the very center somebody has opened his Cayhane. There are no permanent residents here, he explains, but some people occasionally come up here to spend a bayram or a peaceful weekend. We ask him whether he also serves breakfast, and immediately get a lesson in hospitality. Normally, the answer would have been `no' (as we soon find out), but he just calls his daughter and asks her to dish up a breakfast from his own household! Which she does wonderfully.

"Why are you doing this?"

Every soul of the village comes to see us, the girls just parad- ing around, the boys being intrigued by the mechanics and equipment of our bikes, the grownups asking bewildered questions about our origins and reasons to do this. The discussion we have is going to be a recurring theme in the days to come. So far, along the coast, there seemed to be some acceptance of cycling for one's own pleasure, although the heat there is by no means less intense or the effort by no means less difficult. So we guess that other cyclists have been missionarizing for our sport along the coastline, but not up here. To the vast majority of Turks, moving from point A to point B is a chore, and should be done only if strictly necessary (food, water, firewood, ...), and then as fast as possible. "But why don't you do this trip by motor-bikes or by car?," is a standard question, "because you could do it much quicker and easier!" And you find yourself at great pains to explain to them such urban/Western concepts as ecology, (noise-)pollution, communion with nature, healthy exercise, sport, physical challenge, self-improvement, and so on. The former concepts meet blank faces (I'll get back to this in a later edition), and we try to convey the latter by referring to football (the absolute #1 sport in Turkey). "Sure, but when we are tired of playing football, we stop (and smoke a cigarette)!," and you are back to square one. Not surprisingly, with this mentality, only team-sports have significant numbers of practitioners in Turkey (and the level of professional football, basketball, volleyball is top-European quality). But, things are actually even more complicated. No Turk in his right mind would even think of doing such a hare-brained thing as cycling (even in any terrain), so we must obviously both be foreigners. But in that case, since all foreigners are empirically known to be rich (!), why do these ones travel only by bike? Universe-shattering questions. Indeed, upon entering many a Cayhane while still conversing in English, the local staring squads would silently gather around us, watch our ceremony of getting off the bikes and cleaning our faces/hands at a fountain, and speculate among themselves as to our origins: "Alman? Fransiz? ingiliz?" Sometimes, I (instead of TuGrul) would order the tea -- my accent of course betraying me -- and everybody would become mightily relieved that we are indeed foreigners. But still nobody would talk to us directly. Eventually, and before overhearing touchy remarks, TuGrul would let loose a torrent of Turkish sentences, enquiring about this or that, or chatting with the kids. "Where did you learn such good Turkish?" "TUrkUm!" (I am Turkish!) Having miserably failed to justify our effort (Turks spend bayram days and weekends doing nothing (well at least the men, because the women have to cook), it becomes equally hard to motivate our itinerary. "But you are way off the tourist track: there are no archaeological sites here! And the mountains are all the same, and so are the yaylalar, and so are the villages. So instead of sweating your way from Cayhane to Cayhane and from bakkal to bakkal, why don't you just sit down with us here for five days and do nothing instead?!" It's hopeless indeed, everybody being locked in his own logic and background. Cycling still has novelty value in these areas, and some passing motorists don't hesitate at all to wave their right hands at us, in a motion similar to screwing in a light-bulb (which gesture bluntly means "you are crazy/stupid"). At one Cayhane, the ice-breaker was "Did you eat your brains?" (sic), which means about the same. Usually, once their curiosity had ebbed down, the menfolk would push aside their disapprovement of our goals, and accept things the way they are.

The Yaylalar (cont'd) and Lunch

Fortified by the extensive breakfast -- and the owner adamantly refuses any kind of payment (we barely manage to pay for the tea, because that's his job after all) -- we continue our ride across the plateau. It's a pleasant passage on gently rolling terrain, with pastures, tents, sweet-smelling pine-forests, and a lot of heat. In another village, after filling our water-bottles at a fountain, a man steps out of his house, sees us, and shouts "Gel!" (Come!)

It's lunchtime, and the Kurban BayramI starts today, so we immediately grasp what he is up to: we are invited, just like the other few villagers around for the bayram, to celebrate "his" bayram with him! They will take turns inviting each other, as the bayram stretches out for four days, but inviting guests is a matter of hospitality, not a matter of give and take. We gladly accept, especially that we are not likely to find an open bakkal/lokanta for quite a few miles to go, and even more because this is going to be a great experience for me. The sheep has already been slaughtered in the morning, drained of its blood (according to Qu'ranic prescriptions), cut into pieces, and is being prepared by the women of the family. We are led into a small wooden chalet, and into a room where the menfolk and boy-children sit cross-legged on kilims and against big cushions. After the introductions (things being easier because TuGrul can translate everything for me), and the obligatory debate on our motives, we quickly get down to gossip and sports and politics and other non-trivia (which bees make the best honey?, and so on). Eventually, the wife brings in a hearty soup and bread, then the kebap per se with yogurt, and a superb desert (a plate filled with liquid honey, into which a dried apricot is dipped, and to which one adds yogurt to taste). After a few rounds of tea, time has come for everyone to take their leave, but not until after our taking a photo of the whole group (women included) and getting our host's address (we eventually sent him copies of the picture and a few books for his children). Great moments.

The Triumph of the Body over the Spirit?

The plateau stretches out further, but suddenly the road starts gently winding down for quite some time, past another village, and then vertiginously steeply all the way down to a river eating its way through a superb canyon. We must be almost back to sea-level, but we have trouble enjoying the beauty of the scenery: over the last 24h, everybody told us that once beyond the pass, it would be "dUz" (flat) all the way to Ermenek, our next staging point. "Rampa yok!" (No switch-backs, no climbs.) I repeat, there are no adequate maps for cycling purposes. We had attuned our minds, muscles, provisions, and timing to these promises, and now find ourselves at the foot of a 10km climb (by far the steepest of the whole trip), back to the yayla level at which Ermenek is hovering. Deeply disappointed (along the coast, the "relief information" was very reliable) and totally unprepared for this, we get off our bikes and decide to wait until 6pm, because the slope is devoid of shadow and it is very hot. We analyze how it was possible for all these people on the road to agree on such dis-information. Part of it must be our mistake, because we asked our questions the wrong way (eventually we would learn to ask "how many times do you have to shift down on your car when going from A to B?"), part of it must be that the locals didn't want to impart such negative news and wanted us to keep our high spirits. But cycling is as much mental as it is physical, and when you find yourself with no food and no morale (and running diarrhea, as it just turns out in my case) at the foot of a 10km 8% climb, things look pretty bleak. So we eventually set out, with full water-bottles, prepared to "fight." I have diarrhea stops at the first three switch-backs, but we keep creeping up. I believe I even saw a butterfly go unhindered through the spokes of my front wheel. After 6km or so, around 7:15pm, we are totally drained of energy, and decide to give up. For over an hour, and well into darkness, we flag down every vehicle to ask for a ride, but this being a bayram, they are all jam-packed with people and/or sacrificial sheep! So Allah, in his bounty, doesn't allow us to have our spirit surrender to the flesh. Unwilling to spend another food/drink/sleep-less night on a slope, and knowing Ermenek to be so close, we eventually continue and at 9:30pm trundle triumphantly into Ermenek.


After checking into a small hotel and downing a cherry juice at an open-air cafe, we storm the local "pastane" (pastry-store) and power-eat our way through mountains of baklava and other delights.

Sunday 22 May 1994

The morning after, we order a huge breakfast in a Cayhane. Its window sports a small poster written in many colors by a child's hand, in French!, announcing the possibility of eating there (a Cayhane usually doesn't offer food). It's full of typos, but very nice and unexpected. Eventually, the owner asks me whether I speak French, and tells me about the few years he was working near Mulhouse in France.

The Road

It's time to leave, and we set out, but not without first mightily impressing some kids that will for years after talk about these two strange men who were cycling for fun with luggage (!) on very sophisticated bikes (21 speed!) and who applied some milk (?) to all the exposed parts of their skin.

The road hangs on the south-side of a ridge: it gently rollercoasts there, doing long detours for crossing very deep canyons at their shallowest points, taking us through eagle's nest villages, and continuously offering breathtaking panoramas to the Ermenek river and its lakes beneath. A very enjoyable ride, and we take it easy after the huge efforts of the last three days, knowing that overall we'll lose a thousand elevation meters today. Eventually, after a small pass, the road does take us all the way down to the river level.

It's very, very hot in the valley, and our overall exhaustion amplifies the thirst and hunger as lunch-time approaches. There are not many villages here, so we stop at the first one and ask the kids for the whereabouts of the bakkal. There is none, they say! And of course no lokanta either. TuGrul tells me they have the typical accent of Kurdish people when they speak Turkish, so this village of very poor general appearance seems to consist of a (recently?) transplanted (or deported?) Kurdish tribe from further East. No comment.

Twenty minutes down the road we find another village, with the obligatory Cayhane, where we are told that there is a bakkal at the other end of the village. So we ride to it, but the owner of the Cayhane insists on showing us the obvious way by frantically pedaling behind us on his own bike. We are soon to find out why he does so: the bakkal is run by his highly attractive daughter, and her mother is not around to chaperone her at this moment, so there is no way he would leave her alone with two young men from out-of-town, and who, to top it off, are wasting their energy cycling around through rough terrain in their underwear (read: shorts). While nursing bottles of Pepsi to raise our depleted sugar-levels, we throw sidelong glances at NazlI (whenever her father doesn't watch) as she is preparing sandwiches from the bread, tomato, cheese, and eggs we bought. She seems to be in her early twenties, but somehow miraculously unmarried, which testifies to a strong character in such a rural area. The father then escorts us back to his Cayhane where we eat, drink, and relax until the hottest hours are over. Then, in order to fool NazlI's father, we make a big show of filling our water-bottles and getting our gear and bikes ready for a long ride, and set out for Mut. He doesn't follow us this time, so after the three turns we are back to her bakkal, drop the bikes, and enter for another round of Pepsi! But NazlI is not willing to be caught in this situation and thus herself calls her mother to come down and preside over the meeting! But at least we (well, TuGrul) may talk to her this time and she tells us about her school, not without inviting us to attend the Apricot Festival in Mut in June. Knowing who is going to be Miss Apricot'94 (if they have any such elections), we finally bid them good-bye and hit the road again.

It's an easy ride on the gently rolling banks of a river now, but the big efforts of the last days are really taking their toll on us, and we are glad to eventually stagger into Mut, a noisy small-town on the trunk-road between Ankara and silifke.


We find a cheap hotel, take showers, and have dinner near the bus station, before finding the energy to celebrate my 30th birthday. We somehow locate two bottles of beer and get some ice cream, to be consumed in the lively city park. The latter is actually segregated, a concept I hadn't seen before: all-male adult parties must go to the men's side, all other parties may go to the family side!

Monday 23 May 1994

The Road

During breakfast in a pastane, we decide to take the optional shortcut in our planned itinerary, as we are visibly exhausted: instead of cycling the long roller-coaster road to KIz Kalesi via KIrobasI, we shall ride the mostly downhill or flat shorter main road directly to silifke. It will be more dangerous with all that heavy traffic, but most people will not return home until tomorrow evening. The landscape is superb, not to mention the deep canyons of the gOksu river, which canyons we skirt and eventually head into. "gOksu" means "sky water," and this descriptive name is very accurate: it perfectly reflects the color of the sky. We have lunch at a bakkal, and TuGrul spots a local specialty: "Salgam suyu", a juice made from carrots and beets. Its sour taste definitely needs to be acquired, but the drink turns out to be a potent power-provider and hence propels us up the remaining three slopes to silifke. We ride past the monument commemorating the spot where, in 1190, the German King Friedrich Barbarossa had the good idea of taking a bath, after lunch, in the tumbling waters of the gOksu river, and drowned. "Good idea" because he was leading a crusade, and his followers couldn't agree on his successor, so they returned to Europe without ever making it to Palestine, and hence preventing many needless massacres.


At the top of the last climb, we finally see the Mediterranean again, and the citadel of silifke. So we swish down to sea-level and show off cycling in a fast pace-line through the vast sandy delta of the gOksu, heading towards TaSucu. A few hundred meters from the end, we toast to our successful venture (everybody had told us it wasn't feasible), drinking beer at a roadside cafe. We then ride towards the car and have to move everything back into it and the bikes back onto the rack. We check into a hotel, set in an old Greek mansion that has definitely seen better days before the current owners decided to let it decay. Then the usual evening ceremony of shower, dinner, and sleep.

Tuesday 24 May 1994

After breakfast, we have a much-needed-and-wanted shave by a nearby "berber" (60c) and set out feeling new-born, but in the car this time. We of course decide to first drive the reverse of what originally was our last stage of the cycling itinerary, that is along the Mediterranean to KIz Kalesi, and then through the mountains to Mut via KIrobasI. There are lots of things to see, so we will stop here and there, as described hereafter. We actually skip KIz Kalesi (but I'll get back to that in a later edition), because it must be overcrowded by bayram holidayers, who usually crave beaches.

The Caves of Heaven and Hell

So our first stop is "cennet ve cehennem MaGarasI", which translates into the "Caves of Heaven and Hell". These are actually 135m and 120m deep natural holes in the ground, with natural caves at the bottom. We visit the first of them, easily defeating everybody on the way out as we are in super-shape by now. Interestingly, most trees have thousands of little cloth-knots around their smaller branches: local custom has it that young women come here to wish for husbands or children. This is definitely a pre-Islamic tradition, and was maybe even imported from shamanist times by the Turks?


After an interesting drive through hilly back-country, we get to UzuncaburC, which features well-preserved, though little-known Roman ruins. But first we are whisked by the friendly locals to a Cayhane, where somebody dishes up a nice lunch for us. We also taste the local "tea", actually an infusion from a local plant rather than the traditional omnipresent black tea from the Black Sea. The people are very laid back here, but also rather isolated. There is no running water yet, and hence no infrastructure to cater to the tourists that would inevitably come to an attraction such as theirs. But a pipeline is nearly finished, and we get the same lament as a few days before in AydIncIk: plans for a hotel are underway and everything will go down the drain once the tourist hordes arrive. They say they are happy right now, even if many are un- or underemployed, and they don't want to see their village and life-style changed so dramatically, just like at the coastline. A young guy wants to be our guide, just for fun, as he has nothing else to do. After visiting the impressive ruins, he directs us by car to lesser-known sites, and it is all very interesting and nice.


Eventually we must set out again, though, and complete the loop to Mut, via KIrobasI (where we have an early dinner), and past/through spectacular canyons (there is indeed no way we could have done this yesterday by bike, as initially planned). In Mut, TuGrul stocks up on Salgam suyu, and then, as feared various times before, my car, which was increasingly reluctant to start by a key-turn, completely gives up. So we drop it for repair at a garage (Turkish mechanics will fix anything, and are incredibly cheap for my standards, except the spare parts of course). It's already dark when we finally get started. At a gas-station, we are asked to linger for a while over some tea, in order to wait for the big rush to Ankara to be over: it's the last day of the bayram, i.e. an evening notorious for many spectacular accidents. The owner took a liking to us, because he tries to convince us of the wellfoundedness of his invitation by saying that the first truck with coffins just passed minutes ago. But we are willing to take chances, because it's still a looong drive, and we both have to teach tomorrow early in the morning.

Going Home

Traffic is indeed mad, but not as bad as it was on the road from Antalya when I returned with Andrew from the Seker BayramI. Taking turns at the wheel, and driving prudently behind "pace-making" cars from Ankara, we make it back safely. Indeed, driving after dark is supremely dangerous in Turkey, because so many peasants with completely un-lit horse-drawn carts are on the roads, even on major trunk roads. Not to mention the stupendously undisciplined drivers (I'll describe driving in Turkey in a later edition).

This is the end of a highly spectacular, successful, and instructive trip. TuGrul and I hope you liked reading it.