Sunday, September 09, 2007

Hello from Mardin! 

Tell the phones to stop ringing and the babies to stop crying, we made it out here to Mardin without issue. A swinging shuttle van swept us up in Antakya, dropped us at the otogar (where we dined on bread raisins olives and spicy cheese) and a pretty bus brought us out here. The ride itself was....interesting. Pulling away from the station, a horde of weeping people surrounded the bus and followed it for about 100 meters. The 2 girls in front of me were weeping, and the guy sitting next to me fiddled spastically with his line of stress beads while saluting waving and throwing kisses at his friends who followed the bus on their scooter for many kilometers. After that one can only ask who doesnt love goodbyes? (pardon any grammatical errors as certain symbols remain elusive to me on this keyboard). A very sad and heart breaking scene. It can be easy to forget how hard getting back and forth is for some people when it ıs so easy for us. Not to worry, I didnt cry. For too long. I thınk the guy sitting next to me thought İ had lost my mind, and I dont think he appreciated the Shroud of Turin-esque imprint İ left on his chest. At least he was distracted?

Soon after the real drive began (several stops were made to pick up more people) the bus began climbing up into the mountains. This is also when the driver ceased paying attention to his job. More interested in the happenings behind him, he kept the rıght wheels on the edge of the precipice, made dramatic course corrections over and over and seemed unconcerned at oncoming traffic or slower traffic in his own lane. Only once or twice the wheels drifted off the pavement, after which İ focused more on my book than on looking down the aisle and out the front window. And as always, seeing locals looking nervous is never confidence inspiring.

Eventually the driver woke or sobered up (huge assumptıons on my part, though İ did consider walking up to see ıf the drıver area smelled suspicious) and all was well. Until late in the night when he decided that the left lane was the best place to drive, wıth wheels edging rıght along the very edge of the pavement alongsıde a nice ditch, swerving at the last minute to avoid oncoming traffic and then darting right back over. İ only spotted one overturned truck in the ditch whıch was on an uphill right at the point at which our driver decided to slowly pass another truck right in the face of more oncoming traffic.

But we made it, early, and were dropped in the streets of new Mardin at a little before 4am.

That was its own adventure and will be detailed at a later time. I need to go get dressed and pack. We are going to hit up the bazaar before grabbing another dolmuş to the town of Mıdyat (a hop skıp and jump from.....)

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Name: Corey
Location: Portland, Oregon, United States

I'm on a journey with no destination. The path is constantly changing direction but there are always adventures to be had. "Never" and "always" have left my lexicon.

WWW http:/www.jimspeak.blogspot.com