An unforgettable train ride

Trip Start Nov 11, 2010
1
16
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Trip End Dec 16, 2010


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Flag of Turkey  , Sanliurfa,
Friday, November 26, 2010

The next morning I had to be at the station by 6 to catch the train to Turkey so I was up and ready to leave the hotel just after 5. The front door was locked from the inside so I had to wake up the night guard who was sleeping on the couch in the hall. I had heard that he was hard to wake and in fact, no matter how much I shook him he would not wake up. Then suddenly, out of nowhere he turned, opened his eyes, and said to me "you pay 3 nights?" I can't remember how I answered, but you know it's gonna be a good day when the first thing you hear in the morning makes you laugh. There was really only one cabin on the train and everyone knew me by the end of the first hour. There was a Syrian woman and her mother who were just going across the border for the day as a Friday outing... the woman had studied in France and spoke great French and was angry at the western media for portraying Middle Eastern women as helpless and repressed. There was a Syrian man next to me who was on his way back "home" to Ukraine where he had married and was living with his wife and kids. I didn't have enough Syrian pounds for the exit tax, but one of the guys in the cabin was better than any money exchange place I'd ever seen.. he accept some of the Turkish Lira I had and even some random coins I had left from Dubai. Tea is much cheaper in Syria, so a couple of guys were taking kilos of tea across the border to sell for double the price in Turkey. The problem was that they had more than customs allowed. No problem, they just started asking other passengers if they'd carry some across for them... nothing wrong with carrying a kilo of contraband tea across the border for someone else, right? I was just hoping that it really was tea inside those boxes. Luckily no drug-sniffing dog came around to check my bags.
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