Trip Start Apr 01, 2006
36Trip End Aug 2006
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Since I arrived here Ive had nothing but hassles from local (mainly) kids who have followed me and then demanded money for no reason.
They try to get me to go to places I dont want to go to and wont take no for an answer, they talk to me in Turkısh or in Kurdısh (they both sound the same to me) and look at me expecting an answer. One guy followed me for what seemed like ages saying something I didn't understand. I ignored him but it still took him 20 minutes to get the message that I wanted him to go away. As he walked off I felt there was somebody behind me, I turned around and saw another young guy of about 20 taking an interest in the bag I carry round on my back
I have discovered one way of getting rid of people: talk nonstop very quickly for about 30 seconds (say anything they cant understand it) and you'll get a confused look on their face. Do that a couple of times and they and then they don't know how to reply.
It is not all bad however some people here just want to speak Englısh I don't mind talking to them but they can go on a bit and I do prefer to wander around on my own.
I did a search on the BBC web site and found out that 14 Kurdısh demonstrators were shot dead by police in Diyarbakir at the end of March, this lead to more rioting two more deaths and a couple of bomb attacks in other parts of Turkey. Now I know what a travel agent in Istanbul meant when he said that in Eastern Turkey 'people are eating each other'
I also found out that in an opinion poll just carried out in Diyarbakir
From the BBC web site:
When asked the appropriate punishment for a woman who has committed adultery, 37% replied she should be killed.
Twenty-five percent said that she deserved divorce, and 21% that her nose or ears should be cut off
Quite a few people here and in other places in Turkey have talked about the cartoons of Mohammed that appeared in Demark and said how much it angered them and ask me what I thought of them, to avoid a diplomatic incident I usually agreed with whatever they said. The war in Iraq is another favoured subject and there is general agreement that it was fought for oil and nothing else.
I think you have to come here to appreciate the importance religion plays in the lives of the people here, there are mosques all over the place. Here and in Malatya I made the mistake of getting a hotel near a mosque and was woken up at 4.30am by a call to prayer, yesterday a woman asked me if I was Christian or Yehuda (Jewish) and then told me that Christians and Muslims were like brothers and sisters.
I spent today in Mardin 100 km south of here near the Syrian border. A police man was very interested in my camera and at one point went to get his from his car just to try out my lenses. I was going to ask him shouldn't he be catching criminals or even shooting Kurds but I said nothing.
There are very few tourists in Mardin but even here some gormless moron followed me. In broken English he claimed he was a guide and then asked for money and followed me again. I wanted him to follow me back to that policeman who would have been on my side in any argument, but he eventually gave up.
Yesterday I met a guy from Germany and his Brazilian girlfriend travelling in the opposite direction to me, they were going from Nepal to Kathmandu and had just arrived in Turkey from Iran, they had spent three months in Pakistan without any problem.
I leave tomorrow to go to Van and want to be in Iran on Sunday