Thursday, 14 June 2012

From Barcelona to Tehran: Day 42

Day 42: “Halal Ela!” Forgive me if I Overcharge you; From Pamukkale to Dinar in Turkey

June 11, 2012; Distance covered today: 93 Km; Total: 3111 Km

I didn’t expect the hotel to be quiet, but it was. I woke up at 5 again, and left the hotel at 5:45. I went to the same teahouse I had been last night for breakfast and tea. The owner was not there, but a guy told me that he would be there in a second. He told me that there is no bread or breakfast served in that teahouse but tea. I then went across the street and had something which was called Shorba. It was really delicious. Then I went to the teahouse again and had a couple of tea. The owner was very sincere and had a chat with me. About what? Well … about marriage. It seems that getting married in Turkish culture is an obligation. I left the guy with hugs and good wishes. He didn’t want to get money from me, but I insisted and he accepted. I left him with a very good feeling. I don’t know if I would be having the same kind of experience if I didn’t know the language. 

The Owner of the Teahouse

Mustafa Kamal Pasha (Ata Turk) He is the most respected figure in Turkey

I like this one

I kept riding on terrible roads. A big part of my entire route was under construction with tar spread on the surface. However, the traffic was going on. It was only the day before in Pamukkale when I spent two hours cleaning the tar off my tires, now here we go again. I was very pissed off.

Look at the tar covering the road

Very soon I arrived in Isparta, then I was close to Igirdur. On the side of the road close to Igirdur, I saw a farmer selling some fruits. I stopped and bought some. The woman asked me to sit in the shade and have the fruit. I accepted and while eating the fruits, we talked about our families and all the usual stuff. I then picked a tomato and asked how much it was. She said that I didn’t need to pay for it, but I paid anyways. Then she asked if I wanted some bread as well. I said, “no”, but she insisted. I didn’t want to be rude so I accepted provided that I pay for it. Then she fetched a small piece of bread, a very small piece of cheese and some olives. I had them. Later her husband who was working in the garden joined us too.

An old man, their friend, parked his car in front of the farm and joined us. He knew a little bit of English so we talked half Turkish, half English. At some point, he and the farmer were preaching me why I should say my prayers and be a good Muslim. Then the old man said that he would show me the campground. I thanked him and we decided to go to the town—he with his car, and I on the bike.

I then wanted to pay for the bite I had had. I had only a 10-lira bill. So I gave it to the woman and expected her to give me some change. I thought she would charge me three Liras at most. But to my surprise, she kept the whole money and asked me to “Halal ela”, which means, “I charge you a little more, but forgive me and don’t redeem it on the Judgment Day. 

I was upset, not for the money. But for the fact that, these people, were preaching me to be a good Muslim and say my prayers and all, while she overcharged me and asked me to “Halal ela”!!
I then cycled on the tar-covered road into the town, and checked into a campground by the lake. I washed myself in the lake, washed my clothes and stretched my legs and had a nap. 

Igirdir Lake

I then made some spaghetti, and took some pictures of the sunset.

Pasta with MY kind of souse

The lake again

I am ready to sleep. Tomorrow, I wanna cover a lot of land to make it easy for the following day to get to Konya, my very- much-looking-forward-to destination.

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