Today was the last day, last city and last night in Eastern Turkey; ending in Diyabakir before flying back to Istanbul and then home. The group left Hotel Euphrat early for the 3-1/2 hour ride to Diyabakir. Bus sights this morning all seemed to be horses and donkeys. A horse almost buried under its load of branches being led down the street. Two young boys riding another horse. A long-legged man riding the smallest little donkey/burro.
A 45-minute ride to a lake where we’d take a ferry across. Past melon fields, houses with hay drying on roofs…View image, a truck loaded with sheep (bye-bye, lamb chop)…View image, followed by another truck that carried everything but the kitchen sink with a man almost buried under his belongings…View image
Once at whatever lake it was, the bus drove on the ferry for the 15-minute ride to the other side…View image. I don’t know exactly how much time was saved by this manuever, but Oz did call it a “short cut.” The amount of locals who managed to squeeze into one van was hilarious; similar to the circus clown cars where one person after another pops out.
Another 2-1/2 hours with one stop at a gas station for tea and toilets. Big semis and cars pulled in, to gas up and have their vehicles washed….View image. Wondering if this was included in the gas/petrol price, I later found out there is no charge for a car wash. Just leave a tip of 3-4 Turkish Lira, such a deal. While standing there, three Kurdish men finished lunch and began walking down the street, wearing my favorite purple headscarfs…View image. I don’t think I’ll ever see the color “purple” again without remember Southeastern Turkey.
The Explore group will have covered 3,200 kms/1,900 miles on the road by the time we reach Diyarbakir. A long way to go with fascinating rewards. On the road for the last time, and the last kilometers, we reached the unofficial Kurdish capital of Diyarbakir.
Who are the Kurds? Kurds are largely Sunni Muslim with their own language and culture who live in the contiguous areas of Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Armenia and Syria. This mountainous region is generally known as Kurdistan. A guerilla insurgency has been going on in Southeastern Turkey waged by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, PKK. They believe that there should be an independent Kurdish state in Turkey. Oz (along with Explore U.K.) was nervous about the potential for sporadic violence in Diyarbakir and, because of that, the group would have no freedom to explore independently. Bummer…