After I boarded the minibus for my commute to work this morning, a Syrian truck driver from Aleppo, Syria, tried to board, too. He was heading back to the border. He only had Syrian currency with him. The driver would not accept it, and he told the Syrian guy to get off and find a currency exchange. I called out to the Syrian guy to get back on the bus, I would cover his fare. People do me favors on the road all the time. Taking the opportunity to help out a fellow traveler was the least I could do.
About a half hour after I got off the bus and started the day’s walk, a journalist from one of the papers (Sabah) called me for an interview. There I was, standing by the side of the road out in the middle of nowhere, doing a phone interview with a national newspaper over the din of truck traffic.
My main job for the day was not to pay Syrians’ bus fares or talk to journalists, though. It was to get a particular climb out of the way, the climb from 1850 feet (560 meters) to 3750 feet (1140 meters) feet. For the next two months I’ll only be making two very brief forays to that altitude. They aren’t that big a deal, since I was at that elevation, or higher, on the Central Anatolia plateau, and I will be significantly higher on the last leg of the trip near Van. They are relatively significant climbs for this section of the walk however, so I was happy at the end of the day today to have banged one of them out.
The walk over for the day, I hopped a minibus and commuted back to Gaziantep for the night. Mustafa made a delicious dinner of köfte (meatballs), and we had some tea while I uploaded photos and he studied for a professional certification exam (tax law). Then I hit the sack.