Friday, 21 September
I began my second full day in Cardak using the hotel’s slow internet connection to upload photos to my blog. Toward the middle of the day I ventured out into the square a few times to pick up supplies. On one of my sorties out into the square Eren and Ozgur invited me to dinner at their bufe that evening. I accepted.
I never saw or met Eren’s mother but she’d cooked up an assortment of aromatic dishes which Eren brought to the bufe and set out on a table for our dinner. It was some of the best food I’d had in a long time–lentil soup, bread, rice. There was coban salata (diced tomatoes, cucumber, onions, and lemon juice) and a huge bowl of a reduced soup with ground beef, green peppers, tomatoes, and some spices.
After dinner five of Eren and Ozgur’s buddies (which I’d started calling the five guys), showed up. One of them barreled in on a motorcycle which he revved up several times before shutting off. They often hung out at the bufe, and they had taken it upon themselves to be my mentors and guides. Sure enough, tonight they had come for me.
“Mert (my name in Turkish)! Sit!” Motorcycle Man said gesturing with his thumb to the back of his motorcycle. “It’s time for you to take a tour of our village.”
I hate riding on the back of a motorcycle. I feel like I’m going to die, and the fact that he was heavily drunk didn’t increase my feeling of safety any.
It was dark, the road full of potholes, and I was wearing no helmet. I figured God would just have to protect me, or, as the Turks would say, Allah beni korur. I suspected that before I touched that wire fence separating me from Iran I’d have many other opportunities to utter this phrase, just hoping for the best.
So I uttered the phrase, Allah beni korur, and hopped on the back of the motorcycle and whizzed around town. Motorcycle Man showed me different places including Eren’s and Ozgur’s apartments. Then he dropped me off back at the bufe.
I ended up the day by going with Ozgur and Eren to the village square for a cultural night with Turkish folk music and a light show. Basically everyone in the village—about 200 people—were gathered on folding chairs in the center of the village square to participate and listen to the music and hear some of the speakers. I watched for a bit, and then turned in at my hotel feeling satisfied and at peace.