My head is spinning. This evening was crazy. ‘Don’t turn around’, whispered James as we left the car and walked up the steps of the hotel. Behind us they removed the freshly slaughtered lamb from the boot. What a man’s night out it was.
In the quest for a cheap hotel in Lüleburgaz, we were introduced to ‘the Boss’ – a middle-aged man in a smart suit, who arranged a room for us in the teacher’s accommodation. And then he invited us for a drive to a country village to see friends.
After 45 minute tobacco-rich drive through the dark Turkish countryside, passing villages with vicious dogs the size of bears, we pulled in to a small farm, and stepped out of the car. We shook hands with the farmer, and then watched as he went into the shed in front of the car where a sheep was lying, struggling, its legs tied together. We were not there 30 seconds and the throat was slit, blood gushed out, and the head was severed, to be inspected by a little dog, its tail wagging furiously. The sheep spasmed for about a minute after the slaughter, at which point we were ushered back into the car and drove on.
The next stop was a tea-house in the little village. We were brought in from the dark and introduced to everyone – all middle-aged or old men. The words Australia and New Zealand were used, causing some comments and laughter. We took a seat at one of the tables near the wooden stove in the middle of the brightly lit room. People stared at us, chatted, and watched the football playing on the television behind us as they drank one glass of tea after the next, and smoked one cigarette after the next. ‘Where are the women?’ ‘At home. Only men come here.’
I asked for the toilet, and was brought outside by the sheep slaughterer. In the dark, away from the lights of the central intersection of the village, I made out a little wooden shed, much like an Australian ‘dunny’ (toilet). My friend indicated to piss in the grass next to the shed.
Time to move on, and we were ushered back into the car. Next stop was a little ‘holiday house’ where a group of men were sitting out on the verandah barbecuing fish. We were introduced to them all by the Boss, before they returned to their conversation in Turkish. There was a lot of laughter and cheer. The points of entertainment were us, or ‘men’ jokes. It was a really friendly bunch. A lot of delicious fish was cooked for us, and the salad, bread and nuts were pushed in our direction. A lot of Facebook photos were taken before returning to the car where we returned to the town.
We were taken to the best dessert place in town, where people were moved by the dessert café owner, so we could take a seat. The dessert was superb. James pointed out that I am lucky that my pancreas is working..
The evening ended with a stroll through the town. Everyone greeted the Boss, and shook our hands, the guys from Australia and New Zealand. Back at the hotel, where the car was parked – ‘I’ll see you tomorrow morning at breakfast.’ The Boss waited and watched as we turned and returned to the hotel. ‘Don’t turn back,’ whispered James. I knew what there was to see, and snuck a peek, even through I may have turned into a pillar of salt. The plastic bags with hooves sticking into the air were rushed inside.
Well. That trumped our day’s cycling down a freeway-like road for 76km in the undulating misty landscape, rising 50m and dropping 50m, and rising 50m again. It was a big road, but not busy, no mad drivers, and a big strip for slow vehicles (us).
We leave the main road tomorrow as we approach Istanbul. Who knows what crazy things this country will bring us tomorrow. I’m enjoying every minute of it!