Karaman – Tasucu Thu April 26

Woke up and took a tour of the old hotel and found a shower. Haha, those 6 euro weren’t needed after all! However, there was no light in the room, the water was cold and

Woke up and took a tour of the old hotel and found a shower. Haha, those 6 euro weren’t needed after all! However, there was no light in the room, the water was cold and came out from 1 meter above ground. In addition everything in the room was wooden and had that wet wood-smell. Well, who needs a shower every day anyway. I have one more day as a human.

The city looked completely different in daylight, teeming with people and goods as it was. I found a very tasty kebab sold by very curious and friendly people, got some tea and then found another internet cafe. I tried to get in contact with people in Cyprus, Greece and Italy and I tried to find ferries to Cyprus and highways to the ferries. The internet cafe guy told me that he was going to buy some cheese and asked if I wanted some. “Sure” I said, surprised and already full, but a little piece of cheese can never hurt. I sat alone for 20 minutes, after which he came back and put half a kilo of different kinds of cheese melted in pita bread in front of me. “Wow” I said “how much?”. “It’s on the house” he replied. Later his friend came over and they had a long look at my game and told about their friend who was currently working in the ELFA factory in Järfälla in Northwestern Stockholm, showing me a catalogue with all the factory’s products. The price for 3 hours of internet was 1 euro, probably less than the ocean of cheese that was being digested as I walked the kilometers towards the highway.

I stood after a streetlight waving my thumb at a cloudy 14:18. An old man came by and talked to me in Turkish for a while and shook my hand. After 7 minutes and 5 cars I got a truck to Mut. When we passed the Southern exit from Karaman (which I had also considered as an option) we saw two other hitchhikers on the road. One of them was lying down and let his friend thumb. They looked like stereotypical backpacker-types with dreads and all and seemed like they’d been there for a while. What is it with hitchhikers that they have to look so out of hope? They’re like standing there signalling “I’ve been here for an hour, hitchhiking doesn’t work”. I personally always try to smile and look in the face of each car like it was the first car of the day, and I think it works.

The landscape turned from dull plain to the most alien and rocky planet I have ever visited. It was absolutely crazy. After 20 minutes we were in Mut and I walked to the cloudy other end of the city and thumbed there for 12 minutes and 29 cars. Some men at a construction site was yelling at me to come over to their place, but I thought they should come to me if they had anything to say. Eventually I walked over there anyway and then saw an older gentleman patiently parked, waiting for me to get in. He drove me for some 20 minutes while listening to old French 1960s music, which was a bit odd. The place where he let me off was the perfect hitchhiking spot – a cloudy but bright country road right after a crossroad. It wasn’t perfect as in “easy to get a ride” but it was perfect as a beautiful and comfortable place to spend one of the 687.000 hours a Swedish male gets to live. I didn’t get a whole hour of this beauty though, since I was picked up after 14 minutes and 8 cars by a group of men in a domush, a minibus.

They let me off in a tiny 3-house village which was right after a hill. To easier be seen by the cars, I started walking away from the crest. It was a pity, since I then got out of the sight of a group of old village men who were sitting in their chairs and probably were betting on how long I´d have to wait (that’s what I’d have done). After 18 minutes and 10 cars, 2 young men stopped. They were driving around on holidays and had bought a bucket of very sour plums, which I guess was the specialty of some region they’d passed through. On our right side there was a canyon that was like cut out of the ground with a razor blade. The world was greener here than before and at the bottom of the canyon there was a very blue river. Wow, I would like to slowly sail down that river on a raft, dressed up in Tolkien-clothes.

The two young men noticed my fascination for the landscape and eventually did me the great favor of stopping their car for a photo-break. Unfortunately they stopped in the middle of a forest with no canyon to be seen in any direction, but I gratefully took some pictures of the trees and stretched my legs. Nevertheless, I know I’ve said this before, but this WAS the most beautiful landscape I’ve hitchhiked through.

They dropped me off in Silifke and I started walking towards Tasucu. It was cloudy and I thumbed for 1 minute and 7 cars, realized that I wasn’t far out enough, walked for a while and then thumbed for another 7 minutes and 17 cars and was picked up by a domus full of people that for some reason were laughing their heads off. Hahaha. It was so fun. But they were nice. Really nice.

It was 6 pm something when I arrived in the little port town of Tasucu. I found out that the next ferry went at midnight and that it was possible to buy ticket until half an hour before that. Great, I thought, and decided to first try hitchhiking onboard. I went to have a look at the port area to check out its hitchhiking conditions. There was a German couple there, easily recognized by their typical Turkish-spring-burned nose tips. I hadn’t had a decent English conversation since Ankara so I jumped on them as much as they jumped on me. They suggested that I first check whether one paid by car or by passenger. An excellent idea; I went to the ticket office and they could confirm that one paid per passenger, that is, I would need a ticket for 60 TL whether I hitchhiked onboard with a car or walked by myself.

So I bought a ticket. I had some questions about how to get back to Turkey, but unfortunately the English-speaker had now gone home for the day so I got to sit and wait for a man that called every now and then and said that he would come. When he came he walked in with the ego of someone who after a long and miserable childhood of abuse and low self-confidence learns 10 words of English and then becomes the mini-boss of a ticket office. He walked in with his chin half-ways to the roof, made noise with his black shoes, smiled because he was happy for us getting the favor of a visit from him, repeated three times a sentence that he had rehearsed in the car, did not answer any questions and marched out, pointing with his arms in different directions to give orders to his subordinates. Clueless, I got a single ticket and a 1,5 euro durum and read my fantasy novel. In a back-alley a dog tried to breed with another dog.

There is something special about getting on a ferry in the middle of the night. It has a strong and oily smell of adventure, exodus, smuggling and Smilla’s Sense of Snow by Peter Höeg.

I climbed up the ladder and first of all checked out the bathroom. It had circular windows so one could see the trucks roll onboard through the mild Mediterranean night while relieving oneself.

There was a big passenger room with very uncomfortable seats. However, neither the stiffness of the cushions nor the narrow spaces between the arm rests could withstand the sleep attack of a savage and professional pass-outer.

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