Sunday, October 21, 2007


Our Truck in Yuksekova

This posting about our swing through the town of Yuksekova in southeastern Asia Minor was set to go this morning when we got word that another terrorist attack had hit Turkey...this time targeting a Turk Military unit based in Yuksekova, 12 Turk soldiers have been murdered and many more hurt in this latest attack. About an hour ago a wedding party rolled over a landmine planted by terrorists along a village road over which we traveled last month, those casulties are still being counted. With several of our Istanbullu friends the parents of Turkish soldiers and many having family in the southeast, the air in Istanbul is heavy today.
Waiting to be Cleared to Travel Near Yuksekova

We arrived in Yuksekova late in the evening one day last month after a long drive from Dogubeyazit. After checking in at the local hotel we headed out to eat and settled in on the rooftop terrace of an open cafe. They were about to close but offered our dirty and tired crew a "sampler plate"...which is code for "whatever was leftover" from the day's grill.
The platter arrived and was heaped with an incredible variety of chicken, lamb and kebaps grilled over a wood fire. Hot bread, grilled peppers, and plates of shaved onions and parsley followed and we dug in like we hadn't eaten all day. It was some of the finest Turkish cuisine we have ever eaten.
The owner of the cafe took an interest in Stanley and over the next few days they became close friends...Stanley would run back and forth from the hotel to his new friend and we ended up taking most of our meals at the cafe.
Stanley and His Buddy

One particular evening we were eating on the terrace when Stanley got cold...he left the cafe, ran across the busy street and into the hotel to get his jacket. The waiters, cooks, owner, and hotel staff all noticed and formed a "visual relay" each of them taking ownership of a portion of the route he was taking and passing him off to the next person to make sure he made it there and back without incident.
While Yuksekova sits in a geographically, politically, and historically hazardous location and (probably) has no chance of making the cut in this year's edition of "1000 Places To See Before You Die"...for our crew it was and remains a delightful highlight and a favorite destination.
And for Stanley? The kindness of a few Turks have made it an amazingly powerful and endearing memory to a little boy.
Raw Wool For Sale in Yuksekova

Village Home on the Outskirts

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Living, Traveling, and Wandering on the Far Side of the World

Living, Traveling, and Wandering on the Far Side of the World