Sunday, 9 June 2013


My next stop was Tatvan, a small port on the western shore of the biggest lake in Turkey, Lake Van.

The trip was a nigthmare taking eight hours instead of four due to circumstances I alone on the bus failed to understand.

The driver parked us in a layby on the edge of Diyarbakir and there we stayed for over an hour.

This being a minbus full of Kurds this set off a maelstrom of ardent discourse, none of which I understood.

Only the driver spoke any English at all but since he'd confidently told me the price of the bus ticket was "30 millions lires" and then only taken 15 from my hand I took his pronouncements with a pinch of salt.

Anyway, he was way too busy at the centre of a tornado, beset on all sides by a legion of demands, pleas, oaths, threats, howls of dismay and hooting to explain things to me. Fists were clenched, hands were raised, fingernails were chewed, the sky repeatedly pointed at. All to no avail.

The wait was finally over when an incredibly frail and ancient lady with a bandaged eye arrived in a car and was gently escourted onto our bus. We that, we were off again.

We limped into Tatvan at 10pm. I checked into the first hotel I saw and promptly feel asleep.

Next day the sky was black and the rain was whipped by a cold wind off the lake. I went walking along the shore of the lake, taking bleak photos.


Spent another lazy afternoon in a tea house playing with a set of prayer beads I'd bought off an old street peddlar in Diyarbakir.
Most of the older guys carry beads and I found them relaxing to handle. I thought to myself that being an "older guy" wasn't such a bad thing.

I remembered a quote I'd read somewhere about how the years can teach what hours never can. Something like that.

I looked around and saw relaxed, lined faces and heard slow, quiet exchanges. It suddenly all seemed very, very cool.


I watched teenagers and young men hurrying past in the street and felt no envy about their youth. I even felt haltingly OK about losing my hair.

I was almost having a spiritual moment there in a dusty room full of old guys counting beads.

Later, the dark clouds disappeared and the there was a brief spell of beautiful weather. I returned to the lake and took this photo which I really like.


It seems connected to what I had felt in the tea house but I can't express what that connection is.

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