I have had inklings for a while that there were cheaper rooms (less than NZ$10) at most of the hotels that I have stayed at so far in Turkey, so last night I inquired if there was anything cheaper. I was shown a 5 bed dorm room, which is perfectly OK for me, for NZ$7.
It turned out that the four others sleeping in the same dorm room were Kurdish builders, staying in Refahiye for five days to do some work on new apartment buildings being built in the town. One of them was Ilhami, a carpenter who spoke fairly good English. He invited me to the builders’ headquarters for breakfast along with the other builders.
The HQ was a three minute drive from the hotel, so we all piled into his Renault diesel car. The car obviously disliked being woken up so early on a cold morning, needing some persistent turn overs to get the engine to fire into life.
The HQ was a well built canvas tent next to the building site. The rest of the crew had already finished breakfast, so we got stuck into the remaining food. Fresh bread heated on the coal fueled pot belly stove, black olives, soft cheese, hazelnut spread, honey, and plenty of tea. Thank you very much guys!
Ilhami later showed me his work on the buildings.
The kindness and generosity of these Kurds went in complete contrast to what every Turk that I have met has told me about these people. The Turks apparently greatly dislike the Kurds, and even the very nice owner of a restaurant in Posof in eastern Turkey said that the Kurds are unwanted and certainly not needed in Turkey. It appears that the Kurds are one of the biggest ethnic groups of people on the globe that do not have a nation state of their own. According to that Wikipedia article link above, the Kurds have fought Turkey, among other nations, for recognition. Must be where all the anti-Kurd sentiment is coming from in Turkey I guess…
The rest of the day here was spent updating the website, and checking up on the progress of other blogging cyclists on my links page.
Tomorrow I head north west towards Amashye.
I leave you with an image that I far too frequently see here in Turkey. I have seen more of these in Turkey than in any other country. It makes my stomach churn to see a man’s best friend like this.