May 15 – Scenery and Religion

I decide to head into Sinop and see if I can find a fuel canister for my stove and with some help from a local, get led to a shop that miraculously has what I’m looking for.

I quickly head east for a long drive up the Black Sea coast to Trabzon, about an 8 hr ride. The Black Sea is anything but its namesake; it reminds me of the California coast in many spots with the road winding up the coastline through one small town after the other. It was really a spectacular drive – a bit of a yawn on the newly paved highway, but nevertheless, really pretty.

I stop for fuel in a small town and am greeted by a man who is interested in the bike and speaks very little English. He takes me to his sisters restaurant on the water and orders me a buttery pasta dish. Albeit a bit heavy, it was a really nice gesture and experience.

Only 2 days out of the city and everyone I come in contact with is extremely helpful. Ever time I stop by the bike, a crown draws around and people do whatever they can to help; it’s tea at gas stations, leading me to the market, lunch, etc. The common theme that almost always seems to come up is religion – obviously Islam. I know very little about general religion and even less about the Islamic faith.  I’m reading a book about Muhammad so I do my best to fit in when needed – when in Rome….

I was having tea at a gas station with 4 gentlemen and one of the men mentions he is a historian (keep in mind this is all done with a Google translation app). Sometime before I left Big Sky, I read that archeologists discovered remnants of man dating back 400,000 yrs bc somewhere in Uzbekistan. To share in conversation with the historian, I ask if he knows anything about these findings. He quickly snaps back (in Google translate – but body language says it all) that its not correct, that man comes from Arabia. “Of course” I type out on the app…. Allah is from Arabia. This turns the conversation to the Islamic faith and some questions to me. I show them a couple of Islamic books I have on Kindle (one of which my Muslim friends from Istanbul gave me), along with a downloaded version of Koran for Dummies and all is good again. There’s a lot of smiles and handshaking, I am clearly one of the group again and I’m served another tea.

What I’ve learned so far in Turkey…..the Turkish really like to be complimented on their beautiful country, and whenever in a pinch, make a reference to the “7 Hills – birthplace of Muhammad?” to smooth things over.

2nd day of no photos – I’ll do better tomorrow.

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