My last hours in Turkey were with my friend, Serhat. He works for a welding company and travels all over the Middle East to do business. I can listen to his stories for hours about the ins and outs of dealing with each country. One of the projects they do is welding on big oil pipelines in Saudi Arabia in the middle of summer. Can you imagine welding in the summer in Saudi, protective clothing as well? It pays 3000 euros a month, a fortune for the workers that do it, yet the only nationality that can handle it are Pakistanis for some reason. No one else can do it.
He has a contact who still claims he can get me into Iran. I was hoping to get a business visa posing as an American sales representative for a Turkish welding company just for the sheer absurdity of it, but it will have to be through a different way.
We went to Tuzla, the most distant eastern suburb by the sea for some kofte (meatballs) and to stroll around with his dad. Between the two of them they can’t walk three steps without saying hello to someone or having people stand at attention as dad is a big shot in the community. It was something to see. Two motorcycle cops packing heat stopped what they were doing to come over and shake hands. Tuzla has a nice gentle atmosphere that feels out of place in a gigantic city of 12 million or so.
Flying out tonight from Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen airport, recently remodeled by the Malaysians who know how to make a sleek airport. I will sleep in the Muenster/Osnabrueck airport tonight, inshallah. It is quite small and dead, yet it has more last minute travel agencies than it has flights in a day.
Then the plan is to try and hitchhike to Paris in one day. It won’t be easy, and I will be dead tired. We’ll see what happens…
I can’t sleep. I wake up at 5:30 or 6am no matter what time I go to bed.