Nesfe Jahan, pt 43

28 October 2010

Final day here.

When I come down the stairs, I do a double take. The manager is there, standing straight as an arrow. Hand extended in Nazi salute, two fingers under his nose. I lose it, shout “WHAT THE FUCK???!!” before I’m myself again. He breaks out laughing, stroking my shoulder, pantomiming eyes, beard, and hair. “Hitler!”. I run into the cafeteria, quickly grabbing the nearest passable English speaker I can find. Well the only one. “Tell him half my family was killed because of that man, tamam?”. Big exagerration. But I can’t let this slide. Not now, not here. After the tranlation, the manager breaks out laughing, rapping on my shoulder. “He says it’s just a joke, you’re way too serious”.“Tell him how he would like if I tell him he looks like an Armnian”. “I can’t do that! That’s highly insulting to him. Armenians are killers, they committed genocide. Don’t you know this?”.

At the governor’s office.

“Ah, you come. We all heard there is a German tourist visiting. Why are you here?” “I’m just a Belgian tourist, on my way to Iran. I was in Hasankeyf, and it seemed like a good place to stop on the way to the border” Lying is sometimes easier. Being stupid is a perfectly valid excuse in the whole world. “Are you from Guclukonak?” “No, I’m from Mus” Of course. 200 kilomers tops, 6 hours at least. Mus to Guclukonak is as Italy to Albania.

“you, where?” “Belgika” “Ah, Alleman!” “No, not Germany. belgika!” “Baba Alleman, Mama Hollanda?” “NO! Baba Nelgica, Mama Belgika, me Belgika, pasaport Belgica! Tamam?” “Ah! You, marihuana?” “NO” “Extasy? Cocaine? Heroin?” “NO! You problem????” “Hehe. You turkish sex? Teacher fuck?”

“He says there is no problem if you leave tomorrow.”

Today, I didn’t go to school and I just walked around to the next villages. Boyuncuk. Damlabasi, not to be confused with Tarlabasi. About 200 people live there. I visit the school, and I’m very happy to see three modern computers there. My story here is really a story about the education system here. Partly because I am hosted here at the teacher’s house. But partly because the education system is a driving economical force here. Local teachers here support a big, big family There is police, electricity for sure. Mimibus and small shops. But nothing goes out. There is farming, but the land seems quite poor, and the individual farms very small. My father is right, the main source of income is probably money transfer from Germany, Belgium,… The army doesn’t count, the only interaction they have with the region is delays on the road, and some clenched buttcheeks. I doubt they employ local people in calm times like these, but I could be wrong. There’s a lot more to say about the army, but this is the time nor place.

Now, it stops. This is not my story anymore, not since Tuesday. Although I do have friends here, I’m probably doing more bad than good. It’s time to stop gonzo, I can benefit more from some hindsight at this moment. Next stop Iran, with maybe a quick grab of nature by lake Van. One thing I know for sure. When I close the sliding door of that minibus, and as soon as it starts moving, all of this immediacy will be gone. After one or two hours, I will be with my mind on the road ahead. It’s not something that is automatic for me, I had to learn it. But it’s the one advantage about traveling. It’s easy to run away.