It's life Jim, but not as we know it!

Published: April 24th 2018
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We finally get a lie in this morning and yay it coincides with me getting a room to myself in a nice hotel. I have another shower, just because I can and luxuriate in my massive, comfortable bed. When we do set off I'm glad to be leaving this odd little town behind. I feel like there's a whole lot we didn't get to know about this place, but that might just be my perceptions. As we carry on our journey we are moving through the mountains still, but as usual with Intrepid they have thought of everything and give us something to take a look at to break up our journey to Kahta. We stop at a waterfall. Some in my group didn't get to see the waterfall near Antalya so this is a first in Turkey for them. There are again cafes and shops (closed at this time of year) but we still make our way down to the cliff face to watch the water cascading over the edge.There are some funny 'do this, don't do that' type signs which I've put into google translate and come up with the following phrases:

'Thank you for your patience.'

'There is a charge to picnic in this area.'

'Pick up the coins in the box.'

And the wonderfully enigmatic... 'Do not press the lumps.'

As we carry on our journey we are still in the mountainous area, but it's a lot more lush and green with some flatter areas every so often supporting small farms with crops. I also see pollarded trees and drystone walls. In this area chickpeas and tobacco are the staples for farmers to grow. Our driver lives here and Burak jokes with him that if the homestay we are going to is full we can always stay at his place instead. We learn that similar to many other countries the dialect changes and in different parts of the country and in this more Eastern region of Turkey is really quite strong with many words that Burak doesn't know what they mean.

Finally we arrive at the homestay in the little village of Kahta and all troupe into our host's house. The main part of the house is on the first floor, the ground floor housing a cow and its calf and some outbuildings. We have to remove our shoes first and then find ourselves in a room with virtually no furniture in it just some rugs and carpets covering the floor and one settee in the corner. The other rooms in the house are just the same. Minimalism gone to the extreme, but this is just the way they live. We meet the family. There's the grandfather who seems fascinated by all the places in the world we all come from. We can't help but meet the youngest child, a little girl called Fatma who after initial shyness is overcome with cheekiness and a desire to be with first Burak and then the younger women in our group. She's not at all interested in us oldies, maybe because she senses we wouldn't put up with the same naughtiness the younger women in our group are letting her get away with. They actively encourage it and when she doesn't lose a single iota of energy later in the evening I can see some of them are regretting all that making friends stuff as she's like the Duracell bunny, never ending! We have quite a bit of sitting around doing not a lot before being taken for a trip around the fields on the back of a tractor trailer. It reminds me of being on Bardsey Island and I'm all nostalgic for that fabulous time of my life. Sigh. We are joined now by the older boys, brother to Fatma who have arrived home from school. They are all reveling in being the family that is looking after the strange foreigners. Loads of children come out of their homes to meet us as do some of the women who are friends with our hosts. We get to pick unripe green apricots from the tree, these bitter fruits being a moorish snack for some or a minging bitter tooth breaker for others! I spot an old mattress by the side of one of the fields and wonder if apricot farming is seemingly a bit of a doddle. We pass some fields with people working, turning the soil over with mattocks and planting onion bulbs. The heavy breasted women are sitting on the soil to work and seem really happy to meet us. We arrive back at the homestay and some of us sit reading while the sun goes down, others help the host's wife make the evening meal and others wind up Fatma to a sugar rush state of excitement. If I'm honest I'm a little bored with all the sitting around in an empty, minimalist house and am relieved when dinner is served. We set up a 'table cloth' on the floor and spread out plates and cutlery along with lots of bowls of food with bread, vegetables and I think the others get some chicken. It's pretty good. We then pull out little mattresses and bedding that apparently isn't just used for groups like ours but for big family gatherings and set up beds on the floor in the three rooms of the house. I'm surprised to actually sleep quite well despite having to take my usual trips to the toilet during the night, this time using a squat toilet and trying to be quiet opening doors and not standing on prostrate sleepers.

In the morning it's a slow start as we make up the bedding and wait for breakfast to be served. Thankfully one of the girls in our group is a natural with kids despite not yet having any of her own and calmly holds Fatma without all the winding up malarky. She'll make a lovely mum when the time comes.

When it's time to go we pretend to steal Fatma, her mum and dad waving her off in the minibus with us. Really we are just turning around at the top of the track. We wave goodbye to our host family and the cute little village of Kahta.

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