I bombed through Turkey on my way to KIraq since I figured I would be coming back the same way and could check out things then. I spent my last night in Turkey in the border town of Silopi. It’s a border town and thats about all that can be said for it. Except for two things- the great people and the terrible power grid. In Turkey the further Southeast you go the further back in time you seem to travel- kind of cool and kind of annoying at the same time. On my way to dinner the power went out and except for the half-dozen or so military bases around, headlights, and gas lamps the whole town went dark. This ended up leaving me with great memories about a town I would have otherwise dismissed as something simply to get through. The restaurants cooked by charcoal so kept on going, but added a gas lamp or two to eat by. The feeble glow of these lamps caused everyone to gather around the tables and I was instantly in a ‘conversation’ of broken english/french and pantomime with the locals. I’m not really one for these kinds of situations, but I just couldn’t help by enjoy myself. It was my first taste of the Kurdish people, their hospitality, and their amazing spirit.
On the dark walk home I saw a child doing what I assume was his homework by candlelight. For me it caught the mood of the place and of the Kurdish people.
Early the next morning I headed out to the border. As many of you know, I’m not really one for planning on this trip, so I really had no clue what to expect at the border- would I need a Carnet? Advanced permission for the bike? Petrol purchase permit for a foreign vehicle? Special insurance? The list was endless and I could answer one question- I knew a person walking across as a tourist could get a free 10 day visa at the border. Going to an Iraqi border crossing without a clue what to expect was a strange feeling.
As it turns out, the only difference for me and border guards waiting for me, was I knew I was riding toward them.