About two months ago, we were sat on a train, embarking onto a new adventure in south east Turkey, and to be honest, that was one of the weirdest train ride I’ve ever had. We thought it would be good to finally check out the old Turkish trains, and it was also much cheaper that taking the bus but longer – yes they really are old. It was still Ramadan at that point so we had stocked up on loads of food to break our fast on the train, and off we were to Malatya, our first stop.
For some reason, there were mostly old people on the train and we clearly stood out, with everyone stopping to ask us where we were from and where we were heading to every five minutes. Okay, I’m probably exaggerating but we did get ‘interrogated’ quite a lot. Sat (un)comfortably, we were eagerly waiting for when we good break our fast – we were starving by then. We started our preps making out cucumber and cheese salad, with curious looks from everyone around, especially from the wrinkly old man, probably around 80 years old who was sat right next to us. He didn’t seem to have brought much food with him except for a bottle of water and some bread so we packed him a little something and handed it to him. Which he eagerly accepted except for the olives which he gave back – he clearly was used to the fresh yummy olives rather than the off-the-shelf ones we had. A brief and short chat later, we learned that he had been a soldier in the war and so he could travel to anywhere on national transport for free. No wonder there were so many old people on the train, since inter-city buses are all privately owned.
We got quite an audience from the little people when we started watching films on my iPad mini which isn’t that big for even two people to begin with. They urged us to turn the volume up, which for one wouldn’t have made any difference since the film was in English and they spoke none of it. L. even got ‘assaulted’ with sunflower seeds at some point – they were obviously displeased. Or bored. Or both. No one were really big on etiquette and properness, especially the old lady in front of us who just wouldn’t stop yawning as loud as she could.
When we finally got off at Malatya 14 hours, I was happy to be off that train although it probably wasn’t as horrible as it sounded. I just laugh when I think about it now – still getting used to Turkey even after a year of living here. The next time I’m getting on a train – yes I’ll be getting on one again – I’ll be much more prepared. Earplugs and a travel pillow.