Q, Casa and I arrived safely in the Netherlands a week ago, and that marked the end of first segment of our big trip - hooray! (Separate posting with map to follow.)
Looking back at our postings so far, I can see how we tried to pick out positive stories and focus on enjoyable bits – probably to keep up our own spirits first and foremost. To be fair, it is a bit misleading if we have been painting nothing but rosy pictures. The truth is that our travelling was quite smelly, dirty, itchy, heavy and, well, hard.
I recall back in Bandar Abbas, Iran, at the very beginning of our big trip, I sat in a small and stuffy hotel room, counting out the mosquito bites from previous night's ferry ride - 9, no, 10, wait, that was a double? I had to do it a couples times to confirm since the construction noise next door kept on distracting me - apparently it is okay for hotels to open for business when half of it is still being built.
The total bite count was 10 - I did a quick math in my head about how this would turn into a pretty disastrous situation should it continue, and the thought scared and depressed me a little. Then I realized the discomfort around my belly and back and neck weren't caused by insect bites after all. It was heat rash – painful and itchy red patches all over. Of course this would happen if you wear the same sweat-soaked clothes with 8 kg of motorcycle gears in 40+ degrees for two days – DUH! A moment of stupidity later, I felt a sudden panic – this was from only two days, how would I manage more? "Ugh, check this out," I cried to Q, "My body is telling us to get outta this region." No response from Q. I turned around and saw him passed out in bed from sheer tiredness.
In the following few days we tried to head up north as quickly as possible to beat the heat. Unfortunately the frequent military checkpoints made it rather difficult – I calculated that there were about four of them to each gas station we come across.
Because of the heat, we often got exhausted by midday and needed to pull off the roads for a nap. To find a shady spot to nap is hard since trees were hard to come by also because of the heat.
The first day we headed in Turkey, we welcomed a thunderstorm in our dry and cool hotel room. Like little kids, Q and I were so giddy and excited about it. We probably wouldn’t be as enthusiastic had we known that the same thunderstorm would follow us for most of Turkey. :)
There you have it, our travelling was far from glamorous. In fact it is pretty darn hard at times. Luckily even the worst parts somehow make good stories after a while. Just like life.