Helsinki

The ride from Riga to Tallinn was warm, -ish. It was a beautiful day and the sun was shining brightly in our hearts as well as in the sky. The Tuk Tuk was working perfectly and the kilometres we diminishing quickly. Our dear friends had bought us the ticket home on the ferry, so all we needed was a place to stay for the final night.

We drove to a cafe in the centre of town to finish off work and use our contacts to find a nightspot. We stayed there for nearly 6 hours waiting for answers, because the thought of having to sleep in the tent for the last night sent shivers down our backs.

Just before we logged out to go pitch the tent we got a message from a friend saying, there’s a crazy Armenian sculpture artist that has his gate open for us. A stroke of luck, and the last night could not have been any better.

Upon entering his home we could already feel and see that he is a true artist. His way of being, talking, and looking at things was just amazingly inspiring. The conversation in 3 languages kept going for hours as the unforgettable bonding experience gave us a taste of Armenia.

Armenian

We didn’t get the chance to think about it being the last night, which was great, and Juho’s hope to experience a little Caucasia came true. All I can say is that I definitely got a new found desire to go see Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.

We nearly missed the ferry the next morning because our clocks were an hour wrong, but thankfully our dear friend Alex came to Tallinn to meet us. In the morning he sent us a message asking why we’re not at the place we’re supposed to be meeting him, and saved us from screwing up the final meters of our journey.

tallinnan satamassa

Darralautta, the hangover ferry. This is an experience that cannot be obtained anywhere else in the world. It has an atmosphere of depression and sorrow, suicidal tango playing in the background, and everyone is in a let-me-silently-kill-myself-in-my-mind-while-I-stare-into-nothingness hangover. This phenomenon cannot be explained, it truly has to be experienced.

It brought us down to earth from wherever it was that we were, as we too sat there staring out the windows wondering where we had come. 17,000 Km, 15 countries, and an infinite number of learned things. We started off with nothing, without any idea what we were getting ourselves into, and we’re still not quite sure what we are doing or what we’ve actually learned or even achieved. In the end it was all worth it though, whatever happens, because we succeeded in doing something good that we believed possible.

As the ferry ramp started to open up we could see the blue sky above Helsinki. We started the engine and waited for the cars to leave, and as us trucks were allowed to go, went the wrong way. Being nicely guided in the right way, we were ready to set foot back onto Finnish soil having some kind of direction in our lives.

We arrived to a group of people behind a fence with banners, flags, and the largest smiles on each of their faces. We stopped and smiled, and took some photos. Soon we were guided again into the right direction because we were accidentally going out from the entry lane, and apparently that’s not allowed.

Customs didn’t know what to do with the tuk tuk since it’s not anything in Finland, so they decided to accept Finland’s very first Thai tuk tuk to roam about and bring joy to their fellow people.

Finale

Since then it has been cleared by customs, given a temporary registraton plate, and is now officially in Finland. The police have even informed each other that there is a new vehicle roaming around the streets with papers checked, and there’s no reason to stop it, unless it’s doing something wrong.

But we prefer to do things right. Next week we will use whatever money we can scavenge, to make the first batch of what we think is a start to true Finnish street food. Finnish law forbids us to sell it, and we’re not gonna let it stop us, so we will give it away for free. Finally a taste of what we’ve learnt.

For those who enjoy reading our writing, the blog will be moving to our own website, www.tuktuktravellers.com. We will inform about blog posts on our facebook page, www.facebook.com/tuktuktravellers

This adventure is still only at its beginning. During this upcoming rest period, we will actually learn what we learned, and we finally have the chance to dive head first into food. Afterthoughts, theories, and all the other nonsense will come in there as well, so not to worry.

To be truthful, we don’t even know what’s coming out. All we know is that it’ll be damn good, because we’ll do it the best we can. Don’t be expecting too many straight forward recipes because that’s not what making food is about. It might be more fruitful instead to not have any expectations at all. With us you never really know what you’re gonna get, but if you have faith and trust, we will do our best to exceed those expectations.

Idiots, madmen, or geniuses?

There’s a fine line between being a madman and being a genius. Many times they coexist, and the line doesn’t even make sense. Maybe it’s the idiots who think there are lines or borders or barriers or setbacks, or then geniuses tell people that they exist, or then we’re all just madmen and madwomen thinking that we cannot do anything about them.

Last week we thought we were idiots by taking off the carburettor to clean it and making our tuk tuk not start. Our idiocy though turned out to be geniousy, because all it needed was a little starter fluid. Whatever we fiddled about with the carburettor worked like a charm and our fuel consumption went down, the engine roars nicely once again, and our speed increased back to normal. Then the alternator stopped working.

Pyry pihoissa

This meant our battery was dead and whenever we had to turn off the motor, we needed cables to start it up again. Of course this is when the police stopped us for the first time in Europe for a routine check and tells us to turn off the motor.

They almost gave us a ticket cause they didn’t quite know what to do, but when they called their superior, he took out his camera, took some photos with us, and wished us luck for the final part of our journey. We didn’t want to ask them for cables so we packed our stuff slowly and gave them time to leave before figuring out what to do.

Our battery was completely out of juice and we were stuck, for maybe 10 seconds. A team of mechanics and racers suddenly pulled over to take photos with us and of course they had a look at our machine.

The super crew enlightened us that the problem indeed was the alternator, so they charged our battery for us and gave us tips on how to make it last. That night we went into MacGyver mode once again and managed to fix the alternator with a paperclip and bubble gum. In this case the paperclip means a screwdriver, and bubblegum means sandpaper.

We continued north into the ever colder weather adding more and more clothes to shield our sensitive skin. We had to MacGyver numerous wind barriers for the one at the back because the wind chill factor is absolutely crazy in the cold autumn rain.

Every so often we had to stop to fix problems if the going got too comfortable. We changed engine oil, gearbox oil, fixed the ripped plastic roof cover, punctured a tyre, blew fuses, had electrical problems and managed to make 4th gear not work. The closer we get the more difficult it seemed to become.

We fought through the frustration with Juho cooling his nerves in the back and Pyry driving in 3rd at 40km/h. Suddenly Pyry sprung out in song with Queens We are the Champions flailing about the Lithuanian fields, and something happened. After 2 hours of hundreds of cars and trucks passing by, Pyry gave one more try on the stick. Fourth gear popped in and oh the joy. Freddy Mercury was nothing compared to Pyry for the next few miles singing with the biggest smile on his face and beard flapping about from the wind once again.

We managed to drive all the way to Riga for the night and we are so glad about that. The freezing nights in the tent we’re draining our energy and our bones desperately needed some warmth.

Tuk Tuk pihalla rigassa

This is our final stop before driving the final 306km to Tallinn, which is so close. Then all we need to do is figure out how to get ourselves on the ferry with our empty pockets.

Hungarian Hospitality

We now have enough money to get to Lithuania, if we only use it on petrol. This is not the best of situations when thinking about it in a normal mindset, but luckily we are not normal people. We are circus artists and we welcome strange and twisted situations that need a little creativity, and lots of trust.

Being broke is nothing unsual for us and we’ve become quite good at finding the nicest of people to aid us on our journey. We are now in Eger, the epicentre of red wine perfection, and we may have found some of the nicest people yet.

Here in Eger, there is a hotel called Hotel Korona. They have been following our project for a good while now and I guess they sympathise our situation. We were offered a place to sleep with food, drinks, and a massage for a few days so that we could bathe ourselves clean again, and rest while figuring out a plan home. All without cost.

Along with the hot showers, the soft comfy beds, the wellness center and the wine tasting, the best parts about the place are the fantastic food and the sauna. Since Thailand, Delhi was the only place we managed to get into the sweatbox and we’ve used every chance we could get to dehydrate ourselves in the sauna before stuffing our faces with with traditional Hungarian dishes and trying out all the wonderful wines that this place is known for. Hungarian wines truly are something different, and they never come with a hangover.

This place even has catacombs with a wine museum filled with the nicest wines and some really really old bottles that would be so nice to try if they happened to be good after being bottled up for nearly a hundred years.

viinikellari

We’ve stayed here 3 nights catching up on all the work we haven’t had a chance to do in the tent, but unfortunately now all of this luxury stops once again. We need to head off through Slovakia into Poland because every day the weather gets colder, and it gets more and more difficult to start our beloved band wagon.

Andre our mechanic in Debrecen mentioned that cleaning the carburettor might help, but it’s a difficult job and the settings are fragile. Of course we were idiots thinking we could clean what we can from the outside without fiddling about with it too much, so after hours of youtube videos, research, and forums, we took off the carburettor for a little clean.

We didn’t fiddle with the settings, but we didn’t get it cleaned much either. We do however know how a carburettor works now, and what function it has in the system so that’s good. We also understand what we should have done to it a long time ago so that now it would work better, but of course learning means making mistakes and we are paying for it now.

Yesterday we reattached everything, correctly hopefully, but it won’t start. We even squirted petrol into the carburettor, hopefully in the right hole, but seems like the battery hasn’t really liked the cold and the damn thing just wont start.

Every single time we get a little bit closer to home, a new problem arises and it’s so frustrating. The good thing is that by the time we get to Finland, we’ll be able to disassemble the whole tuk tuk, put it back together, and understand every single component and its function. All we need to do is try keep up the positive attitude, trust that it will all go well, and hold on for the final few days.

The exhaustion is starting to kick in, but this rest in Eger has really been a perfect moment. Feeling much better, sun is shining, and today is a new day. There’s a big downhill for a proper jump start and let’s hope it does the job.

As for the money, we will exploit our skills on the streets and let our hats and ukulele cases fill up with coins that will hopefully get us all the way home. After all, what’s life without a little excitement.

The Final Leg is On

The border crossing to the European Union was nice and easy on both sides. Bulgaria welcomed us with open arms and we saluted them by throttling full speed ahead, almost.

We tried to speed ahead, but one of our spark plugs was failing and instead of three cylinders we had only two in use. On the first day we managed to drive only 60 km, but on the positive side we met some nice mechanics who had some sheep in their garage and they invited us for a fiesta the next day. The offer was tempting, but we decided to move on and it turned out to be a good choice because in Bulgaria and Europe, winter is coming.

We put up our hammocks under a roof type shack thing next to a graveyard and fell asleep thinking it was a good idea. The ghosts were fine, but the Mediterranean wasn’t warming us anymore. It was the first frost and we nearly froze to death.

On saturday we continued our way towards Romania and after the long cold start, the tuk tuk performed nicely. We managed to get all the way to the Romanian border in one day. This time we were wiser and pitched up a tent because the hammocks don’t keep in any of the warmth.

neukkuleiri

Our camp was next to an old soviet era factory where the atmosphere was one of a kind. We felled asleep hoping to visit Bulgaria again someday because we didn’t have a chance to really experience all the beauty we encountered.

As Sunday came, we woke up in middle of the mist. Winter may be coming, but fall is already here. It was beautiful not only with the fog, but also the chill, the colours, the fragrances, and everything that makes fall fall. After spending the last 9 months in the tropics or the desert, it really felt refreshing to experience autumn once again.

BulgRomanAamu

Romania went like Bulgaria, way too fast. It was beautiful, the people were joyful and stylish, and we would have wanted to stop at every market place we encountered. We’d have like to stay longer, but the first snow has already fallen in Finland.

Our aim was to get all the way to Eger on Sunday, but our Tuk Tuk chose otherwise, and once again it knew better than we did. It happened at sunset, I was pulling off the road to change driver for the final leg and the gear got stuck at 4th. We tried to check it out ourselves, but soon realised that the gearbox had to be opened, and we didn’t have tools for doing it ourselves. That night we slept on the lawn of a gas station, and in the morning we drove the Tuk Tuk to the mechanic.

The mechanic opened up the gearbox and found one of the synchronisers had cracked. Luckily a spare was found in the city from a Suzuki gearbox, and quickly showing it to the tools in the metal workshop it fit like a glove. It took 24 hours to fix, which meant we had time in Debrecen that evening.

By chance a man called Mark came into the shop and he asked if we wanted a shower. He lived close by and we hadn’t showered for days, so we accepted the offer this time. He then showed us around town, hosted us for the night, and we made really nice food and drunk ourselves silly with Hungarian Palinka, Wine, and the Blueberry liquor and Martinis that our mechanic Andrei brought with him. It was so nice of him to join the party, because like always, all our mechanics have been the coolest guys there are.

The next morning we had to wake up at 5 am because Mark left for Budapest, so we walked around in the rain and found a nice shelter where we played the Ukuleles and sang to keep ourselves warm. Once the cafe opened, we had breakfast and checked our bank balance to make sure we can get home. Fourteen Euros in the bank, and 200USD dollars and a 50€ note in our pocket. That’s fuel for about Latvia, and the mechanic hadn’t been payed yet.

So close, but yet so far…

Back In Business

The holiday is over. Thats how I felt on Wednesday after sitting 8 hours in the miserable Edirne Otogar. Grey weather, cold wind and absolutely no idea for how long I should wait there.

My flight arrived in Atatürk Airport in Istanbul at 4.55 a.m. and I felt extremely tired after not sleeping at all in the plane due my stomach. The holiday was perfect, stomach not. Change from Asian diet to the most western part of Europe was a little bit too much and most of the two weeks I ended up shitting water. I’m quite used to sitting on the toilet by now, but two weeks of not keeping it inside really takes the energy out of you.

That was the worst part about waiting for Pyry, being too exhausted to rise up from the bench to go anywhere else except the toilet. One lira a shot, I was the best customer the toilet owner could imagine.

Edirne is at the border, 20 km to the Bulgarian crossing, and 5 km to the Greek crossing. Pyry had screwed his telephone so there was no way of contacting him. On Tuesday we had agreed on Skype to meet at the Edirne bus station from midday and onwards at even hours. It was like in my teenage years, waiting at some strange bus station that somebody might end up there.

It was somewhat soothing, sitting hour after hour, swimming in memories just to run to the toilet when the urge came. Even the weather reminded me of my teenage years, cold, windy and grey.

The sun started to set and Pyry was still not around, I had checked the abandoned house close to the bus station and went to have dinner before setting my camp over there. Then i saw everybody staring at something, the tuk tuk had arrived. Pyry joined me at the restaurant and there was much rejoicing.

juho otogar

He had problems getting out of Canakkale and it had slowed him down. The night was setting so we headed to find a place to camp for the night. It didn’t take too long. We put up our tent next to a harvested cornfield that smelled like shit, but on the other hand, so did I. That night I slept like a log, if logs really do sleep deep unconscious sleep. Pyry did not, as I snored like a log timbered with a 70 cc chainsaw.

telttatuk

At the morning we discussed should we leave or should we go. We decided to find a hotel and stay for one more night in Turkey. I was exhausted and we wanted to finish everything else so we could focus on driving for the last leg.

After a small search we found a place. Green Apartments ended up being cheap, friendly and it has it’s own kitchen and a garden where we picked some tomatoes and peppers for dinner, just perfect.

Now it’s Friday morning. Yesterday we finished some videos from India and Pakistan, and got prepared for the journey. Today we will cross the border to Bulgaria.

It’s time to get home.

Olives and Oil

I spent a few days in a town called Urla, about 30 Km into the peninsula from Irmir. I stayed with two beautiful women who own an organic olive ranch that has been passed down for 3 generations. Grandma, whom I came along with really well with only a few common words to share, is the third generation owner if I understood correctly.

I was to stay at the farm the whole time but I really really needed to get my clothes washed and the farm had no washing machine. Sibel nicely took me to her place to wash my clothes and have a shower before spending the evening learning organic turkish recipes and getting to know these two lovely ladies.

I had planned on sharing the recipes with you here, but unfortunately I wrote them down on my phone, which got run over by a car the other day and it doesn’t work anymore. I’ll try to rember some of them, but you should improvise in any case to suit your taste.

The menu:

Stuffed Paprika – Raw rice, tomato, onion, mint, salt and pepper and of course olive oil. Steam until rice is done.

Stuffed Zucchini flowers – Same as above without the onion and pepper.

Tarhana Soup – 1 Tomato glazed in olive oil, 4 cups water, 4 tblsp tarhana mixed in with a little water, salt. Simmer until soup has thickened.

Cacik – Yoghurt, cucumber, mint, salt, and olive oil.

Urlassa

After the delicious food, grandma was ready for something sweet. This family really likes organic and healthy, so the dessert was tahini and concentrated grape that we ate with whole wheat bread. One of my favorite desserts so far.

Before we headed off to the farm the next day, we filled the table with tomatoes, peppers, olives, beautiful home made jams, cheeses, cucumber and of course Çay. I packed my newly washed clothes, had a dip in the sea and we headed off to the farm to spend the day and the evening.

Olive farm

While helping paint a cottage I got to know Sibel better and google translate was not so much needed anymore. I taught her English and she taught me Turkish and it felt as if I’d been there for a long time already. As the sun set we had dinner, which was the earlier nights left overs, some really really nice cheese and great organic red wine. I chose to sleep on the porch of the house in my hammock watching the starlight sky and listening to silence.

The next morning I noticed their knives were in bad shape so before it was time to head off again I offered to sharpen them since I’ve become a bit of a travelling knife sharpener. I also heard that Grandma has had a year long pain in her shoulder, so I gave her a good long healing massage also before I left.

Then everything started going down hill. I went to all the wrong places, got my phone run over, almost ended up spending the night with turkish hillbillies, and in the end ended up spending the night with some turkish gypsies.

The gypsies were nice, but the place was definately not the paradise I’ve gotten accustomed to with smelly sea water and trash everywhere. It is good to be brought back down to reality every once in a while to appreciate paradise again, but it’s never nice to downgrade. The next morning I felt better though, made a whole days food, and drove to Ayvalik.

Ayvalik is known for it’s olive oil, and it has become one of my favorite places in Turkey. It’s insanely easy with the tuk tuk, there’s an island with snorkling and scuba diving, the views are magnificent, and the atmosphere is brilliant. Paradise once again after the different kind of paradise, and not having a phone has been the perfect change for a change.

Oldschoool internet cafeing is great cause here it’s mindblowingly cheap, 3 hours plus a coke cost me 2€ last night, and it makes me meet people. I am sorry that without the phone I cannot post photos at the moment though, but no need to worry, tomorrow Juho comes back and hopefully he still has his phone with him.

Once he’s back, all is well again, and the fantastic duo can once again save the world with their rickety tuk tuk with double the smiles and almost double the facial hair. I saw a photo of Juho’s face on facebook, and it looks like he’s neatened himself up, the traitor.

Gravitational Attraction

For a few years now I have had a possible theory for why we have gravity, and it came to me one day while driving a car in Finland. The root of this theory goes all the way back to my physics lessons in school with ping pong balls and a hairdryer, and my teenage years driving a 125cc motorcycle. Then one day I passed a truck and it all came together.

I’ve driven across Turkey now to a town close to Izmir to stay with two lovely ladies at an organic olive farm, and I will share my adventures with them in the next blog, but for now I’ve gone up and down mountain ranges, over vast flatlands and took a wrong turn once and ended up going through a farm village where they were really surprised to see an Afghan looking bearded guy wearing a topi hat driving a tuk tuk pimped up with colourful Pakistani decorations. The looks on their faces were priceless, and the smiles they gave me warmed up my heart during these cold times.

I’ve been trying to minimise petrol usage by doing two things that will possibly help me explain this gravitational theory of attraction of mine. The first thing I do to make the broken petrol meter stay put is pop the gearbox in neutral whenever I go downhill. On flatlands and uphills I try and find a car, a truck, or a bus that is going at a nice cruising speed for me and stay close behind it. This time there’s no gravitational attraction doing the work, but the vehicle in front creates a bubble of air flow that also creates a sort of attraction. The bigger the vehicle in front, the bigger the pull.

Now my idea for why we have gravitational attraction has to do we this flow. The physics experiment with ping pong balls and a hairdryer shows the same phenomenon that I’ve noticed while passing trucks and buses, that having air flow between two object, they get attracted to each other. I also know that the same phenomenon happens when there is a flow of water between two object.

I started thinking that maybe any two things with some kind of flow between them get attracted to each other. On the planetary scale there are very few things that flow, especially fast enough so it could create some kind of massive ’gravitational attraction’, and if there was something going so fast, the mass of that flow would blow off everything from the surface of the planet.

There is however one thing that does flow very very fast, and it doesn’t blow things off the earth because it has no mass. This thing is called energy, and with energy I mean light, and cosmic radiation.

Light and cosmic radiation flows all the time in all directions as fast as anything can theoretically go, but because it has no mass, the ’pushing’ vector can be completely negated, but its perpendicular vector would still apply because of the flow. This means we’re not flung off the planet from it’s force, but it still creates that attraction towards the earth. In short I think we have gravitational attraction because we have a flow of light and cosmic radiation.

I now realise while writing this that it’s not just a theory for why we have gravitational attraction, but why we have attraction in general. I think we are attracted to things every time there is a flow of energy in between whether it be physical, or spiritual, or whatever.

But now I’ve gone so far off topic that it’s time to get back to breakfast with the ladies.

Squiggly lines

I have a route planned out, which goes mostly by taste, but also a little with the sights, with nightly stops completely up to chance. To save money I’ve decided to camp every time I can, and I’m trying to cook at least 2 of my daily meals myself. Turkey has very nice organic ingredients, and the Tuk Tuk has shown better camping sides than I thought.

A few days ago I looked at the map to find a nice quite place for the night so I opened google maps, went along the coast following my route, and looked for a squiggly line next to the sea that had no towns or villages nearby. I found one that headed south from a small place called Tekirova, and turned my compass that way.

The only risk with doing this is that the map doesn’t say whether the squiggly line is a paved road, a gravel road, or a rocky mountain road that would be better left for a jeep. It turned out to be the latter one, and some kilometres later I thought to myself, ’am I crazy going this far on a tuk tuk?’. Then I thought about my journey from Thailand to Finland, and decided that all journeys I start with a tuk tuk, I’ll finish with a tuk tuk, so I drove deeper and deeper into national park territory.

Halfway I came to a secluded beach and decided this was the perfect place to stop. There was nobody around so this was my time to go skinny dipping during a beatiful sunset. When I came out of the water the moonlight glistened, and I hung up my lamp to start on dinner.

I had bought some food from the shops so I fired up the wok. Note to self, if during the day you remember to buy matches or a lighter because you’re going camping in the middle of nowhere, DON’T FORGET TO DO SO WHEN AT THE SHOPS!

Luckily I saw a small fire on the other end of the beach about 500m away, so I wen’t to ask them for a light. There we’re 3 young guys camping there, and apart from them, nobody. I made my dinner, had some wine, and hung up my hammock inside the tuk tuk and slept like a baby.

The next morning, out of reach of any signals, I decided to rest and soak in the nature.

Turkki Cove

The tuk tuk is at the far end of the beach 😉

It was a windy day so cooking outside was a bit difficult this time. I tried to set up a windshield by hanging my hammock on the side of the tuk tuk, but the wind still kept coming from underneath. I went through different possibilities but none were better than others. Then it hit me.

I closed the rain covers and used the fashionable propeller things to angle the back of the tuk tuk perfectly into the wind. Then I fired up the the gas inside the tuk tuk, cooked myself some rice and a nice omelette.

Tuk tuk kitchen

Then it was time for some skinny dipping again. Oh life.

But when things are perfect on the outside, it’s time to dive deep on the inside. I’ve had the strangest dreams in a long time. They’ve been vivid and surreal, but at the same time cleansing and relaxing. I’d like to elaborate on them, but dreams are dreams, and very difficult to put into to words.

All I can say is that I saw one dream about an electric shock massage thing, kind of like a taser with low voltage, and I was massaging my scalp with it. Next thing I know I found a spot that sent really big shock into my brain and through my whole body and I could still feel it in the morning. The next day all my stress had gone away, and I was in a strange meditative state.

Touring the Taurus

I managed to get the Tuk Tuk out of Mersin International Port a few days back, and this time I had learned a few tricks. Instead of having 5 people pushing the thing back and forth trying to kick start the engine and waiting for the fuel to be sucked into the system, I knew that I could open one small screw, pull off the tube and suck the petrol into the pipes. All it needed was a quick turn of the key and bam, it was screeching like a weasel.

bearings

We hadn’t had time to fix the problem we had just before we shipped our baby from Karachi, which was worn down bearings in the alternator. This made one serpentine belt melt and snap in Pakistan, and I wasn’t going to let it happen again in Turkey. Word of advice, DO NOT KEEP ANY ENGINE ON THAT HAS A FAULTY ALTERNATOR!!

If the alternator doesn’t spin freely, the belt doesn’t spin freely, which means the battery will die out, the cooling system won’t work, and some third important thing will break that I cannot remember. If it goes on for too long you’ll have a busted engine, and that will be much more expensive to fix than changing the bearings on the alternator.

I towed the tuk tuk to the customs clearance office, detached the metal lump, and brought it to the mechanic. He opened it, cleaned it, and fixed it up to be better than new.

mecahnic

I was off in a jiffy speeding over the Taurus Mountains on the coast road that over looks the Mediterranean.

I could see boats and ships heading east, west, and south to Cyprus. I could almost imagine seeing that mystical island of Cyprus because on the map it seems so close, but in reality it’s still so far and I don’t think it’s possible to see even from the mountaintops.

I found a place called Tisan to spend the night and ended up being treated for a fun night of drinking, dancing, music and poetry. The scenery was breathtaking and I got to sleep around 4:30 in the morning. By 8 am I had had a quick dip in the sea and was heading off west again.

Tirsan

In the afternoon I got a clear message from above that lately I’ve had too much Raki, and too little water. The heavens opened up and water poured down on top of me as if the monsoons had finally caught up. In the process of trying to find shelter I got a flat tire, one spark plug wire got loose, and I hurt myself on the nice propeller thing we had put on as a decoration in Pakistan.

None of this was new to me so while driving I reattached the thing that plugs onto the spark plug, stopped to change the punctured tire in the pouring rain, and thought to myself, ’how many times do I have to hurt myself on the propeller thing before I actually learn that it spins very very fast when going 80km/h?’.

In the end I made it to past Alanya to find shelter and sleep. All evening the electricity was off, only at the place where I was staying, and in the morning my mobile phone decided to start lying to me. It gathers it’s info from the net and tells me Alanya time is 8.18 am, even after refreshing. In reality it’s 10.18 am, which means I missed breakfast.

I think Juho is getting ready for a beautiful family feast in Portugal, because they really love their food, and it’s 8.18 am there.

Cezerye

For three days I have been dealing with the Turkish customs to get all the paperwork to look like what they are supposed to with their signatures and stamps, so that those papers can be placed with ease of mind in their corresponding files and left on the shelves to gather dust. The offices are filled with piles and piles of papers that in the end are archived somewhere for the future.

I’m not quite sure what is happening because the customs clearance agent speaks no English, no-one at the customs speaks English, and all conversations I’ve had with people while waiting have been really enjoyable, but I’ve had no idea what I’ve conversed since there’s been no common language. I think I am waiting for the tuk tuk to be taken through the x-ray machine.

The great thing about the last three days is that the co-worker of the customs clearing agent actually does speak English, and we have become friends. He has shown me around Mersin and taught me about the local food and culture. He’s shown me pictures of all the beautiful places in Turkey that would be wonderful to visit of which most I’ll probably miss since I can’t have everything.

We’ve been to luscious meat houses, kebab places, drank Schalgam, which is a black carrot juice type drink, Raki, the local spirit made from anis, and learned about a nice Turkish Delight called Cezerye. The thought has never crossed my mind that a sweet dessert could be made from carrots, but it can, and it’s delicious, and looking at the amount of sugar that goes into it it’s not even that sweet.

Cezerye

Juho is the producer and usually handles paperwork, but he’s not here so I’ve been bobbing around not knowing what to do once again making people come up with creative ways of getting exceptions to most rules. I think people are enjoying doing something different to their everyday procedures because they smile, but who knows.

As a foreigner importing and exporting is always a little bit tricky, but it goes to show that everything is possible. There’s always a way of ’bending the rules’ to make things happen, and that’s what makes it interesting.

One thing that is really difficult to bend though, is a compulsory green card insurance that expired yesterday. This means that I get the tuk tuk tomorrow, after buying a new one from a local insurance company.

Tuk Tuk kontti mersin

While I wait, I might go and taste some nice Baklava or Kunefe from two places that I heard make them really nice and for those of you who wish to try and make Cezerye at home, here is the recipe.

Feeds 6, and it was translated from Turkish so I hope it’s what it’s supposed to be.

4 Carrots
3 Glasses of Sugar
1 Glass of Water
1 Spoon of Flour
1 Spoon of Starch
1 Glass of Nuts
2 Glasses of Walnuts

Garnish:
6-7 Walnuts
1 Spoon of Coconut

Clean the carrots and grate them. Put sugar, water and carrots in saucepan and mix and cook them for 15 minutes. Add flour and starch in saucepan and cook them 5 minutes more. Add tiny nuts and walnuts (I’m guessing tiny means crushed) in saucepan and mix the saucepan. Cook a couple on minutes and take the saucepan. Heat the inside of bowl. Put the mixed stuff in bowl and put it in refrigerator for 2-3 hours.

Nuts can be whatever nuts, the ones in the picture has pistachios as garnish. To my understanding a glass is 250 ml and a spoon is probably a tablespoon. Try it out and perfect it and don’t be afraid to make a mistake. Recipes are more like guidelines anyway.