Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Officially in the West

One of the best things about travelling by bicycle is that you see all the 'ın-between' places. You know when you're driving along at 120km/h and a watermelon stand whizzes past you and you see the faint blurred outline of the young watermelon seller and his three mates?

On a bicycle you spot them a couple hundred metres away, and they spot you and for a good couple of minutes they look you up and down as you climb to the top of the hill where the stand is (watermelon stands are almost exclusively positioned at the tops of large hills...) and when you get there they usually call out to you in a language you don't understand to stop and pick up a melon. And if you choose to stop and partake in a melon (much better to eat it on the spot, melons weren't made to be carried on bicycles), you inevitably get caught up in a sign language conversation that attempts to cross cultural and linguistic barriers but usually doesn't get much further than 'where are you from, where are you goıng, how old are you, are you married'. You get to experience the interaction between the seller and his three mates the way the young watermelon man talks too loud and sprays saliva all over your melon as he talks and slices it up the way his friends make fun of him and each other the same way we would back home. Also on a bicycle you often get a discount -for being on a bicycle.

The point is, everything happens slower by bike. So the gradual changes from area to area and country to country are a little more evident. So when I got off the plane in Istanbul, I was sudenly aware of big changes.

F.Y. and I have clearly arrived in the West. Cities are bigger and more organised, roads are better (it's not all bad!), people are a little more intraverted, prices are far more expensive and the quality of everything is better!

India Arie once wrote that 'the only thing constant in the world is change'. Clearly she must have been on a bicycle ride at the time.

No comments: