The change took place at night. I don’t know where exactly, I was asleep. I wouldn’t be able to see it in the darkness anyway.
From Pamukkale to the Iranian border I’ve been taking buses. I’m running away from winter. I take a break in Cappadocia while waiting for my Iranian visa. I spend endless hours on bus stations, I sleep on night buses. I teleport from town to town and I stop belonging to places that I visit. I’m detached from the surrounding space, from the feeling of continuity that cycling provides. I’m a stranger everywhere. I and my belongings are spat out by a bus and I become a curiosity to the locals. I’m somewhere for a while and then I’m taken away by yet another vehicle. But meanwhile, maybe between a snow storm and a night stop of the coach, I entered the East.
When I woke up in the morning, it turned out that modern, guarded estates and snow-white Audis are gone. Cold wind blew away elegant shop windows and women without scarves. Streets became narrower and sidewalks got shattered. Number of street dogs grew. Pastry shops became cheaper.
In Dogubayazit at seven o’clock in the morning there are black clouds of smoke coming out of the chimneys of some blocks of flats. Morning traffic begins. Ramshackle cars and yellow taxis start circulating. Street vendors and kids walk the streets. You can see men, mainly. They wear dark jackets and worn out shoes and try not to slip on icy streets. Someone offers me warm socks at a good price. Shops are cramped and slapdash. You can buy beans and lentils from big burlap bags. Near the town there are some village homes. They can barely be seen from under the thick snow. Built from concrete blocks, they look like shacks. There is snow-covered wilderness all around. And Mount Ararat. It doesn’t seem so high from here.
And some 30 km away there is a completely different land. That’s where I’m heading in search of some warmth.