On two consecutive nights in Ducze and it's eastwards mountains, we had the pleasure of two utterly different but equally hospitable and last minute hosts: Alican and Alladin. Alican was found on Warmshowers and as much as anyone I've met on this journey I felt he was cut from the same cloth and by the same tailor. We arrive at his fourth generation family restauraunt (since 1933) and find a handsome man ceaselessly emitting good energy, awareness and enthusiasm (I try to emulate this). The uniquely delicious meal was worthy of the memory of his restaurateur forefathers. Later drinking beers round the fire at the recently reclaimed farm of Zaytek (Alican's friend and party comrade), talk swirled through Huxley, Hesse and Kafka - after similar tastes were found, films, books, music and ideas were recommended to and fro. The course of this evening and the following luxurious breakfast at the family villa on the hill the next day, for me reinforced idea that we are becoming increasingly linked thematically and demographically. Where geographically disparate people are powerfully linked by their cultural inputs, interest trends, and life philosophies, traditional groupings of nation, religion, race etc... are becoming increasingly redundant as we globalise. (I feel far more in common with a Turkish 29 yo than with the majority other englishmen of a similar age and family background that I've met in life.)
If meeting Alican was a joining of common minds, then meeting Aladin was truly a brief joining of disparate worlds. Whilst scragging and screaming our way to the summit of a mountain pass in the Yedi Goller national park, an overbearing rain soaked us through and gloomed the day to evening. Whilst puffing on the climb, rain was a minor relief, but on the descent our soaked clothes drained any heat from the body, and soon we were shivering and clamouring for an emergency cay and briefly somewhere warm. Only one house in a remote and nameless mountain village showed any signs of activity, the unwilling and unwitting resident (a young Armenian man we eventually found to be Alladin's 'rural help') had first to be chided by a fierce old lady to let us in and give us cay. I believe she heard from afar the chattering of my teeth and auntie-ed us to salvation.
The dreary rain continued to fall with the dark, when Aladdin arrived we were making a brave face to leave and set the tent. He caught us at the door and sent us back in with a hearty laugh and a swift display of universal gesture of a sleeping head and hand. The evening was spent operating within the narrow confines of my turkish vocabulary, with Google translate occasionally lifting this straight-jacket. However, if both parties are assuming the best and show consistent human warmth to the other language is not quite so needed in the same way. The ever-present 'tube-tv' filled the gaps, rolling through a combination of mid-noughties Hollywood and ageless Turkish cinema: one with far superior special effects, the other winning in the most marvelous moustache category. After the hearty and wholesome dinner and breakfast provided for us so graciously (we had vainly offered to contribute our pot-noodles to the mix), all we could leave as gift was a jar of superb honey from the Rilski valley in Bulgaria and some dates. As I confirmed with Asli the evening before, even trying to leave money would very likely be a misstep culturally, and would be likely to unalterably change the ancient dynamic of host and guest. All you can do in such a situation is vow to the universe that you will reciprocate for a stranger when called upon in the same manner.