The bus ride from Kayseri to Diyarbakir was our second over-night bus ride in a row, and I was really trying to get some sleep. However, we attracted a lot of attention from the bus staff, who repeatedly tapped us on our heads, woke us up, and continuously attempted to speak with us about anything and everything. At one point, one of the guys made a phone call to his brother in Baltimore and put him on the phone with Caroline to find out if we were okay, if we knew where we were going, and if we needed any help.
We told the staff of our plans to travel east, and then down into the Kurdish region of Iraq, but were met with a stern “NO!” One guy in particular kept saying “Iraq… No!” and holding his hands out, making machine gun noises, “danger!” We finally told him we weren’t going to go to Iraq, and eventually we were able to pass out for an hour or two.
At some point before the sun rose though, we were woken up and that we should get off the bus. i looked around to see the outskirts of a town. A dirt road separated large, ominous apartment buildings lit sparsely by street lights. I asked “is this Diyarbakir?” I was told yes, and that we needed to hurry up and get off the bus. We scrambled our things together and began walking down the isle, as I turned once more and said very slowly “Diyarbakir???” The man shook his head yes and hurried us off the bus. We stepped out onto the dusty street and the man pointed behind the bus at a taxi cab as they pulled away and left us confused, and groggy on the side of the road just before dawn.
The cab slowly rolled up and pulled to a stop in front of us, and a man jumped out to help us with our bags. We pulled out a notebook and pointed to the name of a random hotel we’d found on wikitravel and got in the cab. We weaved around potholes, dodged fires in the middle of the road, and just as the sun was rising made our way passed the giant wall that surrounds the city of Diyarbakir. At about 6am we checked into a hotel and got a couple hours of sleep just as the town was waking up.
Later in the morning we went to the front desk to find out some information, if the city was safe, where we should go, what we should see, etc. etc. The man behind the counter picked up the phone and called someone else, who, after a brief conversation with Caroline, said he would be there shortly. We weren’t really sure who it was, what they wanted, or how they’d help us, but we had some tea and waited about fifteen minutes, and a man named Omer showed up. Omer works the over night shift at the local hospital, and had just gotten out of work. However, his real passion was tourism, and he wanted to show us around. We told him we were sorry but we didn’t have money to pay a guide, we just wanted to walk around on our own, but he insisted that he would guide has at no charge as long as we wrote a review for him on trip advisor. We shrugged and agreed, and soon we were off seeing Diyarbakir.
Diyarbakir is a mainly Kurdish city in the south eastern region of Turkey, and is known as the kurdish political capital. It has a long history of Kurdish activism, and we were really interested in seeing this. Omer, however, was more interested in showing us the touristic kind of things, cafes, markets etc. He showed us a few churches, mostly Armenian, which were pretty interesting, and he brought us to a Kurdish tea house, where old men gather to sing without instruments for what seems like hours. To finish the day, we climbed on top of the giant wall that surrounds the city and had an impressive view over the Tigris river and the country side.