Tonight I met Mark Wright, a tall 27 year old British guy, who is biking from London to Hong Kong approximately 16,000 kilometers and 5 months of riding. The fact that I got to met this guy in Malatya on the night he just happened to be riding through town is a pretty interesting story:
One of my new Turkish-English teacher friends has been part of an organization called "Warm Showers" for about two years. I think of "Warm Showers" as couch surfing for bicycle riders. I'm fascinated that a single woman in Malatya (remember when I was told it's IMPOSSIBLE for a woman to live alone in Malatya...it's just not done...an aunt or a friend always comes to stay with the girl if her parents aren't home....blah,blah, blah..) opens up her home to strangers, and men at that. I asked if she worries about safety and she says, "no" she always has another friend stay with her at first until she gets to know the bike rider. She has found, so far, that all the people biking across Turkey are very nice, personable, and interesting . She has had very good experiences...
So, fast forward to tonight. The aforementioned bike rider, Mark, had emailed about a week ago and arrived in town at 3:30 p.m. My friend texted me and we all met at the statue in the city center, walked to Kanal Boyu for tantuni (spicy meat rolled in a flat bread), and then ate dessert at Mado where we joined up with my Monday night conversation club. My special "native speaker" Mark, was a big hit for show-n-tell.
Because he will be in town for several days and mentioned he would be doing some minor bike and camp equipment repairs, I walked him to my local bike shop and introduced him to some bike friends and the owners of the shop. I knew they would be happy to meet him and he was excited, as well, because they will be able to provide additional ideas/suggestions for the repairs he will make tomorrow.
To learn more about Mark's journey you can check out his website and blog:
And, now I'm going to bed and reflect once again the amazing random experiences I've had these past months...