I staggered into the village of Lower Tirtar just as the weather broke and the rain began to fall.
The first person I met was a jolly smiling chap called Ahmed who spoke good English. It was my first conversation in 2 days
He took me to the tea house (a large shack really) where I gratefully drank down three sweet chais in rapid succession
Ahmed used to work in the tourist industry in Antalya, sorting out plane tickets
But 18hour days took their toll and , diagnosed with high blood pressure, he quit and now grows apricots and beans.
“The best apricots in the world come from here,” he told me
15,000 apricot trees in this area alone.
Once again the tea shop was full of old men. No women and no youngsters
Most of the teenagers want to earn money and get the things they see on the TV said Ahmed
And to do that they must leave the village.
No one else spoke English but I was taken aback when one toothless septuagenarian asked – via Ahmed – why Alex Ferguson had retired….
The village head man dropped by to check me out
By now there was a real storm blowing and I had nowhere to stay
They showed me the vacant school masters house. Windows were broken. The toilet had been destroyed and the floor was filthy and bare ..
“Mmmm… Is there anywhere else?”
I ended up as a guest of two cousins one in his 30s the other about to do his national army service
Together with Ahmed we bought beer from the village shop ,ate a decent supper on the floor and sat watching football and eating almonds picked from the garden.
The rain continued but the ancient stove ( fuelled by apricot wood) soon had the room cosy..the only room in the house which can be heated.
Not a bad way to end the day.
Ahmed and Friend