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Wild Dogs and a Friendly Imam

January 13, 2010

Having waited for a day for snow to clear from the small town of Yunak, on Tuesday 5th January I headed north to meet the road eastwards towards Cihanbeyli. It was cold, but cloudless. After 30kms I stopped at the first building I came to, a petrol station where four men were huddled around a log burner playing backgammon. One of them made me a cup of Turkish tea, while another offered me a photo of his new-born baby in return for my sunglasses. It wasn’t a good photo (it was out of focus) so I declined.

Heading east across the most deserted stretch of the trip, I came across a pack of huge, thick-necked, seemingly angry wild dogs. After a ten minute stand-off, and unsure how to defend myself, I spotted a shepherd waving his arms in my direction. He seemed to be suggesting I throw stones at them. I didn’t heed his advice, instead reaching for my Mongoose cricket bat and wielding it wildly. They weren’t keen for a game of cricket. After five more minutes of consistent howling they got bored and let me wander slowly through town.

Two hours later, and thirty minutes before dark, I spotted the first buildings for a couple of hours about a kilometre off the main road. I headed towards them, hopeful that a friendly villager would offer me a roof for the night. But I soon saw another pack of wild dogs in the dim light. They were charging straight towards me. I turned and, full to the brim with adrenaline, pedaled like Chris Hoy. They were gaining on me for ten minutes, and I had nothing left in the legs, but as I reached a small incline they inexplicably gave up.

Adrenaline still pumping, I continued for a few more kilometres and arrived in a tiny village. I was surprised to come across a smart looking man, dressed in suit and tie. He led me to the Mosque where I met Adil, the Imam.

I have learnt my lesson, and now if a pack of dogs spots me I cycle very slowly past them. They no longer scare me, but I’m not ashamed to say that my first few encounters weren’t that much fun.

I am currently on the road from Cappadocia to Syria. It will take about 6 or 7 days to get to the Syrian border at Antakya, if today’s pace is anything to go by. If you enjoyed this blog please sign up for email updates here.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. January 13, 2010 4:39 pm

    I love the photos of the people. They remind me of some of Paul Strand’s photos.

    No photos of dogs I notice – obviously too busy running!

    Take care

    love Viv x

  2. January 14, 2010 9:35 am

    Wow … quietly respectfully said. It must have been terrifying, and then you arrive at the deep and real friendliness that I kept finding in the Turkish people, again and again and again.

    Bike well, stay safe and keep collecting your truly superb stories.

  3. Dan Coulson permalink
    January 14, 2010 10:13 am

    Brooooom…epic stuff mate…toastie as toast…you really are quite the linguist…take care mate and watch those dogs although to be fair, they’re probably more scared of the white and ginger yeti thats coming toward them on a bike than you are of them running after you!!!!

  4. Roger Mawle permalink
    January 14, 2010 12:47 pm

    Loving the updates Broomio. What and adventure!…. heeeerOO! Keep peddling.

  5. Becca permalink
    January 15, 2010 3:10 am

    “Wild” – you actually look like an explorer now!

  6. January 18, 2010 10:14 am

    Keep going mate. I’m loving the updates of the fascinating people you’re meeting along the way. Keep pedalling!

  7. Ray Higginbottom permalink
    January 18, 2010 6:51 pm

    Hi Ollie
    Just back from India and thinking what a great time you’ll have once you get past barking dogs and several thousand miles. Mind you I saw plenty of dogs in India, although they looked friendly enough, and you won’t need a wood burner with temperatures in the 90’s. May the wind stay on your back……..

    Ray

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