I had visions of wild camping in the mountains, under the pyramids or next to babbling streams, but its not really quite like that, maybe later in the trip. You are constantly aware of noises, changes in the light, though now I am less bothered, especially when I am really tired or cold or wet!
I was tucked away in a corner wide open field in my tent, reading my book, as always my eyes becoming heavy all too quickly and, after only two pages I have to give up and succumb to sleep, after removing another spider and a millipede from my tent I begin tucking myself into my sleeping bag, infuriatingly fiddling with the bags zipper! Just as I am nodding off a wild pig scurries past my tent. Then, I hear car doors slam, voices….they are close I guess 50m, probably three people maybe two…I sit up penned in to my sleeping bag, eyes wide!
Then, gun shots two of them…
I sit wondering what to do, I rip open the sleeping bag and grab my glasses and head torch and with my torch still turned off I peer out through the tent door. There are two more shots and followed quickly by another two. I get out of the tent and cower behind my motorbike for cover, my brain frantically trying to decide what to do, contemplating what I will do when I get shot. Do I go towards them, blow my cover and hope they don’t mistake my torch for an animals eye, or stay put and hope I don’t get shot…
There is a moments pause, maybe they will leave…. Then three shots fire and pine needles fall all around me I’m going to die Two more shots and more pine needles They are shooting this way!I run off up the field in the opposite direction still wondering what to do. I turn on my head torch so I can keep an eye on my things though I am too far away to really see.
Moments later they move into a clearing, not too far from the tent and call over I walk over sheepishly, they are talking to me but of course I don’t understand. I reach them and they ask to turn off the haedtorch (it is very bright!) and they shine there mobile phones in my face to see me. They take me to their car and offer me a beer….I wonder if they plan to kill me, I try and explain that I am camping. One guy is on his phone continuously….I take them to my bike to show them where I am. Eventually they get hold of an interpreter and I talk with them on the phone. ‘Talk to me’ the voice says, I explain the situation and give the phone back to the shooter. The phone is given back and the first question they ask is ‘are these people bothering you? Do you need food, water? This is a dangerous place’ – no kidding – ‘there are wild pigs’ – Yeah kept me awake last night.
e-mail addresses are exchanged, a gift of beads given (now residing on my handlebar) autographs asked for and photos taken and I return to my tent for slightly sleepness night!
I also have spent some time in Istanbul, where I managed to finally obtain some parts for the bike from a VERY helpful bike shop called Tekay Moto They drove all over the place to get me parts!
Here I was also point blank refused a Syrian Visa, no surprises there, but I am told by the embassy in Britain that there is another place where it is possible for me to obtain one with no problems!
Aye aye aye!