Tuesday 9 Jun
Welcome to Kurdistan
Diyarbakir is the biggest Kurdish city in Turkey. Unemployment is 70% and street kids are innumerable (possibly because the typical Kurdish family has 10 children). It's also the sort of place where you can drink a glass of fresh frothy ayran (yogurt) on any street corner.
When I arrived I ate two bad kebabs and got lost. Eventually, some kids showed me to my hotel. They thought this was hilarious and the whole way they shouted at me: "Hello what's your name is!", "How are you!", "My name is Canada!". These were not questions so much as taunts (accompanied by perpetual giggling). When I arrived at the hotel, I got rid of the kids by giving one of them a few coins, causing him to run away and all the others to follow.
Later I played football with some slightly older street kids who were loitering in a park in the old city. It was about the only thing we could do: I couldn't speak Kurdish and they couldn't speak English - it took about 10 minutes for one of them to spit out a straight question and find out my name. It was fun and a great cliché.
That night, I ended up in a carpet shop, which is actually a first, although it wouldn't be much of a trip to the middle east without at least one carpet shop. This one was exceptionally nice; it was so easy not to buy a carpet I almost felt guilty. Later, after I had left, things started to get silly. One of my "friends" invited me to his "cousin's wedding" and then to various other things which I had to refuse with a rapidly decreasing pretence of interest. Time to move on once again.