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Monday, 11 August 2008

DIA 283 - The Day of the Chicken Barbecue

Görele - Bulançak Dd = 78 Km Dt = 10794 Km

While cycling towards Giresun we discovered that cycling on Sundays has its benefits. At lunchtime we stopped at a makeshift pavilion by the sea. Soon a family arrived for a Sunday picnic. We finished up at the only table and moved onto the rocks to write and drink tea so that the family could use the amenities. Soon a plate of barbecued chicken, some bread and melon arrived at our rocks. Fanta and plastic cups followed, along with grapes. Refusing was not an option. We ate a second lunch and, groaning, we waddled back to our bikes where they were parked near the pavilion. The friendly father pressed tea on us. We tried again to say no but he pretended not to understand, putting pastries into our hands for good measure (my pastry was swiftly placed in my front pack on my bike when the man was not looking).

We managed to somehow cycle through a haze of overconsumption and stopped for dinner at a picnic spot hidden from the road by tall leafy trees. There was another family lying in wait. The father wandered around drinking beer, his bare belly protruding over his shorts, saying 'problem' whenever he wanted to communicate with us. It was the only word he knew in English and he simply changed the intonation depending on his feeling. His wife was extremely short and bubbly. She was voluptuous and bottle-blonde. Their daughter was 18 and wanted to be a doctor, and their son was 15. The kids both engaged with us, practising the English they had learned in school. We found ourselves feasting on yet more barbecued chicken and drinking beer and bottomless cups of tea.

The day of the barbecue actually extended into the next day when we set up camp in a picnic area just outside of a small town called Fatsa. The extended family sitting near us fed guessed it...chicken barbecue..but there was a slight variation on the theme when the meatballs arrived. This family also later invited us over to their picnic rug for tea. There were children everywhere - all age groups were well represented. The children were the offspring of three brothers, and the family looked very religious, all the women wearing headscarfs and the grandmother trumping them all with her burka. Although we thought that the lack of contraceptive use was a little alarming, the behaviour of the children was a dream: They were well-behaved and mature. No one could speak much English, but we managed to communicate a little. When I said that I was Australian I was honoured with:"Putin, oh my God! Bush, oh my God! Australia, I love you!" It is nice to know we are not being too annoying as a country at present.

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