Monday, August 13, 2012

Acts of Kindness

Not to mention the countless unsolicited gifts of fresh fruit or invitations for tea, here are some of our favourite moments from the last weeks:

Google Translate on two laptops made for easy communication
Stopping in a small town in the evening, we soon had two competing offers for a place to stay the night. A Dutch man visiting his uncle offered us a room, and a local shopkeeper suggested other options for camping, sleeping on his roof terrace or even a bed. After a quick tour of our options, we chose to stay with the grocer. The discussion then turned to who would treat us to dinner! Our evening continued with pizzas, then iced drinks and a late-night fruit feast. The next morning, we were even taken to see some nearby Byzantine ruins before a home-cooked breakfast!

A watermelon salesman passed us on his tractor, then stopped. He offered us a gift of a small melon which we managed to fit into one of our bags. When he tried to offer a second (larger) watermelon, we thanked him but indicated that there was no more room on the bikes. Undeterred, he pulled out a knife and cut the melon into slices which we devoured on the spot.

Shopping for groceries in the late afternoon, a 14-year old boy invited us to come see his mosque. He then offered to show us the town canyon (which was spectacular and we would have completely missed it otherwise). Walking back through town, we were invited to share in the Ramazan dinner outside a small mosque. Our young guide then invited us to stay at his house for the night, even offering us his own bed (we insisted on taking the mattress on the floor instead). Despite little common language, his enthusiasm was infectious and we had a great time.

An oil tanker truck passed us as we were going up a steep hill. It stopped a short distance ahead and the 50-year-old driver started jogging back towards us. Completely to our surprise, he grabbed onto Marieke's bike and started pushing her up the hill! As we passed his truck, he stopped pushing and got back in. He only drove about 200m, before he was jogging back and pushing Marieke again! He told us that this was good training for his marathons. We had reached the top of the hill, so we thanked him and he drove off. But there he was again at the next hill - this time with a gift of Cokes and cookies!

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