One day, I decided to visit...
One day, I decided to visit the town of Hasankale, also known as Pasinler. From the guidebook, I was expecting a mountain resort with a hilltop castle, and the best Sulphur baths in Turkey...unfortunately, it was a bit of a disappointment. The castle, while being hilltop, was falling apart and was obviously used as the local public toilet. The 'mountain resort' lacked mountains and a resort atmosphere, but I have to admit, some of the older parts of town had a certain charm. Shame about the sewage running down the streets. On the other side of the river, was a huge funpark which looked totally out of place, and next to it were the famous bath complexes, one for women and one for men. I was serously considering not going in, after having been stared at so much in town, but managed to summon up enough courage to enter....it was a very 'local' experience, and I was the centre of attention, something which I had been for most of the day, and was rapidly tiring of! Anyway, the attendants explained every detail of the baths to me more than once, and insisted on accompanying me into the baths themselves. The main pool was packed...old men were sat round the edges of the pool, while the younger generations used the tiny pool as a place to make as much splash as possible. However, all activity came to an abrupt halt when I entered, and all eyes turned towards me. I have never felt so self-conscious, and all I wanted to do was leave, but that was not really an option. As I lowered myself into the pool, I could hear people saying 'a foreigner!', 'where is he from?', 'look, he is so white' etc... After a few minutes, somebody decided to ask me what my name was. 'Michael'...and the immediate response was 'Ah! Michael Jackson!' Once that first question had been asked, the questions poured out faster than the water from the lion's head fountain, and within a few minutes everyone in the bath knew all the essential details about me, and gradually things got back to normal. Still, it was hard to relax while dodging splashes of sulphury water (which doesn't half dting if it gets in your eyes!) and the stares of the newcomers, so after a quarter of an hour, I was back in the reception/changing room being wrapped in hot towels and sipping hot tea. In fact, the tea seemed to come from a bottomless pot, and I was concerned that I would be presented with a whopping great bill, and not have enough money to get back to Erzurum. But it was extremely embarrassing when I asked for the bill...'What bill? You are a guest in our town, you CAN'T pay!'
border turkey/iran:I do not...
border turkey/iran:I do not know how I crossed the border;after having waited some hours on the turkish side,suddenly a beautiful beard opened the iranian side and told me that my visa was unvalid since yesterday.Finally an officer let me in and accepted me,I jumped quickly into a shuttle to maku,just in case the officer changes his mind.
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