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Old 05-14-2009, 11:53 PM   #62
Boarder06 OP
Gnarly Adventurer
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Joined: Jul 2008
Location: Cambridge, MA
Oddometer: 256

I arrived in Van during the Sunday evening rush hour as everyone returned from their picnic at the lake. A football game had just ended and cars sped down the streets honking and waving the flag of the winning team. The sun was shining directly down main street making it impossible to see. So I just parked the bike and had an ice cream. This was some seriously good tasting ice cream! Not sure how they make it but it is somewhere between chewing gum and normal ice cream with a very intense flavor. I went back for more. They guys also make a big show of filling your cone.
I then walked around to find myself a room and with that squared away and the bike safely parked I explored the city.

I ended up spending a few days in Van, taking it easy and exploring the surrounding area. Right at the edge of town is Van castle

I met an older Kurdish gentlemen and his sun at the castle. He had tossed one of his tooth into one of the collapsed buildings and kept showing me the gap in his mouth. Not sure what that was all about but the chap seemed nice enough.
10 km out of town is Yedi Kilise, yet another Armenian church. When I got to the village and stopped to look around this little fella

came up and jumped on the bak of my bike faster than I could say no. He lead me to a hill 2km down a dirt road. Hm, some old ruins for sure but not a church as far as I can tell but he kept saying that this is it. I looked around for a while

and then returned to the village and then I saw the church. Little Yesun led me on top of it where I could look inside through the collapse roof. When I wanted to go around to go inside he kept saying no and shaking his head. Well, I went around anyway but he stayed behind. He clearly wasnít going to set foot into a Christian church. The door to the church was covered with a wooden fence, almost like they were trying to hide it. Some guys came up and I asked if I could have a look inside but they told me the key is in Van. I stuck around anyway and the key eventually appeared and an older gentlemen showed me around. After taking some pictures I made a donation in the provided box.

The whole experience felt a little odd, almost like they donít want people to see the church. When I left the village Yesun stood at the side of the road and wanted a ride to Van. I took him for about a kilometer but didnít want to leave him stranded in Van.
Dinner was the standard Tavuk Doner. The guys told me that everything in their shop was Kurdish. Kurdish doner, Kurdish tea, and Kurdish hot peppers, which I had to try.

Doners to go come with a little zip lock bag of hot peppers.

The men play games and have tea.

They are selling this stuff everywhere right now.

After I took this picture the guy gave me a sample and showed me how to eat it. Very tasty and refreshing but I still donít know what it is.
With the help of some locals and Murat in Ankara I also lined up the 10,000km warranty service for when I return from Iran. Turns out the mechanic of the official Yamaha shop in town is a XT660 rider himself. They also had a GS in the shop
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