16 September 2011

I’d expected to meet Aussies here. Probably three out of every four tourists staying in Eceabat are Aussies or Kiwis. Must be Oz/Kiwi overload on 25 April.

I’d decided to stay at Hotel Crowded House. Seemed the right thing to do. Was a good place too and highly recommended.

No sooner had I parked the bike and there’s this guy coming over to say hello.

His name, I quickly learned was Rodger. Rodger was full on proper country Aussie. From western Victoria no less. It was just so nice to hear him talk. I’ve lost my accent a little over the past four years. They couldn’t understand me in the UK. So I learned to talk slower and clearer. But with Rodger, no worries mate. I could talk like an Aussie again. And it was so nice.

A couple of months back Rodger shipped his bike over to the UK and is now riding it back home to Oz. He’d only just arrived in Turkey and was taking some time out at the Hotel Crowded House for a few days before heading east across central Turkey then into Iran and Pakistan. Good luck with that Rodger.

But he’s the perfect guy to excel at this challenge. Very capable, has practical skills and the right bike. But most of all he has the right attitude. She’ll be right mate! I’ll worry about that only if it comes up, and it probably won’t. Risk management is not in Rodger’s vocabulary.

We had some beers on each of the nights I stayed at Hotel Crowded House. The first night was a big one.

There were some Canadians there also. They were more specifically from Newfoundland, the easternmost province of Canada. One of the guys was researching the 49 soldiers from Newfoundland that had made the ultimate sacrifice at Gallipoli. He was planning to write a book.

Allister was great to talk to. I really admire what he is doing. His mate Cyril was good company also.

The Aussies lost 8,700 in the Gallipoli campaign and the Kiwi’s 2,700. I’d never really thought about all the others. I was surprised to learn there were 21,200 British and 10,000 French killed in the campaign. There were also 1,350 Indians killed.

Staggeringly some 85,000 Turkish soldiers died protecting their territory.

The Allies wounded totalled over 97,000.

Another Aussie, Bill, a freelance journalist, now living on the peninsula, was having a beer with us also. He was most interesting, a good, old fashioned type of journalist and all round trouble maker. He has resided in Turkey for some years now.

Most importantly he directed us to the best restaurant in town. I had grilled fish again. So did Rodger.

We staggered back to the Hotel Crowded House and finished our evening with a couple of Raki’s, which I decided I probably could have done without when I woke up at 10:00 the next morning.

Thanks Rodger. You’re a top bloke. Don’t change one bit and good luck with the rest of your adventure.

Pretty soon, the Turkey part of my Turkey motorcycle tour will end, and I’ll be sad to say goodbye.