5 COMMON GROUND

26Ahmet Cihat Tower 1 72 - 5 COMMON GROUND
Ahmet, Cihat & the Tower Pier ©2007 TriciVenola

The people on the Hasankeyf Train were educated hip Turks who love history and nature enough to give up a four-day beach weekend for a rackety train with smelly bathrooms, intermittent air-conditioning  and only a brief overnight in antiquity before the return. But did we care?

Train 8 - 5 COMMON GROUND

Train 10 - 5 COMMON GROUND

Not a harsh word, and on the next-to-last night, a raucous party stretching through both dining  cars with loud singing  and people dancing  in the aisle and everyone screaming with laughter.

28Party Dancer72 copy - 5 COMMON GROUND
Ball o’Fire on the Train ©2007 TriciVenola
27Sun Face72 - 5 COMMON GROUND
Sun Face ©2007 TriciVenola
28Party Face72 - 5 COMMON GROUND
Party on the Train ©2007 TriciVenola

A veterinarian, two electronics majors, and Sadan Ögüt, who slept sitting up for four days and kept smiling. She also organized showers for us, in a kindly hotel, when we got to Hasankeyf.

25A Real Trouper72 short - 5 COMMON GROUND
A Real Trouper ©2007 TriciVenola

You might think that being the only person who couldn’t speak Turkish, not to mention being an American in the Middle East in the last year of W’s presidency, I’d feel left out, but no.

31Comedienne Friends72 - 5 COMMON GROUND
Comedienne & Friends ©2007 TriciVenola

In the next seat was a bubbly woman who spoke English. Overnight we became best friends and still are. Buket- we call her Boo Cat– made all the diffference in my trip. Her author father had taught her ecology and history– Osman Shahin’s Tales from the Taurus is a grand preservation of legends from the region. She had mad enthusiasm and a lot of information. She translated what was going on and made everything more fun, found us a guide in Hasankeyf and even got us interviewed on TV. Now she travels the world, taking pictures, and if you come to Istanbul again and don’t call me, Boo Cat, you and I are going to go around and around!

Buket at WC 1 - 5 COMMON GROUND
We call her Boo Cat!
34BooCat Buket72 short - 5 COMMON GROUND
Buket with Clean Hair ©2007 TriciVenola
TV Hasankeyf - 5 COMMON GROUND
Me at Hasankeyf

In addition to the legendary friendliness of the Turkish people, my first book, Drawing On Istanbul, had just come out, celebrating their history and culture, and everybody made a fuss and made me feel swell. They stood around and watched me draw, and I only wish I had taken fifty copies with me because I sold every one that I had.

29Spoon Dancing72 - 5 COMMON GROUND
Spoon Dancing ©2007 TriciVenola

Rocking the Cradle of Civilization in Hasankeyf NEXT: 6 FLASH DRAWINGS FROM THE TRAIN

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