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My 12 hour journey on the bus from Istanbul on Sunday was made more entertaining by a viewing of the Turkish film ‘Ay Lav Yu’ (I love you).  As I sat there, the only yabanci  on a bus full of Turks, I tried hard to cover my guffaws. A mouth covering hand here,  the occassional pretend cough there, but in the end I just gave up the pretense,  thought to hell with decorum and laughed my socks off.

It’s the story of a village boy from a tiny South Eastern Town near Mardin who falls in love with an American called Jessica, bringing her home to the village.

The reason it made me laugh so much was familiarity. I have been in Jessicas shoes and vividly remember the extreme differences between cultures, that are at first shocking.

The welcome scene where the village men  let the guns off, the celebratory sacrifice, the communal floor sleeping and the nazar spitting all had me in hysterics.

I am obviously an old hand at village customs these days and what once was shocking has become commonplace.

Refreshingly enough though, I still come across the occassional surprise when adventuring and hope I always will. Thats what makes Turkey so addictive for me. It’s a weird and wonderful country and I echo the sentiments of that film; Turkey, Ay Lav Yu!

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