- 5Minutes of study time
Travelogue to Istanbul (Part Two)
At last, the train departs from Tabriz station and I gaze out of the dirty window, taking in the scenery. No one came with me to the station, nor have I heard any news about the customary ritual of pouring water behind the passenger’s feet and bidding farewell. Like many others, I am leaving my homeland.
Inside the train, there is a commotion with people and their belongings. Some argue, while others try to settle down. There are even those with animals such as chickens and roosters! I am searching for my cabin. The old compartments have a distinct odor, reminiscent of the Soviet era. The cabins consist of four beds, with one bunk bed situated over each passenger’s head. To reach the top bunk, one must climb a ladder embedded in the wall, much like a cat!
I opt for the bottom bed, as it has always been mine since I was a child. My cabin mates are an Iranian couple who have been traveling. Both Sepehr and Saye are translators and have embarked on this journey with great enthusiasm. The train crosses the border and our passports are checked multiple times. As night falls, the atmosphere on the train becomes peaceful.
Suddenly, a few minutes after crossing the border, Turkish people begin throwing stones at the Iranian train. They hurl rocks at the train’s glass and body, as if they had seen a monster! We arrive at the first city and stop for a few hours before boarding Noah’s Ark to cross Lake Van. After crossing the lake, we take another train to Istanbul. Upon boarding the Turkish train, the demeanor and behavior of the people drastically change, as if we have entered a different world. Foreign tourists sip on their beers, while bankrupt people like me eat their canned food.
As the train passes through forests, rivers, mountains, and green fields, my world gradually expands. While admiring the beauty around me, I notice a girl named Tracy on the train. She is leading a group of ten and explaining various things to them. The head of the group is an Australian with golden hair, sea-colored eyes, and rabbit-like teeth.
I had never known the meaning of a tour guide until that day. Tracy is a Silk Road tour guide, taking travelers on a journey from China to Istanbul along the Silk Road. Tracy was the one who sparked a new sense of adventure in my life.