When I moved into this room there were two women in my three bed dorm room. I naturally assumed that they were travelling together, although I did wonder why they had left the bed in between them empty. Because if they were friends you would assume that they would sleep beside each other in order to avoid having to worry about some total stranger sleeping in between them.
As an aside, the only other time I have been asked to sleep between two women who were strangers to me was because quarters were close, and one was homophobic and worried about her friend accidentally spooning with her in the darkness of the night. But that is another story.
My introduction to my two room mates was not the best. I only met one, by waking her up in the middle of the night to get her to unlock the door for me. The other seemed to be asleep.
It turns out that they did not know each other, because the one I met left the next day – not before saying goodbye and showing me the swag she had spent the last of her turkish lira on.
The other woman (whom I never met) was not around when I came in to invite her for a drink last night, asleep when I got in, out by the time I woke up, and gone by the time I got back from wandering the streets today.
In these circumstances, it is natural to speculate about what she was doing and why she was so evasive.
Three ideas occur to me:
* Perhaps she was a raw foodie, get up at dawn type of traveller.
* Perhaps she was travelling by herself for the first time and was too polite or concerned about appearances to just push herself into other people’s social circles in the way that one does when one travels by oneself and wants some company (or at least I do).
* Perhaps she was a spy for a hostile foreign power, hiding out in the NZ$12 a night Sultan hostel in order to avoid the sweeps of the counter-intelligence troops who were combing the country for her. By this light, she was never asleep when I came in first (her sleepy ‘I think it is the door’ was just pretence), she was lying on her front so I would not see her open eyes on night two, and she left the hostel today because she knew that I was keen to meet her and say hello, and she feared I would find out too much about her.
In this world, that tall, well-built, dark-haired man who just came in is not a lone American traveller, but a counter-intelligence operative for the Turkish government. His long red coat hides his weapons, and the slightly vacant look on his face as he sits at the bar (with his back to the wall, note) is a ploy to hide his careful surveillance of the room.
In the third world things are much more exciting.
Can I just say also, that if I had a cafe, it would have tables that did not rock from side to side. On the plus side, my visa invitation for Turkmenistan has arrived. So getting visas should now be a relatively straightforward affair.