Looking out of a fishbowl

"What are you doing in my town". A moment of nervousness runs through me, "I'm the police chief here so please let me know if you have any problems".  As quickly as the feeling of unease came, it disappears. It is our last night together, in the morning Olof will head back to Ankara and then Sweden and I will make up for the late start to the trip by taking a bus to the east of Turkey.
As the policeman blocks the road to speak to me, the cars build up behind him. With a grin and a wave he continues on his way. A guy on a motorbike, who we met at the first set of lights in town, waits patiently to show us where the only hotel in town is. As the hotel comes into sight, a guy comes over and starts speaking quickly in understandable english about us, him, the town etc etc. We try to keep up, "you coming with me now, we sitting and too much talking, ok?". Some persistance is required before he gives us 5 minutes to change our cloths and meet him. He worked at hotels at the coast for years so has learned tourist english. This is only the second English speaking person we have met by chance since leaving Istanbul, actually in all of Turkey!
After a huge dinner for 9 lira (about 4 euro), he leaves us to his friends who speak no English but graciously show us around their town, the old market, historical building etc. After 125 km we are totally exhausted, but they do not see the signs and take us on a long walk to the otherside of town to drink tea in the 'park'. This park is a small grass area surrounded by two factories with a distinct smell of chemicals in the air.
We arrive back at the hotel totally out of it, there is nothing we can do but thank them for being so kind. Sleep comes without a second thought.
Since leaving the coast, the landscape has changed completely. The lush green mountains with blue rivers and rocky peaks have changed to an open  landscape which has been carelessly shaped by erosion. The sandy soils taint the rivers gray and the vegetation is sparse and stunted. Water is less frequent and sometimes dirty. The people remain incredibly generous and friendly, we have only paid for a handful of the dozens of teas we have had. We were offered a half finished house to ourselves for a night and provided with a packet of biscuits when we stopped at a petrol station to buy something. At a time when we were both running low on energy a truck slowed to allow us to grab hold for a long hill, with a toot and a wave he continued when we reached the top.
Peering through a bus window, I feel as if I am in a fishbowl. The beauty of this country and people surround me but I can not experience it as we fly past. I feel that I will certainly have to return to experience this part of the country for real, by bike.
Tomorrow I will cross into Iran, providing the unrest is not out of control, I will spend a little over a month experiencing what is said to be the friendliest countries in the world. This is quite a reputation to uphold when comparing to Turkey. May the adventures continue.