professors and intellectuals have to treadrncarefully. In a smart restaurant—with arnFrench-speaking maitre d’, tuxedoedrnwaiters, and flowers on the table —wernhad a five-course lunch for a few dollars.rnOnce more the food and the servicerncalmed our worries.rnSeveral people had told us that thernmain west-east road through Turkey wasrnwell-paved, and much better than thernnorthern road along the Black Sea. Wernleft at dawn, partly to steal a march on thernheat. We also wanted to avoid a persistentrnbeggar who’d been following usrnaround for days and wiping the car windowsrnwith a smeary rag. The street wasrnblessedly empty, the air still cold. I startedrnthe car, and Abdul, as if wired to thernignition, let out a muffled scream andrnemerged from underneath to demand arnfinal tip.rnWe made excellent time until Sivas,rnthe next big town after Ankara. Privaterncars had now virtually disappeared, andrnthe road was eerily empty, except for thernoccasional truck or bus belching dieselrnfumes into the desert air. There seemedrnto be enough gas stations, but there wasrnbad news as soon as I got low and had tornstop. Yok, they said at the first one, andrnyok was repeated in the next three —rnTurkish by the direct method. Finally, Irncould go no farther. At 9:15 in the morning,rnthe gas delivery truck was expected atrn10:00, at 10:30 it was due at 12:30, and Irnpictured us stranded overnight in thernwilderness. A passing Turk returningrnfrom work in Germany, in a Mercedesrnadorned with dangling knickknacks,rnurged me in German to be patient. Finally,rnat 11:30, the local police took anrninterest and offered to sell me some ofrntheir own supply, and we set off eastwardrnagain. At the next service station, I figuredrnout there was a delivery drivers’rnstrike and that gas would be hard to find.rnAfter Sivas, the paved surface ended,rnand the road got very bad: first rough,rnthen potholes and dirt, and finally arnwashboard with deep ruts. Sometimes Irnhad to drive through a foot of water. Thisrncontinued for 500 miles, almost to thernIranian border. So much for “motoring.”rnWlien this “good” road was abrupfly barricaded,rnwe were forced to detour, couldrnrarely go faster than 30 miles an hour,rnand were blinded by dust. All this joltingrndid not agree with the electrical system,rnand the car stopped dead just outside arntown with the romantic-sounding namernof Zara. We sat in stunned silence as thernvillage idiot came over to stare at vis—norndoubt the most interesting thing that hadrnhappened to him for a long time.rnA truck stopped almost immediately.rnThe driver tried and failed to fix our car,rnthen drove us into town to find a mechanic.rnWe took cups of thick, sweetrnTurkish coffee in the cafe opposite flicrnworkshop, as the old men clacked theirrnbeads and dogs and chickens scavengedrnaround our feet. The usual returnedrnGdstarbeiter chatted sympatheticallyrnwith us as he sat at flic next table, happyrnto be back in this dusty middle-ofnowherernhometown. Though he madernthe repair, the mechanic swiped myrnscrewdriver, as I discovered when therndoor handle fell off. The next day, aboutrn250 miles later, the car once more camernto an abrupt halt. This time, an Americanrnoil man from Kuwait, driving a vanrnin the opposite direction, stopped tornhelp. One by one, his nine kids climbedrnout and stood around us in a circle. Immenselyrnorganized and resourceful, hernhad exact information about the roads,rnthree tool kits, cold milk, and Ghiclets.rnOne of his teenagers fixed the car withrnaplomb. The art of traveling, it seemed,rnwas gracefully getting out of difficidt situations.rnThe scenery in eastern Turkey wasrnquite spectacular. High, rust-colored,rnArizona-like mountains in a semi-desertrnalternated with carefully nurtured wheatrnfields. Clusters of smooth, square mudrnhouses sat behind curvy mud walls (as inrnthe Sahara), an occasional camel strolledrnby, and great herds of Angora sheeprnmassed together to resemble one woollyrnmammoth. On the roadside, we passed arntraffic fatality —a long dead cow withrnbony skull and bloated body, about tornburst. The coimtry women wore yashmaksrnand bright colors. Shepherdsrnbegged for cigarettes with an appealingrnpantomime and, disappointed and withrnnothing better to do, hurled stones at us.rnErzincan, about 475 miles east ofrnAnkara, had a good hotel in a fine mountainrnsetting. We chatted with a few welloffrnIranians, who openly scorned thernTurks. Peasants or no, these easternrnTurks served us another masterly meal.rnWe had an amazingly speedy waiter whornyelled out the orders to the kitchen, literallyrnran with the food, joked with the customers,rnand seized the plates from therntable as soon as you took the last spoonful.rn1 had to grip my plate with one handrnwhile I ate the last of flic sauce. Suddenlyrnall the electric lights went out, replacedrnin a minute by a single oil lamp. In arntown where there wasn’t much to do andrnpeople went to sleep with the chickens, arnlarge crowd gathered outside, pressingrntheir faces against the glass, to stare at thernforeigners groping for their food.rnT.E. I^awrence helped the Russiansrntake Erzurum, the last major cit’ on thernroad to Iran. The cit)’ fell in 1915 andrnlooked as if no one had picked it up sincernthen. We visited the crumbling ruins ofrna 13th-century universit)’ and saw a fewrnancient mosques. Once a great citv’, likernTrebizond on the north coast, Erzurumrnwas now a dust}’ dump. The next day, thernlast leg of our trip to the border, we foundrnno restaurants at all, so for lunch wernbought a delicious, hot crusty loaf—thernonly food we could find — and devouredrnit like Siberian prisoners.rnAfter Erzurum, the road got worsernthan ever. Straggling bands of road workersrnpicked at the surface. We crawledrnalong and saw an arrogant Iranian meetrnhis doom. He drove at high speedrnthrough a group of Turkish workers, forcingrnthem to leap off the road, but plowedrninto a huge, invisible hole. As oil pouredrnfrom underneath his car, the workers —rnangr)’ and armed with picks—advancedrnmenacingly. Near the border—in Kurdishrnterritor}’ north of Lake Van —Russia,rnTurkey, Iran, and Iraq come togetherrnwithin about 30 miles. Noah’s MountrnArarat appeared, snowcapped and cloudedrnover, and, quite appropriately, it beganrnto rain.rnWe were tempted to take a morernscenic route back to Sivas, either alongrnthe Black Sea or even around Lake Van,rnbut the roads, so promising on the map,rnwould surely be even worse than the onernwe were on. In a town near the border,rnwe stayed in a pleasant hotel, run by arnman who had worked in England. Hisrnpretty young English wife, homesick andrndepressed, buttons missing on her soiledrndress, sat with us in the patio. Shernflushed angrily as her husband chatteredrnenthusiastically about one tourist sightrnwe had apparently missed —a publicrnhanging fliat had taken place in flic mainrnsquare that morning. The dead man, arndrug smuggler, had killed a border guard.rnHe’d been brought back and executedrnwhere the victim’s relatives coifld seernthat jusHce had been done. Later, therninnkeeper appealed to my wife: Couldrnshe possibly talk to his wife about havingrna baby? His fanrily wanted to know whyrnshe wasn’t pregnant. She told us fliatrnchildren would merely increase her Islamicrnbondage.rn34/CHRONICLESrnrnrn