It all started three days ago.

Going for a walk, next to my hotel  to wind up, I  see a bookshop. I have been thinking lately of reading a novel , I would like to disconnect from the trip thing, read about people with another life different from going  from one place to another. My readings are based on travel guides, books from the country where I am, news about new countries I am going to vist, and to continue with the same subject, most of the conversations I have with other travellers are about places and routes. The conversations with the locals are similar, I usually tell them about my trip to satisfy their curiosity. I ask for books in English. She takes me to a little shelf with a dozen books.  Great! They have some! A French girl comes as well.  Another person looking for a book.  I put away Dan Brown ‘s books, very thick and addictive, I don’t want to get too hooked. I see some books from Paulo Cohello, as I haven’t read any of his, it takes my fanc. They are very thin,  I take “The Alchemist”. The French girl recommends it to me,  she says it’s the best one from Paulo Cohello.  I don’t think anymore, I get it, pay and leave.

I find it funny that it starts in Andalucía(south of Spain), and after that I don’t like that the main character starts travelling. I wanted a settled life. I laugh a bit and carry on reading, maybe my fate is to read this book so that’s what I do. To top it he starts travelling in Arabic countries and in the deserts,  he wants to get to Egypt, to the pyramids. I like the book,  it’s very iconic, everyone can find something with which he can identify himself. The main character learns to believe in omens. I like the idea: follow the tips life brings you, follow that tip-instincts to see where it gets you.

It could be the cause of it, next a breakfast a quite cocky guy starts to talk to me, I met him waiting for the shower and we had one of those travelling conversations. He has travelled a lot, but he is a little bit egocentric. I enjoy him, but couldn’t stand him for three full  days. His ego is a little bit extensive so he enrols in the conversation a guy who is in the table next to us.  Mathew, a serious Australian guy.  The “boring” goes and I talk to Mathew, he has been travelling for a year, he also has a blog, he takes pictures with old cameras. With only 26 years old, he has travelled to 62 different countries.I see his Middle east Lonely Planet , the countries it contains are Egypt,  Lebanon, Israel and the Palestinian territories, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey. We talk about Iraq, I tell him that I have met people who have known people who have been there, which sounds like that the friends cousin neighbour has had an affair with the work colleague of his bother in law. I can see he is curious about the country. The Kurdish Iraq seems to be a quiet zone and independent of the Iraq war.

I go to buy a juice and send a postcard, I think about “The Alchemist”, in the American woman had met travellers that loved Iraq, in the news I saw the last day by chance about Iraq Kurdistan, in Matt who is interested in Iraq, in the selfish man who” introduced” us, in that me on my own wouldn’t go, but now that I have someone to  go with…  In my trip which is being so easy, and I would like to get it more complicated… It’s all clear, they are omens as the main character of the book says,  “ you must follow the omen”. I get back to the hotel and look for Mathew, who does not seem to be a so serious any more, and tell him that I, on my own I wouldn’t  go to Iraq, but if he wants to come with me, we could go together.

Two days later, after going through Mar Musa monastery, at 2 pm we are in the new bus station in Homs. We need to cross all of  Syria to the north and 549 km of Turkey , because the border from Syria to Iraq is closed to foreigners and the only way to go is from Turkey.

After  the minibus and the bus to Homs, a two hour bus, a taxi of another two hours, night in Antep, and a nine hours bus to Silopi in Turkey, we are  20 km from the border, bargaining the taxi, a yellow Berlingo, ready to enter Bush´s “the axis of evil”.

See you soon… I hope

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