More is yet to come…
Assalamu Alaykum wr wb
What a crazy last couple of days. I managed to write an update on the laptop but didn’t get round to uploading it. Yesterday’s blog, 16th December, was written as I was waiting in the mechanics, however, there was more to come after that. Much more. Once we fixed the starter motor we were then left to navigate our way back to Taxim square, Turkey’s equivelant of Leicester square. We ended up making our way back with various drivers from other groups, in total we were six vehicles. Trying to cross from one part of Istanbul through its rush hour is extremely demanding especially in a convoy of six. It doesn’t sound like much, but ensuring all vehicle’s are in the convoy and they all make it through the traffic lights as well as pulling off from stationary positions are the factors that make it so difficult. After seeing a taxi pull past us we decided to pay the taxi and follow him all the way to the destination. I bet he regretted that. I don’t think he knew what he was getting himself into. It was a cumbersome task weaving through the traffic, but alhumdulillah he was really patient and he drove really slowly. In fact a little bit too slow, I had to pull him over and get him to drive faster. MashAllah he was a nice guy and didn’t complain.
When we got to our location we were met by crowds of local Turks who came out to join in the demonstration, it was nice to see that we were allocated the main square for this demonstration, knowing that no demonstration has taken place there in over 30 years, so I was told. Apparently at the last demonstration there were a number of demonstrators gunned down, that’s something if anyone has any knowledge of they can maybe update us. Alhumdulilah the Turks have been very hospitable and those involved have been working very hard. My only issue is the police escort, it just transforms a 2 hour journey into a 5 hour journey. Its painfuly slow and this is what we anticipate from here onwards until we reach Gaza.
As the demonstration was taking place the skies open up and rain began pouring down, causing the demonstration to end earlier than planned. After the demonstration we headed towards an area called Fershane where we parked up the vehicles earlier on during the day. People were still coming to the car park and were seeing off the convoy as they were chanting slogans to jeer on the convoy. At this point it eventually hit home that we had a 160kM journey ahead of us. By the time we set off it was 11:30pm, a lot of the convoy members were not pleased to say the least that the desicion to undertake the journey at that time was made. To add to the dissatisfaction we were escorted by the police who were driving uncomfortably slow, which took the journey into the early hours of the morning. Driving in such a state was really dangerous, as many drivers were swerving from lane to lane as sleep overcame some of them. By the will of Allah no accidents took place, however taking such a gamble and pushing drivers to their limit is a decision that V.P made and had any incidents took place then the liability lies upon them.
We arrived at our destination at about 4.30 in the morning and were served a meal, (more like Suhour), being so close to Fajr time (dawn) and going to sleep in such a tired state was a bit risky as we feared we may miss it, so some of the brothers stayed up until the time for prayer came in. I used this oppertunity to jump into the shower, as it was long over due.
After prayer we were knocked out, and managed to slip in an hour and a half of sleep when we were woken up by the most annoying sound to a sleeping person, a brother shouting “Fatour fatour” (breakfast, breakfast in Arabic) Arghhhhhhhhhh!!!! With driving all night long and an hour and a half of sleep who thinks about breakfast? Not me, infact we hade only just eaten about two and a half hours ago. Anyway we had no choice in the matter, we were scheduled to leave at 8.30 so we quickly packed our bags and grabbed a take away breakfast which was handed to us in white plastic bags. By now it was my turn to drive, and believe me, I was struggling, and the worst thing is when your co-drivers are sleeping. I had to keep nudging them to get them to talk to me otherwise I too would fall asleep.
At about midday we arrived in Ankara where we had lunch at a stadium along with a press conference. Unfortunately, I missed it, as our starter motor had seized working yet again and we had to take it to a local mechanic. We took it to a mechanic who said to us that the solonoid that was used by the previous mechanic was made in China so that’s why it stopped working the next day. I am not convinced with that explanation, but we will see if the new one he installed will do the job. As the convoy was sheduled to leave for Konya so off they went and we remained behind in Ankara. We were with a second vehicle from the convoy which was driven by an uncle. On the way I used this time to write my latest update as I am doing now before it’s my turn to drive. At the moment it’s freezing as we are driving with the window open all in a bid to stay awake. Its soo cold that my fingers are very stiff from the cold and typing is very hard. I hope to find an internet cafe to send my update but at the moment finding the time to find an internet cafe is seeming uncertain. We have a 148 kM to go and as we are not with the convoy we are reaching an average speed of 100 kM/H. InshaAllah if all goes smoothly and we maintain this speed then we shall arrive in just under two hours.
Jazakum Allah khair for following the convoy and by reading the blog. I do apologise if it is not detailed enough or I leave out certain events but I am sure you are all aware how unpredictable this journey can be.