Friday, 2 August 2013

Gallipoli (Eceabat & Cannakale): Never forgetting our ANZACs

13-hour bus rides are never dull when a 9-year old Turkish American girl hears you speaking English and gets so excited about having someone else to talk too that she pushes past her (Non-English speaking) Mother to chat with you. Although she didn't know where New Zealand is in the world, I was still invited to come over to her Dad' restaurant in New Jersey which was of course, a Turkish restaurant. 

I think if I hadn't been sitting next to the lovely medical student I may not have arrived to the right place. She was sweet enough to explain to the bus driver when I needed to get off and collect my bag after the ferry ride over the Dardanelles. Even sharing a few laughs with me as the 9-year passed around her Teddy Bear so we could all have a cuddle.

The next 'bus ride character' I met was on the ANZAC tour. 

Hailing from Las Vegas, this small Asian woman with her two kids sitting opposite us, began telling me that her knowledge of what happened between 1914-1915 was very limited. Only extending to what she had read about the area on the Internet the evening before.

My reaction to this was of shock. And on reflection how ignorant some people could be. But then coming from America, there was no immediate reason why she and her family would have the knowledge about what happened here as it isn't close to home for them. 

Soon after starting this conversation I learnt that they were on a mini world tour. Her family had already visited New Zealand and Australia and so understood our culture.

Over the course of the day, as I listened to what the tour guide retold us, read the plaques on soldiers graves and admired the memorials that have since been erected, I noticed that each time we'd reenter the bus and sit back down she would let out another gasp of shock as each story we heard pulled another heart string. 

Trying to ascertain what these young and inexperienced soldiers endured is impossible. But by the end of the day I think we all were riding the wave of emotion. Even the woman I met from Las Vegas and her two kids. 

A picture can attempt at telling 1,000 words. Here's what I saw through the lense during my time here.

Toodle pip x