All over Van are these stands of white poplars with the white-streaked mountains behind. The lake is so vast it looks like a sea. As I drew this, the man in the picture walked up and down the rows, planting his field. I was waiting for the only boat to Akdamar. Since there was no tourism, there were no boats, but I lucked out: a large Turkish family had booked one, and they invited me to come along.