Trip Start Oct 13, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Monday, November 14, 2005

Monday 14th November
After two comfortable and warm nights I decided to move on. Bit of a
problem checking out. I had paid two days in advance but when it
came to leaving the owner insisted I had only paid for one.
The discussion became heated but I refused to back down and left the
pansiyon on a sour note. I tried to think charitably and believe the
owner was becoming senile. I really wasn't sure where I should go
today but, in the end, caught a bus to Ayvalik. A little over a
hours drive, mainly along the coast.
Saw perhaps 150 flamingoes in small groups in what appeared to be a
salt pan. First impressions of Ayvalik were good. It quickly started
to change though. The first pansiyon was closed, then the next, and
the next. I caught a taxi and got him to drive me round. The same
story though as the next three we visited were closed too ....but at
least the last one had somebody there. A delightful exuberant and
helpful lady who made a couple of phone calls and found me a place.
Its an odd sort of set up but then it is an old renovated house in
the old part of time. The owner and his wife are very nice. He more
artisan and she an artist. He was brought up in Germany, an ex hippy
who has travelled widely. He speaks excellent English and very keen
to help in any way he can.
My first move was to have a haircut and shave then shower and get my
clothes to the laundry. A quick snack and then explore the town.
Treated myself to an English newspaper. Not seen any news I could
understand in a while. The big bonus was there is a sudoku for me to
tackle. Met a strange little dog. On looking closely at the
contraption round his neck I found it was a solid metal collar.
About 2" wide it was bolted into place. Round its circumferance
triangular sections had been cut, bent outwards and sharpened.
Anything biting that little creature on the neck would probably die.
Protection yes, but at what price? It was unable to scratch its own
head without lacerating its paws. I scratched it behind its ears.
The face was pure bliss.
As I was back on the coast for the first time in a week I thought I
would eat fish, as I knew it would be fresh. That being said I saw
living fish in the market in Selšuk. I looked around for the
most frequented Turkish restaurant and ate there. Ate a fish called a
Dorado simply because I had not eaten one before. Quite tasty, but
not the best ever.
Back to my digs and spent the remainder of the evening sitting round
a log fire having a difficult conversation with two Turkish students.

Tuesday 15th November
You would think that with it being so cold that the mosquitos would
be hibernating. But no, they heard I was coming and the opportunity
of a bloodfest was too good to miss. Had to re-apply DEET three
times during the night and they still got me.
Had breakfast in my hosts kitchen this morning. Usual Turkish fare
of bread, olives, cheese, tomatoes, cucumber and hard boiled egg.
The jam was exceptionally good ...home made sour cherry. When I eat
a Turkish breakfast I don't feel the need to eat again for the
rest of the day. There are few foods that I have never aquired a
taste for but these include olives and cheese. In Turkey I have
discovered that I actually do like olives. There are dozens of
different types and most I find delicious. The same goes for cheese.
A lot of Turkish cheese I will eat and enjoy. Still not keen on
English cheeses though, but I will persevere.
Spent the day walking the streets of Ayvalik. There are no
antiquities in the immediate locale but the old town is a treat.
It is extremely picturesque and worth visiting for this aspect alone.
The old town stretches from just behind the main street and up the
hill. It is a positive maze. Much of it serviced by horses and
carts. These are sometimes selling goods or transporting to and from
the market. The renovated stands next to the tumbledown, the empty
next to the occupied. Many houses are empty and a good portion for
sale. They almost made me wish that I was good at DIY ...but I
fought of the feeling. The houses were built by the Greeks and taken
over by Turkish peoples during the population exchange back in the
1920's. Definitely investment properties for those who can afford
them ...and I daresay they are cheap too. Someone said they were
around nine thousand quid for a four bedroom house!
Today was odd in that I started to feel really 'down'. Can't explain
it really, came on out of the blue. Maybe that's where the
term 'blues' comes from. I've read of such feelings affecting
people during travelling. Hopefully the feeling will pass. Moving on
again tomorrow.
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