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After breakfast and a quick trip to the bank I took my leave of the very comfortable Homeros Pensiyon, painfully toting my pack down to the otogar. There I caught a dolmus for Ismir. At Ismir, from the outskirts a huge sprawling ugly city made up of the horrible cheap concrete apartment blocks with which the Turkish seem determined to cover their country, I boarded a bus for Ayvalik.

The landscape was pretty unremarkable – fields of cotton occasionally doted with bent-backed workers, a few nondescript dusty towns, wheat-covered hills and scrubby plains. I’d left Selcuk about 11am and arrived at Ayvalik’s otogar about 4pm, to get a taxi to the Taksiyarhis Pensiyon. The stubbled attendant directed me to leave my shoes at the door and led me through a maze of corridors, stairs and empty rooms to a room right next to a terrace, with a gorgeous view of the Aegean. This’ll do.

After a brief rest and a bit of laundry I went for a walk along the waterfront, busy with fishing and tourist boats and people sitting at waterside restaurants and cafes. I bought a copy of The Turkish News and sat reading it with a beer by the water. It was hot and humid.

Later I wrote an email to friends, then returned to the pensiyon to find that two other people had arrived, an older American couple. In the evening, after a quick trip to the waterfront to eat a hamburger, I joined them for a glass of red wine while they ate bread and salad. They were interesting and well-travelled, and G quizzed me about my Americas trip in detail. It’s always interesting to meet people who have not followed the ‘typical’ paths – neither of them had kids for example – and hear their stories. It makes me feel proud of my choices so far as well, to see my stories reflected in their faces.

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