Izmir to Edremit

August 22, 2014

I walk. It’s very hot. Very. But I don’t ask how hot, the knowledge of those numbers can actually weaken the warrior. I just left behind two friends, Anıl and BT’ian. We had an awesome time the night before. I had, ahem, a beer and smoked cigarettes until my head spun. We told jokes and were being silly and that was perfect. Then the plan was to ride a bus to the airport, sleep there, and the next morning İ would get to the main road up to Bursa. But time slipped by us and suddenly it was too late to catch the last bus to the airport. One thing led to another and we ended up sleeping at TN’ian’s mom’s house, crashing in the living room after eating some food, much laughter and conversation.

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In the morning the two of them take the trouble to come with me all the way to the end of the train line, but before we stopped for coffee and poacha

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So I walk along this road, still inside the city… I am not fond of hitch hiking within the city boundaries, local traffic takes you nowhere… I must have walked a good hour. Then as the city was slowly getting sparser, I lifted my thumb.

Within seconds kind of white cargo van stopped. The guy came out the side door. I say I’m heading to Bursa and he says something about dikili… I have no idea what a dikili is… we go back and forth and I understand he has to stop somewhere on the way. OK no problem. As I walk in I realize that this is a security truck. An armored money transport truck. The guy, whose name is Volkan, tells me he’s not supposed to take passengers. Ah now here’s for an original ride.

There is another guy in the front he looks serious, they both are in their twenties. Volkan drives fast and faster, in true Turkish fashion, crazily but I’m not scared, he knows what he’s doing. We talk a bit, same questions, where are you from etc. Mentioning Canada has many Turks ooing. He says he has a sister working in Cananda, that he’d like to go too. Lets marry and go together he says!

We turn into a small country road. The scenery is gorgeous. I finally get it. Dikili is a town. It is very beautiful. Wow. They stop at a first bank, stay down, don’t talk, he says. They go out and I can see from the rear view mirror they get a bag go in, come back out. We leave. Stop at another bank. Then another.

“You like ice tea?”

“Yes”

He U-turns and stops at a store, comes back in with Fuse Tea. A few minutes later he turns around and says:

“Finish!” it’s the end of this ride for me. I take a picture, he takes one we say warm goodbyes and they take off in a hurry.

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I start walking again. It feels good despite the very heavy bag. The first minutes are worst, then the weight settles and I forget about them. After a bit, I lift my thumb. A few cars go by. I drop the thumb. A large petrol truck stops… shit.. don’t want to get in big trucks… It stopped quite a ways ahead. I’m hoping that he will take off. He doesn’t. I get close to the door. I gesture “no” he says come in, opens the door. No…

“Korkma” don’t be afraid he says… we talk a bit. My bullshit meter says I’m OK. I get in. His name is Erdogan. Like the prime minister. We talk, I say something about the road and he says: Tayip!!! Tayip made these roads. Tayip is great!! I play dumb tourist and say I dunno who Tayip is. He asks me for my phone number. I say I don’t have a phone. We talk weather. He turns off the highway and says I should go where he’s going and take a bus from there. Nope, I’ll get off here. He lets me off.

I get on the road, and soon a woman pulls over, I get in but we misunderstood each other. She thougth I wanted to go to the bus station. I get out about a mile down the road.

Then I walk and walk and walk. It’s calm. Beautiful scenery. There are all these stands where they sell kara dut suyu. Dut is a fruit similar to blackberry but much tastier.. they make juice, jam, syrup out of it. The sings say “buz gibi” Like ice. As I am progressing there is a little heard of cows. They look happy, they are looking at me puzzled. Then ahead one of these stands appear. A man is standing on the side of the road: “Hos geldiniz!” he says. Hos bulduk! I repy. He invites me. We chat a bit. He offers me the juice, which I intended to taste since I love dut.

“Buz gibi mi?” like ice? I say, he says yes, like ice. He gives me a glass. It’s really tasty.

“Otur!” Sit down he says, which is a typical turkish invitation. He then offers me cay. There is another man, he is with the cows, I drink my juice and say OK, I’ll give you a song then. I pull out the guitar and start singing Uzun Ince Bir Yoldayim.

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“Oooohh!” he exclaims! A Canadian singing Turkish!!! We all chat together quietly for a bit, laugh. The day is coursing… I must go I said. He gives me a bottle of dut syrup, offers me more tea but I must go… time is a ticking.

I resume my walk, walk more. Then, a hunch. Thumb up. About 30 seconds later a car stops. A young man. He looks like an Istanbulite. I trust the young generation a lot more than the older men… they are more on an even keel with women. He speaks to me in Turkish, in a bit of English. He’s an artist. He showed me photos of his art and he is an outstanding artist… He says:

“you are strong.”

we talk and then he says:

“This is interesting. I needed to hear what you said. I was sad.” As we talk, I realize this is one of those fateful meetings. Vectors connecting. One of the Gods’s operations… One human being needs an answer and Fate puts you in this being’s path and you give them an answer.

We stopped for a break to eat, drink something and to see where I am supposed to go next. I realize I have to take a different direction. I also realize I am burnt out tired. We eat lahmacun, Turkish pizza, drink ayran, it was needed but it’s not picking me up. I am beat. After looking at the map on Google he says to me:

I am going to put you on a bus to Yelova. This is good for me. I don’t want money for you. You need this… he gets up to find out where to find a bus station. It happens to be across the street… yeah, another “coincidence”. We walk over there. He buys the ticket for me, reassures me again that this is what he wants to do and money is no problem. I don’t know what to say. I could not have kept on hitch hiking today. I am really, really beat. We drink a last tea. As we talk, we realize I almost stopped at his studio in Istanbul a few times.. there are sculptures on the front of the building that I liked very much, I always promised myself I was going to stop, it is situated steps from Lavazza, where I get my coffee almost daily,

He left. I am pondering all this wonder. Now I wait for the bus to Yelova where the last two days of the 99 days of whirling are taking place this weekend. I cannot wait to feel and then disappear in the whirl… become an electron and think of nothing. It’s been incredible. The best decision I could make really was to leave Dalyan.

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