January 20, 2009

Speed Fatigue
Bornova, Turkey

I'm at my fourth CouchSurfing host in less than a week, and the pace is really killing me. I spent too much time out in the cold yesterday (my only option when I didn't want to be in a small room full of smoking men), and between the smoke and the temperature and maybe now being a little sick, I'm certainly not feeling 100%.

The current flat I crash landed this evening (on the outskirts of İzmir) reminds me of the off-campus homes and apartments upperclassmen university students and party animals would live in—sort of ratty, used, and a little too lived in. Stacked dirty dishes, the feeling of worn carpet and aged everything. Like a goodwill store, with better speakers and a PlayStation.

Well, as chance would have it, the three mid-twenties Turks living here are all still in uni, slowly whittling away at their degrees when girls and video games provide time for such things.

Onur's living room, sometimes my bedroom when both flatmates are sleeping at the apartment

Onur (my host) and all his buddies are quite fun and friendly, but the smoking in confined spaces continues. I think I've lost a few years off my life from all the secondhand smoke I've been getting recently. It's certainly quite different 'surfing without Tatiana and Aidric, as I'm not getting the same type of hosting experiences that we'd had in the past.

(shrug) But I really just need some R&R from the pace, and the vibe is right here. At least it's warmer by the ocean (though it's certainly not even close to walking distance from the flat—coastal climate none the less). It's somewhere around 16–17° in the day, which is significantly better than the 2° I was standing around in last night.

My biggest memory from the bus trip down from Balıkesir today was that of the seemingly endless stretches of olive trees. I've never before seen such a quantity of the things in my life. The harvest was only two or three weeks ago, and the fresh, 2009 olive oil will be hitting the local markets soon.

The photo and brief video below were taken in my bus as it swiftly cut through the countryside. These are jugs of olive oil for sale on the side of the highway:

( video: Jugs of Turkish Olive Oil )

…oh look, and Onur just came over with a bottle of absinthe, some shot glasses and a big grin. Excellent.

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