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Published: October 3rd 2004
Church? What Church?
What are you talking about dude? That's quite obviously a mosque... Can't you see the minaret (under construction)?
Ayvalik. An inseperable part of the Turkish national homeland(!). Signs all over point out that it was here that the first military resistance was formed against the advancing Greeks back in 1919. I daresay I'm a bit puzzled. By all indications this was as Greek a town as any in western Anatolia. I spent all day walking down the quiet narrow alleys, among unmistakably Greek houses, spotting the occasional unmistakable church. One sign on a shop read "Rum evleri tamir ve yikimi yapilir" (lit. "We fix and demolish Greek houses").
This is yet another town fallen victim to the forced population exchange between Greece and Turkey -- Greek speaking Turks sent east to Anatolia, and Turkish speaking Greeks shipped off to Greece. A true tragedy. Yashar Kemal has an excellent trilogy "Bir Ada Hikayesi" (lit. "An Island Story") which deals with the general theme.
Upon arrival I was left hanging somewhere between ridicule and disbelief seeing minarets being put up around Greek cathedrals. "Nossir, no Greeks here. Only Turks. This is and has always been an inseperable part of the Turkish national homeland." Of course, someone pointed out that the Greeks apparently demolished all mosques when they gained their
Port of Ayvalik
The place has killer views at sunset. This is where I spent hours trying to catch fish.
independence, so maybe Turkey has the moral highground.
I'm staying at a kickass hostel, with great staff, an awesome view, decent amenities, and just an awesome aura. It used to be a Greek house or something. Rather than pay 7million (roughly $5) for breakfast, I went out and bought my own goods (spent 17million) which I then brought back to the hostel and cooked. I hadn't eaten a decent sunday brunch in ages, and those scrambled eggs with sausage tasted awesome. After wandering around and taking pictures, I bought a line and tackle and decided to try my hand at fishing. After all, my friend Tutku had tried to convince me to give everything up and become a fisherman. Needless to say the experiment was a complete disaster; I basically ended up feeding the fish a bunch of bait. I quit at sunset, without having caught a single fish. At the same time there were 8-9 year olds who had bags packed with fish they caught. Bastards.
Last night I was sent on a wild goose chase to the nearby island of Junda (tr. Cunda) in search of a water pipe (nargile
). The nargile I found was OK,
View from Hostel
This is what you see when you look out from the terrace of the hostel. Although the minaret isn't quite visible (yet), it's a *mosque*.
and the atmosphere was pretty cool, but it wasn't the kind I wanted (tombeki). I still consider Bergama to be the holy grail of nargile smoking experiences. Fortunately, the nay-sayers who claimed there are no nargile joints on the mainland turned out to be wrong, and I spotted a suitable looking joint during my wanderings today.
Apart from fruitlessly attempting to catch fish, there appears to be enough activities to keep me busy for another 3-4 days in Ayvalik. The summer season is over, so the bars and all are closed, but the weather is still great, and I appreciate the peace and quiet. I think I'll stick around for awhile.
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