Argentinian Volvo Buses > their Turkish Mercedes counterparts

I woke up yesterday morning in Batumi at 7:10. I ate a couple cakes and downed a glass of tea that my homestay mother had prepared. I was trying to get a good start on my descent into Turkey, and was  walking to the Marshrutka station by 7:50. I knew I was going to have a long couple days in transit, so I was excited for the four kilometer walk to the station.

I am cruel. I built up that last paragraph as if another Bolivian style adventure were about to unfurl, but that is not the case — transit in Turkey is straightforward. However, this Turkish language keyboard sure is frustrating for a gringo. Despite my uneventful travel, my journey the last two days has been long. I was in motion for about 32 hours. There was a bus departing for Konya when I arrived in Hopi, so I jumped on and sacrificed time for scenary and comfort. The ride was stunning. We hugged the Black Sea all the way from Hopi to Samsun. We then cut south through the heart of Turkey and passed through the lunar landscape dotting the valley of the fairy chimneys, the mountainous south and then the Mediterranean coast.

The catalyst for this route was an urge to visit Syria that I was recently struck with. It looks like that will happen tomorrow. For the evening, I am staying in a surprisingly decent hotel atop the Antakya bus station. I arrived early enough in the afternoon that I could have easily migrated into the cıty center, but I was compelled by the station`s setting on the outskirts of town in a hilly agricultural area — the perfect topography for a long run! I went for my fırst run since Kazakhstan and was able to comfortably wear shorts for the first time since Yunnan! That is another reason I want to explore Syria — I have been stuck in unseasonably cold weather and have seen snow in each of my last three countries! Brıng on the heat Damascus! Back to that run, people everywhere I have gone, but especially those in Turkey and Kazakhstan did not know how to respond to a caucasian getting his exercise on. Reactions were intense and ranged from heckles to curious `salams´ and a couple cheers.

There are many ideas flowing through my mind, but this frustrating keyboard and bus station computer are too big of a deterrence for my ambitions to surmount. Sorry to those who were curious.

Off to Syria in the morning (Aleppo and Damascus!)

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