Friday, 14 September 2012
The next morning I woke up, broke camp, and walked over to the station’s café for a breakfast of menemen and bread. After breakfast I went back out onto the highway and walked to Denizli.
With a population of 500,000, Denizli seemed a huge metropolis compared to the tiny villages I had been walking through. I felt like a hick. How quickly I had adapted to my surroundings the past two weeks.
As I walked into Denizli I felt under assault by a wall of noise. It seemed Denizli was one big construction site. Everywhere, jackhammers breaking cement and pile drivers drilling deep into the ground for god knows what. Traffic was heavy and drivers were busy honking their horns. Large trucks belched exhaust fumes as they lumbered by. I choked on the fumes.
My slowly healing foot began to throb. My spirits had ended on such a high note yesterday, but now I was beginning to feel depressed, angry, out of place, projecting my negativity onto the world around me. I imagined the truck drivers were laughing at me, a rube in from the countryside, sticking out like a sore thumb in the big bustling city.
I had been walking for a few hours with nothing to eat so I was hungry. I stopped in for lunch at a roadside restaurant to have some izgara kofte.
The restaurant was air conditioned inside but I chose to sit outside on the patio because I was hot and sweaty. It was comfortable out on the patio. There were lots of plants, and I was sheltered from the sun and the noise and the dust. I began to relax, my bad mood and my anger at the world beginning to subside.
A young woman came out to serve me. I observed to myself that most of the servers I had run across in the past couple weeks had been men, and it was unusual to be served by a woman. This particular one was not only young, probably in her early 20s, but kind of cute too. She greeted me warmly as she handed me the menu, and while I ate she smiled at me and engaged me in a little flirty small talk.
By the end of lunch my mood had changed from Man, everything really stinks here, I hate Denizli, to Ah, that pretty young woman smiled at me, life is good.
As I finished lunch and shouldered my pack to go back out into the big bad city, I reflected on how little it had taken, just a smile from a cute young woman, to change my mood from bad to slightly good.