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The Ekspres arrived exactly an hour late in Ankara but that was a blessing at 20 past 8 in the morning. With no distinct centre to aim for, the decision to head for the Ulus quarter of Ankara was mainly inspired by the presence of budget accomodation, the attractions were actually pretty widely spread throughout the city. And as cities went I'd just gone from one big one to another. The dilemna in looking for a cheap bed was always that if they had the means to adequately advertise then it was commensurately going to cost more, most of the obvious hotels looked way too respectable. After one surly unsuccessful encounter I hit upon another small dodgy hotel in a side street and tried my luck. The freshly mopped stairs stank of shit and the father and son on the desk looked at me as if wondering what to do. Despite protests to the contrary they became convinced from my passport I was from Ireland (as in the UK of GB and Northern Ireland) and allotted me a handily located room for a good price. It was small, clean and dilapidated. The hole in the ground toilet directly opposite reeked of piss, the room of custard creams. It was perfect.

Unfortunately I negated the advantage of taking the night train by promptly conking out, but tried to salvage something from the day by just managing to catch open the out of the way tourist office, which you could only reach by going through the railway station and taking the underpass under the tracks. The chirpy old boy spoke English with a laugh and bade me to come back later, nobody knew about the parade in 3 days time except me. I was off at a tangent in the city so walked to the Kizilay shopping district which was high rise and busy. I was here in search of book stalls and a cinema but instead only managed to get drenched in a really nasty thunderstorm. The main avenues of Turkey's capital city turned to rivers in spate, impossible to cross, and the electricity went out all over town. Diners tried to finish off their köfte by lamplight and I couldnt sit out the rain on the net for that was down too. The only restaurant I could find which served both food and beer was a tiny cheap affair where boys thought nothing of smoking over your dinner when there were other vacant tables to be had, but in Turkey that was not unusual. I later found somewhere that vaguely resembled a pub serving real pints and got the best seat in the house to watch Fenerbache gub Gaziantepspor 2 nil. The confusing Metro fortunately took me in the right direction to Ulus and bed.

Posted by andyhay 00:00 Archived in Turkey

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