Saturday, November 15, 2008

I Am Backpacker

And now I'm all alone again, 
Nowhere to turn, no one to go to,
Without a home, without a friend, 
Without a face to say hello to.

- On my own, Les Miserables (at least Epinone feels my pain...)

I'm the only person staying at TJ's. 

TJ's is a five storey apartment building that has been converted into a hostel. It's in Eceabet, on the Gallipoli pennisula, and about twenty metres away from the ferry to Canakale. The hostel has thirty rooms over three levels, and in the summer, it can accommodate 140 people. There's this cafe/lounge on the 5th floor which has panoramic views of the Dardenelles, and it really must be something to sit on the balcony in summer and watch the container ships sail pass.  

It's winter now, though, and the place is just spooky when you're there by yourself.

It's an eerie feeling walking through the building. The foyer's homely with some nice Turkish touches, but the 2nd floor feels like it's a mental institution. It's half-lit with chained-up doors and twisting corridors. In the summer, when there are people around, I imagine it's a great place to stay, but when you're fumbling with the keys in the middle of the night, and the wind's murmuring just over your shoulder, it's plain scary. 

When you're in a hostel, the problem usually is finding some privacy. People are sleeping in the dorms, cooking in the kitchen, talking in the lounge... it can be hard to find your own headspace. It means that often, five minutes alone can feel like a stolen moment of illicit pleasure. But TJ's different. The silence is oppressive.  

I guess it's a bit like that interlude in the film I Am Legend, when Will Smith's stalking the deer through the deserted streets of New York. There's that same haunted emptiness in this hostel. It's like you can feel the memory of all those people who've stayed here and who've now gone. I suppose it's the disadvantage of coming to Gallipoli a few days after Remembrance Day. 

Whatever the case, I'll be fricking glad to be back in Istanbul in a couple of days. 

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hope you are having a good time. Visiting Ephesus and the like sounds fantastic.

Things OK at home, not much really going on.

Take care

Darren

Connolly's agent said...

Yeah, it's quite nice to see all these cities. They look a bit different from the world map in Civilization, but I expect that's the pixelisation. Makes me a bit itchy to play that game again, actually.

Hear you're working nights now. Hope you and Cecelia are well.