On Saturday 30th April, I spent time with some new Turkish friends. I was invited to eat breakfast with the family at Smyrna hotel, situated beside Retro bar. I ate an array of bread, cheese, salad, olives, spreads and jams. It was lovely and I got to practice my Turkish, which I started to realise wasn’t as good as I had hoped. They understood what I was saying, for the most part, however, I couldn’t speak in sentences which described past events and I was struggling with knowing enough vocabulary. By midday I was off back home for a ‘siesta’ but I didn’t actually have a nap. I put some washing in, had a shower, chatted to my parents and then went back to Debbie’s to feed the cats. In the evening I hung out at Retro bar with Nazim and Des, while listening to some great music. Around 7pm I ate dinner with Nusret, Gonca and Yaşar and it was absolutely lovely; a delicious soup, similar to a lentil broth and a tasty chicken dish with fresh bread. A few of my friends, including Des (by this time), Maddie and Ann, were at Sofra bar and wanted me to join them. Maddie decided to come to Retro bar to collect me and for a while we propped up the bar, her with a Vodka RedBull while I tried a cocktail with Nazim and Nusret.
It was the first time I had been in Sofra after midnight sober and I hoped to not do it again. Des bought me a pint when I arrived and I’d only had a couple of sips when Ann needed to talk to me by the river. The rock band had already finished and left to go to Rodrigo’s bar so we thought we might join later. I had a couple more beers and then Ann decided she was going home. Des, Maddie and I went for more drinks at Rodrigo’s, where Mark and Kate were already at. I recognised the lead singer of the band immediately, despite his garish tie dye outfit, I’d accompanied him on a karaoke song last night; Psycho Killer by The Talking Heads. Des and I had to walk Maddie home, with her dog (Milo) who was now running loose on bar street, and she insisted on us watching Les Miserables and the end of The Greatest Showman (we’ve never seen the rest of it). What a night and, as Des left about 3.30am, I got in bed with Maddie, for a much needed sleep.

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