Across Continents

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The Colonel

"You will die" he said emphatically. But this wasn’t a threat, just helpful advice. I explained that, much as Iraq sounded intriguing, I didn’t plan to visit, not for a while at least. He was a retired Colonel from the northern part of the country, enjoying a brief respite in Turkey with his wife.

I’d taken a ferry up the Bosporus from the European side of Istanbul, with the intention of disembarking on the Asian side, close to the Black Sea coast. The passengers were mostly tourists, including a large contingent of Chinese. Each had a smart camera so I foolishly assumed them to be Japanese, a presumption they were quick to correct. I apologised, they accepted, and Emma and I posed for photographs.

Perhaps drawn by the small crowd that had gathered around Emma and I, my Colonel friend had approached me muttering "Tony Blair". I was quick to explain that not everyone liked him. I suggested Gordon Brown. Despite his opening gambit, the Colonel seemed a jovial chap. Suppose you would be when the only thing to contend with in Turkey is the odd rogue carpet salesman.

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