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Trip to Turkey September 2004
Wednesday, September 15, 2004

We stayed at Olu Deniz a second day for swimming and snorkeling at the beach.  We found it somewhat disorienting that the Turks spoke perfect idiomatic British English.  We did meet some British tourists who were curious about the Turkish people and culture.  We appreciated the opportunity to dry off without top coverings.

A Turkish couple (the woman was wearing a head scarf) showed up on the beach and one of the topless English women ran in front of her so that the English couple could kiss passionately only about 4 feet away from the Turkish couple.  The Turkish couple left quickly and quietly, and I wondered about how someone could be so insensitive.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

9:00am After morning toiletries (no Turkish breakfast places this far east), we were off again.  We decided not to take the smaller road on the map because we were low on gas and thought there might not be a gas station on that road.  Instead we took the paved coast road which wound up being scary and narrow enough in some places.  We passed pomegranate trees.  Again, due to the mountainous area and bad condition of the roads, we spent most of the day driving.  Once we left Olu Deniz, it became impossible to find sitting flush toilets in the (previously reliable) gas stations and restaurants on the road. 

We spent the day on the (scary, mountainous) road and when we got to Ilika (just west of Manvgat), it was starting to get dark so we decided to stop and sleep in a hotel.  This little town was overrun with busloads of German tourists.  All the stores were open late and the tourists were walking all over the shopping area, which included some German-style bars.  All the Turks were speaking German.  There were about 10 different types of stores and about 20 or so of each.  There were pharmacies, leather goods stores, gold stores, souvenir stores, spice stores, clothing stores (cheap synthetic shirts and pants, European style, and brand name knock-offs), and restaurant/bars.

Friday, September 17, 2004

8:00am We woke in Ilica and started on the road toward Alanya, then Silifike.  By this time we were pretty road-burned, missing our Turkish breakfast and western-style sit-down toilets.  I had started covering my hair as we were heading east of the areas accustomed to tourists.  We were tired of the scary mountainous roads, with their breath-taking (gasping) views of cliffs over the Mediterranean Ocean.  Near Ausaller, we started seeing short trees with small bananas in large bunches.  We continued east over mountains, passed castles (many castles) and over switch-backs.

Kurdish handicraftmy head covering

A few miles west of Bogsak, we found fruit stands selling bananas, very tasty small bitter almonds, and carob pods (St. Johns bread from locust trees).  About 2 miles west of Bogsak we stopped to take some boat pictures and I found a rock with rock crystal embedded in it.

Catal Huyuk was originally on our itinerary but we estimated that we were too pressed for time and decided to instead head directly towards Cappadoccia (Goreme).

Jandarma sign About 10 miles west of Silifke, we took a picture of a Jandarma sign.  The Jandarma were a visible presence throughout the country, although we only saw them being there and watching for the most part.  At one point on the road they had set up a road block and seemed to be looking for someone or something, but when they saw us they just waved us through.

But this night we did have a more direct encounter with the Jandarma.  We had driven to Silifke so that we could take advantage of the autobahn road from Silifke to Konya.  I think there are about 2 good roads in all of Turkey and this is one of them.  We took the road until the autobahn ended, then along the side of the road there were food stands, one after another after another.  There must have been 40 of them, selling olives and nuts and fruit and honey, some in very attractive jars; but we were tired.  We didn't stop to shop, we were looking for a place to sleep.

Just beyond the fruit stands we started seeing parking areas and we pulled over into one to sleep.  We put up the curtains, readied the bed, kept our clothes on (whenever we slept in an uncertain place we kept our clothes on), and fell asleep exhausted.  About 40 minutes later, I woke to the sound of a vehicle pulling up next to us and I woke up Tom.  The Jandarma knocked on the driver's window and Tom answered.  The armed young kid told Tom that we could not park here overnight.  We pulled down the curtains and continued down the road.  We found a gas station with trucks parked for the night and we slept in our clothes.

Created:  November 15, 2004
Updated:  November 21, 2004
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