A 22-year-old recent college grad recounts her hike through Turkey with her 62-year-old father.


Yachting! Shmoozing! Hamming it up!

Off you go to a more complete pictorial summary of our adventure... http://www.flickr.com/photos/8151765@N03/

Ahh well nearly 10 days since the last post, and for good reason. Dad and I seem to have fully embraced our lifestyle of bumming about Turkey. After our day apart dad and I reconvened to relate our experiences to one another. Besides my lovely haircut, my day was rather uneventful. Dad, however, took a dolmus (aka tiny city bus) as far as he could east and then wandered along the shoreline to a long string of fancy, all-inclusive hotels. Without so much as a second glance, guards at each of the hotels allowed him to pass through and wander about these places. Had he been a man of lesser morals (or had it been me), he could have had an entire full course meal, sipped beer at the bar and swum in the hotels' ridiculously nice pools. İnstead he spent the next few hours wandering in and out of these places, unquestioned. He attempted to buy lunch at a few of the places with cash, but they wouldn't allow it...I guess that's why they're all inclusive. Ahh...right. When he got back to town to meet me he had a proposition: let's see how many of these places we can sneak into and film to show the contrast of these resorts to the rural Turkish villages and towns we encounter.

Next morning we suited up in our least dirty-backpacker-looking clothing, bought an Adidas bag to hold the camera and jetted off in the city dolmus. It was silly how many of these places we got into. There lay the hotel occupants, burnt and dozing as club music wafted through the speakers. Each of the resorts had themes--the Sherwood Hotel with fiber-glass hewn castle spires; an Asian-inspired one with a dragon slide and of course, the Titanic. Not sure how the entertainment at that one played out...but let's not get into that.

Long story short(er) we found that if you just act miffed with one another and poke around on a cell phone as you enter a place, the guards don't even give you a second glance. But if you smile and say hello they automatically ask for your wrist band. I'll let you come to your own conclusions about that one.

I can only account for my limited experience in these places, but it was quite sad to feel the contrast from Turkish villages to these resorts...perhaps the most exempletive of this contrast (beyond the lack of clothing) was the women rolling dough. The ones we encountered in the country were so full of life, happily talking and laughing as they went about their work. The women at the hotels carried out the same task, but they were placed on wooden platforms that were surrounded by tourists waiting to be served. They didn't talk much, or laugh, or really make eye contact as we all stood about watching them. We started the day excited to do a little undercover investigation, but I left sobered. I understand the appeal of the beautiful hotels, but I wouldn't trade a night there for one in the field.

The next morning we hopped on a bus to Olympus. I had heard about the chimera, the so-called "eternal flame" that rises up from the rocks in the area, and was excited to see it. We happened to meet a couple of guys there that were ending their trıp on the Lycian way--the sister trail to the Way of St. Paul. It was good to meet other hikers and soon stories were spilling out about their adventures all over the world. So now on my to-do list: hike Mt. Fuji during the time that they honor their ancestors. Our new friend Paul, the Colorado-born Scotsman was really the one for that inspiration. We spent the rest of the evening meeting the rest of the eclectic group at our pension and then went up to see the flames, which were really quite impressive. At one point I sat down to watch a thin blue circle of flames peeking out of the rock when suddenly...the eternal flame went out.

Yes I put the eternal flame out. This led to the renaming of said flame to the more accurate: Intermittent Flame of Olympus. Not quite as impressive but definitely more illustrative of the truth.

Luckily dad lit a branch on fire and we were able to resuscitate said flame by poking in the dirt a bit for the gaseous fumes.

Later that night a group from the pension decided to go to the nearby "dancing bar" and I hinted at dad maybe it was time for him to go to bed. When I returned at 3am he seemed oddly keen to catch the earliest dolmus out of town. Apparently a dad can't help being a dad.

So off we rolliked to the ruins of Myra to have a peek at their theatre. Paul had said it was stunning, and it certainly was, but my favorite part was that it provided a chance to meet Alicia. A quiet adventurer from Washington, she has spent the last 8 months living and working in Istanbul and was now doing one final tour around the country before heading back to the states. It just so happened she had signed on to crew a yacht in Finike that would take her out to some pretty little towns along the coast. Within minutes we were on the phone with the captain and working out the details of ensuring our passage on the yacht. All we had to do was act as crew and put in money for food and gas and we were good to go.

So the last few days have been spent with the firecracker Patricia aka Trish who has spent her life racing boats. She was full of fabulous stories about her adventures, from sinking her beloved boat off the coast of New Zealand to saving a sea turtle in the middle of the Pacific. She was really quite a lovely character. Alicia herself has already amassed quite a plethora of experiences around the world, and so dad and I sat back and reveled in the various stories that came out over the next few days.

We spent our mornings swimming and clambering up rocks on the peninsula that encircled the spot where we had anchored. Then we'd throw together a brunch of tomatos, fresh bread and cheese before we motored to a dock to explore ancient ruins. One of the main attractions of the place are the glass bottom boats that pass by underwater ruins littered with the remnants of adobe pots. So we joined a group of Chinese tourists aboard one and began motoring out. It was then I noticed that several of the people had Sony professional cameras as well as several attractive members of the group suited up with mics. Turns out they were filming for a Chinese tv show and we were soon comparing cameras and elbowing eachother for the best spots to film.

As the boat came to a stop in a quiet little bay, the skipper informed us we were being given time for a swim. Never ones to pass up such an opportunity, Alicia and I went to dive off the back of the boat--only to realize the entire film crew had their cameras pointed at us. So somewhat awkwardly we paddled around as cameras flashed and people stared. As we climbed up rocks to jump back into the water we received cheers of encouragment, it was all very strange. As we splashed around I cursed myself for buying the cheapest bathing suit I could find in Antalya, which happened to be an almost neon orange...not exactly complementary of my pasty pale skin.

When we climbed back on the boat and pulled on our clothes, a very attractive man from the group came over and asked if he could interview us for the show. Actually his exact line was: "There were many people in the ocean, but it seemed to belong to the two of you". That definitely was a new one, and seeing as I'm a bit of a ham I quickly agreed for the both of us. Sorry Alicia.

So after a few days yachting about working on our image as Chinese tv stars, we had to return back to Finike so Alicia could continue up the coast and make her flight out of Istanbul. We said our farewells to the that woman's woman, Trish, and took the bus up to Fethiye. I'm currently sitting in our pension, which is mostly inhabited by an Aussie tour group that informed me that the beaches here are nothing to theirs and I should really come check them out. I love how when travelling, we are apt to do so merely to confirm how much better the place is where we're from.

Ooh, dad just stopped by with a helmet! Looks like we're in for a day of scootering about before we get on our ferry tomorrow for Rhodes. Don't know when we're coming back still, but it looks like we'll fly out of Athens at some point. Yeehaw!