chapter lx

Archive for August 2012

More traveling today, but much more interesting. Took a long bus ride to the Gokcen airport, a newer airport in the suburbs which is used by more budget and local airlines. It is huge and modern and relatively empty. Had my ticket for Dalaman, theory being that from Dalaman airport I could get some sort of bus or shuttle to Marmaris to get a ferry to Rhodes, the last one being at 6 pm. Landed at around three, so should work, right? Ha

Dalaman airport is even emptier than Gokcen. My suitcase was in fact there, but at the international terminal, for which there at no shuttles, but a 15 minute walk. Took awhile to retrieve it, had to locate the right office and get clear with the customs officer. Just a note on differences in flying in Europe. First of all, they actually give you food on flights. Even the short flight from Istanbul to Dalaman, they came around with sandwiches and drinks. They don’t worry about water going through security, don’t have to take off shoes, or remove liquids and gels, very casual about it all. You do, however, pass through security to enter the airports. Not rigourous, putting bags through an x-ray and walking through a metal detector, like going into a government building. I can remember in Paris, 20 years ago, passing through security to enter even a department store, museums, any large public building. Anyway, because of the time it took to retrieve the bag, I missed the shuttle from Dalaman to Marmaris, and the next one wouldn’t come for another two hours. Well, that meant I probably wouldn’t make a ferry today. There was one other person trying to get to Marmaris, Mohammed from London who’s wife and children are with her parents about a half hour past Marmaris. He phoned her to tell her about the delay and she said they would come to pick him up, about an hour and a half for them to get there. So we sat and talked, very interesting and lively conversation. He said if they came before the shuttle and if there was room, they could probably drop me in Marmaris. So I got to spend the next several hours with a family, lovely Mohammed and his wife, her Turkish father who doesn’t speak English and their two children. We stopped at the father’s favourite baklava shop, where I bought some to share in Rhodes, then at an orange juice stand, where they squeezed fresh oranges, so refreshing, and then at a little spot off the highway where we had flat bread with cheese, and a yogurt drink with salt, and fresh tomatoes. They were lovely and by the time we got to Marmaris it was clear that I was not getting a ferry tonight, so the father found me a cheap room, and they were on their way.
Everyone here is so helpful and generous. A wonan on the plane gave me a bracelet after I shared some chocolate with her and her son after lunch. The owner of the pension last night bought me a beer at the cafe next door after I checked in. That family was so hospitable and generous today. The owner of this little hotel asked my plans for getting a ferry tomorrow, and phoned his friend who books the ferry to come over so I could buy my ticket tonight, and avoid a panic in the morning.
So I get up to my room, and can’t figure out how to get the lights on – you put your room key in a slot. When you leave the room, the lights go out. There are many ways that they have figured out how to conserve energy that just make sense. So, I get up to the room, which has a little balcony, and hear music from the town square out front – martial brass and drums, and a large choir. I had to go down to see, it is some national holiday, not sure what. the whole town was on the square, it seems, and the fountain in the middle had a film showing on it, depicting some battles or something. All very patriotic. But when the film ended, the fountains were like fireworks, a light and water show that was truly amazing. I love fireworks a this was just about as good. Who needs Bellagio? 

The best laid plans, etc. but all in all, it was a day I couldn’t have planned.

Well, this should now be Chapter lxiv as another birthday has passed. Everyone still loves me! I had an open house, and so enjoyed everyone who came by, and hope to catch up with all those who couldn’t make it. Life is good, and I am sitting in a small hotel in Istanbul right now, waiting for a bus to take me to yet another airport where I will fly to Dalaman, take a ferry to Rhodes and meet Joan and Amina for six days on the island of Chalki. The airline lost my bag on the way over, but it is waiting for me at Dalaman airport, good news.

Istanbul. Arrived late yesterday afternoon after a grueling thirty hours of travel, tired but best to stay up until bedtime and get on new time schedule. So I went out walking to find some clean clothes to put on today. A man at a little shop invited me in for tea, and took me upstairs to a balcony where we could look out over the city, the Bosphorous, the Blue Mosque. Very beautiful view. Had my tea and decided that it was unwise to stay longer so went on my way. Busy streets, many little tourist shops, mild evening nice for walking. Got lost trying to find my hotel again, winding narrow old streets. Found a public toilet and paid .75 Tl to pee! This morning met two Japanese students, who were robbed last night at a night club, and now have very little money to continue their trip. one of them gave me a t-shirt because my bagage was lost. Japanese Mickey Mouse. Very cute. Walked around the Grand Bazaar this morning and saw some really stunning contemporary Turkish art, traditional designs updated and re-interrupted. Can’t wait to come back and do more exploring in this large and vibrant city.