Sun, Rain, and a Guy Named Spaz

Trip Start Feb 14, 2006
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Flag of Turkey  ,
Monday, October 23, 2006

Moving down the coast on a day long bus ride, we stopped at a town called Feteyae. We had a layover here and the Turks being the tremendous business people that they are, decided to use their best tactics to try and get business for their friends in Kas. One guy finally got through our vendor force field and explained that his friend Denis owned a pension in Kas. If we wanted, he would call Denis and have him pick us up at the bus station. He even quoted a price, with breakfast, that was better than any so far. Okay... done. Upon getting to Kas, a man asking for the Americans was standing by the door of the bus. "Denis?" He just smiled.. and grabbed our bags from us. He put them on his motorscooter and then rode at a snails pace the two blocks to his pension with us jogging behind. He was a stocky guy with a bright white smile that was always turned on to full power. We got to his place and met his family, including a brand new baby. He showed us our room which was okay, but clean and it had a bathroom, so that's about all that mattered. After some apples and Nescafe. Incidently, after "Merhaba" which means hello in Turkish. The next most popular sentence that Turkish people say is: "Teaappleteanescafé?" They just love to offer you tea, apple tea, and Nescafe. Everyone does.. it's very nice. Anyway, Denis then gave us the low down on things to do in and around Kas. It's a town that's been around since we were all apes, so there is plenty to see and do.. but it's not over grown at all. It's the kind of place that you really hope doesn't get discovered and ruined by teeming masses of floppy hats.

The next morning Kelly and I walked around the town, which didn't take too long. Kas is a postcard. The people are beautiful and smiling. They aren't dying to sell you stuff. The water is warm and a cobalt blue. You can literally see a Greek island right outside your window. Red mountains jut straight out of the sea and make for a stunning back drop on an already wonderful landscape. These mountains have Lycian tombs carved straight into them. Think of the churches in the last Indiana Jones movie with Sean Connery, only they aren't quite that big. Since we had now basicly seen the town, we decided that we had better go to the beach and drink some beers. The beach in Kas isn't of the sandy variety. Actually, it's not a beach at all. More a whole bunch of rocky enclaves that are owned by various restaurants. You are welcome to use their deck chairs for free, but if you want a drink or anything you are expected to get it from them. Not a bad deal. You get into the water by climbing down what amounts to large swimming pool ladders. Once in the water, you can see a good twenty feet down. It's about as perfect place as I can describe. So, that was our afternoon. We laid in the sun, and had our smiling waiter, also named Denis, bring us Efes beers. We read books and generally didn't do much of anything. Not a bad day really.

The whole reason that we came to Kas in the first place was so that we could go Kayaking through the sunken city. We had read about in Budget Traveler Magazine and it sounded pretty rad, so we went way out of our way to get down there. It was kind of a pain to get a trip organized, and we were afraid that we were not going to get to go see the sunken city at all, due to a lack of interest. Considering how much I liked the town, I wasn't all that heart broken, but Kelly really wanted to go. Finally one night at about midnight, Denis' mom came down in her PJ's and a told us that we had a phone call. Kelly went up into the living quarters of the family where everyone is laying around sleeping. Our urgent phone call was to tell us that we could go Kayaking the next morning. The next day we arrived bright eyed and bushy tailed and met our guide. "Spaz".. that's really his name, I asked to see ID, was exactly that. He spoke a mile a minute and paddled just as fast. As it turned out, we had met him the night before while he was trying to get us to eat as his restaurant. He was a really good guy. We picked up the rest of the paddlers at their hotel. They included a father daughter team from Canada and two women from Colorado. These women were something else. They live in the extreme sports capital of the world. I'm not talking about some bull shit bungee jumping here. These people the kinds of masochists that do the 100 mile runs and things. One of the women got to talking with Kel as I was out swimming, and Kelly found out that she was 51 years old. I guessed, that she was 38. This chick was Linda Hamilton in T2 fit. I never in a million years would have guessed that she was in her 50's. We paddled out to this island and took a break to explore some old Roman ruins. They were pretty cool, but pretty smashed due to the many earthquakes that have hit Turkey over the last few thousand years. I got to talking to Spaz, who told me that he is a movie star in Turkey. In fact, he was a main character on a show that was so popular that fully half of the Turkish population would tune in when it was on. So he is a pretty famous cat in Turkey. I guess his show eventually ran it's course and his character was killed off in one of the final episodes (by a gun shot to the head). He said that his mom cried and cried watching that final episode. So I guess he must have been convincing. Spaz was also on a movie called "Valley of the Wolves" which had congress up arms as Anti-American propaganda being put out by our supposed Turkish allies. I had actually heard of this movie and asked Spaz about it. He just started laughing and said that he needed work. So did all of the actors in it. He isn't trying to change the world, he just likes to paddle, mountain bike and get on screen. He did find it flattering that the US government actually took the time to pan his movie even though he doubts any of the congressmen even saw it.

As we got back into our kayaks and headed towards the sunken city, the sky turned an ominous black. The wind started picking up and the waters began getting really choppy. We reached the sunken city and unfortunately couldn't see much, as the waves ruined any chance of getting a clear view. What we could see, however, was the fact that the water went from being about 20 feet deep to being a deep blue abyss in about 10 feet of water. Kelly and I figure that it must be due to a fizzure in the earth caused by all of those earthquakes. I guess the biggest earthquake ever recorded happened in Turkey back in about 600 AD and that is the one that knocked this city into the ocean. Actually, Spaz told me that in the late 90's Turkey had an Earthquake that killed 45,000 people. This happened in and around towns that Kelly and I had just visited. He said that the Turks go to the stricken areas every year now and throw huge parties to lift the spirits of those who lost friends and family. Pretty cool of them, I thought.

Since we couldn't see much in the sunken city, we all paddled across the bay to another island and had a big lunch. We were all quite hungry and ate our faces off. At lunch, the Canadian man told me that he was a doctor. He examined my still healing wrist and told me that I'm looking good. He explained that it usually takes nine months of healing and therapy to get a wrist back to normal. So I guess, I've got about three weeks until I'm golden. We paddled back to our starting point after lunch and just beat the serious rain. When the sky decided to open up, it had really made up it's mind. The rain came down is sheets. So hard that you could barely even see a few feet in front of you. I had not seen rain like this since our friends Jud and Wendy got married in Mexico. For the next 24 hours a rain storm that can only be described as biblical tore through south eastern Turkey. Lightning ripped open the sky the entire time and the thunder was so loud that you couldn't even hear the calls to prayer from the mosque across the street. It was amazing. We didn't have much to do that afternoon. So we played backgammon and chatted with an Aussie couple Jeremy and Ev who were staying in Denis' place as well. I'm actually surprised that we didn't meet them sooner as they have been traveling for about the same period of time and in almost the exact same route as us. Pretty random really.. Jeremy taught us some of the finer points of backgammon, or as they call it down under, "Shish". And we all spent the afternoon hanging out.

That evening, Denis' family held the evening Ramadan meal and Kelly and I were invited. I'm not kidding, fifty people must have shown up in spite of the rain. We ate at the tourist table. Everyone sitting on cushions around a table just a few inches off the ground. There was bread, salad, meat, some cassroles, and a few other things that I don't know what they were. All were delicious and there was so much food that they had to roll us out of there. Funny thing.. I only saw men eating. I guess the women must eat separately or after the men. But I didn't see any women at all. Kelly and a few other tourist girls were allowed to eat with the men though. It was quite an experience and once again the Turkish hospitality showed itself to be the best that I've seen so far.

The next day, it was still pouring rain, but we needed to get out. As we walked the streets we looked up and saw a spectacular water fall pouring down from the mountains. The old people in the village told us that they have not seen that water fall in over 30 years. So this was really some storm. The people at the Internet cafe tried to tell me that it was a hurricane, but I think they were mistaken. Although if we were in Florida I might have believed them. Later that evening, we ran into Spaz. He told us that a group of people showed up that morning in the rain and wanted to go mountain biking. He told them that this was bad idea, but they didn't care. So he took them and they all about died. He's a pretty hard core cat that Spaz. I wouldn't have gone out to get my newspaper in that storm.

Later that evening the storm finally subsided and a kalidscope of a sunset ended the day. Kelly and I took a short hike up the mountain to one the rock hewn tombs and took a look at the town below. It was in pretty rough shape. Rocks filled the streets carried there by flash flooding. Little piers had been lifted up and destroyed on the water. Trees were down and sticks and debris were everywhere. By the same time the next evening, you would have never guessed that there was a storm though. These industrious towns people took it upon themselves to clean up the mess instead of waiting for the government to do it for them. I was pretty impressed watching the store keepers clean off the streets in front of their stores and shoveling rocks into wheel barrows.

The next morning Kelly and I had it in our head to get out of town and head for Olympus. Denis did his best selling that morning in convincing us and the Aussies to stick around for one more day. He said that it was going to rain there and even put us onto weather.com to show us. Olympus is basicly a bunch of tree houses and shacks by the beach and probably wouldn't have been very comfortable in another storm. As if to prove his point, he showed us the room where his parents stay and it had flooded during the previous night. So, he won and we stayed. I'm glad we did. As if to celebrate, he told me that he would cook us dinner that night. So I hopped on the back of his motor scooter and he took me down to the fish market. I stood in line with the locals and picked out two huge fish, one of which was still flopping around. This little old lady in the back then gutted and cleaned them in about six seconds wrapped them in newspaper and we were back on the scooter. Denis told us that he would cook for us around 7:00. Kelly and I went back to the beach to see our other friend Denis, and to have him get us beers. It was a day as beautiful as you can imagine, especially in light of the monsoon that we had just put up with. At about 5:00 we went back to our room to shower. As we walked up the hill to our pension, we noticed a shack just a few doors down from our pension that was in pretty bad shape. We wondered how people could live there as it looked like it could fall down at any time. Upon getting home Denis met us at the door with a big apology. He needed to go to the next town and wouldn't be back in time to cook us dinner. He said that he could have his mothers friend cook for us instead. We thanked him, but said that we would be happy to cook for ourselves. Actually, we were kind of looking forward to it. About an hour later, we made our way to the kitchen and were met by the cutest little old woman in her seventies. Evidently, Denis decided to call in the cavalry and have his mothers friend come cook for us. This lady was a streak. She was cutting stuff and frying fish and talking to us in Turkish, all the while thwarting Kelly's most fervent requests to be "allowed" to help. This lady would hear none of it. Kelly would just get in the way. At one point, she took a lemon and dropped it on the ground. She then took off her shoes and started rolling this lemon under her dirty, crusty toe nailed, foot. But she knew what she was doing as the lemon yielded a ton of juice. She cooked us up two gigantic fish and a salad in no time flat. We realized that we could never eat all that fish, so we gave her a large chunk of one of them for her family. He smiled and accepted. At that, we waved good bye and Kel and I sat down for a nice dinner on the porch. A few minutes later, the woman was back. She smiled and gave us some chick pea salad that she had made for her families Ramadan meal. We thought that it was very sweet of her to do that, and for her to bring it all the way down the street for us. So she smiled again and was back off to her house. We dove back into our food. A few minutes later, a little old man in a flat Turkish hat and a vest came to our table. He explained that he was our cook's husband and that she insisted that we have some of their desert. He then gave us a bowl of rice pudding. We were surprised and flattered. Laughing, we accepted the gift. He smiled, then turned and waved as he made his way back down the street. Again, we started into our ever expanding dinner. It got dark and we were still eating. All of a sudden, the old woman appears again. This time, to turn the light on for us. I couldn't believe it.. she walked all the way down the street just to flick a switch for us. This was too much. We told her that we would clean up. It was the least that we could do. When we were finished with dinner, Kelly and I ran down to a bakery and bought a bunch of baklava to give to this woman as a thank you. Upon our getting back, she was there waiting for us, insisting that she do our dishes. She was not accepting any help with the clean up either. After the dishes were done we gave her the baklava. She smiled a huge smile and gave Kelly kisses on the cheeks. I shook her hand, but honestly I was hoping for a hug. This lady was one of the sweetest people I've ever met and she didn't know us at all. Kelly and I watched her walk down the street, both of us feeling just incredibly lucky to have met this woman. I glanced down at Kelly and she actually had tears in her eyes. We watched as our new friend got further down the road. As if she could sense us watching her, she turned, waved. and gave us a huge grin. She then disappeared into the very shack that Kelly and I had wondered about just a few hours ago. Laying in bed that night, we wondered if this couple may have given us their desert that evening. Whether or not they did, they gave us something much more valuable.
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Comments

lopatek
lopatek on

Travels sound fun
Nate: I have been reading all your journal entries and love to hear abour your travels. I heard you have been in touch with Kevin and he told you I was following you. Sorry you two can't meet up with all Kevin's traveling. What great experiences you are having. Keep up the journals so I can keep track of you and stay safe. I also read Kelly's as well comparing notes. Take care! Lois

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