Today started so well: Wake up on a yacht in the mediterranean with Turkish breakfast #1 (cheese, bread, spreads, coffee and tea), then a swim in gin-clear water over a great little reef, then Turkish breakfast #2, a cheesy and very thin omelet, then another swim and some free diving then a lunch of fresh speared whole fish bouillabaisse and yogurt based salads.
Things quickly went downhill from there.
The lost ATM card problem snowballed, as we needed cash to pay for the Gulet and for our upcoming drive to Kas. I have 8 debit and credit cards in my possession, and could not get cash from even one of them at the 12 ATM machines from different banks lined up at the waterfront. Hmmmm. The problem lay with my Maine bank, which wouldn’t open for 2 hours, and our driver Mehmet was waiting. I hate these situations, and took it out on Heather a bit (This is HP – a bit???!). She’s since forgiven me, and will continue to guide for SwimVacation, don’t worry. We said our goodbyes to fixer Don, a great guy. We finally got cash and busted outta Bodrum. That town just would not let go. This is travel.
The 4 hour drive to Kas was through a mostly industrial and agricultural portion of the country. I’ve never seen so many greenhouses. Mehmet said they were for vegetables, mostly tomatoes, which explains why there’s at least one tomato involved in every meal here. Mehmet was a pro driver. We drove along seaside cliffs, over mountains, past townsfolk going about their day. They gather outside, eat together, stand around a broken tractor.
A quick note on Turkish bathrooms: They are the cleanest, most modern bathrooms I have ever encountered. Even in the most run-down, family run, tiny grocery store, there is a gleaming bathroom in the back.
We had a soft landing in Kas, a great little seaside town with a center full of pedestrian alleyways crammed with shops and restaurants. If we run a trip along this coast, Kas will be a great stop.
I woke this morning and browsed The New York Times. I’m a devoted NYT reader, and have always found it an excellent source of news. I’ve been quoted in a couple of articles over the years, and I’m always impressed by the level of detail applied by their fact-checkers. An article appearing this morning about instability in Turkey was really interesting for me to read, as the writer was in Istanbul at the same time I was. However, it was like we were in two different cities. The author writes about residents avoiding subways, but we couldn’t find seats for our ride under the Bosphorus. She writes of thinning crowds at tourist sites, but we waited in line at each one, and found the sidewalks so packed with tourists that they were difficult to navigate. This is not a country on the brink of a civil war, from what I can see from the last 7 days here. It seems to me that Turkey simply has a difficult president and a struggling neighbor. Americans have known what that’s like.
Tomorrow we get on yet another Gulet to check out this part of the coast. If it continues to look like what we saw from the van ride today, we’re in for some great swimming.
Scouting a new location for SwimVacation is an awesome job to have. It’s also non-stop highs and lows, moving, pivoting, excitement and a little anxiety too. Here you can kind of see the fatigue setting in to us both… but we are happy and driven to find the way to a great experience for our guests.