|Final Statistics: Alex & Maz||Total distance: 93,550km|
|Furthest Point: Rotorua, NZ||Now settled in Sydney, Australia|
|Final Statistics: Martin||Total distance: 79,698km|
|Furthest Point: Hobart, Australia||Now settled in Bristol, UK|
True Turkish/Bavarian Hospitality...
Turkey, Country 9, Diary entry 6-10th Sep 2005, Total distance in western Turkey: 3122 KM
It was a pleasant change to be heading for the water after the last few days of site seeing. With diving already organised, we headed to Kalkan to meet with Corinna and Cahit, our hosts for the next day or so. With a detour to the beach at Patara for a relaxing afternoon (purposefully missing out the ruins which we passed along the way) we arrived in Kalkan for the obligatory beer while watching the ‘Bavarian Honig’ sail into port. Greeted with Turkish tea, we admired the hard work and thought by C&C Scuba Diving that had gone into their new boat as we were shown round.
We then headed back to their home for a BBQ and to set up camp in their drive. As soon as we pulled up, we were made to feel most welcome by their family; Gonzo, Mary, Lilly, Punto, Olive & Mummy – Corinna and Cahit’s 3 cats and 3 dogs!
We began busying ourselves with BBQ preparations and before long the table was full of salads, dips, bread and a tray full of meat to cook. Watching the children eating at their bowls, they looked contented with their fill, but this was not so…… as soon as our backs were turned, Mummy cheekily took a mouthful of chops from the plate prepared for dinner and ran off delighted with her steal! Luckily she left enough for us to still have a wonderful meal which was completed with the best Baclavaci - made in Istanbul!
Having been a few days in Turkey now, we had grown accustomed to the regular call for prayer, but tonight we were in for a real treat. The mosque was next door and with the dogs intent on singing woof for woof, they synchronised themselves with the Mosque’s every call! Boy, by the end of the night we could hardly wait for dawn prayers!
The next day we woke early to prepare ourselves for the days diving. After a leisurely breakfast of tea and pastries on the boat, we set sail for ‘the deep wreck’. After a briefing from Corinna and understanding that the wreck was indeed very deep, beginning from 40m down to 60m, I hoped for good visibility as I planned to view from afar! Alex being a keen wreck photographer ventured a little closer than Martin and myself, but without his trusty trimix, hovered around the shallower parts of the wreck snapping away in his usual style.
It was the first relaxing day we’d had in a while and with Cahit & Corinna, Yasin (the captain), Nejdet (the entertainer) and Hakki (the chef) all making the day extremely enjoyable, 8 hours on the boat sailed by!!! Alex & Corinna had a competition to see who could finish Harry Potter first – luckily for me Alex won….excellent, now it was my turn :o)
Once back on land, we ventured round the corner to sample yet another Turkish beer while Nejdet tried to teach Alex a cigarette party trick, one to entertain the girls. It was very a funny performance from Nejdet, but trying to explain on paper would loose a lot of the theme so I’m not even going to attempt it, but I did have to question why Alex was SO keen to learn it when a) he doesn’t smoke and b) shouldn’t be thinking of entertaining other ladies either!!! One beer turned into two and then we ventured to a nearby restaurant recommended by Cahit for their local Turkish cuisine.
We began with a clear chicken soup, followed by meat, meat and more meat. Delicious. It was during the meal that we were introduced to Raki – a lethal clear spirit which turns white when water is added and blows your head off if you have more than a sip – otherwise known as Pernod. I managed to give half of mine to Nejdet who seemed to enjoy the stuff, We had been planning to drive further east after the dive, but as the night grew late Corinna and Cahit kindly let us sleep on the deck of the boat for the night. With the stars shimmering and twinkling in the dark sky, we lay on the deck exhausted, contemplating the great day we’d had. We were all soon fast asleep.
We woke to have breakfast with Corinna and Cahit before waving goodbye and setting off for Kemer where we had more diving planned for the next day. This was to be a truly different experience from the day before.
On the drive to Kemer the road passes Olympos and Chimaera. Olympos is another set of ancient ruins on what we were told was a beautiful beach, an area popular with backpackers and for some reason tree houses… although the ones we saw all appeared to be simply made of trees (ie wood..!) rather than perched precariously high up in the branches. The ruins are unique in that the forest has engulfed them, with trees and bushes growing amongst the ruins.
We wandered down to the beach first, however there were far too many people squeezed onto it, ferried from where ever by the masses of boats bobbing about just offshore. We strolled back to the cars via the ruins as we wanted to make tracks to Chimaera before dusk.
The next valley along and after a far old drive from the main road, you reach Chimaera… or at least the car park! It is then about a 30min up hill walk along a precarious path before reaching what we had come to look at. For some reason, half way up the path, people had taken it upon themselves to tie bits of tissue to the trees, an effect we weren’t particularly taken by and could only guess it’s origins.
Not put off by the bog-roll-trees it was just turning dusk as we arrive at our first fire… but not any ordinary fire, but fire coming directly out of holes in the rocks and not just one but many. Holes that had no flame could be easily re-lit by dangling a branch in a flame then moving across to the un-lit hole. It was a fascination sight, improving all the time the sun was setting so that the flames really stood out in the darkening skies. Weird..!!
The stumble back down the path was fun, after being advised to take torches we’d all promptly forgotten them in the cars. Having succeeded in not breaking our necks, we pushed on to Kemer to first locate our hosts Aqua Age and then find camp. Having checked in with Bulent via a mixture of helping linguists, we headed off to find camp and cook up some yummy chicken kebabs we had in mind. Quite by accident we found an ideal little spot, just off the road and right next to a small river. After our banquet cooked over an open fire we climbed into our tents for some shut eye.
The next morning we arrived at the dive centre in plenty of time in, even after a small wrong turn. Izzat, a dive guide full of energy, greeted us with an enthusiastic smile and showed us the way to the boats. It was here that we became a little confused. We were ushered on to one boat to make ourselves comfortable with the complementary apple juice and chocolate cake but our kit went on to a completely different one! As we were the first guests of the day we had plenty of space to spread out and try to work out why we had not been placed with our kit.
As we looked around we noticed that there was in fact NO dive kit on the boat we had boarded! We were soon informed that we were on the snorkelling boat but both boats were in fact going to the same destination and we need not worry – we could go on whichever boat we liked it was up to us. With such a big boat and so much space to ourselves we opted to stay on the snorkelling boat, but this was about to change drastically!
As soon as we got settled, bus after bus load of people began walking down the jetty and flowing onto the waiting boats! We lost count after a while but Izzat later informed us that there were over 80 people between the two boats….pretty much all Russian tourists. We now found ourselves squashed into a corner as the Russians took over. With Euro trash music blaring out of filing cabinet sized speakers (and this included the very annoying Axle F frog tune more than once), we realised that it wasn’t going to be a quiet day out.
We had enquired about diving a wreck in the area called ‘The Paris’ which was sunk by the Turks in 1923 and were told ‘no problem’ by the crew. As it happened, this ended up being a replay of our time in Montenegro when everything was ‘no problem’ and at the end of the day we found ourselves being the only people to dive the wreck once all the try dives and snorkellers had had their fun on various reefs in the area.
Albert was our dive guide for the afternoon and with an hour under the water we had plenty of time to explore all the nooks and crannies on the wreck. It was a great dive and with the added bonus that you couldn’t hear the frog song under the water…. All the more reason to stay down as long as possible! With a short trip back to land, we let the droves of Russians off the boat before packing up our kit and heading back to the cars to stow it away for awhile.
It was then the night time adventures began. We had a long drive ahead of us to Cappadocia the next day, so we were keen to get some miles under our belts before it was completely dark. However, not wanting to seem rude to our hosts Izzat and Elena, we accepted the invitation for a quick drink before hitting the road.
As one beer turned into two, (yet another familiar theme!) we soon relaxed into the evening and when the Raki came out we realised we wouldn’t be venturing too far that evening at all! We had the obligatory meat, meat and meat dish to try and soak up some of the drink and the evenings entertainment carried on. With Izzat keen for us all to sample the Raki more than once, Martin challenged him to trying Chartreuse, an after dinner liquor which went down a treat.
As the night drew on with the Raki and Chartreuse taking effect, before long ‘love was in the air’. As if from nowhere a drum appeared, Albert played music while Izzat sang at the top of his voice, I videoed it all while Alex danced along. Martin however was more intent on hoping for music of his own as he and Elena seemed to be preoccupied with each other! Sooner or later we were all up badly dancing the Turkish dance Izzat had been teaching us and singing along to songs we didn’t know. We must have sounded as good as Mummy, Punto and Olive trying to drown out the Mosques! As the early hours dawned, we stumbled back to our cars for some kip before a long drive the next day.
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|Comment from Jim & Barbara|
|Enjoying the diary in Oz. Video's particularly good - when they work. Who's for a wee drinkee and Dance Baby Dance both gave up the Ghost but the Boats with serious bass and Flames from the Rock were great. Raki & Chartreuse????? Spells hangover! P.S. XXXX beer is great!!!|
|03 Oct 2005 @ 22:21:40|
|Comment from Maz|
|Thanks for the heads up....Hopefully we have now fixed the videos. Please be patient while they download, if they stop half way through playing, just wait a few moments and then press play for them to continue. It depends on how fast the connection is on your computer.|
|05 Oct 2005 @ 14:56:53|
|Comment from Jes|
|The travel tales have been a real treat, especially as a study break for a busy student. But Martin, to see you prancing around kicking up your heels like a Rockette, that elicited sincere laugh-out-loud amusement! And here I thought you didn't like to dance. The video alone was well worth a donation to charity, so I promise to scrounge up some of what's left from my financial aid for CARE International. Best wishes to you all!|
|07 Oct 2005 @ 06:42:17|