Kas

Another beautiful day in Kas. I decided to go back to the House Monument tomb yesterday morning to see what had happened with the painted mannequins I had left there the day before. My plan was to continue painting them and move them around the hill. But, when I got there, someone had arranged the two of them on the benches inside as if they were the dead bodies that had originally occupied those spaces. This person had also reattached the feet to one of them, albeit on the wrong legs. So, instead of following my original plan, I decided to paint their back sides and put them back on the tomb benches again in the same prone position to see what would happen to them next. I like the idea of other people coming across them and interacting with them as they wish.

After an hour or so of that, I hopped on my bike and rode down to the harbour where there were craft tables set up with merchandise for sale. I purchased a small Turkish doll, sort of like a Barbie, from the Busy Bees expat group; this group gives all the sale proceeds to handicapped children in the area. The doll has long brown hair, enormous eyes, bendable limbs and a rather cute pair of high heeled sandals – I will move her around town, too. I also might try to find a dollar store trolley to truck around my mannequins, etc. – my arms are getting a bit sore from carrying them everywhere. While drinking a cappuccino in the harbour teahouse, I could see above me two paragliders sailing slowly over the mountain behind Kas. As one descended into the harbour, I was reminded of Icarus …

In the afternoon I managed to catch the Kas portion of the 45th running of the Presidential Cup long distance bicycle race which goes from Istanbul along the coast of Turkey to Antalya, a distance of somewhere around 1,800 km. When the cyclists came through town, one man was way out in front of the pack – the assembled crowd cheered wildly.

Tourism week had apparently begun in these parts last Wednesday, not that any tourists who do not read Turkish would know it! I missed the ancient theatre performance because I did not see any advertising about it. But one of the Busy Bee women told me that there would be a folkloric performance in the harbour that night and I determined to take it in. I found a small schedule printed in English and it said a 7 pm start so, in typical fashion, I was down at the harbour waiting way too early; I guess I was the only one who actually believed the performance would start at 7 … I watched officials set up chairs, then rearrange the chairs they had set up, put up the stage decorations, get the technology going, etc, etc for a very long time. Then, at some point just before it started to get quite dark, the performers, all children’s groups from the area, arrived in their amazing costumes. I took quite a few pictures from my vantage point near the water while we continued to wait and wait … Then, when the whole shebang was ready, interminable speeches from dignitaries and officials went on and on in front of enormous portraits of Ataturk and Kas’ mayor – Turks can be quite officious and love to talk, a deadly combination sometimes.

Finally, at God knows what time, the show began, with the performances seemingly in the order of the size of the children, tiny ones first, slightly bigger ones following. With each of the groups that I watched, the responsible adult who had trained them was also on the stage with them directing the whole dance. I had heard that Turks were very overprotective with their children and this also seems to me a manifestation of that attitude. After about four or so groups had performed, there were what I took to be awards presentations for each group, along with a kiss on the cheek for every single child from some male official … this also took forever. By that point, I had had enough.

I find it interesting that tourism week seems to be conducted entirely in Turkish for Turks; the crowd was almost completely local people, parents of the kids probably for the most part. There was no printed program in any language explaining the evening’s proceedings, much less English; similarly, I found no signage anywhere in town advertising either Tourism Week or the bike race, for that matter. I guess you just have to be in the know to find out about stuff here. Kas is a tourist town, but tourism is only one of the things they do here and international tourism is obviously not fully on the radar yet; however, it also makes the town very charming because it hasn’t been spoiled by mass tourism. Kas is just slightly too far away from the 2 international airports on the south coast to be easily accessible by millions of foreigners so, thankfully, many people give it a miss, I think.

See pictures here.

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