Side Friday and Saturday

After our busy couple of days on the road, Tracey and I decided to take it easy yesterday. We spent the morning working on our respective journals, Tracey’s an actual physical book and mine electronic. Later, we spent several hours poolside lounging and swimming, watching three English kids unsupervised by their sleeping parents splash and throw things at one another. That evening, after a little nap, we headed out so that Tracey could do some shopping. We stopped at a local restaurant right on the main drag along the coast and had a spaghetti dinner in their grassy garden, watching several rabbits in a small cage munch on lettuce. A little girl was enchanted by them, reaching her fingers into the cage to stroke their furry noses. I wondered whether rabbit was on the menu and/or whether the rabbits were there to attract foreign tourists. Some of the shopkeepers here keep small dogs and cats on hand as a way to draw people in.

After a surprisingly tasty pasta dinner, we walked through the otogar, hopped on the train/bus to the town gate and headed down a back street to the antique shop that I’d seen earlier. In a town where almost all the shops and markets have exactly the same cheap tourist junk for sale this place stands out for its unique merchandise, such as camel accessories and jewellery from Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan, antique prints and paintings. When we got there the door was open but the proprietor was nowhere to be seen. We walked in and suddenly he emerged from somewhere looking very spiffy in a white shirt and tie and welcomed us, wondering whether we were “travelers or tourists”. When I responded that we were travelers, he invited us to make ourselves welcome and offered us tea and orange juice. I drank my tea while watching Tracey rummage through the wares on offer. After selecting a few things, Tracey pulled out her purse whereupon Ahmet cautioned her not to open her wallet in view of the window and to conclude the transaction in the back room where passersby and other merchants could not see how much money she was paying. He explained to us that the other merchants were always watching him and his store to see how much money he was making and that they were jealous because they weren’t making any money; nothing much is selling this year. Elke had also mentioned that people she knows in tourism were also complaining that they are not making any money this year, especially people in luxury fields such as watersports. I had the impression that Ahmet was afraid of being beaten up or robbed by his neighbours.

We wandered out onto the main shopping street after completing the purchase and Tracey managed to find a few other little items that caught her eye. Tiring of shopping and all the attendant hassle, we made our way over to the Temple of Apollo and Byzantine basilica on the waterfront, beautifully illuminated at night, and took several pictures while being watched by the ubiquitous pairs of Turkish men that hang out there looking for foreign women.

Saturday morning four kittie cats were in our dumpster nibbling on discarded goodies; after cooing over them, we walked over to the Side Saturday Market located next to the big mosque in Kemer. Tracey still had a few small items to look for and we cruised around the market examining spices, clothing, and the other offered wares. One man spent a few minutes showing Tracey how something worked, and after, when she did not buy it, he got really angry and swore at her … just another day at the fair: “Yes, please …”. After dropping off the merchandise at the apartment, we walked down over the sand dunes to the beach, dropping to the sand in front of the Beach Bar and collapsing into the wavy ocean. We watched as a group of kids build an enormous sand village consisting of several castles and moats and a group of seven zoom around on a banana boat. Elke met us and we spent some time under her umbrella, then, when the clouds started moving in, we headed in to town so that I could change some Canadian cash for our road trip tomorrow. We are off to Sagalassos, an ancient Greco-Roman site an hour and a half north of Antalya currently being excavated by a Belgian University; the Karain Neolithic Cave, continuously occupied for 25,000 years; Termessos, a mountain-top ruin site northwest of Antalya famous for repelling Alexander the Great in 333 bce, and Perge, a Roman site west of Antalya through which St Paul travelled on one of his missionary journeys.

Tracey’s Herculean foot: Tracey has been plagued by mosquito bites and heat rash; as a result her left foot has blown up like a balloon and she is right now sitting at the dining table with her Herculean foot immersed in our dish washing bowl. Hopefully, it will subside by tomorrow morning.

See pictures here.

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