Side Garden Residence

Halleluiah – my bag is here. Zippedee doo daa … clothes! I was contemplating spending the reminding days in Side wearing the same pair of jeans and black t-shirt and what Ty calls my “carpet dress”, a combination salvar/sundress with very baggy pants and an elasticized top, for the next 3 weeks, since I don’t really want to spend any money on fake designer wear purchased from roadside vendors here. After talking on the phone at least three times to the baggage handlers in Antalya airport, some of whom speak not an iota of English, and getting Kaan from the housing agency to talk to them once again, I finally received my lost bag by cargo delivery service at 6 last night. Another thing I don’t understand about the tourism industry in Turkey is this: 25 million people arrive here every year, and Antalya is Turkey’s tourism capital so most of them come here, and Turkish Airlines baggage is lost with regularity – why don’t they employ people who speak English to communicate with foreigners about their lost bags? All the people working in tourism in the towns along the coast can speak enough English, and several other languages besides, to conduct their business … I probably sound like a grumpy old lady again … maybe I really am a grumpy old lady.

The apartment I’m renting here in Side is located in the Side Garden Residence, a complex of about 8 buildings, each with about 12 apartments. I doubt that anyone actually lives here fulltime; most are owned by foreigners who rent them out to other foreigners on a short-term basis. Others are occupied by the property management company’s employees. While potentially there could be a lot of people, and thus a lot of noise here, since it’s only about one third full, the place is quite pleasant. The buildings are arranged around a very nice large pool and bar in the centre of the complex. Although the place is described as a “garden” residence, the only evidence of a garden is some rather bedraggled looking bougainvillea plants struggling for survival. Possibly it’s too hot here in the summer for the some of the foliage that was planted and they’ve long since expired. My apartment is a two bedroom, two bathroom “dublex” on two floors with two large terraces overlooking the pool; as a consequence, the place is nice and cool inside because it does not get direct sunlight into the rooms. It is obvious that this apartment has never been lived in by anyone. The décor is generic and minimalist but serviceable enough if not particularly homey. A minor irritation is the large baby crib in the corner of the living/dining room – I have turned this on its end and shoved it further into the corner to get it out of the way as much as possible. The appliances are good, although the pots and pans available are also very minimalist – no pots and two rather crumby frying pans. I guess most of the people who come here don’t cook for themselves. Two friends, Christine and Barb, and my sister Tracey will be joining me here this coming weekend.

Yesterday morning I walked over to the main drag, wanting to investigate bike rentals. I spoke to one man outside a tour office who was sitting on a couch picking his bare feet; the price he quoted was too high, so I passed on that and walked down towards the old town. I spotted a car rental place and asked the man inside if they had bikes. After a phone call, he confirmed that yes, indeed, they had brand new bikes and he took me to the bike shop where I was outfitted with a new 21 speed bike, helmet and lock – yippee once again! Since I was still waiting for my bag to arrive, I spent the afternoon poolside, enjoying swimming laps and listening to pop tunes emanating from someone’s laptop computer.

In the evening I strolled over to the Olive Bar, just reopened for the season, and drank a glass of wine while chatting with Ishmael, Supi and another guy whose name escapes me. Business is slow at the Olive at the moment – it is still quite quiet in this part of town which suits me well but not them.

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