Side I

Side Garden Residence

Questions Turkish men ask me:

1) “Where are you from?” Sometimes I feel like answering, “Who cares?” or responding with Ty’s favorite line: “From Earth”. When I reply, “Canada”, the conversation immediately comes to a screeching halt. Nada, nichts, nyet, nothin’ … Canada does not compute. Or, if the conversation does limp along for a few painful moments, it consists of a series of questions such as: “Is Canada cold?”, “Do you speak German there?”, “My friend, cousin, neighbour lives in Toronto … do you know Mehmet, Ahmet, Cem …?”, “Do you speak Spanish there?” However, people do know about Niagara Falls and ask me what they’re like; since I haven’t been, I can’t say anything except “buyuk (big)”. For almost everyone I’ve interacted with since I started traveling this spring, I am the first Canadian they have ever met. Hopefully, the impression they get is a good one … unless I am in one of my grumpy old lady moods. Thankfully, those are not too frequent. I have not gone ballistic for at least a couple of days.

Here’s another take on this question from Istanbul’s Stranger:

2) “Where is your husband, boyfriend …?” To this, I usually respond “In Canada” (which usually generates looks of amazement that I could be here by myself) but next time, if I’m in a GOL mood, I will reply “None of your business” or “I don’t discuss my personal life with strangers”.

3) “Do you have children?” – ditto.

The guy in the Olive Bar whose name I couldn’t remember is a prime example of the type of man that I’ve had enough of. Assuming that, because I was sitting alone, I must be in need of company, and in particular his company, he took the liberty of sitting down at my table and favoring me with many insincere smiles of large, blindingly white, possibly false, teeth as he made desultory conversation while looking around to see if there was better company to be had elsewhere.

Most of the workers in the tourist industry here on the coast are from the east of Turkey, uneducated, uncultured, and have never seen uncovered women until coming to these resort areas. They presume that all western women are prostitutes. Even Turkish women say that Turkish men are a problem. However, having said that, some that I have met have been wonderful, pleasant, friendly but not over-friendly, and helpful.

Today’s order of business was a series of laps in the pool in the morning, lounging under an umbrella which refused to stay open because of the strong wind, and then a bike ride down to main drag to Kumkoy. The stretch of beach to the west of Side peninsula, from old Side town to Kumkoy, is long with many miles of dark grayish-brown sand, vast all-inclusive hotel complexes, and water sports stations. It is singularly unattractive, particularly on a day like today when it was overcast and windy, which is why I never go there. These all-inclusive resorts are ghastly and do nothing to contribute to the local economy – I hate them.

After having ridden the length of the beach, I zoomed back to Kemer to a German bakery which serves good cappuccino and great pastries and sampled a cap while enjoying the stiff breeze.

See a couple of pictures here.

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