I love the Mediterranean climate – wow, day after day of amazing weather! Yesterday morning was spent poolside chatting with Elke, a German woman from Bonn who is staying here for six months to see if she will be able to live in Turkey permanently. She has been planning her move for the last five years; this year, the bank that she worked for offered her a small payout, so she quit and is now in Side looking for work. She has an apartment in the building next to mine. New the day before yesterday is a group of four Turkish women, obviously from Istanbul since they are wearing bikinis and smoking cigarettes, who lie poolside all day long playing Turkish pop music on their laptop. As Elke said, to young people they are the only ones in existence – they neither notice nor care whether the rest of the assembled company likes their choice of music. Luckily, I don’t mind it.
Later in the afternoon, I rode my bike down to the sand dunes again to visit my friends the four camels, resting quietly under their umbrella. I’m not sure how often these beasts actually get ridden but they are there every day. Ali the fresh orange juice dude was delighted to see me again and wanted a big hug which I declined to give him.
All around the ruins gigantic Queen Anne’s lace is blooming, as well as white flowers with enormously long stalks. One my way back, I stopped at the Steh Café German bakery and noticed a sign advertising for a “friendly girl who speaks German and English” – I passed along this information to Elke, who will check it out today.
I thought that perhaps the cancelled children’s performance might be rescheduled for tonight so Elke and I met at 8 and walked across the sand dunes, through the otogar and hopped on the miniature train which dropped us off at the entrance to the old town. The main drag was busy with shoppers – the main hot item on sale this year seems to be fake Ed Hardy apparel: hoodies, t-shirts, and hats with sparkly skulls and hearts. Hello Kitty is also greatly in evidence for the younger set. Some of the mannequins here are in pretty bad shape, with faded faces and limbs missing. After reaching the harbour and seeing that the stage had been dismantled, we made our way along the path towards the Apollo temple and sat down at one of the harbourside bars, in which there was a gigantic banyan tree that reminded me of Thailand.
We enjoyed watching the passing parade and trying to figure out which country people were from based on their dress. Elke assured me that anyone with a beer belly wearing socks and leather sandals was definitely German. Two street dogs joined us for a bit, as well as a black and white cat playing with a fish he’d caught. Elke, who has been coming here every year for the past five, explained to me that when she first started coming, most Turks hated dogs and cats and treated them very badly. But now, perhaps because they see how much most visitors love these animals, they are beginning to change their attitude and some even keep dogs as pets, which in the past would have been unheard of. However, they do not neuter their pets here and as a consequence, they proliferate and in the winter are often starving on the beaches. Elke brings food for them from Germany in her luggage.
See pictures here.