Side V

I’m typing up this report poolside at the Side Garden Residence – yippee! This place has a fabulous 25 meter swimming pool, not at all hard to take. Yesterday Christine, Barb, Elke and I spent the day at the Dolphin Beach Bar on the beautiful long sandy beach to the east of the peninsula. We were walking down the road towards the sand dunes and the minibus service from the Dolphin cruised slowly to a stop and offered us a ride. The sun loungers were free as long as we purchased food and drinks from the bar. We enjoyed sunning ourselves, frolicking in the sea and walking along the beach to the resorts at Sorgun Forest and back. Some of these are large all-inclusive resorts primarily catering to Russians and one we saw had what looked like rows of bedrooms transplanted to the beach, complete with wooden floors, beds and bedding. Lots of kids were building strange pointy sand castles and a few women were posing for cheesy photos on the sand.

Later in the afternoon we walked through the sand dunes and the ruins and back through the Side Otogar so that Barb could buy her night bus ticket to Nevsehir in Cappadoccia.

Tracey’s plane was due in at 6:50 in Antalya so I had arranged a transfer from the airport for her through the apartment housing management company. Kaan and I headed out to the airport at 5:50 and waited at the arrivals exit as plane loads of people flowed in waves through the doors. No Tracey but loads of Russians. I had arranged with her that if she missed the plane in Istanbul due to her very tight connection times, she was to call me on my cell. No phone call. So, we decided to wait for the next flight to see if perhaps she was on it. The next plane was late and once again, plane loads of Russians disembarked but no Tracey. Kaan was getting a bit agitated by this point, wondering where she was and why she had not called and why I was not able to contact her. He had two more airport pickups early in the morning and needed to return to Side to catch come sleep before returning once again to the aiport. I debated about what to do, spoke to Ty, who spoke to Darrin to see whether he’s heard anything – nada. I was going to wait for the next few flights but decided, finally, to go back with Kaan, just in case she’d had to stay overnight in Istanbul. By this time it was about 10:30. About ten minutes after we arrived back in Side, after a rather hair-raisingly fast ride as Kaan screamed down the highway, I got a phone call from Tracey who was now at the Antalya airport – damn. We should have waited for the next flight. However, although Tracey was there, her bag was not – baggage problem redux. So, Tracey made a lost baggage claim and grabbed a taxi. By this time it was 11:30 or so and I decided to wait for her at the entrance to the complex. I saw a yellow taxi cruising slowly down the road a block away and thought that it was probably hers. I jumped up and down and waved my arms as the taxi came closer and then proceeded to turn off in entirely the wrong direction and head away towards Kumkoy … damn. About half an hour later, as I was agitatedly pacing up and down on the road and looking in every direction for taxis, hers returned from the other direction – finally, arrival at 12:30 in the morning. The taxi had been lost and had stopped four times for directions and finally was able to find us. And, of course, as is always the case in these situations, the taxi driver’s cell phone was not working so he couldn’t even call me for directions. I later found out that Tracey had tried to call several times but had been unable to get through to my cell phone – who knows why … Anyway, all is good now.

Last night I slept on the living room couch to give Tracey the big bed so that she could sleep in. However, the living room was hot and I did not have the controller for the aircon so I needed to open the door to get some air. I was dying of heat prostration – it was probably 35 at 2 in the morning. As a consequence, I got bitten alive by mosquitoes and now have the always attractive Vulcan head and cheek bumps from bug bites. I lay awake scratching for about 2 hours and finally got up at 6:30. Tracey, too, had woken early and was up, unable to sleep. I’m sure she’ll crash later. Right at the moment we are sunning, swimming, floating, and snacking in the beautiful hot Turkish sunshine. In a couple of hours we will go to the lovely little Side museum and see the artifacts extracted from the ruins here over the years.

(…)

Well, it’s evening now and the Side museum was closed this afternoon because it was Monday. Instead, we walked through the agora, forum, city gate, and down to the Apollo Temple to take photos. After some time spent dancing around the columns, the four angels from the Moon headed back down to the main drag to a lovely interior courtyard restaurant and bar decorated with some interesting kitsch: reproductions of some of western art’s finest – Botticelli’s Primavera as a brownish putty statue – stuffed chickens and bears, and a really annoying waiter who kept getting in the way of my photo-taking. When taking my drink order, he kept refusing to tell me what kind of iced tea they had and making really dumb comments that started to irritate me enough to snap at him. However, the garden area was really lovely, cool and green, with beautiful flowers and an enormous lilac tree that touched the sky.

After walking back through the Otogar and getting quite hot and sweaty, we dropped into chairs at the Hawaii Bar for some Ottoman kebap, where the waiter made fun of the way I pronounced “Oddoman”. Later, after that feast, Barb and I went to the Park Side Otel for the Turkish Hamam and had a great, wet time. My masseuse was new there, a Russian woman from Georgia, who, after I had lain down on the warm marble slab, scrubbed me with a rough glove all over and massaged me with a large pillow case full of soap suds, a most luxurious experience. Next came a rest on the lounger with water and orange slices, then an oil massage, and finally a facial mud mask, no doubt with mud from either the miraculous Xanthos river or the miraculous Dalyan mud bath. I thoroughly enjoyed the session. As we exited the hotel, three of my friends from the sand dunes, Ali the orange juice seller in baggy pantaloons, and two of his camels, were stationed in front of the Hawaii Bar looking for customers for camel rides, with no takers – everyone was too mesmerized by the waiters’ disco dancing.

See some photos here.

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