Prosecards from the Edge (of a Continent)

A running commentary on my life in Izmir, Turkey...and other thoughts.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Back

The underwear held out, so did the socks, almost; the semi-rainproof gear wasn't really at all, and the knees complained vociferously. The nature, however, was spectacular, the conversations stimulating; it was a much-needed and appreciated break from the urban grind.

Following, my no doubt too long-winded account, and because I am painfully slow and long-winded, I will attempt to conquer this task with day-by-day installments.

The Lycian Way - Day 1

There is a species of city-dweller that professes to feel most at ease amidst the hustle and bustle and urban jangle and concrete. Perhaps they actually do. By this point in my life I have discovered that although I enjoy cities, they have a way of distancing me from myself and sucking out my life force. Perhaps it is sensory overload; perhaps it is simply the lack of connection to the earth. With a carpet of concrete beneath me, I find it difficult to listen to my heart and the murmur of my soul. I need trees and birdsong and the sound of the sea to connect to myself. So when our two-week semester break arrived, I seized the opportunity to jump on a bus to somewhere greener, where I could maybe hear my own heart beat again. What would it sound like? What would it tell me?

Day 1 – Izmir to Kemer
A booze-heavy night of long and philosophical discussions with L. left me scrambling at the last minute to pack the backpack and get to the 1:00 a.m. bus. In the end I made it to the bus station with just one minute to spare, and wouldn’t have made it at all had it not been for the taxi driver who took me seriously when I told him to step on it.

The good thing about bleary booze- and conversation-laden evenings is that they promote sleep. Hardly having settled in seat 1A, I leaned my head against the window and conked out, only awakening at 8:00 a.m. or so as we drew near our destination.

The Mediterranean coast of Turkey near Antalya is lush and lovely, with magnificent turquoise water, tropical palms, white pebble beaches and mountains jutting up majestically in the background. Already, just looking out the window, I felt my soul respond with a quiet leap of joy.

My ultimate destination was Olympus, another good stretch west down the coast, but Kemer was as far as my long-distance bus would take me. Groggily, I shouldered my too-many kilo backpack (didn’t weigh it, but as I had trouble lifting it, it officially qualified as heavy) and headed toward the town center. Might as well see the town as long as I’m here.

Kemer is a resort town about an hour from Antalya. There is a stunning quantity of hotels, even more places to shop, and a serene bicycle path/walkway that wends its way along the waterfront amidst lush foliage. At this time of year the town exudes the forlorn desolation of all tourist towns in the off-season. The shops were closed, steel cages pulled down over display windows; hotels sealed up for the winter, some undergoing major renovations. The only living soul I encountered by the time I made it to the beach was a Kurdish man selling fresh-squeezed orange juice. This region being the orange capital of Turkey, I ordered an enormous frothy glass, sat down on the pebbles of the beach and meditated on the sound of the sea. Even the waves sounded lonely, I thought…were they missing the happy feet of holiday-makers glad to escape their cities and their jobs and the many meaningless and soul-sucking responsibilities that are thrown at us?

Stretched out on the pebbles, I drifted off to sleep, basking in an improbable sun that had only narrowly come out the victor in a battle with a pack of brooding gray clouds.

Awakened by the crunching footsteps of another lone traveler passing by me, I prepared to move on down the coast, where I was to meet up with my friend P., down from Istanbul.

P. is a slightly off-the-wall, fiercely (and sometimes infuriatingly) independent spirit, part hippie, part nun, ornithologist, botanist, photographer and talented musician. She has at some point or another done nearly every interesting job under the sun, and is here in Turkey attempting to collect something for her soul; however, finding herself frustrated in her attempts to locate that elusive ‘something’ in Istanbul, she was happy to travel south to meet me. Two seekers in search of soul food.

We met in Tekirova, a 40-odd minute drive from Olympus. She was staying at the Sundance Nature Park, a sort of granola-ish place that put its guests up in rustic wooden shacks, uses only solar power, grows its own food (all organic) and is friend to all God’s creatures. The place was bursting with horses, cats and dogs. A quiet little stream flowed gently into the sea; on its banks, shy pointy-headed turtles basked, slipping into the water with a quiet plop, plop whenever footsteps approached. A kingfisher, startling in its electric blue, glided effortlessly inches from the surface, scouting for the small fry that teem in those waters. The birdsong was deafening, with a variety of rhythms and tunes that I had never heard all in one place before. Truly a Garden of Eden, and so out of the way that it was a marvel to me that the place ever had any customers at all.

That evening we were served an organic meal in front of a cozy wood stove, while four or five cats and two dogs (one snoring) curled up around our feet. It was a good start to the trip. I drifted off to sleep in our tiny wooden shack by 10:00, pleasantly fatigued, happy to feel part of the natural world again.

2 Comments:

At 11:24 PM, Anonymous onur said...

hi kate,

I am trying to put up a website about turkey. www.iwasinturkey.com
would you like to add this entry to the website with a referral link to your blog. you can add it by becoming a member or I can do it for you.
you can reach me via info@iwasinturkey.com

(fenerbahce is the best)

 
At 8:17 PM, Blogger 日月神教-向左使 said...

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