Monday, January 27, 2014

the Turkish coast

Whatever you might say about the unstable air that is passing through this region these final days of January, it surely has not caused us much trouble. And of course, everything is just a touch kinder, gentler, if it comes packaged in warm air. While Madison is battling the Arctic, we're battling Aegean air currents at near 60 degree temperatures.

But are we getting just a bit complacent? Ed looks at the weather maps and says -- most of the rain clouds have moved on. Have they? Judging by the view out the rooftop breakfast room, yes. The windows are thrown wide open and sure enough, there is sunshine, dappling the table, the room, my face!

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That's a notable point about this breakfast: there is sunshine indeed!

Two other points have to be made as well: our breakfast is stupendous! The staff person (who speaks no English, but we get by) brings us our breakfast plates and I have to say, I cannot believe this hotel! All this? For the wee price that it charges?

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And the second point -- this one isn't specific to breakfast -- this second point concerns the cats of Bodrum. They're numerous, they look like life is good to them, Ed loves them. And so if you see a disproportionate number of cat photos today, it's because we've encountered a mighty large number of cats in our ramblings.

Including at breakfast. Through the open window, I notice some felines out on the roofs...

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And within minutes, one makes her way up, up to the clothesline outside our window.

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Of course, Ed shares our foods. She's particularly keen on the meats, but feta cheese is also acceptable. She rejects the fried foods and we didn't save enough of the omlet to share.

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What, no more? Well okay then, good bye...

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After breakfast, we go out for a Bodrum walk. You may think this is tame, but Bodrum is a sprawling town. It goes on. And on. And on. Past the harbor. Past the small fish market.

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...and shops with spices...

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...even windmills. Yes, there are those, too.

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And when you think surely there is no more, it turns out that there is more. White houses, multiplying like rabbits along the coast.

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As we climb one hill, go down the next, we are assailed by an announcement over the loudspeaker system. Of course, loudspeakers sounding a call for prayer -- that's normal Turkish fare. But we are hearing a woman and she is saying something quite urgently. In Turkish.
Ed says -- maybe she is announcing some storms?
We look at the southern hills. Threatening skies!

So is that what it is? A statement about the coming of storms? Well that's just fine! We're at the city's edge. Not much going on here except for the occasional crossing of the road by a rooster.

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Should we look for shelter? No matter. We're turning around now anyway. Heading back to the center of Bodrum. Surely we'll make it back! She must have given people time to seek shelter!

We are walking through Bodrum's older neighborhoods. With  numerous mosques, ancient water cisterns, people working in small shops, seemingly oblivious to the yachts and casinos of this town.

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The skies ahead still look dark, but so far, whatever is coming is holding back just a little.

One shop is visited by a peddler and I peek inside to watch the transactions. Woolen clothes, draped over his shoulder, for sale. Straight from the sheep's back?

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I buy a pair of socks from him. He's happy. I like that he's happy.

In the meanwhile, Ed continues to be taken in by the cats.

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a wee cat

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a behind the bars cat

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two cats

...and the clouds continue to roll in and the boats begin to whistle and  sing and now we really should head straight home.

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Still, I can't help but ask a waiter, standing by the curb and listening to the same announcements, coming once again over the loudspeaker -- what is it? A storm warning? I'm picking up that it's something about Bodrum. And the not too distant city of Ismir. Also in the path of storms?
The waiter smiles: she is announcing a football match today. Bodrum against Ismir.

No wonder everyone's so nonchalant about the whole thing. Chatting away, smoking a cigarette, sipping tea...

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Okay, time to take a rest too. We head back to the hotel. And I take a nap! But a brief one.

It's after 4 now and I know that Ed will soon give in to sleep, except his sleep wont be of the nap kind. I ask him to go out for a short walk first and after mulling it over for a bit, he agrees to come along.

It had rained mighty heavily while we were in, but though the sidewalks are wet, the showers are now elsewhere. Behind those hills to the east. And the white buildings are bathed in western sunshine!

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And in these minutes of twilight, people come out again. They brush off the water from the tables and set up the backgammon boards.

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And one gentleman corners Ed into a conversation. Ed bends down to hear. Then his new friend steps up to meet him halfway.

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And so the sun sets, brilliantly, over the Bodrum peninsula.

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...and I tell Ed -- I'm ready for supper. And that's how we break the cycle of early sleep: without a plan, without intention. We pass a restaurant, study the menu, go inside.

And I have an eating companion again. Sure, a little bleary eyed, but there, across the table from me.

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He eats mushrooms, I eat fish and the waiter hovers and in that hour of our meal the rains come down again. No matter. We are not far from home. And it's easy enough to run into a bakery for cover. And for a small bag of cookies.

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P.S. Again, thank you, Ocean readers  for your thoughtful, wonderful, funny, kind comments! And yes, you're right. I should have caught that: the rain in Turkey stays mainly on the Muglian plain!