Kas - Santa's A Turkey

Trip Start Mar 03, 2005
Trip End Mar 04, 2006

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Friday, August 26, 2005

Today is my first day on a Fez Bus.

It is a 'hop on hop off' bus thingy predominantly for backpackers in Turkey. I have been told it is a convenient way of getting round, and also not a bad way of meeting other travellers. So I have signed up and I am on my way from Fethiye to another coastal town, Kas.

The bus only has a handful of people on it but they seem rather friendly enough. On the journey we stopped for a half hour at an amazing beach. It was the brightest blue water I had ever seen, with small white pebbles - simply amazing.

Conveniently the Fez folk drop you at a recommended pension so it is all too easy. The bus leader showed us the most fantastic Turkish Gyros shop. Well I hope it is fantastic. It is very cheap and hopefully hygienic, though the local slicing off the lamb looks overly greasy himself. Time will tell whether it was a good $1.50 investment.

Kas is situated on a small marina, surrounded by a few mountains and slick hotels on one side and pensions on the other, with the Greek Island of Meos only a decent swim away. The water is clean although there is no beach. Swimming means a climb down from rocks or steps into the water but it is deep and clear once you are there. It is heating up here and I will finally admit it - I am bloody hot. I attempted to wander around town but instead ended up eating 5 Icy Poles and drinking a litre of water, while slowly ambling from shade to shade.

At night the crowds do arrive. there are enough to make the place interesting but not enough to drive you crazy. These mild mediterranean nights are just blissful to say the least.

With one full day in town, I decided to choose the best of the tour options and jump on a boat to the island of Kekova. Once I appear to be on the happy families boat, although this one is quite spacey and has a glass bottom section for viewing the depths below. While cruising out to sea I did spot a large Loggerhead Turtle swimming in the opposite direction in the middle of the blue. They are rare so apparently I am a very lucky man.

The boat pulled into a small island cove for some swimming. As always the water is clean and there are a few fish around the rocks. I spotted an odd looking Flute Fish which stared me down. I tried to point it out to another swimmer but she seemed a little confused by what I was doing. On the way to the main island we passed the 'Sunken City' - an ancient Lycian town that were at one stage rumoured to be the lost city of Atlantis. An earthquake caused some of the buildings to collapse into the sea, with others remaining in a ruined wreck onshore. There was not much to see, even though it is built up as the opportunity of a lifetime from a tourist perspective.

I was seated with a Turkish girl for lunch and we started chatting even though her English is not that great. It is however 4241 times better than my Turkish, so we stumbled along in conversation in her broken English and my charades. It turned out she was the one I was attempting to point the Flute Fish out to. Asye (pronounced Asia) is a 31 year old Phd in Vet Science, and thus Doctor Asye. She lives in Kayseri in central Turkey but is on a 2 week holiday break.

We talked for hours, and the above is pretty much all we established... actually I kid, as for a non-English speaker, her English improves by the minute.

The boat pulled in to the isle of Kekova so we could visit the ruined Acropolis overlooking the sunken city. The views were fabulous over the coast and islands, though climbing a hill and crumbling buildings in early afternoon heat is a great way of passing out and killing yourself. I need one of those in built cooling systems for my forehead here.

After another swim around yet another island with more blue water, the boat returned to Kas. Ayse and I grabbed dinner together = a Turkish hot pot of some form I believe.

Ayse drinks wine, beer, wears Western clothes and makeup, has long blonde hair, wears bikinis, dances, goes to Bars, does Mountaineering and Rock Climbing - and is Muslim.

I only point out the last bit because from across the world it is amazing the stereotypes that we build into our own minds, or that get built into our minds. I guess it is through the media, movies and television. Ayse is just a 'normal' everyday girl from any country really. Those to the western side of Turkey are relatively liberal in their approaches to life, but there is a mix of your more traditional and your more stereotypical (dare I say) Westerner here.

Ayse and I met up to go to the Kas beach near her hotel, which means climbing down ladders from the rocky outcrops and into the deep. Umbrellas and Sunlounges line the rocks but it is actually a nice experience, rather than the Sardines of elsewhere. I leave to catch the Fez bus which is picking me up from my pension, but the staff look at me wondering why I am still here, explaining that the bus has gone.

It turns out the bus forgot about me and left early. Fez apologises profusely and offers to pay for me to catch the public bus, but instead I decide to stay a few more days until the next one rolls into Kas.

Ayse is determined to learn new English words and also determined for me to try some new Turkish cuisine. Although she rarely speaks English at other times, it literally improves each time she speaks. With an hour of learning something new she is throwing it into conversation. I pointed this out to her - she shrugged and said "well, I am intelligent...."

Tonight's new dish is Beyti Kebap, which is Lamb rolled in pancake with different Meze. Tonight's new English words were mostly food related. One description before deciphering the word from Ayse was for her to say "the Devil hates it" while making fang shapes with her fingers.

Obviously, Garlic.

For my last full day in Kas, provided the Fez people remember me, I decided to hire a motorbike and hit the road to nearby Kale. A 100cc Yamaha calls my name and it is brilliantly easy. The motorcycle fetish returns. Ayse agrees to come too, although she is a little afraid as she has never been on a motorbike before. I don't have the heart to tell her I've never ridden 100cc's before myself.

From Kas it is an uphill ride through Pine Forests, complete with fantastic aromas, and then down windy roads back to the coast and into Kale. We arrived in one piece and Ayse actually enjoyed the terror of 50 kph behind an Australian.

Kale is home to Santa Claus.

St Nicholas Church was initially built some time BC, and in the 4th Century AD the legendary St Nicholas, or Noel Baba, was the bishop here. His legend grew from giving gifts to the town's vigins and saving children from being killed near Christmas time.

There you have it kids. He ain't in the North Pole. He's the Christmas Turkey.

From there it is only a few kilometres to the ruins of the ancient Lycian city of Myra, dating back some time BC. All that remains are cliff tombs similar to those I had seen in Koycegiz, and an amazing Theatre. It is like a two thirds round colusium, seating a few thousand. It is mostly intact including the entrance walkways and carvings. Stadium design really hasn't changed that much over the years. The acoustics were sensational still. Check two, one two.....

Being on the coast Kale also has a rather nice stretch of beach so given the heat some time was spent lazing away, Turkish style.

We cruised back to Kas in time for sunset, Ayse impressed with my riding skills and that she is still alive. She may be intelligent, but I know how to handle 100cc's underneath me. Or something like that.
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