The Day the Music Died

Trip Start Jun 03, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Hotel Kalendar

Flag of Turkey  , Muğla Province,
Saturday, July 4, 2009

Note: Turkish keyboards are very confusing so please forgive any and all typos!

Sarah, Brittany and Kelly arrived in Kos at 5 am and had some time to kill before our 9 am ferry to Bodrum, Turkey. We sat in a cafe on the waterfront waiting for the ticket office to open. The Turkey visa was rumored to cost 15 euros and the ferry 30 euros, we were not too thrilled wıth the prices. While we were sitting there two slightly less-homeless looking young men sat down at the table next to us. Turns out we met them both on the Greek İslands earlier in the trip. Kelly met Matt at the Far Out Camping bar when she left the hospital to go get our bags for our ferry. Yes, you heard that correctly. Kelly met him at a BAR. While her sister Brittany was in the hospital, Kelly was having a drink at a BAR. This was news to us. Kelly pretended not to remember it. Kelly and Sarah met Evan at a bar on Santorini. We sat around the cafe talking about our travels. Matt was planning to stay in Kos, but us three girls made such an impression on him that he decided to come to Bodrum with us. 

    The McDonalds on Kos was rumored to be open, we were very excited. Turns out it was actually closed, so we had to settle for Breakfast from a pastry shop. Matt had already bought his ferry ticket to Bodrum online for 30 euros. Evan, Kelly, Sarah, and Brittany walked around the port looking for ferries and found boat that was willing to take us to Bodrum for 15 euros, what a steal! Or so we thought. We boarded the ship, stored our luggage, and went to the top deck to enjoy the view. After everyone was on the boat, the crew came around yelling at us to get off the boat. "Leave your stuff, everyone off the boat!" We were very confused, but listened to what they said and got off the boat. After everyone was off, the boat pulled away from the dock. We thought we paid 15 euros for them to take us to Turkey, not steal all our belongings. We had all our valuables with us and decided they could have our smelly homeless clothes if they really wanted them. We followed a group of people around the port and through passport control. The people checking passports did not like some of the countries Sarah had been to, so they inspected her passport very closely. After getting our second stamp of the trip, the boat we thought left us in Turkey was actually waiting for us on the other side. We still do not know if this was normal procedure or if the boat we took to Turkey was operating a business illegally. Either way, we arrived safely.

We thought it was cool that you can see Turkey from Greece. After a very short boat ride, we arrived in our second country of the trip. We got our visa (aka sticker with a flower) and went through passport control. Our new friend Orhan from Hotel Kalender picked us up from the port and took us to the hostel. And by hostel we mean hotel because in Turkey we are classy enough to stay in hotels. Upon arrival, we were introduced to his entire extended family. Orhan said "everyone who works here is my family". We looked around the pool area and were puzzled as to how the Australian bartender was related to the Kalender family. Here is a brief description of the Kalender family members:

Orhan - owner and only english speaking member of the family

Big Sednick - Orhan's younger brother that wears interesting flourescent shirts with sayings such as "Sexo" and "İllegal drugs" and has a mullet turned mohawk turned rat-tail haircut with razor marks in the sides. He left the last day we were there to go into his required service in the military. He, and we, were incredibly sad he would have to cut his hair.

Little Sednik - Orhan's nephew that throws people in the pool, plays soccer, and does all the things around the hotel and nobody else wants to do. He also looks a lot like a Turkish Brady James (Brittany's cousin)

Sister - Orhan's sister that makes stuffed animal cats and force feeds you Turkish food

Mother - Orhan's mother and the best cook in all of Turkey

Dave - Australian bartender that was promised one day off a week and has not seen one yet in his two months there. not actually a member of the family.

Grandma, Grandpa, Brothers, Sisters, Nieces and Nephews were also there but did not impact our lives as much. İt is worth mentioning that we were the only people staying at Hotel Kalender besides the entire extended family living there.

Upon arrival, we were given shots of Raki (the Turkish version of Ouzo that is much better) and beers. Sarah declined because she did not want to throw up in the family room and Brittany could not drink because of all her medication. Kelly's nice afternoon swim ended in her being thrown in the pool by Little Sednick. Brittany had apple tea with the non-English speaking side of the Kalendar family. We took a nap to recover from the ferry ride and then wandered around Bodrum for a while. 

We had no idea what to expect from our first muslim country. We had heard Turkish people were very friendly and this definitely proved to be true. The Kalendar family made us feel very at home. Something we noticed was a huge lack of Turkish women walking around by themselves or in groups. We definitely got a lot of looks when we were outside of the tourist areas.

That night we had a 5 course home-cooked Turkish meal with the entire Kalender family on the rooftop overlooking Bodrum at sunset. Our delicious meal consisted of bread, Turkish stew, stuffed greenpeppers with yogurt, pasta, kebabs, and rice pudding. Earlier that day Sister Kalendar forwardly asked Brittany how much she weighed and then told her she would gain 10 kilos in Turkey because the food is so good. The food was amazing. They also refused to take away your plate until you ate every last bite.

After dinner, we sat at Dave's bar and listened to Turkish trance music while smoking our first hookah (Apple flavored). We shared funny travel stories and discussed the "Ladder Theory." This is an apparently well known theory about the difference between men and women when they look at friends versus relationships. İf you are interested in more details, google it or go to Dave the Austrailian bartenders facebook. Evan and Matt learned a lot about girls from us and we gave them all kinds of valuable relationship advice.

The next morning Brittany went to go get her stitches taken out. We were a little concerned about the qualıity of hospitals in Turkey, but soon found out they are among the finest in the world. Brittany sat in a gold-plated chair under a dome with a personal translator and had her stitches removed. She then had an othopedic consult for the scar and the Dr said the Greek cream she previously bought would do the trick. The best news was that it was FREE to get stitches out in Turkey. After the hospital visit, Brittany took her first shower in a week. After removing all the dried blood and washing her hair, we were surprised to see that you can not even notice the scar.

Then we took the bus down to the port of Bodrum and walked around the castle. We really wanted to go on a boat ride so we pretended to be in the market to buy a boat. While walking around we casually inquired about the prices. One man gave us a tour, and offered us a free boat cruise if we would help him repair his boat for the rest of the day. we were not into manual labor, and politely declined, but now we kind of regret it. We walked around and saw all of the beautiful shops and strolled along the beach. For dinner we went back to Gümbel Bay and had 1 Lira Döner Kebabs. İn case you are curious, 1 Lira is approximately .60 cents and a Döner Kebab is a giant sandwich similar to a Gyro. Looks like we can eat in Turkey!

That night we decided to celebrate Brittany's stitch removal with a night out on the town. Matt had to head to İstanbul to meet up with a girl that was high on his "ladder." Evan Brittany Sarah and Kelly sampled some of the local vodka (Istanblue-it has an essence similar to rubbing alcohol) before we headed out.  When Dave got off work he came out to meet us.

Bodrum was an interesting scene. İt consisted of a lot of 15 year olds- mostly British and Russian. Evan took a liking to a few, until their PARENTS had to step in. There were also a fair number of cougars at the bar, and Evan tried his luck with them. Their children had to step in. There were also a lot of sketchy locals. Some had interesting haircuts, some of the men had larger boobs than us, and some pretended that they played for the lakers. İt should be noted that there was not one single turkish woman in the crowd.

Every bar had men standing outside of them trying to lure us in with promises of fun and free drinks. Some even resorted to using bunny rabbits as bait. We had a great time at the bar until a young russian girl came running up to Kelly and tapped on her shoulder while pointing at the TV. We found out from TMZ that Michael Jackson had passed away. While the news was on all of the TVs at the bar, every bar refused to play his songs. One DJ told us, "No! Justin Timberlake is better!" After failing to find anyone who would play his songs, we held our own tribute on the steps of a bar. The five of us held hands, swayed back and forth, and sang a wonderful melodic medly of songs including the perennial favorites "Man in the Mirror" and "Billy Jean" and "Black and White." We were very angry with Turkey.

The last day in Bodrum we hung out by the pool with the Kalendar family drinking Turkish Apple Tea. This tea is our best culinary discovery so far, and it is everywhere in Turkey.  We boarded a bus in the afternoon to Pammukale. The seats were sold out, so they put Brittany in the jumper seat next to the driver. İt was unsafe and hilarious. We figured she had already cracked her head open once, might as well be her again. The buses in Turkey are quite luxurious and a man in a tie serves constant tea, coffee, water, cola and snacks. He comes by every half hour to see what you need. However, you have to time your beverage consumption carefully with the rest stop times, and if possible, avoid them for two reasons. 1) They cost money. 2) There is no guarantee you will get a western style toliet.

Glums and Glows

Glum- He bought his ferry ticket ahead of time and paid 15 Euro more
Glow- While telling his story of geting scammed in Athens Brittany turned to him and said, "Wait" is this really true?!" (He was befriended by a man in the street who took him to a bar for a drink, and when he got the bill it was for 80 Euros)

Glum- Getting rejected by a 15 year old (İn his defense, he didn't know she was 15) and a cougar in the same night
Glow- Being our travel buddy for a few days

Glum- She was really hurt none of the djs would play MJ
Glow- Dancing with the Turkish men

Glum-  She didn't sing in the karokee contest at Mr Frogs
Glow- Hearing the call to prayer from the minaret in a nearby mosque

Glum- Did not accept free boat ride in exchange for manual labor
Glow- Getting her stitches out in a gold plated chair under a dome.

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eprokup on

Splendid with a few concerns
Ladies -

As usual, a stellar article all around with personable story telling, rousing action and incredible detail. This blog consistently makes me wonder what squat-toilet country you are in now and how you are getting by. However, after actually living the Bodrum experience I must clarify a few 'misunderstandings' that exist between your story and reality as I perceived it.

The initial description of the Kalendar family was spot on - from the haircuts to the English language ability to the understated brattiness of L Sednek. You also described in perfect detail our times at Dave's bar while scratching the surface of the lessons that were learned there.

Some readers have voiced an air of concern regarding how the character 'Evan' was portrayed at the bar. For clarity's sake, one must remember 3 distinct instances of the Bodrum bar scene. 1) Evan made conversation and danced with (rather attractive) ladies from the kingdom of Ukraine until realizing they were a tad young. 2) Additionally, said Evan met and enjoyed time with a young lady from Russia, although her father (big man) stepped in and ended forever any and all contact. 3) Late night, Evan did pursue said cougar but experienced little luck at the disco. To quote another, 'You win some, you lose some.'

Either way, it was a most enjoyable time spent with you and I look forward to seeing you again.

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