Istanbul... or is it Constantinople??

Sunday, August 11, 2002
My first random story of the day started when the doorbell rang at 11am this morning. We are staying with our friend Ozge (hi Ozge!) here in Istanbul but she was out at a wedding. Carla is sick in bed with the flu and she is directing me on how to take care of her. Mainly I make thermoflu tea, cut bread and spread nutella... so I am pretty good at this nursing thing and am considering it for a new profession ;)

Okay... back to the story! The doorbell rang and there stood this Turk holding fresh bread. He was trying to hand me the bread. I thought he must have telepathy because I was STARVING and had no idea where to find bread within walking distance and there he was front of me. It was Sunday morning after all... and I thought maybe Turks get fresh bread delivered instead of the Sunday paper! I took it and he kept staring so I figured I probably had to pay him. I held out the equivalent of a dollar hoping it was enough... and lucky me! It cost less than 15 US cents to get that bread. I found out later today that this apartment complex has a grocery delivery service. You call them up and they will deliver anything! But, they are known for delivering to the wrong door... so I ate someone,s bread. Who knew?? I figured my guardian angel had it delivered ;)

Anyway, Carla and I arrived yesterday morning into Istanbul on an overnight bus from Olimpos. Olimpos is this place where me and my 13 friends from the 4 day boat cruise went after the 4 day excursion ended. It is this random little village type place in what seems like the middle of nowhere Turkey. It is the site of the ancient city of Olimpos... you have to walk through the ruins to get to the beach! And what a beach! You can even swim past some more ruins into a cave... which we gladly did. Another lovely part of this little town is where we stayed. It is called Bayram's and each "room" is a little treehouse. The treehouse looks just like the kind you always wanted as a little kid! In the back of my treehouse you could pluck limes, others could reach walnuts or oranges. And, on your way to the bathrooms you could see the chickens running everywhere. It's no coincidence we had eggs for breakfast both mornings!

The main tourist thing to do there in Olimpos (other than the beach and ruins and the treehouses) was visit the flames. There is this spot where methane gas shoots up from the inner somewhere and it has been burning for years. Carla and the rest of the group INSISTED on singing Eternal Flame during the entire little hike up to this spot... and only paused their singing when a tarantula (yes really!) came running out of the rocks. It felt like a scene out of the Brady Bunch. I felt like I needed my tiki... just like Peter.

Before we arrived in Olimpos – we spent 4 days on a boat sailing along the Turkish coast. Let me tell you... the best thing about Turkey is how much you unexpectedly like things. You have no idea where you are headed, or what you will find there, but by God... it will be fun! The 2 crew who ran our boat would just randomly stop and say things like "Sunken City!". What is it? How did it happen, we wondered... they couldn't tell us... so we made up our own story and pointed out places like the local tavern, the town jail, and the general store. We seemed to miraculously arrive at destinations like Butterfly Valley, a waterfall, an ancient castle and endless snorkeling sites. I'm sure it was a planned itinerary... but I just knew nothing about it!!

Okay, another thing I'll have to go on and on about in this email is the ocean fairy dust. I don't exactly know what it is (Carla's theory is phosphorus) but it's like you are Tinkerbell! When Tinkerbell flies about, there is this sparkly cloud that surrounds her, right? When you swim in the ocean on the Turkish coast in the evening – every time you move you are surrounded by fairy dust! It's amazing!!

Lastly, I just want to say hello to all my new friends that I met in Koycegiz and on the boat! You have no idea how much it meant to me to be surrounded by such wonderful people for a whole week! I feel like I've known you all for a lifetime and can't wait til we meet up again. Chris, see you in Sydney! Marnie, Karla and Mark, see you in Vancouver! Karen, Pete and Brigid, see you in London! Boys, see you in Melbourne! Mark, see you in Rio! Carla, see you after your nap ;) It's such a small world and I'm lucky to meet you all not only once... but twice! Being with people like you made the boat and Olimpos feel like another home... and that is a hard thing to recreate. Thanks again and safe travels everyone!


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