Merhaba (Hello) from Turkey. We've been here 6 months Feb 18th. We'll take our second ferry run to Rhodes Greece next Friday to renew our visas. On our last one Dave was so seasick we are hesitant to go this time. He has a bad case of "ferryphobia". We are only 1 day short of renewing our Visa's in Istanbul when we go to the boat show Feb 10th. RATZ!!! Bet he'd rather take that long cab ride to Bulgaria instead!
Turkey, man, it's huge! Way bigger than we ever imagined. There are so many different kinds of peoples here with this being Europe's back door and the Middle East's front door. Wow. Then there is the size, it's vast. Being out here on the Southwest corner makes it harder to travel as we almost have to go 2 hours before we meet up with the main road system to start to go anywhere. You can't even begin to believe all of the history/antiquities/cultures that have been here. It goes on forever. We won't forget the weather either. It goes from freezing and mammoth hail storms to so hot you could really melt. During this last year we've been the hottest we've EVER been, in our lives and for sure the coldest in the last 9 years... YIKES This current cold spell though might only last for a week. The winter season here is much shorter than ours. Because this is the convergence zone we do get some reprieves with cold bright sunny days.
When we choose Marmaris it was mostly to haul out Freebird and get her work done, do some sightseeing and hopefully get away someplace warm during these 2 cold, wet, windy months. Well, so much for that pipe dream. With the economy the way it is and our budget the real way it is, we are just going to sit this one out. We figured it can't be all bad though because then we do get to REALLY experience Turkey. Luckily for us, another cruiser in the downtown marina has been living here on and off for years, likes it and organizes wonderful trips for us visitors to take.
So far we have taken advantage of most of them. We've written about a few of them so far like the Aphrodesia and Cappadocia trips. We've left out our little day trips that we want to share now.
Our first day excursion from Gwen, her guide Tas and driver Tansel was the "Mystery Tour". There were 3 events for the day promised. The first one was to an historical sight. There was an mausaleum from the Greek/Roman era that was dedicated to---- eh, we forget.... now it's in the square for Ataturk. Have we mententioned him before? The father of Turkey, Mustafa Kemel. He united Turkey in the early 20th century. They adore him. There is not a busness, square, home that does not have his photo, statue or both. My dentist must have 20 framed portraits alone on the wall along with a sculptures and many other memorials.
We visited a traditional village and home site consisting of a raised home that allowed the animals to live underneath and the occupants to climb up a ladder to the 2nd story where they live. At night they unrolled their bedding to sleep.
It was homey and decorated with folkart +++ the all important Ataturk. Some of the old folks were there to greet us in their native dress. Catherine from The Southern Cross even donned a wedding costume for the occasion. Our last stop was in a traditional village where we mixed with some of the villagers, had Turkish coffee and teas while we watched them play games. Board games are so popular here. Every corner, stall, cafe is full of MEN playing "Okey", Backgammon and various other versions of dominoes and checkers. They play faster than lightening!
We had such a fun day that when Gwen offered us to go to "Oil Wrestling
" a couple of weeks later we jumped on it. Right at the last moment Dave bailed out with a filmsy excuse (doesn't enjoy watching men in tights) so that Catherine and I went together instead. We had a grand time of it. Oil wrestling is nothing like you've ever seen before ... ever. Of course there is a lot of postering, but the more fascinating part is that not only are they covered from head to toe with oil, but they annoint each other with it before the match. This men only event consist of the men wearing just short tight leather shorts and stalking each other. Points are gained when the opponent is controlled via a grasp on his lederhosen. So, when we saw each of the combatants shoving their hands down the front and back of their opponents pants we could NOT BELIEVE IT. What was that??? Disbelief on both of our parts. We tried to get as close to the wrestlers as we could to verify this. Sure enough. Two men, each with a hand down the front and back of their opponents shorts trying to flip them. Boy and they did too. Dave was really sorry he missed going to it. (This is written by Judy edited by Dave ...he wasn't sorry.)
Afterwards we 10 cruisers met up at the local eatery to discuss the event. Incredible. Just as we were loading back into our van we managed to get a photo of the hero winner. Great fun was had by all.
We are using our down time to catch up on our photos, blogs, logs, emails, minor repairs and the ever constant Freebird maintenance. (Ant nest in the printer yesterday, hot waterfall in the engine room Wed & so on.....)There are plenty of social activities here in the "home" too, like boulles (bocci ball) bowling, Turkish lessons, hiking, happy hours, parties, quiz nights, yoga, etc. Occasionally we escape the "compound" and head into town for shopping, dining shopping, mindless wandering, and more shopping. So here we'll remain until the warm spring sunshine draws Freebird and crew out of her watery nest.......
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