You might get to the airport obnoxiously early, but you can spend every free minute drinking coffee and enjoying the fact that you never had to shout, “Excuse me, please, my flight is leaving!” in a language that very few people in the security line understand.
I learned that lesson the hard way last year in Ecuador and I haven’t made the same mistake since. But if you already follow that rule, or simply enjoy living on the edge, then fall back on this one: Watch your head.
A mailbox. That’s what I hit my head on at the Antalya airport. And I did it with such force that a Turkish man came running out of the post office shouting (what I could only assume translated into), “Where is the truck that just hit this wall?”
But all he saw was me, clutching my head and staggering about under the weight of a hiking backpack.
If he spoke fluent English, I would have told him that I had just dropped two postcards into the box and was picking up my water bottle from the floor when I hit my head on the way up. But that explanation wasn’t possible, so I just let him draw his own conclusions.
Evidently, that worked because he walked over to check if my head was bleeding – a kindness I repaid by swatting him away with both hands and then sitting on the floor outside his office for a solid ten minutes.
I don’t know if water helps ward off what might have been a slight concussion, but I drank some anyway. I figured I earned it.
That didn’t happen, of course. Not even when I went hiking on this trail from Olympos to Tekirova – which I’ll admit probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do as a single lady who refused to wear anything with sleeves in a predominantly Muslim country.
But I figured if I couldn’t even manage to mail a letter without suffering a head injury, then I may as well just roll the dice and take the hike.
Glad I did.
In Cirali, I picked up yet another male companion. I met him while I was on a bike ride one morning and when he saw me coming, he did a U-turn right in the middle of the street and then followed me all the way into town.
He was adorable. The cutest little dude yet.
And happy too! I named him Delight. Turkish Delight, that is.
I’d happily go back to Turkey’s Turquoise Coast if I had the chance.
Of course, part of its charm was that it hasn’t yet been trampled by the masses. If I went back in five years, would it still look like the same? Or would it be overrun by tourists like me and home to a half dozen high rises and a Starbucks? I want no part of that.
On my last day, I asked the bartender at the beach café, “Do you think this place will change much?”
“I hope not,” he said. “I like it this way.”
“Me too,” I said. “I hope it stays.”
“Well we’re protected by the turtles,” he said.
I figured that was a miscommunication, but he went on to explain that the stretch of beach between Cirali and Olympus was protected by the Turkish Forestry and Culture and Tourism ministries since it was home to the endangered loggerhead turtles. So long as they don’t make some sort of grand comeback in the next decade, there probably won’t be a whole lot to change on this beach.
Keep us safe, little turtles. Keep us safe.
Bonus Vine: Run, Turkish Delight, run!
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