Killing the Day in Kusadasi

Flying to Istanbul was our only must-do for today and our flight was from Izmir (1 hour way) at 8 p.m. First thing this morning the Rayman inquired at the front desk about a late check out. They had no earthly idea what that was and so the answer was no. So, we languished in our room until noon, asked them to hold our bags and went out into the heat to find food, make a phone call and kill about 5 hours. No easy task when you’re done, kaput, ready to leave.

Found a phone, arranged passage to the airport by private car so it was door to door and looked for food. We asked a merchant in the heavy tourist area where a good Turkish meal could be had. She asked a man stationed outside her shop to show us and led us down an alley for 2 blocks and that’s where we ate. In an alley of a street. On stools outside the tiny establishment. While we were eating, Ray’s stool gave way and he almost hit the deck. Rayman mentioned that the stool felt wobbbly when he first sat down. He was right. The owner and his mother who did the cooking were very concerned. We had a good laugh about it and they relaxed.
Here is the place we had lunch. See the stool? That’s the type of stool that the Rayman was sitting on that gave way. The woman with her back to us owns the next store front. Many proprietors and workers sit outside if there is no business. She was selling a little bit of this, a little bit of that. Notice the blond hair. Turks don’t have blond hair. Notice the motorbikes. They were everywhere. Notice how they park any which way…typical.

It was so hot and we had so much time we decided we should go to a movie. The man in the restaurant said we should catch a bus that went to the Kapi shopping center so that is exactly what we did. The shopping center had what looked like a Turkish Target. There were a few other shops but it was pretty sad by our standards. We had to walk through security x-ray machines to enter. At this point, we were in the burbs and almost no one spoke english. It took us about 10 minutes to figure out that we needed to return to city center. None of the movie times would work. So we hopped another shuttle and rode back in but not without incident. Our driver was approaching a bus stop, a young woman at the back of the bus was just getting up to disembark when a car backed out from somewhere…causing the driver of our vehicle to slam on the breaks. The young woman was catapulted toward the front with the violence of the stop. Luckily she was young and was able to stop the forward motion without injury. Had it been us…well, does smashed bug have any meaning to you? Also, I was sitting exactly here the car would have hit the van. I’m not sure a sheet of paper would have fallen through the gap. It was that close.

They dropped us further from our intended stop because it was the end of the route so in the heat of the day we made our way through the streets until we found a coffee shop/cafe with air conditioning and we flopped down after ordering an iced mocha coffee and water. There I proceeded to secure our seats for our flight to NYC in the comfort of cool air…however, using an iPhone for this type of activity is a real pain…birthdays, nationalities, reservation numbers, expiration dates, passport numbers, frequent flier numbers…it went on and on…my mocha was calling and I was trying to get it done without losing a connection. Success was achieved. We loitered as long as we could and then headed up to the hill to the hotel. Rayman suggested we cross the street and look in the clothing stores to cool off. We selected the last one in a row of shops because it had beautiful windows…we opened the door and a woman ran out from the bowels of the building to tell us the store was closed. “What time do you open?’, we inquired. “We won’t open again.”. see said. Turned out they were going out of business TODAY. So out the door and into the heat to finish our trek to the hotel. The hotel wouldn’t sell us water. So we dipped our feet in the swimming pool to cool down and then sat in the lobby until our driver arrived 30 minutes before our time was booked and off we went.

Turkey, between Kusadasi and Izmir (a city of 3.5 million) is really interesting. It’s like driving throughout the Salinas valley but not as pretty. There are crops everywhere. Hot houses. Which reminds me. The Turks peel their tomatoes, a very french touch. But I digress. Orchards. Fertile ground, I presume. Large mountains on one side. The coast on the other…but a miles away perhaps. We didn’t see any of this when we arrived at 2:00 a.m. in the morning. So looking around was fun. Here is a vista.

So, here we are and away we go to Istanbul…to a Holiday Inn which hopefully will have a pool, shampoo, hand towels, faster internet service. We had no shampoo in our room at the Marina Inn. We couldn’t use the pool after 7 p.m. The innkeepers are not use to our tastes. On the plus side, the internet was free, the hotel had elevators. Mold in bath was free as well. Susie would have been upset…we just got philosophical and put up with it because moving again looked like work. Plus we had an ocean view and if we complained, the ocean view might disappear.

OMG. The shortest flight known to man (about 40 minutes in the air and 30 minutes cruising the Istanbul airport) ended when I was closing up shop (putting my computer away for landing) and noticed the smell of vomit. Yes indeed. The little girl sitting directly in front of me threw up on the side of the fuselage. Remember, you can’t make this stuff up.

We retrieved our bag and looked for our driver. He was tall and skinny and very nice. For reasons that are entirely unclear to us, we had to wait and wait for the car to pick us up. Then we drove and drove and drove. We had personally booked the hotel, Holiday Inn – Airport Hotel. It was miles and miles away from the airport…and the Rayman started getting concerned when we left the freeway and ended up on dark deserted streets. A song was on the radio and I adroitly suggested it sounded like the theme to the Godfather. Nervous snickering ensued. The longer this drive took the more we laughed…albeit with fear and trepidation. But, alas, the Turks did not disappoint. We arrived at our destination intact. And here we are drinking a glass of red wine, eating chocolate that we’ve hauled all over the country. The entire time we have been gone, this is the first chocolate in Turkey. Opps. We had mocha coffees today so it is the second time in two weeks. A record of sorts for moi.

While sitting in the coffee cafe house sipping those mochas it occurred to us that if someone wanted to make a lot of money, they would start a Water Mister company. Go to all the hot spots and install misters. They do not have them here. They don’t have them in Greece (Samos anyway). They didn’t have them in AU or NZ although they might have…we were there in winter. They probably don’t have them in Africa. These people need misters. It could change their lives for the better. Did I mention it is really, really hot? Good grief. We really live in a sweet spot.

Beep, beep. We’ll really miss the beeps. Actually, Rayman won’t but I will. Their driving is unique. They turn 1 lane into 2. Two into 3. The lines in the roads don’t mean anything. Well, maybe they mean “straddle”. And they beep all the time to warn people…”Here I come, watch out.” Rayman really noticed it to the point of mentioning it constantly. It just became background noise to me and I filtered it out….like my wind chime at home. I can tune that out too.

But one more thing. We were informed that Beau has bonded to Nancy in a way that is really upsetting. She is spoiling him and he has fallen in love. This prompted an email to Beau to tell him that she would leave him in the end and we would soon be home to spoil him with walks and a new house. He’s fickle but he’s still young…so hopefully he’ll remember who we are and be glad to see us when we return…I know we’ll be glad to see him!!

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