Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Stopping to Smell the Roses—Last Week In Kaş

By Claire
You think you’ve seen everything and then you realize there is another whole side to things. One day, we decided to take a walk up the road on the other side of town, west of the campsite.

We found a wonderful little beach and had thoughts about going for a swim. That never quite happened.

It’s so warm here and there are lots of flowers. How will we ever deal with cold and rain again?

We watch the boats cruising to the Greek island of Meis, so close we feel we could almost swim to it.

We wanted to go on a boat cruise—a glass bottom boat cruise—to see the sunken city of Kekova. However, it’s low season and none of those boats are operating, one of the few downsides of being here during the quiet time.
Walking back to Kaş Kamping, we stopped to look at the amazing serpentine road climbing up the mountain—Yatan Adam (Sleeping Man)—which overlooks the town.

We’re hoping we don’t have to drive up there to get to Istanbul.

We decided to continue our walk on into town, east of the campground, and pick up our bread and another supply of Mandarin Oranges. We go through about 10 a day of these beauties and it's only €.90.

Stopping in the bakery, the woman there excitedly told me in Turkish something about the picture I had given her. She tried and tried to explain; pointed at my wedding ring, pointed to herself and I finally figured out that she had given the picture to her boyfriend. She even used the word "boyfriend." It was sweet to know that giving her that picture meant something to her. She's trying to teach us some basic Turkish and insists that Chuck learn the numbers so that when he picks out cookies he can properly ask for the correct number. It's all done with a fair amount of laughter. Turkish is hard! You try pronouncing bir (one). We think it is beerzh. Or how about üҫ (three). It's pronounced ewch.

Another day, our campground caretaker took Chuck aside and offered to let us use the washing machine, normally 10 TL per load, for free. He indicated that since we were long term guests, we had earned this privilege. You have to understand that the laundry room is under lock and key. Sedat escorted us to the inner sanctum, behind a blue door, after we hurriedly stripped the bed and gathered up our rugs, things that are a bear to wash by hand. The washers are old and it took 90 minutes for each washing machine to finish a load. While we were reading and playing with the cat, I kept going up to the laundry room, now locked, to listen, hoping it would finally grind to a halt. But, they are so clean, especially the rugs, that they look like new; it was definitely worth the wait. The sheets took almost no time to dry and the rugs were dry later that night—it was almost 4 pm by the time everything was done. I should have been prepared—one of our fellow campers, Joyce, did laundry the other day and sat in this blue chair waiting and waiting for the wash to be done.

Behind the Blue Door

Kedi the Kampground Kat

On yet another day, after a fair amount of sampling, we found our favorite place to eat, Kaş’im Restaurant. It has a nice feel to it, you can eat inside or out, the people are welcoming and friendly and the food is the best we've had here in town. We were brought tea and complimentary starters: warm pide bread with tzatsiki, potatoes and peas in sauce, another dip similar to tzatsiki but with mint, and a spicy tomato dip. When we went back the next day, a salad was added to the complimentary starters and we were greeted as if we were long lost friends. It's fun to see all the school kids running around town during the lunch break, many eating out with their folks. The dönor grill guy walked over to an outside seat and put his son on his lap so they could look at his school work together.


I ordered a vegetarian pide and Chuck ordered a dönor, the best he's ever had, and we've had plenty.

Dönor Prep



We had the usual number of cats visiting us, I counted four, and I can see why. While we were eating, the dönor prep guy threw tiny pieces of meat out onto the sidewalk. It was greatly enjoyed by one lone cat. We were surprised it wasn't a mob scene. I think the others had given up and moved on to possibly better pickings. Eating lunch out the other day we saw a pride of cats following a woman with a big plastic tub of cat food.

What a great place to eat and only €6.75 including tip. Note the cat at Chuck's feet.

After our wonderful lunch we walked over to pick up one of Chuck's shoes that we had dropped off to be glued by the shoe repair guy who is right next door to Mustafa the Hairdresser. I was able to discretely peek inside from the sidewalk while I waited for Chuck and I saw that the photos we had given him were prominently displayed on his mirror.

Friday we found out that there is a weekly market in town. This had to be the warmest day we've had so far, around 76°, so it was hard to drag ourselves away from our books and our view of the excitement for the day: The Coastguard! From the comfort of our lounge chairs, we watched them doing some kind of training exercise then decided we better head into town. After all, we needed bread.

We stopped at the Post Office where the price of stamps seems to vary by the day. Yesterday I bought two stamps for two postcards and it came to 3 TL. It seemed high but I let it go. Today I had two letters to send. I gave the guy a 20 and he gave me 7.50 TL in change. What? I looked at my change and realized I'd been shorted by 10 TL. He was good about it but I'm not sure he believed me at first. The strange part is that the letters were only 2.50 TL to send both. I thought postcards cost less. Two days later I handed over two more letters and this time the price was 4 TL. I'm not sure I understand the pricing system. Sometimes in the produce market the guy will weigh the cucumbers along with the tomatoes but the price usually comes to only 2 TL (€.90) for 3 sacks of tomatoes, bell peppers and cucumbers.

We made our way over to the huge market under white tents selling everything you could possibly want. How about a samovar? Shoes? Shirts, belts, spices, tea, plastic stuff, batteries, chickens, you name it, they had it.

Live chickens—we considered buying one but we don’t have an oven.

I found a spice booth and asked about elma (apple) tea. He showed me something that looked very different from what we had previously bought. This one looked like tiny Grapenuts. He gave me a sample, explaining that this was organic, but used cold water so it was hard to tell the difference. He also told me that the kind I had bought before was "chemical" and showed me the package of the "chemical" stuff he sells. I decided to go for the organic.

We're trying it out right now. It tastes good but different. I think I like the "chemical" one better. Sigh.


Everything priced at 1 TL

More produce than we knew what to do with

We stopped to buy some tomatoes and the man asked me "1 kilo? 2 kilos?" I told him just 5 tomatoes and he began picking them out and putting them in the plastic bag he provided (don't get me started about the amount of plastic over here). My first instinct, I am not proud to admit, was that I wouldn't get the best ones since he was doing the choosing. However, he told me 1 TL (€.45) for the five then added a sixth and I noticed that he picked them out very carefully, gently wiping each one clean before putting it in the bag.

We were about to leave when Chuck noticed a portable bakery cart full of baklava and other honey-soaked sweets. He asked for 4 of the baklava and the man gave him those plus 4 other treats at no extra charge. When Chuck thanked him he touched his heart and bowed his head.

Waiting for payment

We returned home with our loot and I checked our email to find a nice note from Nel, who we met along with her husband, Hans, in Paris. They had ordered the 2010 version of the ACSI Camping book that lets us camp for a maximum price of €15 per night, an unexpected surprise. Last week Hans had emailed me asking where we would be for awhile so they could mail it. I gave him the address for Istanbul. Nel told me today that she has sent it priority mail and that the campground very close to their house in Holland is in the book. We hope to see them going to or coming from the UK later this year. I am continually touched by the generosity of the people we meet along the way.

We hit the road tomorrow after a month in Kaș. We will take four days to make the trip to Istanbul—time to get lost and time to meander, in case we want to stop along the way. We will most likely be wild camping, a very accepted practice in Turkey. No internet, no electricity and no showers! We'll be on the lookout for restaurants with a parking lot or someplace with a nice view. You'll hear from us again from our hotel in Istanbul with free WiFi in our room.

Lastly, here is what I have enjoyed almost every morning. I love the changing colors, sometimes apricot, sometimes pink, a little touch of yellow and the reflections on the water. Add a small fishing boat going out on his daily run and to me, it's perfection. We will never forget this town.

Generosity consists not of the sum given, but the manner in which it is bestowed. ~ Unknown

1 comment:

Karin said...

I can understand why you leave Kas with a slightly heavy heart....what a wonderful and relaxing place to discover, what kind and hospitable people you have met and befriended. Alas, you must move on....so I end with a quote:

If one had but a single glance to give the world, one should gaze on Istanbul.”
Alphonse de Lamartine

Perhaps the best is yet to come!
Safe journey!
Karin from Paros in Prague