Birthdays, greek villages, and fish heads
Today was my birthday! I woke up to a card from Ian next to my pillow. It was very sweet.
We were very sad to leave Fethiye, a town we had really liked. We had a five hour drive ahead to Antalya. We stopped first at another area of ruins, called Kaya (I believe "kaya" means rock in Turkish). It was an old greek village. In the early 20th century, Greece and Turkey both had populations in each other's territories. They decided to pull back their people, so the Greeks left Turkey and the Turks left Greece. They Kaya village was abandoned as no Turks settled in the Greek's former homes. Today all that is left are cement foundations and walls, but no roofs or internal items. There are a few churches decorated nicely, but crumbling under a century of disrepair. I didn't enjoy the village very much as I had not realized the paths would be so hard to navigate. There were stones protruding from the ground in an uncomfortable way, and I had worn sandals and a skirt. We climbed up and down steep, rocky hills to see the different sites. It was also almost 100 degrees out that day with little shade. I was no in a good mood.
The drive to Antalya was very pretty. We passed huge snowcapped mountains and zigzagged our way up to the tops of smaller mountains. I tried to sleep on the bus to make the ride faster, but the view was distracting. People also sang happy birthday to me on the bus. The couple from South Africa sang to me in a tribal language as well.
Antalya is beautiful. It is right on the Mediterranean, with huge, jagged mountains in the distance. There is a lot of pollution or mist in the air, making the mountains hazy and distant-looking. Antalya itself is a large city and seems to be focused on Turkish people, not tourists, as many of the past cities had seemed. They do have a McDonalds and Starbucks though.
A group of 12 wanted to go out to dinner that night. A girl from Australia found a restaurant she wanted to try in her Lonely Planet guidebook and led us on a quest to find it. It was not easy to find. She led us through the city, both the old and new parts, through winding streets and over tramways. We looked for it for almost an hour. When we finally found it and sat down we asked her why she had chosen this particular place. She read from the Lonely Planet a description: "a schmorgesboard of meats." My heart sank. I am a vegetarian, and it was my birthday. I had hoped to find a place a bit more non-meat friendly. I was very disappointed. I ended up getting some fish, again not filleted. It was very good but it still makes me uncomfortable to have the head and tail attached.
After diiner was finished we started walking back. We heard a racket and saw a large crowd gathered just off the main street. There was a concert going on! We watched as two boys, not older than 20, announced things in Turkish over the microphone while the crowd cheered. We picked out the words "gangsta bling bling" from his mass of Turkish and laughed. They then rapped a few songs. Turkish rap sounds very funny. We had no idea what they were saying but the beat was good and the crowd was happy.
Ian and I decided to get a drink together at the restaurant across the street from our hotel. It was right on the water and very nice. We sat on the patio watching small boats sail down the coast and admiring stars and lights from the city reflected in the water. The bar was playing spanish music, creating a nice mood, and the deck actually had trails of small lights sprinkled across it inside the wood. The drinks were ridiculously expensive...25 lira for one beer and gin and tonic! That's about $20. They brought us strawberries sprinkled with powdered sugar on top. We enjoyed our drinks and snacks, admired the view, and that was the end of my 25th birthday.