Back in Antalya - It is good to be back on board Long Passages, and to be stationary for more than 3 days at a stretch. But the marina is a different place than it was in August when we left. Then it was quiet, with only a few cruisers, but now, with the cruisers settling in for the Winter, it has become lively and downright tiring at times. The week goes something like:
With all of that going on, there has been scant time to work on the boat and fit in some administrative chores. Looks like it will be an enjoyable Winter in Antalya.
Boat Chores - They never end, so it is time to finally return to reality and attend to some items that have languished while we played:
Following The Roman Empire - As we have traveled through Europe, we continue to come across evidence of the Roman Empire and the great works that they left in place when the empire collapsed. This week our excursion took us to Seleuccia, a set of ruins about 80 km east of Antalya. The city gate, agora, and baths with market stalls are wonderfully well-preserved, even after 2000+ years. We wandered through the ancient buildings, many walls still standing, wondering what life for the Romans must have been like. This particular spot is on a hill surrounded with steep cliffs and a great view in all directions.Week ending 21 Dec 03 (Bob)
Gales -The Coptic Calendar and Turkish Tables- In the literature our marina provided when we arrived last July was a 'Gale Calendar' that predicted a 3-Day gale on 15 December. Right on schedule it started to rain and blow on Sunday the 15th, and for 3 days it blew, often to 40 knots making people cranky, and making it impossible to work outside on the boat. The Christian Coptics, and Turkish tradition both maintain calendars with weather predictions for each day of the year - in this case, they were right on!
Water Scare - The low point for the week was when we woke up on Monday and found that last night's gale had dumped a quart of water on our PC - where it still resided! After confirming that it was not operating, we tapped all sources in the marina, and finally, the marina manager located the local Toshiba repair facility. We brought in the patient (while visions of $$$ flying out of the window went through our minds), and a young man started open heart surgery immediately. Within 20 minutes all components had been removed from the case, and were subjected to a blow-dryer treatment - while his assistant plied him with cigarettes and tea was served all around. By the end of the day the patient looked like it would survive, and the next day our laptop was assembled and working properly - for the measly sum of $90. We were very lucky this time, and will be more careful when tightening the portholes in the future.
Christmas Shopping - where there is no Christmas - Christmas is not a big event in Turkey, being a Muslim country. Despite that, the nearby shopping mall is full of snowy scenes and one man even "Ho-Ho-Ho's" while he sells specials at the supermarket. But trying to find normal items such as wrapping paper, ribbon, and Christmas cards has proven to be a challenge.
Culture Vultures - One of the reasons we opted to settle into Anatalya for the winter was to be near to cultural activities, and this week it paid off. On Friday the Antalya State Symphony Orchestra presented
and they did a wonderful job, with a Russian guest conductor. In one of Tchaikovsky's movements all bows went to ground as the performers plucked their instruments feverously in perfect unison.
On Saturday, it was time for the opera as La Boheme was performed to a standing-room audience. The Antalya State Opera and Ballet company did a wonderful job, and the snow falling softly in Paris on Christmas Eve was a very realistic touch. The street scene with with the partygoers, motorcycles on stage, and bright costumes was one of the most lively we have ever seen on stage. And the price for these first class performances? $3.00 for the symphonies and $2.50 for the opera!
Water scare Aftermath - A couple of days after our PC had returned from the shop it began misbehaving - scrolling wildly and unpredictably. A couple of days in the shop (at no cost) produced lots of theories but no fixes. Finally we identified the offending key, disabled it, and we were back in operation - for the time being. But then, our Internet provider subscription ran out and we had to get a new one - quite a drama because the initial login requires a Turkish keyboard, and our Anglo-Saxon one does not speak the language. This then requires a long-distance call to their Help Desk to sort things out - quite a nuisance!
Extraordinary Exhausting Excursion - This week we explored an interesting area 50 miles south of Antalya. For 3 hours we walked over forest trails and scrambled over rocky hillsides - seeking Chimaera, an eternal flame where gas seeps out of holes in the ground and burns continuously. This was well-known to the Greeks and Romans several thousand years ago, and spawned the myths of the Chimera, a monster who was subdued by Bellerophon riding Pegasus. One of our trekking mates brought along a few hot dogs to cook on this perpetual fire - which may have angered the gods as the trail then became tougher and after fording one creek, we were stopped by the second with raging rapids left from earlier rains. By then the trail had dwindled to a notional track on a steep hillside, and only the memories of some of the cruisers convinced us to press on. And then, around a bend, a restaurant and tour buses - who had come the easy way, via road rather than through the bush. But after a beer, salad, and a perfectly cooked trout we felt human again - ready for next week's adventures.