Dec. 2003
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Week ending 7 Dec 03 (Bob)

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:

  • Sunday - An 'excursion', in this case a bus ride to a far away place and then a 4-hour hike into the hills to enjoy our lunch at the base of a waterfall.

  • Mon-Weds-Fri - Up early for exercise sessions, to stretch those muscles and work off a little flab.

  • Tuesday & Friday - Turkish lessons, learn the language from the marina staff so we can get around town a little better.

  • Tuesday and Friday evenings - Social get-together with the other cruisers to share a drink, exchange tales, and throw some darts.

  • Wednesday night - Dinner out at the local restaurant - great fish meal last week.

  • Saturday night - A treat - a long-time cruiser shared his 'tax return' in the form of an Italian meal and wine.

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.

Week ending 14 Dec 03 (Bob)

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:

  • Varnish - Judi did such a good job of varnishing all of our exterior teak in Thailand, but the Red Sea proved to be a tough challenge, and between 100°F temperatures, 35 knot winds, and gritty sand, the varnish was looking a little worn by the time we reached Turkey.  So this week she stripped off much of beautiful varnish and prepares to replace it next week.

  • Leaks - They spring up every now and then, and this new one required removal of 2 dorades and a re-design to prevent future leaks -- the repair is on-going.

  • Electrical systems - We strung extension cords around the boat during much of this last trip in order to operate the PC, printer, and similar items.  A little re-design will change this so we can be a little neater on our next cruise.

Following The Roman Empire - As we have traveled Turkey Seleuccia Romand ruins.jpg (26493 bytes)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 Turkey Antalya winter storm on Med beach.jpg (11779 bytes) 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

  • Haydn's Symphony 94, 'Surprise'

  • Rosetti's Concert for 2 French horns

  • Tchaikovsky's Symphony # 4, Opus 36

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!

Week ending 28 Dec 03 (Bob)

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!

Christmas Dinners

  • Turkey Antalya turkey dinner at Setur Xmas 2003.jpg (19201 bytes)Christmas Eve - The local restaurant, Ship's Inn, put on a Christmas Eve dinner, with turkey and trimmings.  And those not provided by the restaurant came from cruisers: stuffing, cranberry sauce, mince-meat pie, etc.  About 20 cruisers attended, and the staff did their best to make it a special dinner for all of us. A great time was enjoyed by all.  

  • Turkey Christmas on LP 2003.jpg (25366 bytes)Christmas Day - Although Christmas has no meaning in Turkey, New Year's is big, and the markets begin carrying turkeys this week - and Judi bought one that filled the oven.  On Christmas Day, despite the weather (see below) Judi slaved away over a hot oven as she prepared a traditional dinner with a delightful turkey, stuffing, veggies, cranberry sauce, and mashed potatoes - we enjoyed a great meal around our diminutive Christmas tree as the rain poured outside.  Of course the day would not have been complete without a gift exchange, so the gifts arranged neatly around the tree, with Admiral Teddy looking on, did not survive past the 2d cup of coffee on Christmas morning.

Christmas Storm - Turkey Marina breakwater in a storm.jpg (5661 bytes)While we were getting ready for Christmas Eve dinner the wind started to blow, and by midnight it was in the 40's as we heeled 15° at the dock

Extraordinary Exhausting Excursion - This week Turkey Pete roasting hot dog at Chimaera flame.jpg (27975 bytes)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,Turkey cruisers fording cold creek.jpg (29951 bytes) 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.

 

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