March 2005
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Check out Weeks ending:   [12  Mar 05] [19 Mar 05] [26 Mar 05]

2 Weeks ending 12 Mar 05 (Bob)

Trip Synopsis - Bob's trip to the US started as a 3-week visit to double-check the Turkish medical prognosis and became an enjoyable 4-week stay with #1 son Denis and other family.  The highlights:

  • Going - Bus - plane - plane - plane - bus; a 48-hour trip that started with a luxury over-night bus in Turkey and ended with a grubby Greyhound ride in the US.  It was nicely broken up by a layover in Istanbul and a wander through the Grand Bazaar.
  • Stay with Denis - The stay was very enjoyable as Denis shared his home with Bob.  We ate out a lot, talked over college courses (Denis is currently 2+years into a degree in Information Technology), and used Denis' broadband internet connection a lot!  We got into a routine where Bob would take Denis to college (Florida State University) in the morning and pick him up in the evening, a win-win situation since Bob needed a car and the college is parking-deprived.
  • Medical - For the princely fees charged in the US, several doctors confirmed there was no significant problem and confirmed the diagnosis of the Turkish doctor.  A visit to a dermatologist prompted Bob to write complaint letters to the clinic, the insurance company, and IBM - the over-charging was too blatant and still to be resolved.
  • eBay - Denis introduced Bob to the wonders of eBay and he became an instant junkie.  Emails flew as he bid on an assortment of items, some of it even useful!  Denis taught him some of the secrets and foibles of this new craze in the US.  The suitcases were heavier as a result of the winnings.
  • Boat Stuff - No trip to the US is complete without loading down with stuff from West Marine and other sources.  The result? Heavier bags.
  • Family Visits - The waistline showed the result of several dinners with Grandma Dottie and Auntie Diane plus Denis' girlfriend, Stephanie, and her family.  Fare ranged from large home-cooked spreads to Thai buffets and a nice French lunch.  This resulted in a heavier Bob.
  • Treks and hikes - On the weekends, when Denis and Stephanie had time off from college, we went for hikes on the beach and through Florida's pine forests.  The weather was very pleasant in Florida at this time of the year and the walks were good exercise for an otherwise sedentary visit.
  • Coming - The trip back was like a video in reverse, without the layover in Turkey - thus a 30-hour marathon that made Bob VERY happy to be met by Judi at the Marmaris Otogar. One slightly stressful issue was weight; airlines allow 44 pounds and Bob had managed to accumulate 110 pounds of watermaker, windvane and plumbing repair parts, computer stuff and books!
  • Jet Lag - The long trip took its toll and Bob chilled out for 2-3 days recovering (that's as long as he felt he could stretch the story) before getting back to boat projects.

Marmaris Weather - Rain has been the dominant theme for much of the last 2 weeks as Marmaris shows how different the weather is from what we experienced in Antalya last winter.  Conventional wisdom predicts that beginning in March it will warm up and stop raining - we are still waiting!

Boat Projects - Getting ready for the new cruising season is now on our minds as we install the stuff from the US and take care of wear and tear.  The list is not too long, so we hope to be ready to move by May.

Week ending 19 Mar 05 (Bob)

Sirince - While Bob was away Judi started planning a day-trip to Sirince, a small hillside village near Ephesus famous for its architecture, hospitality and fruit wine.  After a 4-hour bus ride the 42 cruisers were seat weary and ready for a good wine-tasting on a beautiful, sunny, Spring day.  The village is interesting - it had been Greek, as much of this end of the Mediterranean was, and the stucco houses and narrow streets were reminiscent of Rhodes, a short distance across the sea from Marmaris.  After World War I in a huge land resettlement that affected 1.5 million people, Turkey retained all of the mainland, Greece all of the islands and the Greeks from Sirince, among many other towns, were replaced by Turks. The residents have taken up fruit growing and wine making, and found that being a tourist destination is even more profitable.  For 5 hours we wandered the streets, shopping at the local crafts bazaars and tasting some excellent grape and  other fruit wines such as apple, blackberry, raspberry and even kiwi fruit wine!  We ended up with an excellent red wine, a mediocre red, a white and a bottle of blackberry wine.  The ride home seemed quicker (as it normally does) and Judi received a round of applause for a very well-organized trip.

Wine and Cheese galore - As if a trip to wine-growing country was not enough, the marina sponsored another wine and cheese party, this time sponsored by Kavalikere.  Since 'free' to cruisers is like spring flowers to bees, about 60 cruisers jammed the marina bar to eat, imbibe, and talk.  Some of the wine was outstanding and we all had a great time. 

And all those Boat projects - And projects keep us busy;

  • Judi has tackled the varnish and dorades, handrails, inside joinery, and hatches take on a new, shiny look,
  • The plastic on our hatches had become cracked and crazed over 30 years of sun exposure, so it is being replaced.
  • Bob crawled into the engine compartment and changed all of the lubricants.
  • Some long-delayed carpentry projects are coming to the top of the list - beware of flying sawdust!

Spring is on the Way - And finally, the weather seems to be changing, as the rainy days become less frequent and the days are warmer and drier  a happy trend.

Week ending 26 Mar 05 (Bob)

Visiting Turkish Carpet Shops - This is an occupational hazard of cruisers and other tourists in Turkey - The Carpet Shop!  Tiny Marmaris has scores of shops with carpets ranging from exquisite silk artworks of $2000 to modest cotton carpets worth $50.  We are struggling with what we feel we can afford (and carry) and still capture some of the magic of this wonderful Turkish handicraft.  Our favorite shop has become Silk Road with informative and not pushy staff, a complementary cup of cay (Turkish tea) and as much time as we wish to browse - its only a matter of time!

English as Lingua Franca - Turkey, perhaps more than many other cruising destinations is multi-lingual; our neighbors on each side are Italian, good friends are Danish, Costa Rican, American, Aussie, Kiwi, French, German, Turkish, Trinidadian, Japanese, and British.  The morning radio net is in English, with translations in French and German.  Prices in shops are in TL (Turkish Lire), YTL (New Turkish Lire), � (Euro), or $ (US dollars) depending on the merchant.  However we have found that with the use of English, a smattering of polite Turkish pleasantries, and good will, one can get almost anything done in this country.  Perhaps the most important ingredient is good will!

Work, work, work - The weather was beautiful for the week, and the varnish flowed on any wood that got in Judi's way.  Bob created sawdust by making a new locker frame - more wood for Judi to varnish.  And finally our hatches returned from the shop with bright new white plastic, and even more teak to varnish.  Overall, the boat looks pretty good.


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