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
- 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
- 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
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.
ending 19 Mar 05 (Bob)
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
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
- The plastic on our hatches had become cracked
and crazed over 30 years of sun exposure, so it is being
- 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.
ending 26 Mar 05 (Bob)
Visiting Turkish Carpet Shops - This is an
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
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 - 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.