Woke up very early (5ish, I think, might have been even earlier); that’ll teach me to write about workshop hours. . . .

But I got up and walked around the city until about 7:00, when I figured I’d try for wi-fi in the restaurant of the hotel. It had worked in the room the night before but not in the AM at all.

Breakfast (the normal Turkish breakfast: yoghurt, a couple kinds of olives, three or more different kinds of cheese, sliced tomatoes, bread. I had everything but the bread) wasn’t until 7:30, but I thought I could get on line— but I couldn’t. The manager was eating breakfast and no one prevented me, so I ate, too.

Loaded up the car to head for the local castle, but even then it was an hour until it opened and I also wanted to loop out and back to see some Greek shrines about 30 Km up in the hills, so I headed up there rather than just cool my heels waiting for the castle to open.

And I saw a couple of things to shoot on the way up to Uzuncabur? (including a stunning stand of blue-flag irises) but didn’t shoot them as the light would be at a better angle later when I came back.

So I shot the shrine— temple, agora, theater—

The tourists weren’t the only ones in the joint.

Apparently until recently, the columns all had stork nests on top of them. Not sure why they don’t now.

Then I learned about another place, Olba, about 4 Km away, and by the time I exercised my standard Random Alternative Routing Option (lost again for a little while) I got to the second place and shot it up.

You can see the channel for the water in the top of the aqueduct

Then I looked at the map more assiduously, and figured I could go a different way to the next place, rather than just drive back down the same road I’d just driven up, so I scrubbed the castle (there have been others, there will be more) and the irises, and headed further up into the hills.

The trip to the first place was already a two-ear-pops trip up into the hills, and I had one more headed out to the north and then back to the west.

Long, hot day in the car, up and down, up and down, hardly any other traffic except I did get caught in one significant rush hour

I have noticed that white goats and sheep flocks normally top out at about 40 or so, but the biggest flocks I’ve seen are all black goats, like this one, and I’ve seen no small flocks of black goats.

The Changing Scene

And now, since I’m heading inland from the coast (this being some of the country I travelled today) and am farther and farther from the populated and more sophisticated western coast of Turkey, I expect that “Photo OK” won’t get as many acceptances, and I’ve already noted the decreasing number of western toilets.

More and more standard Turkish models, some even without a tank up high on the wall— they just have a faucet in the wall and about three feet of garden hose—- not a bad system at all.

I wonder if I can hold it until early July when I get home. . . .

Karaman: Turkish for “Why are we stopping here?”

I finally got to Karaman about 3:30, and if Lonely Planet (the travel guide for those who hike, hitch-hike, or take the dolmus [small, regional, only partly scheduled] busses here) doesn’t even list a hostel or pensiyone, you should plan your day accordingly.

There wasn’t even a map of the place in the book, and the description of the museum was that the exhibits were confusing. . . .

But not as confusing as trying to find a place to stay without a map.

I finally, after checking out some places even I wouldn’t stay, decided to get smart. I drove back out of town a little, turned around, followed a dolmus back into town to the main dolmus terminal (normally towns here have lots of sign pointing to the town center and the dolmus corral—the otogar), and started asking around.

Took about 20 minutes— no internet tonight, but not a bad place for $15. It’s not as nice as the other $15 places, but one of Robert’s Rules for Traveling Cheaply is this: Once you close your eyes and go to sleep, you might as well be at the Hilton.

I got the info about this place at an internet café. The guys there drew me a little (mostly accurate) map, and I started walking. I gathered up a couple of university students coming out of the internet café, and they walked me to the pensiyone.

I checked in, then went back to get the car. Now, let’s see: did I turn right coming this way or left? Gee, I don’t remember this street at all. . . .

Well, I saw a little more of the city on the way back to the car, but at least I found it. . . .

Since this is such a short day in terms of stories, I thought I’d catch you up with a couple of anecdotes I’ve been saving.

When I was coming back from shooting early the other morning, I passed a little field of strawberries maybe a hundred by seventy-five feet and five people were in there picking berries, I’m guessing, for the local market.

Only four of them were doing all the picking— the women– and the guy was just sitting on a box in the middle of the field watching.

That reminded me of my great and quirky friend Ralph Davis, who died about a month ago. He was career Air Force, a fighter pilot/squadron commander, in both England and Viet Nam.

He also spent a year or so sitting in a nuke silo in South Dakota.

He moved to Hood Canal many years ago and became a Buddhist. He’d flown pretty close to sun too many times to live in a noisy, fractious city, so he took his zaniness and growing suspicions and his prayer flags and left town: Hoodsport was a good place for him.

He caught my eye (my ear, actually) in a grad-school class in North Seattle almost 30 years ago. We were sitting back in the corner (where the bad kids always sit) and people were announcing their term projects and someone said they were going to do a paper/report on civil disobedience, and Ralph said, in his stage whisper voice you could hear in the Dean’s Office, “I hope you aren’t going include that treasonous bitch, Jane Fonda.”

So we were off.

I didn’t agree with him about her, but I thought the forcefulness of his thought and the clarity of the syntax warranted curiosity.

Anyway, Ralph tried law school and the phone company and grad school and once wrote a job application to the city of Seattle applying for a job called “Work Watcher.”

He wrote that he lived in the city and drove around it often, and saw lots of little work projects happening, and there were usually one of two guys working (construction/repair crews) and two or three other guys, generally with clip boards instead of shovels or back hoes, and he thought, as a retired Air Force supersonic fighter jock that he could certainly handle the job skills of the guys standing there with a clipboard and watching others do the actual work.

He was a good friend and I already miss him a lot.

Cops and Soldiers

One cultural aspect over here that’s disconcerting, but not much of a bother, is the random traffic check-points, usually well out in the country but sometimes right at the outskirts of small towns.

There is a little notice on a sawhorse on the side of the road, a van-full of cops, and a couple officers in the roadway pointing at the edge of the traffic lane.

I’ve gone through about 8 or so of these, and been talked to twice. The first time, with Kim in the car, it took about 10 minutes or so, the other time I was even talked to only lasted about 2 minutes—-

Since the scrutiny was a lot more present and invasive when Kim was here, I think we know where the national security concerns were. . . .

And not only cops do this, but the Army does it too.

Originally written for Two Minutes in Turkey

posts by Robert