Since the reports go out on blogspot in newest at the top, I’m putting this report (for Saturday) above the one I wrote earlier (for Friday).

I haven’t been drinking hardly at all, or eating meat for about three weeks or more (the sausage you get isn’t as rich or solid as the salami at home or in the Balkans, and if you buy a chicken in a market over here it can still make a lot of noise) so it’s easiest to just have bread and cheese and vegetables all day long and a big apple, pointy red and green pepper, tomato, and cheese cubes salad for dinner.

If I get any purer (no alcohol, no meat, no sex) I’m going to be nominated for sainthood, which will be very difficult to explain to all my agnostic (and worse!!!) brothers and sisters in the free-thought movement. . . .

So I guess it’s time to amend my habits. . . .

I headed north from Antalya today, as I wanted to see a couple of great places, and boy, did I!

After some of what I elect to refer to as Random Alternative Routing Options (yes, goddammit, I was lost again) I blundered my way about 100 Kms north to a great place— Sagaglassos, an old Greek city about halfway up to the roof of the world. . . .

It wasn’t even known to western archaeologists until the 19th century, and when it’s all put together it should rival the two biggest places I have seen so far: Ephesus and Bergama.

One of the best aspects of this place is that it’s so remote that the locals didn’t tear down the old buildings to make barns or sheep cotes, so all the pieces to everything are still there. . . .

On the column are the relief sculptures of 19 (Count ‘Em— 19!!!) Dancing girls and at my stage of life (Hell, at any stage of life) having 19 dancing girls (or even one, these days) sounds like a little bit o’ paradise to me. . . .
On the way back I stopped at a cave called Karain, which is a place which contains the remains of over 1,000 generations of human habitation.

So think back to the start of the modern dating system— the year 0 CE (agnostics hate to use AD and BC, so they (and most scientists these days) use CE and BCE: Common Era and Before Common Era).

That’s 80 generations.

Now think back another 320 generations, to about 10,000 years ago, about when we (if you know what I mean) were inventing agriculture.

Now think back another 600 generations, and that’s when people started living in these four caves— and the dig is still going on, so the scientists here think they’ll be pushing the history back a lot further than 25,000 years ago, which is about five times further back than the earliest Egyptians.

So if we are talking one foot per generation, that’s 80 feet to year 0, another 320 feet (a football field plus an end zone) to agriculture, and two more football fields to when people started living here — so far as they now know.

The museum was pretty small—smaller than my family room in Puyallup— but the cases held some pretty cool stuff— including lots of stone tools, crude early on, but getting as good as microliths toward the end.

They found a Neanderthal child’s skull here— and they lived from about 135,000 to 20,000 years ago, so that skull comes at the earliest levels excavated so far—and there are yards and yards to go down in the deposits.

So that was pretty special for me—

Frank Lloyd Wright liked to remark (about almost everything, actually, but that’s a different matter) that residences need to combine two diametrically opposed qualities— refuge and vista— and I’m sure in our cultural memory of those values come all the way back to here—living in caves.

You need to see out—to see danger coming—that’s vista. But you also need to be safe— refuge, and they work against each other.

But most of Wright’s houses combined both in wonderful ways— you could see out, but it was very hard for others to see in.

He also tended to hide the front door, which he said was part of that tension between these two forces— often when you walked into the house from the street you had to make at least four different 90 degree turns. Part of the refuge and vista business again.

But Philip Johnson, architect of the Glass House in Connecticut, who in the 1950’s or so referred to Wright as the “Greatest American Architect of the Nineteenth Century” said he had you turn all around on the way in just so you had more chances to admire the building. . . . .

I came back into town on the road I should have gone out on—but it made a loop rather than just an out-and-back, so I got to see lots more new things on the way back— and I’m coming into Antalya (here’s a quiz: Antalya is the third biggest city in Turkey, but has only the fourth largest population of Turks living in it. How can that be?) and I’m trying to figure out how to find my pensiyone in the old city, and I get a mental spasm!!!!

I’m driving on a major street that has a tram line in the median. There is a tram-line near my “Oh, that’s where I am” spot (Hadrian’s Gate) in Antalya.

Good old Hadrian, for putting a gate right on the tram line so I could find my room. I’m sure he had help (“No, your emperorness, it’s to your left—uh, no, your exhaultedness, your other magnificent and unquenchable left”) but I don’t have that kind of staff support over here.

So I decided to follow the tram line into town and when I had to leave it and had to stop and ask a bunch of cabbies sitting around waiting for fares, I was only about 500 meters away from the gate—about where I thought I was– and I got right back to the tram line, slipped through the gate into the old city, and here I am.

Tah Dah!!!!!

So pretty cool beans for me.

By the way, in 30 hours here (so I’m clearly now an expert) my clear, steely, police-trained eyes have noticed that there aren’t any trams— motor scooters use the tram line right-of-way— there are tracks and stops and rights-of-way— but somehow they haven’t gotten around to installing the actual trams yet.

Quiz answer: Antalya only has the fourth largest number of Turks although it’s the third largest city in Turkey because the city with the third largest Turkish population in the world is Berlin.

Day 34, Friday, May 8

I’m in Antalya as of about noon today which has about a million people in it with pretty high-end fancy T-shirt, jewelry, watches, clothing, sun glasses and all that, but they also have a Friday Market with the streets of about 25-30 blocks full of tent awnings and umbrellas and all the vegetables, fruit, low-end clothing, gee-gaws, tools, gadgets, and all that you can imagine.

And then some: I saw one guy selling vacuum cleaners and parts out of the back of a truck—that was his store and he stood just in front of the tailgate.

Originally written for Two Minutes in Turkey

posts by Robert