Fact #1: Everyone in Turkey speaks English better than I speak Turkish.

Fact #3: Most of Turkey’s electricity is used at 5 AM to supply power to prayer tower loudspeakers.

Awake at 5, up at 7. Wanted to find an Internet cafe to send yesterday’s letter. Found one about a kilometer from the hotel and spent an hour sending a prepared letter – good thing I can compose in my hotel or I would be spending most of my time at Internet cafes. I am leaving for Selcuk this morning (Ephesus). It is about 2 hours to the south in the direction of Antalya. Hope to have an uneventful drive, but we will see.

It is now 4:45 AM on the 9th. I did drive to Selcuk and the drive was relatively uneventful until reaching Izmir (nothing really bad happened Betty).

Damn, there goes the “call to prayer” – either I was wrong about the 5 AM thing or Selcuk is on a slighting different schedule than Istanbul.

Anyway, back to the trip – Izmir is a large, modern, Turkish city (big enough to have an airport). I need to amend my theory on driving directions: You can use the “dead reckoning method of destination location but be aware that many cities are used at random as your compass heading.” Selcuk is in the direction as Antalya, but depending on the whims of the “Sign Composition and Placement Committee in Izmir,” you may also follow the routes to Aydin, Ankara, Konya, or Denizli. Now, mind you, none of these cities are anywhere close to Selcuk, nor do they necessarily lie in the same direction, but since the destination of Selcuk is never used on a road sign you must make due with what you have. Well, I got a very good tour of Izmir and had numerous opportunities to practice my Turkish driving skills:

Fact #4: Beware of “The Crazy Suleyman Maneuver.” This is a term I coined after “The Crazy Ivan Maneuver” from the movie Hunt for Red October. “The Crazy Suleyman” occurs when the driver next to you in multi-lane traffic, makes an abrupt high-speed lane change across you bow. (Example: driver in far left lane moving at sixty kilometers per hour notices his exit is on the right in about ten feet. He immediately accelerates (horn may be employed at this point), cuts across three to four lanes of traffic, and assumes no one will hit him. “The Crazy Suleyman Maneuver”, when executed properly, can be beautiful and exhilarating for all parties involved.

After passing through Izmir, finding my way to Selcuk was relatively uneventful.

Note: Employ the “follow the signs to Aydin” system once you have reached the southern outskirts of Izmir. Trip took about three hours:

Fact #5: Travel time estimations in Turkey are subject to numerous factors: horses and tractors on roads, minor accidents, and getting lost by following the signs to Konya when any damn fool knows that on the southern outskirts of Izmir you need to switch headings to Aydin.

I arrived in Selcuk around noon and decided to go immediately to Ephesus. I had scheduled shooting Ephesus the next day, but the weather was great and the day was young. Ephesus was more wonderful than I could have possibly expected: pristine excavations, monumental monuments, and the most imposing theatre yet. The “Great Theatre” at Ephesus is Great. The smaller second theatre at the site, “Odeum (Bouleuterion), is only considered small because, well – the “Great Theatre” is greater. I shot well over five-hundred pictures of the two theatres and was finished at closing time, around 5. Not many people to be found at Ephesus. I needed bodies for scale in my photographs, but trying to round up a German tour was almost impossible. Met a couple from Korea and we took pictures of each other.

Bought a couple of books and headed for the hotel – did not know where it was, but headed there anyway:

Fact # 6: Outside appearances of buildings in Turkey are very misleading. The ANZ Guesthouse in Selcuk is only slightly distinguished by its mustard yellow, white, and pink stucco exterior and single entrance gate. (I drove past it several times while looking for something that would remind me of a hotel). The inside of the ANZ is quite different: it is a labyrinth of exotically decorated rooms and levels, a courtyard garden and a roof terrace restaurant, bar, Internet cafe, and movie viewing lounge. The owners are Turkish/Australians. You are immediately called “mate,” taken to the rooftop bar and offered a beer, asked about blokes you met on your “walkabout.” The rooftop bar is roughly modeled after a restaurant from the “Jungle Cruise” ride at Disneyland, but with a Turkish flair – carpets and pillow accents.

I had a drink, got to know Ken and Dave, an Australian and a guy form Ireland. Checked into my room (decided to upgrade to a slightly larger room due to this being Betty and my anniversary and I needed a desk for my computer – cost me $25 per night instead of $15 but this room has a monster Jacuzzi). Had dinner in the “Jungle Cruise restaurant – $4 – went to my room and collapsed at around 10.

Well it is now 6 AM – so I will go to the Internet cafe extension to the Jungle Cruise bar and try to find a computer connection.

By the way – I know why both Paul and Mary (not from the singing group) lived here: reminds me a lot of southern California – same climate, palm trees, mountains, ocean, but with minarets and a 4:50 AM wake-up call.

*For the full story of Thomas’ travels visit Ancient Theater Archive.

posts by Thomas Hines