Sunday, April 23, 2017

A Lycian Way mini-adventure: Rest day in Kemer

Happy toes in the sand
You know you're in an Antalya beach resort when... your friend leaves her wallet on the minibus and you're alerted to this fact by your Turkish fellow passengers calling out not "Abla" or "Hanımefendi" or "Bayan" or even "Hey lady" but "Devushka! Devushka!"

In case it wasn't already clear from the Cyrillic signs on shops selling fur coats and skimpy bathing suits, that was a pretty good hint that the holiday town of Kemer is known as a destination for Russian tourists. And though I try not to be overly judgmental, it was hard to escape the feeling that they'd given all foreign visitors a pretty bad rap.

Cheers to new adventures
There were exceptions, of course -- the friendly, chatty hunter who had just come down from Tahtalı Dağı and showed us photos of the cave where he'd set up the blackened çaydanlık that he'd hauled up to the summit in his backpack comes to mind.

But on the whole, we received the surliest welcome in Kemer that I've ever experienced in famously hospitable Turkey -- from brusquely impatient waiters to the hotel staff pounding on our door and following us down the hallway to repeatedly demand payment up front for our room. One woman I sat next to on a bus softened noticably when she found out I was American, and not Russian. Finally! A country with an even worse international reputation than my own.

Last sunrise in Lycia (for now)
Though Kemer's beautiful long stretch of both sand and pebble beaches was whipped by wind in the afternoon and marred by cat-calling magandas in the early evening, our little band of hikers was happy to trade our boots for sandals, sit in the sun, and finally make a proper toast to adventures just had, and those yet to come.


Mark and Jolee said...

Jen, Yes, we noticed the influx of Russians in the St. Nicholas church in Myra yesterday. But we didn't get all that close to them because they weren't going to the ancient sites. I LOVE the May Day greeting. Awesome. Take care and we'll talk soon. xoxo J and M

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