Friday, July 9, 2010

Turkey 2010 - Part III - Goats and Mud

Let’s…do absolutely nothing. And for the day we just hung out in, on and about the villa. Some time in the pool. Some time on the deck. Some time lounging in the sun.


OK. What to do for dinner. Once again it was decided to just drive up the mountain and see what feels right. We are about to pass a “modest” restaurant, but a very attractively smiled girl is outside and she catches my eye. (OK, it was a cheap ploy to get us in, but it worked.) We walk into this small restaurant and see about seven tables with a nice view of the mountain and valley.

We are welcomed to the Place of Huseyin. We sit down and then…smell that smell. You know the one: Goats! And then we hear the chickens. We look down and there is the family farm. (We kind of overlooked the spring-fed stream running under our deck restaurant which, of course, offers trout…but at the bargain price of 6 Turkish Lira (or about $4.00). What are we in for?

The pretty young Turkish girl is replaced by an older, but friendly, woman who turns out to be her mother. We start out by ordering Turkish salad…and then we engage in the seemingly nightly ritual of “OK. We’ll just order cigara borek for the table…and one of these and one of those.” This, of course, is followed by ordering trout. (We must determine who makes the best trout in the Village if Islamlar, Turkey!) a bottle of Angora white wine and a small bottle of raki (Why buy by the glass when you know you will eventually drink a small bottle’s worth, right? We just may be going “native”).

My starter was fantastic: Fried eggplant (aubergine) with spicy Turkish peppers and tomatoes (Patican Kizartmasi). The other meze were also good. And then we meet the man, Huseyin. He is, as you would suspect, the father, and a bit of a showman working the “crowd”.

My wife goes “outside”…err, out front…for a cigarette and comes back holding a four month old baby. (Never a good sign for a 52 year old man.). Fortunately she gives the baby back and we enjoy our main courses. The trout was one of the better ones we have enjoyed and the kofte (Turkish meatballs shaped like mini-burgers) were also quite good.

We see sitting over in the little after dinner drinks sitting area (ubiquitous in these restaurants) a cute, shy, 8 year old girl. After a bit of coaxing, the girl comes over and my wife reached into her bag of tricks (yes, she really has one!) and gives her one of those little cans where the snake jumps out. Of course the girl runs into the kitchen to show her aunt…and the party begins.

To make a long story short…shorter…we wind up sitting in the sitting area with my friend holding the 4 month old, I am showing the girl that caught my eye, the 8 year old and her 9 year old brother (who is now blowing through fake lips with a noisemaker built in) my phone and the internet (I am not sure dad was too happy about that) and playing Teeter, and the girls are up dancing to Turkish music with the mother and aunt. Huseyin is a bit more reserved and, of course, is tending to the last remaining table.

Remember this evening then next time you smell goat and go to turnaround and leave a restaurant. You never, ever, know.

We awoke early. OK, not that early and headed out to Kalkan for our day trip on the gullet (wooden Turkish boat) that Harry has arranged…with a special discount, of course. We drive through the town and make a right to go down a very steep road to the harbor. (We later find out it is aptly named, “Cardiac Hill”.) Upon arrival we are told there are no towels so I am off to the market to purchase four genuine fake LaCoste, gold trimmed, towels. (Thankfully it was Thursday and the market was open.)

Now I study the gullet and it is the sorriest looking thing I have ever seen. And, to make things even better, as we pull away from the dock, the captain rips the electric line off as he forgot to disconnect it. (We later see him fixing the power to the anchor winch…which consisted of using a kitchen knife to better expose the wires he holds together to engage the motor. This ain’t yachting!!!!)

We actually have a bit of an early start, so we are ahead of the gullet armada. First stop was Mouse Island (because it looks like one, not because of any infestations.) It is small and stark, but has a very pretty cove…except for the garbage unfortunately left by others. We have a quick swim and then head over to Mud Bath Beach. (Getting the feeling the names are for English speaking tourists?)

We swim to a pretty beach with the captain and he has a large bowl with him. He leaves for a moment and returns with the bowl filled with a gray mud and without asking starts rubbing it all over the women declaring in broken English that it will make them look 10 years younger by tomorrow. (Now, if the husbands had done that you know the response would have been, “Get that *(^ mud off of me!” followed by “Why, do you think I look old?”, but I digress.) He does the same to the men (polishing my friend’s head with the stuff, just to top it off.) He swims back to the boat and tells us to wait until it dries. Which we do…almost.

After washing off the mud we returned to the gullet and, after a beer, were presented with a lovely lunch of fresh fish, cacik (yogurt, cucumber, garlic and mint), salad, pasta, beans, carrots, a spicy tomato dish and bread. Time for a nap.

Then off to Aquarium Bay and the “feeding o’ the fish” and a third swim. At this spot we can see some of the new villas being built on the water and the tourist areas close by. And then horror: A five minute announcement in Turkish of the activities going on in Kalkan. Gone is any doubt, not that we had any, that our villa in the mountainous village of Islamlar is exactly where we want to be.

We motor back to port and the captain overcharges us for the drinks, but I figure I will let Harry and his special deal figure it out later. A quick stop at the butcher for some lamb chops, the green grocer for the veggies and the supermarket for a little of this and that, and we are back in Paradise for the evening.

Our evening entertainment: Watching Midnight Express. Yes, I will pay that speeding ticket.