22 July 2009

Damn near too hot on Turkish coast

I exchanged some text messages with my sweetheart Oksana yesterday and she said it could be another week before her passport gets straightened out. I can’t believe this is happening. But simply hearing from her, communicating with her, was an improvement over the near total lack of contact we have experienced since she returned to her native Turkmenistan.

In my first departure from my hotel in Hisarönü after six days of feeling sorry for myself, I ventured by minibus to Ölüdeniz, a spectacularly located beachfront town on the Turkish Mediterranean, whose economy appears to survive solely by catering to tourists, mostly Westerners, selling them comfortable accommodations, recreation experiences (most noticeably paragliding from the mountains above, but also waterskiing, kayaking and others forms of boating, and island-hopping tours), meals and drinks, and tons of Turkish souvenirs and doo-dads. A kilometer or so from town is Blue Lagoon park, which is idyllic, very crowded and fairly popular among Turks, too, who presumably were from some of the nearby cities. The beach was largely gravel, with no plain ol’ sand in sight anywhere, and much too hot to walk on without footwear. As a matter of fact, the entire town was almost too hot to do much of anything.

Everyday here I have seen more exposed doughy white skin (usually English in origin), sunburns, and sunburns-in-the-making that I have since I visited Ireland almost 20 years ago. Being painfully cognizant of the discomfort they will soon feel, I was tempted to warn my fellow blancos to cover themselves, but thought better of it, mostly out of fear of being seen as some kind of paternalistic killjoy.

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