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Turkey things on a day from Marmaris to Koycegiz (64/13,524k)

(written by Dave)

First a quick update on dinner last night – we tried finding a recommend restaurant but somehow missed out.  We ended up at a semi-local joint where Nancy had a hamburger and I had some form of chili chicken.  Both were pretty good though you’d have to say that mine was curious looking at best.  I think they were attempting an “Asian” dish.  Yet again another reminder that eating local is always going to work out better.  As this is a tourist town, non-local features quite heavily.  We passed by one restaurant offering Chinese and India.  Later we passed the winner, a restaurant claiming to make Chinese, Indian, Mexican, Italian and English – one can only imagine how well each region is presented.

Since we are on a bit of “that’s odd” theme, we thought that today we might write about a couple other sort of odd things that we’ve seen here in Turkey.  First up, smoking on TV.  Lots of people smoke here – way too many in fact.  Having said that, they don’t seem to allow smoking or cigarettes to be shown on TV.  Much of their programming comes from old US shows and movies (sometimes dubbed in Turkish, sometimes not).  Since they are not allowed to show smoking, they either blur out the lit cigarettes or, in what almost seems like trying to highlight the smoking, they draw a little cartoon cloud over the cigarette.  The latter is quite funny.  In scenes with smoking, these little cartoon clouds float around with the cigarette, naturally covering the actors face when a puff is taken.  Kids probably now actually like watching shows they would otherwise not watch – follow the bouncing cartoon can be quite funny.

Next up, honking.  Here in Turkey, cars and trucks passing often honk only when they are right next to you.  We are pretty sure that this a warning honk, not a hello honk.  Because of our mirrors, we already know the car is there.  We don’t get it the honk either way.  Warning a cyclist when you are right next to them seems way too late to do any good.  The vast majority of honks come this way so there must have been a public service campaign to this effect at some point.

Last Turkey thing today is, know the price before you buy.  The other day we stumbled on a pastry shop with a nice case of yummy cookies.  We did not ask the price and picked out 8 tasty looking treats to eat later.  The woman handed us the bag and said 8 lira.  This is way too much and I scoffed.  She offered a .50 lira discount (nothing).  Since we already had the cookies in hand we couldn’t put them back (without being really embarrassed) and we paid up.  We knew we’d been taken.  The next day we found another pastry shop with similar looking cookie case.  This time we asked how much one cookie was or if they weighed them to get price, before making any selections.  Forewarned, we bought 10 cookies for 3.5 lira.  We are not talking about a lot of money here but I hate paying “dumb tourist” tax.  The safe thing to do is to get the price agreed before taking/eating whatever it is you want to buy.  And for that matter, you can almost always get a 10% discount – if you ask nicely.  Being raised in a non-market culture makes this hard for us sometimes.

Oh yeah, about todays ride…  We had rain overnight and grey skies all day.  We even had a few drops of rain while riding today.  We had a big climb out of Marmaris but the road was new with a wide shoulder and best of all, new smooth black pavement.  This nice road went on for 30k.  Turkish roads have almost all been chip-seal (oil and rock).  This makes for a rough and noisy ride.  Having 30k of smooth asphalt today was a real treat.  The last 30k we were back on chip-seal but it was almost flat.  Turkey roads have had almost no flat – so far it’s up or down.  So in spite of the surface, we really enjoyed just cruising along in mostly the same gear for a change.  We met some folks at lunch who said that Turkey is 70% mountains.  I’m not sure how you would measure this but as touring cyclists, we know they are onto something.

There is quite a bit of citrus grown in Turkey and today we had lots of roadside stands.  The fruit is not all the fancy, shiny kind and but it is fresh and the variety is good.  We stopped for  a fresh squeezed orange/blood orange juice once we were pretty sure we crested the last major climb.  The stall owner hand squeezed it right in front of us and even served it in chilled glasses – wow, what a treat.

We stopped for lunch in Koycegiz before heading out to find our hotel.  We had one picked out (Flora Hotel).  It is a little out of town (1k) but it is right on Lake Koycegiz.  The hotel only opened yesterday for the year so there is lots of fresh paint and the owner seems happy to have us staying.  They put up a great spread of cakes and fresh citrus for our afternoon tea.  I think that we could get used to this complementary afternoon tea – guess it’s another advantage of being in early season.  We may eat dinner here as well.  They’ve offered to cook up some fresh fish so we may give it a go.

Tomorrow we head for Fethiye, about 65k away.  Nancy is trying to find a place to stay right now – there are quite a few there, which sometimes makes it harder as you don’t know which one to choose.  So, it may mean wandering around a bit to check out a few when we get there.

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2 responses to “Turkey things on a day from Marmaris to Koycegiz (64/13,524k)

  1. Yea, you are getting far enough east that your posts come early in the morning here! I like getting up and reading them in the morning before school. I know it won’t last when you head west again, but for now it is quite nice to catch up with my cuppa morning tea. I’m also on spring break for a couple more days.

    • Short days (riding) mean early posts. We are actually in the same time zone here that we were in Greece. We had a shorter day yesterday and are trying now to get out earlier. Today’s posting time reflects how hard it was riding – lots of up and down, and bad roads.

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