Turkey — Day Sixteen — Fethiye

Tuesday October 23, Market Day in Fethiye

We woke up to find the town brilliant in the sunshine, washed clean by wind and rain all night. Over the bay, the clouds looked like there might be storms again later, but we headed up to breakfast feeling very optimistic about the day ahead. Steve wanted to take pictures of the market; I wanted to shop for things! We had decided to not buy much for the first part of the trip in order to travel light, but the shopping portion of the trip was now upon us! Notice the exclamation points? Yes! Very happy about the shopping!

First, though, we were happy about breakfast — for the first time in the trip, we had a breakfast menu, with options and everything. Not that there is anything wrong with the ubiquitous Turkish breakfast (UTB), but it was nice to see some variety. Steve had a bowl of muselix and yogurt and I had something eggy and delicious. Some young British girls were also looking forward to a day of shopping 🙂

Fortified, we walked down the hill, past the carpet seller where we saw that the carpet we had admired last night was soaked, draped over the back of a car. Note to self: not buying carpet from that guy. The bay was beautiful with gullet yachts sparkling in the sea. The cats looked slinky and dogs lay in the sun, catching some rays after the rain on the previous night.

We stopped by a travel agent next to the tourism office where we inquired about our options for seeing Tlos and Saklikent Gorg. We could rent a car for 60L per day plus otogaz at 2.50L per litre or take a tour for 35L each that would include our entry fees and lunch. Hmmm… we decided to decide later. No problem!

We headed across the pier, dodging kitties and dogs, and passed a promising looking restaurant. Walking along the pier some more, we were struck by how… British everything was. We saw menus-boards where the prices were in pounds and advertised ‘full British breakfasts’ of fried eggs, bread and… bacon. Yes, bacon. Even though we had enjoyed a respite from UTB, we couldn’t imagine going to a place with food as good as Turkey and eating what you ate at home! Each to their own, I suppose.

We headed off on the main drag, where the grocery store was, following as best we could the map in the L.P.

After few blocks, we realized we were in a throng of people coming from all streets and converging on a canal that went down and met the pier, or, going away from the water, towards the market! I was practically skipping in excitement at this point and Steve was laughing at me the entire way. As we approached the market, I was a little surprised to see stalls filled with clothes and shoes and cheap, glittery handbags. The entire place was full of Lacoste and Puma knockoffs, some of which were more knocked-off than others. The air was filled with the calls of hawkers and the accents of Coronation Street — the place was full of British tourists, and the knockoffs were obviously there for their benefit. I was sorely disappointed, much as I do love my Puma sneakers. Steve was disappointed too, until we wandered a little further up the market and found the vegetable seller area, which was amazing. It was like Granville Island on speed to a magnitude of 100, in size and scope, variety and sheer intense colour of the produce. Amazing! I bought a few uzum (grapes), some erik (plums) and an elma (apple) and would have bought a kilo or ten of other produce had Steve not reminded me that we just had breakfast.

Oh, if I only had more words to describe that part of the market! Piles of red peppers glossy and bright, the intensely purple stacks of eggplants (Steve’s favourite), the pasta maker stretching out his dough, the skins (some with hair) of fresh cheese, the shouts of the tea-sellers and the fish flashing in the sun on heaps of white ice. If I could have fallen harder for Turkey, I would have at this moment.

After crossing over the bridge again, we found a food seller under an awning and ordered some donair in ekmek and a few Cappy visne suyu. The man’s eyes nearly fell off his face when he saw us ordering in Turkish. I’m guessing that doesn’t happen very often in a tourist trap like Fethiye. The prices were touristy too, much to our sadness. I think that’s the thing about Fethiye: it is stunningly beautiful and the veggie market was darn cool, but overall it made us sad. The Turkish culture was almost entirely subsumed by the culture of the tourists that the town depends on, and it was sad. For cultural travelers like ourselves, it felt like a waste of time.

That said, it was a lovely warm day in autumn, and we wandered away from the market mid-afternoon reasonably full and reasonably content and reasonably happy with a pair of tan-coloured fake Pumas purchased for 25L. We headed back to the travel agency and decided to take the tour after all. Given my level of sickness, the thought of driving around felt a bit exhausting, plus we’d had good experiences with the tours in Cappadocia. We also paid for bus tickets to Selcuk leaving on Thursday afternoon.

The rest of the afternoon we hung around the pension, where Steve did some laundry and I stole internet signals from the vantage point of the rooftop terrace, ate my uzum and drank cough syrup like water. Following the advice of ‘Travels with Bill & Nancy’, we stopped at the Park Cafe (which didn’t seem to be called that from one end of the restaurant; you had to turn around and look at it from the other direction — weird). To find the Park Cafe, stop at the restaurant that is right across the road from the slightly-excavated Roman theatre that just is THERE in the middle of town, but go to the pier right there, and that cafe is the Park Cafe. It has a fireplace inside, but the night was nice enough to warrant sitting under the awnings right on the pier-side where we enjoyed some really excellent mezes and sis, tavuk for Steve and kuzu for me. Yum!

At the end of the meal, we convinced the waiter to throw the leftovers to the dogs who had waited patiently alongside the table. The little black poodle-y dog basically ran the place, and all the other dogs deferred to it.

Walking back up to the pension (man, those hills were good for my calves!), we felt the air become closer and we knew there were more storms on the way. We were hopeful they’d clear out before our tour the next day since that seemed to be the weather pattern. We fell asleep under blowing muslin curtains, with the crash of thunder drowning out the muzzein.

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