Blue lagoon

Posted by Dan
Oludeniz, Mediterranean coast, Turkey

waking up to the blue lagoon

Beginning with a swim, we slipped from our sleeping bags and into the cold water of the blue lagoon. Fresh and invigorating but icy cold, I found it difficult to get straight in. 5 months of hot showers in Istanbul has softened me, and I found it hard to keep my breath.

After we had breakfast, Sinan brought over tea and sat with us for a while. His English is as good as my Turkish, so with Krista’s better Turkish, we spoke in Turkish – asking him about the road ahead. We spotted a small track that hugs the coast and the side of the mountain, that we wanted to follow. Unfortunately, he had no idea if it was rideable, or where it ended. We also asked him what he does in his 5 month holiday, when the tourists have gone home. His friend the day before called him Robinson Crusoe, as he lives in the old stone cottage that is joined to the facilities and outdoor kitchens that serve the tourists who use this place as a private beach in the summer. He told us that he spends his time fishing in the lagoon, and sometimes he is called to do odd jobs and a bit of driving. We watched him fishing, simply spinning a baited line around his head and then letting the reel of line off spool 15 metres out. Somehow though, we wondered whether he maybe felt trapped and bored, with no-one around and just doing the same things day in and day out. He asked us if we were happy with our lives.

Today I met one of the characters from Krista’s past life – when she cycled from Australia to Egypt. His name is Mustafa, and they first met in India in ’97 and then again in Pakistan, where they tried to get visas for Afghanistan together. Then she stayed with him when she reached Turkey, and with only $60 left in her pocket, he scored her a job on a yacht for the summer season. Now, 10 years has passed (Mustafa thought that only 3 or 4 years had gone by!).

He took us to a remote village, where he has built a house with olive and lemon tree gardens. It looks down to the sea and is surrounded by high cliffs where goats graze and a stream carves through that rocks supplying the area with fresh spring water.

Mustafa is the most experienced and qualified yachtsman in Turkey. At the moment he maintains and skippers a $US 20 million motor yacht, employed by a rich Italian who seems to have little interest in sailing. He is paid to have the boat ready to go, but the owner never comes! So Mustafa is pleased to spend the time building his place.

We walked back to the car at sunset, the first time I’ve seen the sunset over the horizon in 5 months. Friendly villagers, using polite and religious expressions, greeted us and gave us tea, while Mustafa met with a friend to discuss building works.

Back in deserted Oludeniz, we were taken for dinner in the oldest pide place here. Krista and Mustafa remembered old times. It feels very different here – genuine and hospitable.

riding out

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