Date: 21 September 2017
Location: The Oyster Residence, Olüdeniz, outside of Fetihiye, Turkey.
Olüdeniz (Turkish translation: Dead Sea) beach is one of the naturally most beautiful places on the world. This isn’t in dispute. Look it up. The chalky mountains, including Baba Dag (‘babada’, it’s fun to say), a famous paragliding spot, rise steeply up from the bay. The bay itself is every shade of electric blue. I described the colouring of Lake Como as unnatural, but it’s peanuts to this.
However, it is — Lonely Planet puts it with affectionate derision — a victim of its own success. I’m actually shocked. This could be Thailand. I heard a British couple say this morning, that they hated it when the waiters spoke Turkish. I overheard another complaining about the quality of the spaghetti bolognese they ordered. Why. Are. You. Ordering. Spag Bol. Why.
I don’t want to go home. I’d divided life up into pre-holiday (this is by far the longest holiday I’ve had in the last two years) and post-holiday. Pre-holiday was chaos, but perfectly manageable as it was finite. Post-holiday brings with it decisions to be made, winter to be faced, a serious diet to go on, the return to the yoga studio in earnest.
My anxiety has not completely faded. It would take a far longer trip and perhaps some stronger drugs to make this happen. However, I do feel like my mind is edging towards being more peaceful and I’m certainly happy. I don’t talk about gratitude much any more but I should so, as an exercise, I’ve sat down to think about what ive loved about these nine days on the Aegean coat. As I type that I realise it is, frankly, ridiculous as what the heck is there not to love and cherish about nine freaking days on the Aegean coast? Instead, here is my list of the things I’ve unexpectedly loved about these nine days on the Aegean coast.
First, practising Turkish and seeing faces light up. My Turkish is terrible. I basically only know nouns (mostly food and drink, surprise surprise) and pleasantries. I can introduce myself and ask how you are no problem. Asking where the bank is? No idea. However, I think because Turkish is hardly the most common of languages and, thanks to learning it by ear, my accent is good, I provoke the most rewarding looks of surprise in taxi drivers and market vendors. I love it. If they go so far as to ask me if I’m Turkish (to which I respond in pigeon Turkish that, no, and I only speak a very little Turkish) then I do a little dance of happiness.
Second, the food. Maybe that’s not so unexpected after all. Turkish breakfasts are the best. I gave an ayran addiction. And nothing, nothing, wakes you up like a Greek or Turkish coffee. Nothing legal anyhow.
Third, being with old friends. There is something so comforting about the familiarity of old jokes and the ease of people you adore. And, bear with me, the same irritations. When you know someone so well and love them so thoroughly there’s even something warming about being annoyed at them, because you’re annoyed in a way that you know, and you’ve diligenced and accepted as part and parcel of an overall good deal.
Fourth, being alone. I’m so much more relaxed alone. I’m such an introvert at my core that it hurts. Alone time is like being plugged into the wall to recharge. Before this trip I think my battery life was well below 10%. Certainly in the red bit. Staying in beautiful places like The Oyster Residences — see the gorgeous pictures — a Mediterranean villa snuggling a pool, shielded by olive trees from the chaos of Oludeniz, good food, cute baby kittens, charming staff, one step from the sand, is like being plugged into the wall to recharge.
Now, got to go buy knock off Nike trainers for my paragliding this afternoon.
(Ed note: it was awesome. I made him do flips like a cool kid. Then I threw up. Very glam.)