Today I didn’t know where I wanted to go, so I headed to the bus stop to see where it’d take me. Instead of #93 or #94, I jumped on #43 since it also said otogar. It turned off into an empty lot, where three buses were parked – one with a sign for Phaselis. I jumped off and got on the bus for Phaselis, figuring I’d do the “walk” listed in my book. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize there were multiple stops in Çamyuva, and I got off at the first one and started walking… Phaselis was still a long ways away.

A delivery guy on a red scooter passed me twice on the highway and honked at me. Later, I turned off the highway and cut into a neighborhood where I ran into him again. He asked me (in Turkish) where I was going, so I showed him on the map. He finished delivering his kebaps, and told me to hop on (again in Turkish). I had never ridden a scooter before, and it was a very fast ride back to town. He took me to his restaurant so that I could catch the next bus to Phaselis. The owner of the restaurant said he was “a famous American…Sammy Davis Jr.” For some reason, I didn’t believe him.

Eventually I arrived in Phaselis, which is situated on a peninsula surrounded by three ancient harbors. Although there are quite a few ruins, the area works better for picnicking and swimming, than a historical area. I spent a few hours walking about through the pine trees and ruins, and then started back out for the highway. I hadn’t gone far when a grey hatchback honked at me and pulled over to pick me up.

It turned out to be a younger Turkish couple, Cohan and Elfi, and her sister, Sanem. They were extremely nice, and I could hardly believe it when they invited me to lunch with them and their extended family. We went to Ulupinar for a trout dinner (which the village is famous for). It was an interesting restaurant, with fountains, and tables built over the water containing pools of trout. The shade was nice and cool, with a quiet breeze. I shared a trout with Cohan’s father in law, and had some tea, pita bread, and a meat dish. They would not let me pay; hopefully I can repay their hospitality someday.

Cohan lived in NY for about eight years, and Elfi for one year. He worked for a company, and traveled all over the US (but never to Seattle). He liked San Diego and Miami the most. They have both since moved back to Antalya. Elfi has found a job locally (at a seed company), however Cohan is still working in Istanbul, and is looking for a job in logistics (he flies back to Antalya every week). Elfi’s sister, Sanem, practiced her English with me (she is learning from a Texan in Antalya) and I learned that she is also looking for a job. Elfi’s father was a history teacher, and her mother was a teacher as well.

After dinner, we had a pleasant drive back to Antalya. With a Jack Johnson CD in the deck and the coast rolling by…it felt very much like SoCal. Later we stopped by Elfi’s parents place to pick up some plants. I was greeted by a cat as I entered the clean house. Later Elfi said that her mom wanted to invite me for tea, but she thought I might be tired. We traded emails, and parted ways at the clock tower.

Originally written for Mouse and Marmot