25.02.2013 - 25.02.2013 18 °C
Our plan today was to make a day trip an hour northeast of Kas to check out some of the ancient ruins close to tourist town Kalkan. The weather although breezy was well suited to such an outing. This is the first time in a little over two weeks that we have done any day-tripping or true rubbernecking. The break has done a lot to re-ignite our enthusiasm for seeing new things as was evidenced by our very upbeat mood when we all piled into the car with high hopes for the day. We could also tell we were in real holiday mode by how laxidasical we were about getting on the road since we left more than an hour later than we had originally planned-a very unKZFamily thing to do and a postive development in the eyes of Hannah and Abby.
The highway to Kalkan hugs a very rugged coastline. The road, although fairly wide and well-engineered, has quite a rough road surface. A comfortable speed along this highway is usually no more than 70 kilometers an hour. This in many ways is a blessing since it allows you plenty of time to soak in the scenery. The light road traffic consists mostly of small delivery trucks, small buses and large passenger vans that connect the small communities.
Just before we got to Kalkan we got our first surprise of the day as we were flagged down at a temporary police checkpoint. Upon later research I found this a fairly common occurrence. As a newbie to driving in Turkey it was not on my top ten list of things to see on a daytrip. The police had set some pylons on the road and were flagging down cars at random. You need to produce your license and car registration and insurance. In our situation we were among six cars pulled over so I could at least get the gist of what to do by observing what the other drivers were doing. You hand the police your documentation and they walk off with it; which is a little off-putting when you don't know where they are going. After a minute or so I saw all the other drivers start to get out of their cars and form a cue by a police car tucked away in a parking lot a little bit away from the road block. The police use their trunk as a desk and you just wait patiently to see if you get yours documents back with or without a ticket. It appeared they were just looking for expired documents so it all went pretty quick and they seemed to be quite uninterested in nervous tourists. I was quite pleased that my first experience of being pulled over in Turkey was so uneventful and that the police officers were fairly friendly and polite. I guess I must have some sort of guilty conscience. Muriel says I would make a terrible criminal as I seem to break out in a sweat whenever I need to talk to a police officer or border guard. I am not sure what Muriel is saying about herself but I will leave it for her to account for her own activities.
We rolled into the seaside town of Kalkan a few minutes later. The town is bigger and a bit newer than Kas with very wide streets so it was easy to find parking. Unfortunately, within minutes of getting out of the car Hannah became extremely ill. We had just walked a hundred meters down the street and nausea suddenly overtook her. Until this moment, I did not think it possible for someone to handle getting sick in public with grace and poise. Hannah spied a public garbage can and had her very difficult moment and then just turned on her heels and headed back to our car leaving the local population none the wiser of her plight. Of all of us Hannah has the cast iron stomach so we were taken by complete surprise and were in no doubt that she was a pretty sick puppy. We found a bench in a small park where Hannah could rest and recover. We were going to head back to Kas as soon as Hannah gave us the green light.
Abby and I scouted around a bit while we waited. In our off season travels we have found most tourist towns to be quite sleepy but Kalkan is far past napping this time of year it is in a deep coma. We found the tourist section of Kalkan to be a complete ghost town with all the shops and restaurants closed and things in pretty rough shape after all the winter storms. The only life forms we encountered were large stray dogs, much to Abby’s discomfort. Most of the dogs we encountered felt compelled to follow us around. If we sat down they would find a place to lie down right next to us and would get up and follow as soon as we moved. After 15 minutes we felt we were part of some animal parade. Abby couldn’t wait to get back on the road.
After this short exploration of Kalkan we got into the car and made a beeline back home so Hannah could rest. We dropped Hannah off and went into town to do a little grocery shopping and got a quick bite to eat at our favourite restaurant so as not to have Hannah encounter the smell of food at home. We now have learned to just walk by the kitchen area and look at the food in the pots and order accordingly, rather than just look at the menu. As a result, I had a delicious beef and potato soup and Muriel and Abby had a chicken stew which was also very tasty along with rice and a large serving of flat bread. With a lunch such as this we pretty much can skip supper. With our lunch we tried a new beverage. We ordered Aryan, which is the brand of a popular yoghurt drink. It is plain unsweetened yoghurt, mixed with water with some salt added. I think we don`t need to say much more on that subject.
On our return we found Hannah resting comfortably but still pretty much out for the count. Apparently we are not quite ready for life back on the road. Hannah is still pretty positive that she will be ready to try again in a day or two. Perhaps we will be able to avoid the police and stray dogs and find some more lively sights to visit on our next foray.