From Cirali,Turkey, to sizzling Hastings
Don't think I've ever experienced this. Get on the plane in Antalya, temperature in the high 30s, get out at Gatwick at 5.40pm - felt almost as hot. I know it isn't in the high 30s here, but the heat has a clammier, claggier quality that is just as enervating. As ever, we had a lovely time in Turkey. Cirali feels like our second home.
|Cirali - Early morning|
|Cirali - late evening. Mount Olympos in background|
As before, friend Shaun was with us for some of the time. This year we didn't even do our usual trips to ancient Phaselis or low-life Russian-glitz shopping destination Tekirova, but we did two boat trips, one with Shaun, and a new, longer trip for just Battleaxe and Philosopher.
Last year when we came to Turkey, the country had just gone through a Referendum giving Erdogan more powers, and this year, on 24 June, they had a general election. People had asked us if we were worried, going there at election time, but of course not, Cirali is scarcely near the middle of Ankara... Anyway, the election was for the make up of Parliament, and for President. If he won, Erdogan was set on making his power yet more absolute. The liberal/socially progressive parties did have strong hopes and strong candidates, but as so often across the world, the conservative populist vote won out. Only narrowly - by 52% to 48%. Sound familiar? Why does this keep happening.....??? Cirali is clearly a liberal place, along with the rest of the more affluent coastal strip and the big cities. We watched the results come in on a big screen in a restaurant in the village, and then on the telly back at Yavuz. The Turks watched in silence - none of the groaning/cheering that you'd get from a British audience. Is it because already they fear public displays of anti-Erdogan feeling are risky? Or were they just resigned? Or what? A few people did express their views to us, but by and large we felt it was not our place to question them.
Nothing much seemed to have changed in Cirali over the year. The economy is on a downward slope, so things were noticeably cheaper.
We did notice that although the vast majority of women (including me) are still cavorting about in bikinis, a few more young women are choosing Islamic dress. It must be a choice, because in family groups, mum would often still be in a bikini. These young women clearly make a great deal of effort to find high fashion swimwear. No baggy burkinis, rather very tailored, fitted and colourful stretchy type garments. Think a wet suit - shocking pink or bright blue - with a hip-length tunic on top, worn with a big sun hat when not in the sea. Sometimes the leggings were just to the knee, and the top had short sleeves. I quite envied them. No worrying about skin cancer, layering on the Factor 50, sun-faded hair colour, escaped wobbling bulges etc.... Here is an example from the internet - clearly I couldn't photgraph real people.
|Fashionable modest bathing attire....|
Our days in Cirali follow a peaceful pattern - leisurely breakfast at 9 ish, down to the beach mid-morning. Stay there until 2, leisurely lunch, then retire to the orange grove surrounding our huts, to read or snooze until about 6, shower etc, walk up to the village about 7, cruise the shops, see the sights, have a walk, maybe campari soda in a bar, eat around 8, return, play scrabble or watch the footie in the Yavuz bar area with a final drink.... bed about 10.30-11.... such a hard life.
|View of the beach from our restaurant area|
|View from my hammock|
|Philosopher outside our little house|
|Distant beach across the waves.....|
|Big old tortoise|
|Two fine fellows - but what a racket they make....|
|Pea hens and families|
Yavuz already booked for next year. Inshallah......