I hear yahooing above me as I climb the steep slope to the hotel. I see a group of men on scooters animated about something and wait until they ride away… not the sort of situation I want to enter. I continue up the hill until I get to the bend and find myself facing a boar, no wonder the men were so excited. I’ve heard stories of aggression and attacks so I stand still, watching, nowhere to go from here. Exposed. Waiting for it to decide if I am a threat, its tusks look ominous this close. It turns and runs up the hill to the forest, hooves exploding on the stone road. I run to the car that had been on the other side of the boar, something to put between us, or to scramble on if need be, adrenaline pumping and heart pounding. I hear more hooves on the road, panic that it has returned, but no, it’s another boar following the first, and another and another and another. Five stampede up the road and out of sight, leaving me shaking. Pleased I had made the plunge from road to car when I did, wishing I had been there five minutes later and missed the whole ordeal. I didn’t go through eight months of treatment to be gored by a boar.
Fethiye memories come back to me in flashes. Popeye’s fish sandwich boat bobbing in the harbour, the blue bicycle lane on the foreshore that I ran along every day, the “world’s best” baklava shop, red flashing lights advertising wares. It’s a city squeezed between the harbour and the mountain, yet somehow I have no memory of the mountain.
It was scorching when I first visited eight years ago spending wild summer days practicing being a silly Australian backpacker, and six months later in the cool winter when I stayed for three weeks, regrouping after eight months of backpacking.
I look back on the woman I was and think her so innocent. I hope I can look back on me eight years from now and think the same.
It was a brief interlude in Fethiye before returning to Luxembourg, I spent it retracing steps. A glorious day in the divine Oludeniz. I remember the mountains there, I watched the paragliders soaring from them as I floated in the dazzling sea, where the painful stone beach falls away to nothing after three steps. The water so clear that you can see through the depths and hear the stones chiming as the waves tumble them.
I gazed at the sun on the water and made my tribute. One of our most well known and gregarious mastectomy sisters had just died unexpectedly, seemingly unrelated to cancer but way too young, not much older than me. She was brash and bold, sexy and sassy, pithy, irreverent, empowering and generous. Her death had left our community reeling. Tributes were flying all over the place but all I could think about was when I had finished treatment and she posted a picture of her sexy ass on a post of mine, then the comments filled up with pictures of sexy butts, and instead of being overwhelmed with what had happened to me, I was overwhelmed with pictures of butts. So I took a photo of my butt, on a crowded beach, laughing my ass off, because life is too bloody precarious not to.
I explored the ruins, the ancient tombs, wandered along the foreshore, and of course, final gift shopping.
“100 grams each of these three spices please.” Mum will love me.
“Okay?” She holds up a bag with a generous pour of spices in it.
“Is it 100 grams?”
“It’s okay, I’ll give you a discount.”
“Black apricots, please.”
They get shovelled into a bag. Vacuum sealed as were the spices.
I point at several blocks of Turkish Delight. She adds more to fill the box. Seals it. Takes everything to the scales.
“So, spices, 750 grams.”
“I only wanted 300.”
“No problem, we make a deal, 30 lira for 100 grams, for you 20 lira. Total 90 lira.” I am so confused, I nod.
“Black apricots, 600 grams, 120 lira, 60 lira for you, okay?”
“Well, we’ll see if I have enough money.”
“How much do you have?”
“Tell me how much it is first.”
“Turkish delight,” she bangs the box on the scales, “1.5 kilograms.”
I start laughing, “Of course it is.”
“90 lira for 100 grams, for you 60, I’ll give it to you for 250. Okay?”
I’ve lost track of the money but I know about the weight. “I really can’t carry all of that, my luggage is full.”
“Total 350 lira for you.”
“I only have 250.”
“But I can’t fit thee kilograms in my bag.”
“It’s okay, I give you free halva.” She adds it to the bag and passes it to me.
I forgot the joys of shopping in Turkey.
I walk out of the shop with nothing left in my wallet, an aching shoulder and panic about my luggage allowance. I spent the next two hours repacking my bag.
Distance swum since last post: does bobbing in the sea count?
Distance swum to date: 34.3km
Distance to go: 165.7km