Tuesday, 1 January 2013

New Year's Day in Kusadasi

Note from editor (me): there should be a cedilla on the first 's' of Kusadasi. The name is pronounced: Kooshahdassuh. It means: "Bird Island".

1 January 2013

So we awoke in the grey dawn, after dreams filled with fireworks and thump-thump of 'Western' music (really muzack, I suppose). No birds sing. The boat bobs gently in the marina of Kusadasi. No noise of traffic. Today is a holyday.
In the afternoon David and I go for a walk -- planning to climb the hill up to the statue that surmounts it, to find out who exactly this is... We amble first along the seafront, many families out strolling along, munching candyfloss, a relaxed atmosphere. We admire the Christmas tree beside the memorial to a citizen of Kusadasi who laboured for peace between Turks and Greeks (an unhappy story for many centuries...) At present the doves appear to have won...

We had made the same walk last night, through milling crowds, past the thumping music, and up into the old city, where bouncers guarded the many night clubs, into whose murky depths we could sometimes catch a glimpse... Here we spied the westernized young Turks, (dyed) blonde-headed and mini-skirted, their escorts coolly lounging in black jeans, gelled hair and puffing slim cigarettes... A very different world from that of the markets and the small family-run shops. (An aside: Yesterday we met Mehmet who works in our favourite baker's; he had lived for 28 years in north Amsterdam, and recognized instinctively that I was from the Netherlands. So we started spekaing Dutch. How delightful -- fluent Dutch speaker in a backstreet of Kusadasi. He said he was there every day and promised to help me with my Turkish.) With considerable effort I have managed to learn the New Year's greeting: yeni yiliniz kutlu olsun. I pronounce this with great conviction and receive in answer the equally signifcant reply. Have not yet learnt that...

Here is a most evocative picture of the bay close to our marina. And the view of Bird Island seen from one of the many hillsides.

Our walk included a small rest for the essential wonderful glass of Turkish chay (tea) which we enjoyed sitting beside the lapping waters. Interesting how peole throng to the same spots; our place (called Hammam Beach Restaurant) was a little out of town, and there was hardly anyone there. Most people had either walked out to the island or stayed near the town centre.

There were, of course, the ubiquitous cats; they seem to be better-fed round here that in other parts we have visited (Greece had the most miserable skin-and-bone cats).
Very peaceful sitting at the edge of the sea, sipping faintly-sweetened tea. On the way home we bought a fresh fish from the market (suprised it was open on New Year's Day). Cost seven Turkish lire, that is, three-and-a-half euros. One delicious fish for supper...

So back home, through the groups of families with kiddies in pushchairs, the couples walking hand in hand, the fishermen entranced beside their rods, and home to Stroemhella and the lingering light across the water.
Welcome, another year, whatever that may mean... tomorrow I must make some resolutions...
The boat rocks gently and no birds sing.

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