John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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Wednesday 17 July 2013

[Tuesday 16 July 2013]

09:35 “Offroad”–Full Day
Hotel Palmin, Kuşadası


Janet had set the alarm for 7.30am, but I was awake a little after 6.30am and sat at the computer. Yesterday, I could easily touch each fingertip with the thumb, but today touching the little finger was difficult. The back of the hand was swollen and oedematous down to the wrist. The other fingers and thumb had escaped, but the top of the palm was swollen. I couldn’t use the mouse, and had to use the “little feller’s” touch-pad. Janet got up ca.7:15am; I used the bathroom after her (I could still hold a flannel in the right hand). I noticed a dog curled up in the middle of the road. Once I saw it get up and move aside when a car came; otherwise, vehicles had to arc round it.


Wednesday 17 July 2013 — 08:21:58
A dog lying in the road


Wednesday 17 July 2013 — 08:21:58
A dog lying in the road: detail

When we went down for breakfast, ca.8.30am, it was back in the road. I left my walking stick in the room because using it with the right hand was difficult. Indeed I left it there all day; fortunately, my feet were only minimally, if at all, inflamed, and walking was not impaired. We went back to the room till ca.9.20am, when we went downstairs, waited first in the lobby, then on a bench outside the hotel, to be picked up for our “jeep safari” or “off-road full day”. The scheduled 9.35 came and went, and we were starting to get worried, when an open-top, all-terrain vehicle appeared. The tour-operator employee, who said we could call him “Eddie”, whatever his Turkish name might be, proved to be very competent and helpful. There were five young people already in the vehicle; I squeezed next to two others in the seat behind the front ones, and Janet got in the front one.


Wednesday 17 July 2013 — 09:46:46
In the first vehicle

We drove to a Shell service station, where we used the loo, then transferred to two other open-topped vehicles. A Dutch family of three joined the party here, and indeed we were with them in the leading vehicle. It rather surprised me that the father of the family drove — I thought at first that “Eddie” was joking about him being about to do so. So he and his wife were in the front seat; behind him was the son and “Eddie”; and Janet and I occupied the rear seat. There were no doors; we had to clamber in and out. “Eddie” was on hand to assist; a few times I couldn’t lift my foot high enough without it being lifted and pushed over.


Wednesday 17 July 2013 — 10:16:02
About to set off in the leading vehicle


Wednesday 17 July 2013 — 10:16:08
About to set off in the leading vehicle

Most of the mountain tracks were very rough and we were thrown about. And sometimes there were steep drops just to the right of the track. Janet survived it all without feeling sick at all. I wished I could take photos of some of the impressive mountain-and-valley views but it was impossible to hold the camera steady. Some of the mountains were forested, and many of those that were not were lush and green. Later on, though, we did see others that were yellowed and scrub-covered. We’d wondered since just after we got to Turkey what the harsh, persistent, rhythmic chirruping noise almost everywhere was. At our first stop, at a roadside spring, Janet asked “Eddie” what it was. He told us “crickets”, and straight away he climbed up an ancient wild chestnut tree to try to catch one. He wasn’t successful on this occasion. I had a few handfuls of the water, which issued from a pipe, since “Eddie” had told us it was safe to drink. Someone came up on a moped with water containers strapped to the back, to get supplies of the free water. I guess it may have been economical for him to do it, but other people come in cars rather than pay for water in the shops. Yet their petrol costs are probably higher than the shop prices!


Wednesday 17 July 2013 — 10:49:06
Brief stop at a spring


Wednesday 17 July 2013 — 10:50:28
Eddie goes up in search of a cricket.

“Eddie” talked about good and bad Muslims, and when asked which he was, he replied “bad” because he did things like smoke and drink. Yet he promoted Islam, especially its ethics of respect and kindness, with an almost evangelical zeal! He wasn’t open to any reciprocal Christian input, however. Children in mountain villages waved to us as we passed. We stopped for drinks and the somewhat smelly loo at a bar in one such village, where “Eddie” listed what everyone wanted, and handed the items out. This time he succeeded in catching a cricket, a small one, and later a bigger one. An old gent was standing under the tree trying to point one out.


Wednesday 17 July 2013 — 12:06:10
Refreshment stop


Wednesday 17 July 2013 — 12:12:40
Cricket


Wednesday 17 July 2013 — 12:12:40
Cricket: detail

[Most of today’s diary entry, I wrote shortly after the event; but I’m writing this addition on 29 July 2013. According to my findings without exception on the internet, crickets make their noise by rubbing their wings together. But I seem to think that “Eddie” said they — or this particular one — had a rattle like a rattlesnake. Indeed, the underside that he showed us looked segmented. Also, in the above photo, the wings are out of sight, seemingly held by “Eddie’s” fingers; yet we could still hear a buzzing sound.] On occasions, we’d pass under trees and the noise the crickets made was — not deafening, but surprisingly loud. We passed a ramshackle hut used by a nomadic goatherd, and after that a small boxlike structure where a goatherd had his bed, and before long came across a herd of goats.


Wednesday 17 July 2013 — 12:39:00
Herd of goats


Wednesday 17 July 2013 — 12:39:18
Herd of goats


Wednesday 17 July 2013 — 12:39:44
Herd of goats

At one point, far below, Janet and I saw a town which we recognised as Selçuk.


Wednesday 17 July 2013 — 13:03:38
Castle, Basilica of St. John, and Mosque of Isa Bey, Selçuk


Wednesday 17 July 2013 — 13:03:38
Detail showing the Castle, Selçuk


Wednesday 17 July 2013 — 13:03:38
Detail showing the Basilica of St. John, Selçuk


Wednesday 17 July 2013 — 13:03:38
Detail showing the Mosque of Isa Bey, Selçuk


Wednesday 17 July 2013 — 13:04:04
Selçuk

And on a hill ahead of us “Eddie” pointed out the remains of the ancient city wall of Ephesus. Not long after that, back “on road”, we stopped briefly to cast an eye on a statue of the Virgin Mary, which Bill Clinton had given to Turkey when he was president of the USA. It brought to my mind “Artemis of the Ephesians”, though. This overlooked some of the ruins of Ephesus.


Wednesday 17 July 2013 — 13:09:42
Bronze statue of the Virgin Mary, overlooking the ruins of Ephesus


Wednesday 17 July 2013 — 13:09:42
Detail


Wednesday 17 July 2013 — 13:09:56
City Hall (left) and Odeion (right), Ephesus

Ca.1.30pm, we stopped for lunch at a place called The Starlight Bar in some woods. There were horses, some saddled, in a couple of paddocks, also chickens. “Eddie” arranged for Janet to have a salad. He served us all with baskets of bread, then with plates of grilled (or barbecued) chicken, chips, a scoop of some sort of fried short grain (not rice, I don’t think), and salad. Quite filling. And there was watermelon to follow.


Wednesday 17 July 2013 — 13:46:40
Lunch in the Starlight Bar

After that, we were back “off road” again: meandering on rough tracks on terrain that was marshy in winter, but which was mostly dry and sandy now, also around sand dunes. At one point “Eddie” told the driver to go fast or risk getting stuck in sand; he did, and we got through, but the other vehicle got stuck. People tried to lift and push the vehicle out, but we ended up towing it out.


Wednesday 17 July 2013 — 14:34:30
Stuck!


Wednesday 17 July 2013 — 14:35:34
Stuck!


Wednesday 17 July 2013 — 14:39:24
Attaching a tow-rope


Wednesday 17 July 2013 — 14:39:52
Attaching a tow-rope


Wednesday 17 July 2013 — 14:41:50
Free!

It got stuck again briefly, but “Eddie” was able to instruct its driver how to extricate it. We stopped outside a beach café by the Aegean. Most of our party went for a swim, but we sat under a reed umbrella and had a drink: Janet Coke Light, and I water.


Wednesday 17 July 2013 — 15:13:06
By the Aegean Sea


Wednesday 17 July 2013 — 15:34:12
By the Aegean Sea

We left there just after 4pm. At the Shell station, the three left us, “Eddie” took the wheel, and for some reason at a different location we picked up the other five. (They were also Dutch.) There must have been six: I was on the left at the back, Janet was next to me, and a young woman sat next to her; four people squeezed into the seat in front of us, for a young woman sat on her boyfriend’s knee; and there was one with “Eddie” at the front. We were deposited at the Palmin Hotel ca.4.45pm. I’d been used to getting out on the right, but there was someone sitting there, and getting out on the left proved a bit awkward. Anyway, with a bit of support from “Eddie” I got down. Think I gave him 10₤. I was hobbling a bit, but my feet seem to have improved since our last holiday. Copied today’s photos from the camera (17:02–17:03), and edited them with Photoshop (17:10–18:22) — 29 in all, including a few cropped duplicates. Started off using the touch-pad, but found I could just about use the mouse with considerable but manageable discomfort. Ca.16:50 there were rumblings of thunder which lasted a few minutes, but there was no storm where we were. Janet went down to see the jeweller about an item they discussed the other day, but he didn’t have it with him. Did a bit of diary update till Janet, who’d come back, said it was time to think about going for dinner. It was only just after 7pm, though, so she agreed to a slide show of today’s photos, using Windows Photo Viewer. At last they had soup of a different colour! It was tomato soup. I had some.… Back in the room, Janet and I had another slide show. I continued diary update and she got ready for bed, ca.8.30pm. I continued at the computer till a bit after 11pm, doing diary update, etc.

[Thursday 18 July 2013]


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