This was my fault, as in the interest of ‘country-hoarding’ I took the easiest possible way to spend a night in Turkey…an hour ferry from the Greek islands to a place called Marmaris. My friend Mary tried to talk me into going to Bodrum instead, but that was a longer trip so I settled on Marmaris…wrong choice. This was a trashy beach resort, fit for wild drinking and British stag parties but not much else.
The ferry ride wasn’t cheap, and the trip got off to a bad start when the border control told me I needed to buy an overnight visa for 25 euros. Then I stupidly forgot Turkey wasn’t on the euro but I was lucky to meet a semi-honest cabbie. ‘Semi-honest’ because he could’ve screwed me out of 20 euro but he only screwed me out of 10. The hotel wasn’t bad, and it had a wonderful view of the water from my window…but it also had the worst WiFi ever. I had visions of using the dial-up connection on my Dad’s refurbished computer back in the late 90’s. The best thing about the first night was I had an above average Indian dinner.
Marmaris is all about the nightlife…so of course the only night I was there I didn’t feel like going out and stayed in my hotel all night. The nightcap for me was watching a pretty good live guitarist play at our hotel while I quietly sipped on my green tea. The next day I looked around the promenade next to my hotel, and the bars looked quite intriguing. One of them had a live drag show, which is interesting because sometimes people forget how progressive Turkey is for being an Islamic country. There was a karaoke bar that I regretted not going to…it’s been so long since I’ve done that, and I would’ve loved to show the locals the passion of Neil Diamond! There was a place with an all-night happy hour, which kind of defeats the purpose of the happy hour, in my opinion. Another bar had a ‘mummy show’ and a ‘pyramid show’…I have no idea what those are, maybe I’m just too old. I could, of course, use my imagination on what the ‘foam party’ was all about.
The most annoying thing was looking for a place to have lunch. The employees at these restaurants hound you and aggressively advertise their establishment. You walk from one place to another and they try to make you sit down and throw a menu at you. When you tell them you’re just looking and walk away, they talk trash on you. I finally sat down for lunch, and ordered a Bloody Mary to start, thinking this would remind me of San Diego, relaxing with a drink on the beach. It was the worst Bloody Mary ever, and after not being able to finish half of it they brought out another one! I guess it was a two-for-one special that day. I ended up leaving and finding a falafel stand.
My last afternoon there it started raining like a monsoon, and I was worried my ferry back to Greece would get canceled. I thought of spending another night here, then remembered Colin Farrell’s character in that movie being stuck in Bruges. One more night in Marmaris? Maybe I would’ve had a good time at the mummy show.
In summary, I should’ve gone to Istanbul. However, I don’t want to diminish the significance of my ’50 before 40′ trip. This was my 50th country visited before the age of 40. Not all trips can be beautiful or life altering, but all are in some way memorable. As Hans Christian Andersen said…”to travel is to live.” Here’s to the next 50 countries…Sante!