We didn't really have an overarching plan for Turkey yet, so we took the bus from Pamukkale to a town close to Oludeniz beach, a famous beach destination. On a side note: Transportation in Turkey is AMAZING, It is so easy, the vehicles are comfortable, they go frequently and on a schedule, they are marked with their destination, they go everywhere, cheap and...seatbelts!!! And as a byproduct of moving overland, you get to check out the absolutely incredible Turkish landscapes. They morph endlessly from sprawling grasslands dotted with crumbling buildings, to big rocky fields similar to NL, to rolling mountains and hills to jagged cliffs plummeting into the gorgeous turquoise water. Just spectacular everywhere you go, seriously. While Bridger is a devout bus-podcast loyalist, I can pass hours just looking through the windows watching the scenery without speaking for hours. Actually I always read how traveling on local buses (which is our usual mode of transport) is a "great way to meet and chat with locals" but across my travels I usually find that this is not common practice at all outside of maybe some very short small talk...actually in my experience it almost seems to violate the norm to try to start a conversation on a bus with a stranger! Most people just want to, like me, sit quietly and do nothing. Haha actually it never stops amazing me how local people can literally kill a bus ride doing absolutely nothing. My memories of growing up on car trips were to pack your own backpack full of "fun stuff" like books, coloring pages, music, whatever to keep you occupied for the drive and old habits die hard because I always have my bag stuffed full of things to do, though rarely actually take them out these days on the road. While traveling so far, buses are a source of both torture (crowded, long, uncomfortable, scary, no toilet etc) and joy (scenery, quiet contemplation, being present etc) but in Turkey so far, the latter more common.
The place we were staying was called Hisaronu, at the top of a valley of which the beach was at the bottom, about 3 km away. In an effort to do the budget thing, we opted for this farther away place with its own kitchen so we could cook ourselves and save some bucks. On our first day, not knowing what to expect we decided to save 3 Lira each ($1.50 people!) and walk 3 some km down to the beach instead of bussing. This should have been our first clue about "non budget tourism" Oludeniz because I think nobody did this ever. The road was NOT a walking road with no shoulder and steep ditches and the same observations about insane drivers from Istanbul held true here. We spent the entire 3 km down weaving from one side of the steep downward road to the other avoiding blind corners but alas, as we rounded the last corner we were blessed with the most stunning views of the most exceptionally two tiered turquoise water we had ever seen...unbelievable!
Turkish water is amazing, the only unfortunate part being that most of the beaches are made of rocks which can be hard on the feet. Take watershoes! We spent the afternoon hanging out at the beach and resolved to screw the budget and somehow move down into Oludeniz village itself so we could come and go from the water all day. In our finest showing of knowing our shit and getting a deal to date (this is really neither of our strong suit), we got it done. Looking at places on booking.com we got a rough estimate or where we wanted to stay which was listed at $34 CDN/night, then we checked prices on their website which showed 30 CDN (65 Lira) for now and then a $15 price hike (ouch) as of June 1 in a few days, high season. Thinking we were so close we figured we'd just show up and negotiate in person to see if we could get it cheaper. We showed up...and when asked the price, the receptionist says "we just offered a room for 90 Lira". 90 Lira?!?! That's almost double the price listed on your website! Of course we pulled up the website price which they did honor and then we locked in the price for as long as we wanted to stay w/o saying a word about the known price increase as of June. Win...absolutely lovely hotel with a pool minutes to the beach for 30CDN/night!
Now is where I tell you that, unexpectedly, after 5 months of traveling, I've hit a pretty solid wall. I'm totally exhausted. We've been moving steady for months, usually every 2-3 days with the occasional 4 or 5 day stay, and truth is, all the logistics of planning this entire trip are on me. Bridger has his own skill set, but for the life of him, he just doesn't or can't do this. Which means that relaxing with an empty mind is rare for me because most of my "free time" is consumed by looking into where to go next, what to do next, how to get there etc. and when you're moving every few days, that's alot of time. Nobody besides long term travelers can understand this so it's probably fruitless and very difficult to try to explain, but this kind of trip is not a vacation. A vacation is where you have a finite period of time, usually in a defined place with defined ways of getting around, with somewhat defined activities that you'll do, you relax and you have fun and then you go home. What we're doing, though exciting, mind blowing, so fun, so life-changing, so wouldn't change it for the world, is none of those things. We fly by the seat of our pants figuring out every piece day by day, leg by leg. And you have to know your shit otherwise you'll be on an 8 hour bus only to be denied entry at the border bc you didn't have the right visa requirements, or you'll show up with all your stuff at the bus station and find out after checking out of your hotel and paying a taxi to the bus, the bus you were supposed to take left earlier and there's no more until tomorrow or you'll get completely ripped off or you'll find out that ATMs don't work when you're totally out of cash... from our experience, things work out a combination of awesome and totally screwed up. And on this kind of trip you are regularly educating yourself and modulating your own behavior so as not to culturally offend people in the country you visit as you move among them because, alas you are always with the people and not locked up in a tourist only compound as you would be on other types of vacations. As much incredible rewards as traveling like this provides, it's also alot of effort. While I've felt exhausted before, what was really different and surprising even to me this time was the level of apathy that started to creep in. I chatted with Bridger about it and outside of the exhaustion (he just packs his bags and goes along with whatever I tell him) and to a lesser extreme, he had also started feeling a bit of that treacherous apathy that I was. We both felt like we were starting to feel a little indifferent about seeing stuff and feeling like things are starting to be the "same old same old"...everything lacking the excitement and enthusiasm we started out with. We started to subconsciously rank our experiences against each other instead of appreciating each experience for what it was and as a result, we found ourselves getting disappointed by things more often. We, I especially, stopped having the energy to deal with everything from figuring our plans to friendly talking to strangers to bargaining for prices. I can't speak for Bridger but, most unnerving, I found myself becoming contemptuous of people, something that I have not felt ever on my travels before. The complete opposite in fact, where I've always been able to perspective take and understand why people behave as they do and even forgive and justify mild transgressions against us. I started this trip with the intention to have no end date in mind but just decide to come home when I felt like I was done... And then I wondered if this was the sign that it was time to go home. And then, as you'd imagine, I started to feel guilty and shitty about myself for having all these thoughts. I felt like an ungrateful piece of crap given the circumstances around how awesome it is and how ultimately privileged we are to be able to have the opportunity to do what we're doing. But in spite of all of this, I didn't actually want to go home yet. Unable to really understand what was happening here and work through all the feelings associated, I do what I always do and took to Google. Much to my great relief, I found several a blog post from many long term backpackers describing variations of the exact same experience! It's a thing!!! What to do now...
The town of Oludeniz is really just a tiny "fake" town sprung up around the beach. There is nothing Turkish about it and in fact, it is all British as it is HEAVILY trafficked as a vacation destination by British (and some Scottish) tourists. It is so populated by British that when asked where we were from and we answered "Canada", the response was usually a totally surprised, lit up, "Oh really?!!". Eerily, the local Turkish people, I'm not joking, speak English with a British accent. At first when we started talking to Turks here, we remarked how different their accent was from those in Istanbul, not really putting the pieces together. Until it hit us that these people have learned English from only one nationality of English speakers so they literally have acquired the accent...it was crazy! Our theory was all but confirmed when we were chatting to some Turkish guys at our hotel and one of them talked about the "telly"! Anyways, all business in Oludeniz were either restaurants, bars, convenience stores or stores selling overpriced touristy souvenir items/beach wear. Outside of the Turkish people working, everyone in the town was a foreigner with various levels of travel-savviness. Actually to be honest, it reminded us a bit of Koh Phi Phi except for tourists were about 20 years older. A place like this is not usually up our alley at all, but given the burnout circumstances, we decided to stay. I realized that a) I needed to not move every few days and stay put for awhile to unwind and b) it was just what I needed at this point in our trip. It was so easy. No planning was required. I could sit on the beach and do NOTHING. I could shamelessly bust out the short shorts, tank tops and bikinis long disappeared in Dubai/Jordan. We could shamelessly speak English with no attempt to learn local language. Bridger and I could actually touch eachother and show affection in public. We could shop for *gasp*, tank tops. In short, following suit of everyone else, we could just be free to relax and given it's a whole town for tacky tourists, we could just do and behave however we want! Essentially, we decided to take a vacation from traveling.
Obviously as a resort destination, Oludeniz was not overly concerned with those on a budget. Naturally, when we moved from our "cook yourself" apartment we weren't about to leave our prized leftovers, stir fry and pasta w spaghetti sauce. So we packed both up in the only thing we had available, two plastic bags. Even though our hotel had a strict "no outside food/drink" policy which we followed for the most part, we simply could not waste the money throwing out the leafy cooked leftover so we smooshed both bags into our packs and it was our free dinner for the first night. Unfortunately we had no cutlery, so the ever resourceful Bridger crafted some "spoons" out of paper from my journal. It worked fabulous for about the first 5 bites until the paper became mush and we had to resort to pulling it from the bag and eating it with our fingers. It was all class that night.
The next day we decided to do a hike to an abandoned ghost town called Kayakoy. Nature had different plans. We got up later than planned, ate breakfast and went out to catch the bus when, having eaten pizza the night before (damn you dairy) I got the sudden and immediate urge to poo. So we ran back to the hotel and canceled that plan for the day and headed down to the beach instead.
Oludeniz is a huge base for parasailing trips so every day on the beach we watched tons of paragliders/tourists launch themselves off the mountain, glide down over the turquoise bay and land on a cement strip just behind the beach. I was pretty well convinced that I wanted to do it...until I saw a rogue parasailer miss the landing and sail into the beach, sailing like a foot over a family's beach umbrella while they were underneath it and then narrowly missing by again feet, another group of people on the beach before landing in the middle of the beach having totally blown his landing. After doing a bit of tripadvisor'ing and reading, turns out Olu is not the safest place to go parasailing because the high demand leads to a high turnover of semi-quaified "cowboy pilots" and deaths/injuries have happened. I read one particularly inspiring story about a tourist who jumped off the mountain...and went straight down, landing on a lip of the cliff, injured, waiting for someone to come airlift rescue him off the mountain. Soooo interest in doing it in Oludeniz kind of plummeted after that. Also while sitting on the beach I saw a very topless woman. Like not just topless laying down discretely but straight up sitting upright looking around, boobs hanging out. And I was so mad! I consider myself pretty openminded but in this situation it really is not about YOUR comfort and YOUR choice...for one, Turkey is a Muslim country so totally inappropriate. For two, and this is what makes me think I may be a psycho of a mother, it's a freaking family beach and parents shouldn't have to explain away your boobs to their 4 year old on their vacation. Though through this trip I've come to undisputedly realize how much more prudish us Canadians are about nudity than our European neighbors are, so maybe cultural norms just die hard.
One day we did end up attempting to hike to Kayakoy. Except we are the WORST trailhead finders in the world...like we can literally never find them. We wandered around to where it was supposed to be and then just gave up and started walking down the main road on the several km trip towards Kayakoy, knees shot before even getting to the town. At one point we just gave up and waited on the side of the road for the bus that was supposed to come but sure enough, it never came so we really did just walk to the rest of the way. The "ghost town" of Kayakoy is called such because long ago Greek Christians and Turkish Muslims lived peacefully together in this village. Until the government demanded a population exchange sending all Turkish Muslims in Greece back to Turkey and all Greek Christians in Turkey back to Greece in order to achieve religious purity across each country. So residents of Kayakoy were essentially kicked out of their home and the village abandoned and left to nature. Exploring the remains of the village spread across the hill was actually amazing and one of the unexpected highlights of the trip. It was a perfect example of a grassroots tourist destination-barely anybody there, cheap, accessible independently and very true to original form. We were in awe of how "raw' and authentic the village still was, basically everything left as it were with nature reclaiming it as nature would, very little restoration. What made it particularly alluring was not only the above but how personal the story was- just normal people in normal homes, churches and business instead of these great imperialistic ruins that you often find elsewhere. Bridger and I wandered around the site for several hours just trying to imagine what life was like. We are both pretty blown away by the architecture and as usual in ruins, were had so many questions about such things as "What is it made of?!", "Did they have concrete back then?!", "How did they mix it?!". "How was all this stuff transported?!".
We eventually got to the top of the village and started our hike over the mountain, through the trees and along the cliffside towards Oludeniz, catching the brilliant views of the turquoise bays along the way. Seriously, I never thought water this color could ever exist.
Despite an early snake scare, an encounter with aggressive bees, a few times losing the path, ridiculously swollen and sore/blistered feet and Bridger almost throwing in the towel (a direct consequence of the snake and his refusal to hike in anything but sandals), we triumphantly made it back to Oludeniz beach, having spent like $5 for a full day of amazing activity. Actually over and over we realize that most of the best experiences we've had so far have been cheap or free...today, riding bicycles around Cambodia, climbing to the top of the waterfall pool in Laos, every hike we've ever done, hanging out on spectacular beaches...all cheap/free. There really is something to be said for budget ground-level backpacking, it's awesome!
Walking around Oludeniz town was a bit of an experience in itself. As with any over touristic resort package town, the hustle was huge, however, here people seemed to actually openly acknowledge it. The pervasive theme written on every restaurant and tour company whiteboard outside of their offered excursions was "No Bullshit"...as if writing it legitimized their company over every other company because you know, dealing with them you'd experience "No Bullshit". But alas, there was always some bullshit or other. Like Istanbul, every restaurant had a guy out front trying to make friends with you and draw you in to the point that, god forbid you needed to check your cell phone or something that would require you to stop for a moment on the street...that was like a feeding frenzy. A better plan would be to duck off the street and hide in an alley or corner to do your stopping, for real. But through it all, I was blown away by how the local people were still so friendly! I'd never seen it before. Usually when you have a place like this, locals become very contemptuous, indifferent towards tourists, you start to get people ripping you off by adding dollars to your bill or not giving correct change and other such things. But here it wasn't like that at all. Everyone was still SO gracious, warm and helpful and I never felt like anyone was ever trying to take advantage. It really was admirable and give all the credit to the Turks for this! The village itself, in contrast to Koh Phi Phi and in spite of the very "touristy" feel was still lovely, natural and fresh surrounded by lovely scenery. For what it was, it was actually an enjoyable little lovely spot so long as you got in the mindset to take it for what it was.
One added advantage of this easy resort town was that we experienced our first real and true buffet of the trip!!! Despite the hustling business owners, across the street facetiously yelling at us "you'll get food poisoning!!!", we burst in the door at 9:45 pm and they welcomed us in because they were still open but then came up to us 10 min later telling us they were putting all the food away in 10 minutes so grab everything we wanted. Oh man, this is buffet gluttony x 10. We piled our plates so high and stuffed our faces so fast we felt truly sick. As we walked home we barely had the energy to dodge the dog that lunged and snapped at us as we walked by, one step backwards in the rabies department. By the time we were home we were both quite certain we might puke. Seriously buffets are always so good in theory but in real life, you usually want to collapse after. If you think about it, the whole premise is messed up...you pay alot because it's unlimited but it doesn't need to be unlimited because really one small plateful would fill you up so you don't really need unlimited food but you go for it because, cyclically, you have to get your moneys worth. I promised myself that someday, if I ever got the resolve, I would boycott buffets entirely. Either way we both said "never again!!!" that night...and then, truly, the next night we went back to the same place albeit a little earlier, and did the whole thing again. Who can resist a buffet?! And then the next day we were supposed to finally leave Oludeniz but we didn't because by the time we got home all pukey from the buffet, we were just too gross to pack and organize to leave. So basically out of sheer laziness, we bought ourselves an extra day in Oludeniz, a day we mostly spent laying in bed and doing nothing. Yep, intrepid travelers, I know.
My god my stray eyebrow hairs are so long these days that I can pluck them with my own fingers. But despite my hopes that I could do some hobo-regrowth-by-lack-of-plucking-so-eventually-I-might-be-able-to-reshape-them-again over this trip, it's quite clear that I have officially destroyed my eyebrow follicles. I haven't plucked in months and even though there's some random hairs growing in on one eyebrow, they are just not growing back and filling in properly, enough so that I could start again. 2000's mothers, for the love of god please talk to your daughters about not plucking their eyebrows, especially at 13, especially with swiss army knife tweezers, and just take them for their first proper eyebrow waxing and save them the skinny eyebrow for the rest of their life curse!!! If I had only known, maybe me and my cousin Meagan wouldn't have holed up in our grandpas bathroom and ripped all but like 12 hairs out because it was the cool thing to do!!! Seriously. Also another hot topic, I bite them less so my fingernails, for the first time in my life, are so long and I've also realized how impossible it is to get an eyelash out of your eye with fingernails. Seriously, it's so much easier with just a little finger nub! How do you non nail biters do it?!
Ah, I've since found out that as of October 2014, the Turkish government opened a bid to lease Kayakoy for 49 years in exchange for full restoration of the site! The plan is to leave half the town as is and turn half of it into a hotel/tourist facilities. This makes me SO sad!!! It's charm comes from how original it is and that you have access to the entire village as it was. Changing half of it in to tourist stuff and a freaking hotel fundamentally changes its character and essence. Ack, especially to market it to package tourism, yuk, sad! Kayakoy is a UNESCO supported something site but man, makes me wonder what exactly it is that UNESCO status does?! It doesn't stop thousands of locals tramping themselves, camels, horses and donkeys all over Petra and it doesn't stop Kayakoy from being auctioned off to turn into Disneyland of ruins. Obviously I am self-professedly very uneducated on the topic but I just am not sure. I would obviously support stabilization of the site to make it last in its current form as opposed to total restoration and rebuilding but unfortunately that won't happen because nobody can pump dollars in if they weren't pumping dollars out via tourism infrastructure. To my knowledge there are no takers yet but it might only be a matter of time, so if you make it to Turkey, go to Kayakoy now!
Overall we stayed in Oludeniz for something like 7 nights and it really did do wonders to cure my travel exhaustion! The more I travel (or do anything) the more I learn and start to have these realizations about myself. Most recently, in true introvert style, I realized that I really, really, really need my own space to be the best person I can be. After Jordan, Israel and Istanbul where we spent a ton of time in dorms, I just desperately craved being alone and really decided I didn't want to talk to anyone...ever again. Now that we're back in a private double room and I have my own space to escape, I enjoy conversations and people again! Same goes for company. When I share the same space as people I start to get exhausted and have this desperate need to ESCAPE because I just can't speak/have nothing to say anymore and then I become really bad company. It's not you, it's me.
We left Oludeniz and headed for the nearby "backpacker paradise" of Kabak. I knew the road was supposed to be bad and somehow I had it in my head that it was a 2 hour drive for a 25 km stretch. Bridger did the math and that turned into 12 km/hour which seemed insane so we were buckled in for a long ride. Actually it turned out to be 25 minutes haha, though a treacherous 25. The bus climbed and switch backed all the way up the mountain on the edge of the cliff dropping into the ocean.
Like Laos (but not as scary), we were torn between awe and terror, though reassuringly the driver drove quite slow and carefully. But I couldn't shake that thought in the back of my head about what if the breaks/gears failed?! And then Bridger, more on edge than me, opened my eyes to new possibilities of driver medical emergencies or driver suicide...thanks Bridger. Kabak ultimately stays the backpackers enclave that it, even in spite of the very populous Oludeniz being right around the corner, because of it's relative inaccessibility. In addition to that road (which I'm told is markedly better than even a few years ago), Kabak lacks much tourist infrastructure outside of basic "camps". The road leading down is steep, dirt and in rough shape, so much that the vehicle taking us down couldn't keep going forward but would have to drive forward, reverse and then drive forward again to make it around the corners. We knew it was going to be heavily treed and quite difficult to find your way around but it was even harder than expected...we literally couldn't even find the road ourselves let alone any accommodation as it was buried in trees with the odd sign directing you one way or the other. We didn't have accommodation booked, thinking that once we got down in the zone, we'd just wander around looking at camps but that plan was quickly dropped as soon as we realized how "labyrinthy " this place was. So we asked the van to drop us off at the first/cheapest camp I could think of, Sultan Camp. After the most painfully silent, awkward entry by Bridger, we were shown around the camp which to our dismay was quite basic bungalow esque and definitely had a bit of a hippie vibe to it. But without a single idea of where any other camps were and unwilling to walk to the top of the valley again, we settled in to our little wooden loft bungalow and walked down to the beach.
Not gonna lie, at first neither of us were too keen on this place and it may be the most overrated place we read about so far. We don't love wooden bungalows, hippies, we weren't too impressed with the beach and we thought we might just cut our losses and leave the next day...everything here was just too effortful. But before throwing in the towel we decided to walk up to one of the more developed "camps" that looked more "hotelish" to see if we might be happier there. It was beautiful and at first we were sold until we really stopped and realized that it definitely had a more "commercial" vibe that wasn't at all in the spirit of this place. Before we left we stopped for lunch there. I guess the manager had gone so the only one there was a young Turkish guy who didn't speak really any English. No problem, we just did ordering charades and got the job done. Except double as much food showed up as we thought we ordered so we freaked out a bit that it was going to be double the price. Ultimately in the end we decided that whatever the bill was, we'd just pay it instead of trying to explain to this poor lad who was already a little nervous serving us. At one point, the guy said "so sorry, I don't have English"--sitting in the middle of remote Turkey, something just felt so wrong about this! I've been trying to listen and take note of Turkish so I can learn but it's turned out to be much harder than I expected...some long words! I realized that I can nail phonetics and pronunciation pretty decent but I don't think I quite realized until now the role that correct stress/syllable emphasis plays on language intelligibility. In English we tend to stress the middle syllable in a multisyllabic word but in Turkish it seems it's often the first syllable that gets stress. Here I am thinking I'm phonetically nailing these place names/words when actually people still have no idea what I'm saying. And Bridger doesn't even have an attempt.
Neither of us are really sure what we were thinking exactly about not liking Kabak because less than 24 hours in we had settled in and absolutely LOVED Kabak in general and our little camp! It was SO quiet, the only sounds being the odd boat and people cooking dinner. Our place, besides being basic, was nestled in the middle of the most spectacular, thick, mature garden. It also had it's own food garden. It had hammocks and big hang out platforms and absolutely delicious food.
And obviously it was a lovely garden because it was full of animals. On our way walking down the cobblestone pathway we ran into a little tortoise munching on greens until it made its way into the garden and started annihilating the garden plans. And I saw a snake...or a lizard with a really long tail, I'm not sure it was out of the corner of my eye. And while we were staying there we also saw a giant toad hop across the ground. Well actually, to be honest, we actually wondered if it really was a toad because it looked a little weird and it never hopped, only crawled along the ground. Maybe it was a mutant toad.
Our bungalow was literally made of plywood with our bed in a half loft and the only furniture being two cushions on the floor, cushions that actually made for decent sitting and journaling time. It seemed quite sealed which relaxed us a little that creatures probably couldn't make their way in. Until I was in the bathroom and noted some quick movement in my periphery, ah! Panic button immediately launches until you can figure out exactly which creature was responsible, make an evaluation on the goodness or the badness of that and then react accordingly. In this case, it was only a gecko, no prob, until we realized that if a gecko can get in than obviously some other stuff can too. We screwed our own bugnet into the roof that night. Actually Turkey has had NO spiders or cockroaches or other bugs yet. It has such an incredible temperate climate that I'm not even sure spiders as we know them in SE Asia exist here, definitely have not seen any evidence of them yet which is SO relieving and another thing to love about Turkey. Either way doesn't stop you from being totally on edge in the middle of greenery in a bungalow...evidence being that I picked up my purse to leave and was walking out the door when I felt some unusual sensation on my back. Of course, I flip my hand across it spastically and, I can only assume that same gecko, goes flying to the floor!
Because there is really no infrastructure in Kabak outside of the little camps, most people just pay half board which includes an incredible home cooked breakfast and supper. On this trip, it's become our norm to only eat two meals per day both for budget reason and also because service is usually so slow, if you eat 3x/day you will literally spend most minutes of your day sitting in restaurants doing nothing but waiting for your food. Normally we manage because we eat breakfast late and eat supper early. Not here! Breakfast is served until 10 and then dinner is not served until "8" which usually turns into 8:30 or 9, a move we became convinced was to force people into buying lunch at cost. Well, they couldn't railroad us because we showed them...every day in Kabak we spent most of the day with a rumbling stomach and if absolutely necessary, ate a bag of nuts or seeds. We live lunch on nuts and seeds...and sometimes ice cream :)
You don't really go to Kabak to "do" stuff, you go to not do stuff.
I mostly spent my time writing, laying in a hammock and reading and beaching...so what I needed. Just to be alone (lots of people wanted to talk to us in Oludeniz!) and catch up on my own quiet stuff. As much as writing updates sometimes becomes so obligatory and I'm always so behind which really bothers me, I really love it. I love it because while I write I remember things that I otherwise would have never thought about again and that otherwise would have been completely erased from our experience. And Bridger is no better. Both of us have such terrible memories that we worry without these updates, our trip will completely disappear in our minds. We have started to spend a bit of time before going to bed every night actually just talking about our day in hopes that the more we relive it, the more it will resist slipping away into the back of our minds never to be accessed again. Buuuut most of the time we forget to do this or it slips away anyway. The other reason I love to write is that it helps me remember and connect with the novelty and excitement about what we are doing because day to day our traveling life starts to just feel so normal, so ordinary and I need to snap myself back into recognizing that we've had some incredible experiences and reconnect with what a privilege it is that we are doing this. In Kabak, I started reading the book "Price of Life" by Nigel Brennan, the guy who got kidnapped with Amanda Lindhout while working in Somalia and held hostage for over a year. Great book buuuut I had to stop reading it because it started to make me too nervous about going to Africa!
One day Bridger and I did decide to go on a "well marked" hike to a waterfall. Of course, we couldn't find the trailhead so we never did encounter a waterfall but we did encounter a dead end hole in the rock plummeting to the water below. Awesome. Nonetheless, a lovely forest walk on which we also invented an interesting game of "turn taking listing things we have in common"...a nice energy boost for your relationship.
As much as we would have stayed in Kabak forever, we knew we had to move on as there was tons more of Turkey we wanted to see. Unfortunately leaving Kabak also meant tackling that massive hill that we took down and there were two options. Walk up with your pack...and die. Or pay a ripoff $25 dollars for a van up to the top...they know how travelers feel about the former options so this is literally just extortion because it takes like maybe 10 minutes. We obviously chose the latter option and luckily ended up picking up two other people on the way up so it was cheaper...sigh of relief. On to next adventures!