Kas was a miracle. After a few days of driving around horrible wiry turkish villages held together by hope and livestock, Kas was a miracle. An affluent Mediterranean town with restaurants and public squares. It was night when we arrived, and deserted. We found a cheap hotel and slept on the second story. I remember walking around very confused.
And when we awoke it was like god singing happy songs to the world. We had been so goddamned tired. We took long hot showers. Hot water feels really really awesome.
Today we had to backtrack to begin–we’d skipped some really killer beaches and ruins that we wanted to catch. We took a village bus and wound up walking along a rock road to the beach. A guy named hassan picked us up and offered me a summer job working in a tourism office in Kas, but we turned him down.
“Canow,” he said. “I am canow.”
“What?” He wasn’t speaking turkish, so I did my best.
“In water, canow, rint canow.” We drove up to his property in the beach town, and he had racks upon racks of colorful kayaks.
“Oh,” I said. “Kayaks.”
“Yes,” he said. “Canoe.” We thanked him for the ride and admired the palm trees and cobblestone roads as we walked.
All the pensions and restaurants were deserted in the small town of Patara. The road led to a pay booth. We almost snuck by, felt conflicted and paid the guy manning the ruins booth five lira each. Again. Turkey is full of these things–magnificent and cheap ruins which nobody visits in January, I guess. There was a farm directly across the street from a trio of perfect roman arches. It looked like that field of wheat that Russell Crowe brushes his hands oh-so-lightly against when he’s about to die in Gladiator. We wondered aloud what it would be like to grow up here. We saw some frogs on a stone roman avenue in a puddle. We climbed a big restored arena. AND SAW THE BEACH.
The beach stretched from horizon to horizon and had exactly one shack. We decided we had to naked swim. But first, a coffee. It had been a good four kilometer walk from the highway(including hassan helping us out with the ride) and our tired lil hiker bodies were still recovering. We sat on the only picnic table and looked at the nearby shack restaurant. I went inside. Some reggae music was playing. There was a pure white cat. A guy with a beanie poked his head out and I ordered coffee, in turkish. He replied “okay,” and disappeared again. There was a bilingual poster near the doorway about transcendent massage with a guy Brent. I guess he lived in town somewhere. Whatever. Jari and I charmed the cat over and it squirmed in Jari’s grasp. The guy came out with coffees. We tried to talk with him. He was not friendly. He lived in the shack all year on a perfect beach and probably did a lot of drugs, and yet still was unfriendly. He probably needed to visit Brent.
We walked to the far end of the beach and got naked and ran in the water. There’s no suspense, it just felt awesome. Both of us were going through heavy shit at the moment–him dealing with the end of a relationship, me dealing with the end of a job–and it was baptismal. Go swim naked in the Mediterranean. Also naked dancing on the beach. Some people had written a love note and a heart in the sand, and I put my butt in it. It was juvenile. I chuckled.
“So I don’t wanna go all the way up this road,” Jari said. “I think the trail is just over this cliff here.” A high slope, covered in scrub, buried itself in the water in front of us.
“Alright.” So we dressed and retrieved our packs and climbed it. It was very exhausting. Our ankles got all scratched up–every single plant was a spiny beast, and the rocks poked at our feet. It was very steep. We got to several false summits, then to the summit summit, and looked out over everything–the sea, on either side of the cliffs, the small beach town, the beach itself, the shacks, and the ancient roman ruins in between.
“So where is the trail?” I asked.
“Over here,” Jari said, and we wandered a lot and got lost and read Kate Clow’s guidebook and were totally confused, and finally found a tractor road. I have never been so happy to hike on something flat and even, something that wasn’t going to stab my exposed skin or wound my toes. It was not the trail, but it did eventually run into it. We felt like millionaires.
I’ll skip a lot of walking here. <<EXHAUSTING>> We sang an enormous amount of stupid songs about dogs and buttworms, and saw a lot of olive trees, and a nice sunset. We passed an old car, empty and cold, sitting on the trail. After another half hour of hiking, it came up behind us. Two fishermen were inside, smoking. The car stopped at us and offered a ride, which we readily accepted. They were going back to Kinik, the worst town ever. We declined and got off on the highway (another eternity’s drive away–SO glad we did not have to walk that) and hitched back to Kas. We watched dogs play and fight in the square and hoped for some company, but the town was deserted still. I think I ate a barracuda. Jari had some sort of casserole. We went to our hotel and the woman inside kept trying to speak German to us, no matter how much we insisted we did not know it, and then she shared her photography and horrible cat scent with us, and then we went yet again to hotel bed. I love hotels.