It just felt right to listen to Michael Jackson’s “Dangerous” on my iPod on the bus between Fethiye and Antalya. MJ has always been a little trashy for me and it felt appropriate to listen hits like “Jam” on that bus, where I started to write this blog post.
We desperately tried to avoid any form of long distance bus travel after the night(mare) Metro bus ride from Istanbul to Fethiye. Yes, I know it’s a wonderful opportunity to see the rural landscapes of Turkey, but the marginal price difference between buses and budget airlines like Pegasus or Onur Air really does not justify taking the bus, unless you’re not pressed for time, afraid of flying, know of a better bus operator than Metro (because there are quite a few here) or want so save on accommodation costs by trying to sleep on the bus.
Unfortunately, we made the fatal mistake to book seats on a flight from Antalya to Istanbul after reading recommendations to do so on various travel blogs. Antalya is a three and a half hour express bus ride from Fethiye. The normal buses take around six hours, and a snotty V-Go backpackers receptionist (who practically called me an idiot) incorrectly told us the only option is the longer trip, which would have meant that we would have missed our flight. Luckily we heard about the express bus ride soon afterwards and we managed to make our flight.
But back to our faux pas and why the Fethiye-Antalya-Istanbul route should be avoided at all costs: There also is an airport with flights from Dalaman, which is an hour’s drive from Fethiye. So to anyone planning to fly between Fethiye and Istanbul: Don’t do it via Antalya. Ignore the travel blogs recommending the bus ride, and while I’m at it, ignore the travel blogs that say the night buses are comfortable with snacks served by the hour and that the screening of the Turkish version of Days of Our Lives on the in-bus entertainment is… well… entertaining. I don’t know what that travel blog writer was smoking, but I could have done with some of what he had as the Fethiye-Antalya bus driver was juggling his mobile phone (no hands free kit) and a mountain pass, with my neck going into a spasm after too many risque dance moves the night before.
The rest of the boat trip was as spectacular as it was in the beginning. There were stopovers at coastal towns or villages like Kas and Kaleköy, as well as brief stops (too brief, in fact) at the pirates cave near Smuggler’s cove and the sunken city of Kekova. We snorkeled at various spots, but there is almost no sea life. I assumed that most of it had been stripped over a matter of centuries, but Volkan (not sure about the spelling), one of the crew members on the boat, told me that most of the sea life had been stripped over the past eight years. Picturesque as everything is, the lack of sea- and bird life is a reminder of how lucky we are in South Africa, where we are spoiled by an almost infinite variety of species.
Volkan and I share the same birthday, and we celebrated our birthdays twice over the past week, once with a party on the boat (punch and birthday cake prepared by the crew) and a night out at Smugglers Inn, a rustic drinking and dancing spot where I broke a floorboard dancing to Shakira’s “Waka Waka”.
I know I said I was relieved and grateful about the fact that I ended up on a boat with older people. I still am, but not because they listen to hip-hop or house music. It’s because it turned out that one of the boats with the 20 year olds preferred to listen to Adele on their boat, went to bed at 9pm and did as little as possible. Don’t get me wrong – there’s nothing wrong doing as little as possible and listening to a bit of Adele once in a while, but the scenery called for more swimming and exploration, accompanied by cheerful or chilled music. Not breakup anthems like “Someone like you” or “Rolling in the Deep”. The young ones called the coast guard on us twice, complaining that we were too rowdy. All I can say is that my signature dance move, “Die Weerlig” (The Lightning), now has disciples who will try to replicate it in the States, Ireland, the UK and Australia. The thought of that excites me.
We were, and still are very proud of the fact that we managed to annoy the passengers on the young boat – especially after one of the guys on our boat was told he was too “old and excessive” to board their boat when he swam over to their boat to say hi.
* We have one more night left in Istanbul, after which I will say goodbye to Jurg, who will return to Cape Town (via Doha, haha) on Monday. I will resume my solo travels at the crack of dawn on the same day (which is tomorrow) with a trip to Cappadocia before I leave for New Delhi on Wednesday.