TURKEY 2001 TWO-WEEK TRIP

Tuesday, July 3. Day 9 of 15. FISHING LAKE EGIRDIR. A NAP AND DINNER.

We meet downstairs for a leisurely breakfast, and I drop off my laundry plus some things Tara has tossed in too.

Then Ross and I get in the car with Kemal, who will drive us to the fishing spot around on the west side of the lake. We are going for what he calls Sea Bass, in English. I take my GPS to follow our progress, driving around the lake.

Before we get out of the town of Egirdir, Kemal stops to get some ekmek (bread). He points to it and says, "yem." Bait. I get the best feeling when I can understand a little Turkish.

It's a hot day, and Ross loans me a spare hat, which will cover more area than my baseball cap. I put on suntan lotion also. We drive perhaps 30 minutes, then pull into a petrol station. Kemal goes in and talks to some men, then makes a phone call. It turns out that the man who is coming to take us fishing is the brother of the man who lives on the floor directly above Kemal and Aysel's home in Isparta.

Tara made friends with a little girl in the apartment above Kemal and Aysel's last year, Cada (pronounced JAY-duh). Anyway, that would make today's boat captain her uncle. The man arrives after a bit, and we drive in separate cars, a little farther up the west side of the lake, then turn off to a very reedy area.

Kemal earlier, on the drive here, passed some reeds and pointed to them, saying that we would be fishing in an area like that.

We collect our gear, and walk to a large blue, plain boat with oars, but no motor or cover. We'll be sitting right in the sun. Kemal tells us that the captain says that it's "too hot" for the fish, but that's not going to stop us. Just as we arrive at the boat location, the captain tells us to walk a little farther. He will come around to that spot and pick us up. He takes off his shoes and works the rest of the fishing trip in his brown socks.

He wades into the water, and pushes the boat along in reeds. Then he hops into the boat, produces a long pole, and proceeds to pole his way over to us. We take off our shoes and socks and wade out to the boat. Somehow, I forget my pole, and the fisherman gets back out of the boat, walks back to where we stopped the first time, retrieves my rod and comes back.

Then, off we go.

When we're out in the open, a nice little breeze makes it pleasant, but when we get into reeds, the wind doesn't reach inside, and it's a lot hotter. A little heat never bothered three good fishermen though, now did it?

Kemal works on the tackle of my rod and reel as we approach the first reeds. When we get in place, the captain turns around to check where Ross and I are sitting, and seems to agree with our location. Or maybe he just wants to look at two Americans with cool hats on their heads.

We try three or four locations, and Ross sees one fish, but I don't see any fish at all. And no fish goes for our ekmek yem at all. After perhaps an hour and a half or so, Kemal says that we'll give it up. So we enjoy the captain rowing and poling us back to the shore. He gets us close enough that we can jump off the bow of the handsome blue boat, onto the gravel shore without wading, so I leave my shoes and socks on.

We thank him, and walk back to Kemal's car. Then Kemal drives us back to the island of our hotel. We go into the same fish restaurant we ate in when we were here with Kemal and Aysel last fall. I recognize the owner. He is the son of an old friend of Kemal's and is a new father.

Kemal and Ross order fish, but I don't eat much. They have a beer or two each, but I have a diet coke. Kemal thinks I should eat and drink more, but that part of my mind that is aware of my health says not yet. We enjoy our lunch, then Kemal drives us the short remaining distance around the island to our hotel.

There is an attractive sign on the island perimeter road pointing to our hotel. Blue Lake. Mavigolu.

Kemal says that he's going to have a nap, and man, that sounds good. I am getting stronger, but a nap is just what the dr. ordred. Aysel and Cihan have taken Sharon, Tara and Carrie shopping back in Isparta today, and they were still gone when we got to the hotel.

There are now two young girls working at the front desk. I inquire about my laundry, but it's not quite ready yet. They say they will bring it up when it's done.

I go upstairs, work on the computer a little, then hit the bed preparing to crash, when there's a knock at the door. "Who is it?" I ask. "Laundry," comes back the reply. I put on some shorts and a tee shirt and unlock the door. One of the girls holds out my plastic bag with all my clothes neatly folded inside. "Tesakur Ederim," I say in Turkish. "You're welcome," she says in English. I love this backwards talk.

Anyway, they picked the pretty one to deliver the laundry. I relock the door after saying thank you.

I get out the laundry and some is still damp. I spread it out all over the room and the dampest ones on chairs out on the two balconies of our suite.

Then it's bedtime for Bonzo again, and it's wonderful. Off to dreamland I go.

I wake up to another knock at the door. "Who is it?" I ask. "Deutsch?" is the reply, and he may have said the word 'security.' "No, do you speak English?" I ask. "No," is the answer from beyond the door, then, silence. "Bye bye," I say. After about four seconds comes, "Bye bye," and the unknown man walks away.

I have no idea what that was about, but I'm the only one on this floor right now and I don't feel like opening the door to a strange man who speaks only Turkish. I'm sure it was some trivial thing, but I take the cautious route.

Back to sleep I go.

Sometime later, I wake up as Sharon returns with all the goodies from the shopping trip. She shows me these one at a time, and I'm still kind of woozy, but I remember seeing lots of gold and some stuff for grandchildren.

The wind begins to blow and the skies darken. The weather cools down quickly, and we watch out our open doorway to our balcony as young men run over to a canvas-covered lakeside restaurant area, and pull all the tablecloths off the tables, in the increasing wind. The tablecloths are fastened to the tables as if this has happened before. But it's clear that no one's going to eat dinner out there in this approaching storm.

It starts to rain and thunder and lightning, and it's a magnificent mountain storm.

We meet down in the lobby of the hotel before going to dinner. Tara wants to discuss the weddings and all the main points associated with them. Sharon and I sit together in the meeting. Tara sits on the chair arm that Cihan is in. We are a contented group.

We finish and, although we were going to have dinner in the same restaurant we men had lunch in, Kemal decides that because of the continuing rain, we'll eat upstairs here in the hotel. So up we go.

After a bit, there is a nice little rainbow going on. We enjoy our dinner, and once again, I eat light. But things are starting to taste good again, without me worrying about how they are going to affect me. Our dinner is so leisurely that we enjoy the sun setting over the lake too.

After dinner we move over to an empty, round table at which Tara shows us some wedding plans from her binder. Then she reviews some of the details of the wedding, and what's expected of us all. Ross and I know our job already.

Shut up, show up and pay up.

Kemal and Aysel will be with us in San Jose for five days or so during Tara and Cihan's honeymoon, so we talk about various places that we can take them this coming February.

I try to tell a joke at dinner, the one about the man with the faulty watch that he claims goes Tock Tick. I ask Cihan to translate, and here's the conversation, as I recall it:

Me: A man has a wristwatch (Cihan translates and Kemal and Aysel nod).
Me: In America, we say our watches go Tick Tock. Do you say that in Turkey also? (Cihan translates)
Kemal: "Gobba Gobba Gobba Tock Tick." Gobba Gobba Gobba is how I heard the Turkish words.

And there went my joke. So you see, jokes circlulate not just in the U.S. but all around the world. And finally, we get to that part that my body has lately been enjoying immensely. Bedtime.

We say goodbye to everyone, hug everyone, and kiss everyone's cheeks. This takes a while, but it's lots of fun, so you just take your time.

The Rosses and Cihan and Tara will likely be sleeping as Sharon and I check out and take off tomorrow about six.

No birding today.

Life Birds Today: 0
Life Birds for the Trip: Remains at 8.

Upgrades Today: 0
Upgrades for the Trip: Remains at 4.

Trip Birds Today: 0
Trip Birds Total: Remains at 49.

NOTE to Birders: No birding or bird reports today, but that will change as of tomorrow.

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