Our chance encounter with Gen and Harry meant we were doing lots more on our holiday than we probably would have otherwise. This holiday had planned to be about 50/50 tours, excursions and activities to lazing around by the pool getting a tan and drinking.
I know I would have gotten bored just laying around, its not my normal state of being. But I had kinda wanted to get bored, so I could find out what it was like to go on a holiday to get bored…. Guaranteed as soon as I WAS bored, I would have collared the TUI rep and booked more stuff to do… but that’s not the point.
Harry and Gens parents have been coming out here for about 7 years now and know some really nice local places. This morning they invited us along to a restaurant way out in the sticks. It was about a 40 min drive inland to a farm that produces and serves its own food in a very traditional style. We were here for a traditional Turkish “breakfast” at 11am. It came out and absolutely filled every inch of the long table we were sat around. Fried spiced eggs, olives, yoghurt covered chillies, tomatoes, tzatziki, flat + sweet bread, honey and cream, tomato puree, cheese, fruit, pomegranate juice, fig jam, coffee… On and on it went! You could taste the purity of the food. It all tasted so clean and nutritious, It was like I was eating in HD. Maybe the holiday effect, but UK food sucks.
After 3 or so gloriously gluttonous hours, everyone had had their fill and we were all too hot and bothered to do anything strenuous. We got dropped off at the special beach in Oludeniz called the Blue Lagoon. This is apparently the most photographed beach in all of Turkey and I can see why. The land has formed a sort of shallow basin where the sea meets a river. It is so protected from the wider Mediterranean sea that the water is warm and blue and clear. Its also a nature reserve park to stop over use destroying it.
We picked some sun beds, paid the turk who promptly appeared and hid our stuff in the pebbles while we went in the sea. We messed around on a floating pontoon for a while, diving off it and trying to rock each other off of it. It was able to get over to about 45 degrees before it was impossible to keep your balance any longer. It was tied to a large stone on the seabed, underwhich was a solitary Lionfish.
This big, tentically, scarey looking fish has spines and poison that can be very painful so we didnt get too close. We used the snorkles and the rope to pull us down there quickly to get a good look at it. Because of its defenses, there is no natural predator for the Lionfish so its taking over the seas. This one, like all others I’ve seen, was arrogantly wafting around in the ebb and flow of the waves, completely unconcerned with us.
We swam over to the other side of the lagoon, keeping an eye out for small jellyfish that Gen said were common. Here they were a few more Lionfish lurking around the rocks. Harry also wanted to show me a cliff we could jump off. It was MASSIVE. The climb up was pretty easy, but on sharp bubbly limestone. Following the obvious route up we reached a fairly flat cleft in the rock which was our launch platform. We spent about 5 minutes here, psycing myself up to do the jump. I’ve probably jumped off things off a similar height, but because I’d not been in the water directly below to check the depth, I just had to take Harry’s word it was deep. He has done it lots of times before so it would be fine but still added to the thrill.
I videoed the jump on my GoPro. There was a lot of me just chatting crap to delay the inevitable. The footage of the actual jump was a bit rubbish because I was waving my arms like a lunatic. It was high enough that I did have time to yell, take another breath and then plunge into the water. Long way down, but great fun!
This was our last full day in Turkey, our holiday was drawing to a close. So, as tired as we were from all the beach action we went out that evening to find the GoKart track. Harry, the only one of us with gun training, did a paintball challenge. He got 17 out of 25 twice and won himself a free drink. Had he gotten 20 he would had have won a free five minutes on the track so it was worth a go.
The karts were great fun, especially the safety briefing in broken English. It consisted of,
“Right foot is go, left foot for stop. Not at same time. No crashing. Ok?”
This is why I like coming places outside the EU/UK/western world, the attitude to health and safety is a lot more (ironically) healthy. If you act like a dick and get hurt, tough cookie.
It turns out I was put in a slightly faster kart than Harry for the race. My
beer belly +30kg handicap did not have any effect at all and we were neck and neck for most of our first session. We had some great racing with lots of over taking each other. In the end I won the first race and Harry was insistent we swapped karts for the next one. This made it obvious how much faster my kart had been as he left me for dust and easily won the second session.