Heat = Sea

Olympos was hot. Walking outside immediately caused sweat to pour from my body. Sitting in my room was an option, but only a kilometer or so away was the sea.

And, that was a better option.

Arlene and I strolled down the small road to the sea, dodging cars and trying to stay cool.

On the way, one of the shops sold frozen bottles of water, so we grabbed those up quickly.

After paying the entrance fee to the park, we continued our quest to the beach surrounded by Roman ruins.

Finally, there was an opening in the rocks and there, before us, was the vast blue Mediterranean — along with thousands of people, crowded on top of each other, fighting for their piece of the sand and sun.

We found a little spot and dropped our stuff, and then submerged ourselves in the water.

I expected it to feel refreshing, but instead was greeted to bath-water-warm sea.

Not great. But, it’s the sea. I can’t complain.

We swam and relaxed in the water for awhile, while around us was buzzing with life.

Men on little fishing boats dropped anchor in the water, producing beer from coolers. Women walked on the sand, selling grilled corn. Picnics popped up on towels. Couples laid leg-over-leg.

This place was alive.

Even if it was crowded, even if the water was warm, even if the sun beating down on us was nearly unbearable, the energy emitting from the people-covered beach was undeniable.

After a few hours, Arlene and I called it a day, heading back to Kadir’s and the free dinner, followed by drinks and the club.

Of course.

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Summer camp for grownups

A few hours after my para-falling incident, the Fez Bus pulled into Kadir’s Tree Houses, the first “tree houses” to open in Olympos, Turkey. There had been a fire earlier in it’s history that devastated the site, but it had since been restored. And, subsequently during this time, other entrepreneurs followed the popular “tree house” theme and opened their own sites dotted with log homes down Olympos’ main road to the Mediterranean.

I walked off of the bus, ready to embrace a more calm and tranquil environment.

“You are going to get dirty here,” Scotty turned to me and said.

A gentle breeze kicked up, swirling red dirt on my skin.

Oh, yeah, I was.

I stopped and looked around at the entrance to Kadir’s. Tree huts painted with whimsical, hippie images on each cabin. A main tree hut with tables and benches on the first floor and upstairs, a bar in the center with views of the entire site.

Reception was hut. Another hut served pizza. And another was a night club.

Wow.

I walked with a few of the girls to our dorm.

“There is no air-con,” they announced.

I stood there, still in immense amounts of pain from plummeting earlier in the day.

No way in hell.

I walked to reception and asked for a private.

“We have one left,” the guy at reception informed me. “It is behind the night club so it is loud, but there is air-con.”

“Fine,” I said. I didn’t care about loud. All I cared about was not being in pain and getting some rest.

I dropped my bag in the room. A tiny wooden room with uneven wooden floorboards,  a single bed against a wooden wall,  a baby bathroom and a hose to shower, and a big, beautiful white air-con unit fastened to the wall above my bed.

One good thing about backpacking is that it makes you care a little less about where you rest your head. Train station. Bus station. Airport. Rickety room behind a night club with barely a shower.

It was perfect.

As soon as I stepped out the door and back into the blaring Turkey sun, I realized Kadir’s is a summer camp for adults.
Everywhere, people sat around, drinking, smoking, chatting on cushions in the middle of the site, in front of a smoldering fire pit.

At 8 p.m. every night, they served a delicious meal, and in the morning, the same, complete with an omlette station.

Once the sun set, the site came alive. Upstairs, the bar served up drinks and had a DJ until 11, when everyone was ushered down to the night club, a large, open air complex with wooden walls surrounding it and a fire pit in the middle.

I didn’t want to go there, but every night, something took over my mind, and as I was ready to crawl into bed, somehow I ended up there.

With Scotty and Arlene, a girl I had met earlier on the Fez Tour and had been reunited with in Olympos, and a few others, we would walk across the dirt to the club.

Each evening, we would become part of this amazing atmosphere, kicking off our flip flops and dancing together around the fire to “Waka” and “We Don’t Speak Americano.”

Bodies everywhere, fire crackling. It was primal. It was sexy. It was pulsing with passion.

Then, I would walk two paces to my room and crawl into bed, music still pumping loudly, permeating the walls.

But, I didn’t mind. It fit with the ambiance of the site. I would pass out quickly and wake up each morning feeling refreshed and alive.

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