We arrived Friday late morning in this booming, beautiful, seaside, resort town. Mel, whose wife Jan listed the apartment on Airbnb, picked us up (for a fee) in their van from our Izmir airport hotel at 10 am and drove us an hour south to Kusadasi. Mel said when he moved here from Istanbul in 1985, the town’s population was 8,000. The current population figures he gave me differ from Wikipedia’s 70,000; but they both say that in the summer when seasonal workers flock to the town along with the tourists and cruise ships, the town’s population swells to several times its winter population. Jan, a native of England, and Mel own and operate a diamond store during tourist season – April through November. When the kids and I were on the Alaskan cruise a couple months ago, there were also lots of diamond stores in some of the port towns as well as an on-board lecture (that I did not attend) about how to buy a good-quality diamond. I had no idea people went on cruises to buy expensive jewelry, but I guess it’s world-wide, not just Alaska.
Our jaws nearly hit the floor when we walked into this palatial apartment. Not only are there three bedrooms and two bathrooms, but each room is large and luxurious. The living room furniture is plentiful and didn’t come from Ikea! We can sit comfortably on it without adjusting the back cushions and with our feet touching the floor. There’s a washer in one of the bathrooms and a drying rack on the balcony. The living room and each bedroom has an air conditioner. The local imam sounds younger and less nasal/pitiful than the one by our cave hotel, and I think the air conditioners will mostly drown him out at 5 am.
Both Mel and Jan gave us the apartment tour – Mel mostly helping Laurel with her phone and the wifi while Jan showed me how to use the washer and dishwasher (wasn’t sure what the Turkish words meant for the cycles). I think Mel, with his Turkish accent, is easier to understand than Jan with her cockney accent and different expressions for things. It was funny though. She suggested I use the economy wash cycle on the dishwasher because dishes don’t get that dirty “unless you’re making a Yorkshire dinner or something,” she said. She described some local attraction as “quite dear (expensive).” Although we were allowed to flush our toilet paper in our cave hotel, we can’t here. Jan didn’t even mention this; I just noticed the sign when I used the bathroom. At each of the places we’ve been in Turkey, the toilets don’t have water tanks attached to the bowls, (The water is piped directly into the bowl.) so there’s no handle to flush with. You flush by pressing a large, rectangular button/panel on the wall. The panels at this apartment say, “Please do not throw anything into the closets (even toilet paper).” When I asked Charlie if he’d flushed his toilet paper, he said he did. “Didn’t you notice the sign in the bathroom?” I asked him. “Yeah, about the closets,” he said. He dutifully did not throw his toilet paper in the closet. 🙂 The public restrooms in Turkey are marked “WC” for water closet. I didn’t know anyone still used that term. Usually in these public restrooms, half the toilets are holes in the floor/squat toilets, and half are regular toilets. At each of the four places we stayed in Canada, we had problems flushing the toilet. Either the toilet clogged easily or we had to hold the handle down for several seconds or the water didn’t flow into the bowl correctly. I miss our American plumbing. We also can’t drink the tap water here. In Cappadocia and here in Kusadasi, the management has told us to only drink bottled water. Yashir, whom Jan described as the caretaker, picks up our empty water bottle (like a water cooler jug) if I leave it outside the door and delivers a new one by the end of the day. Despite the heavy plastic use from bottled water (if you buy the smaller bottles from the grocery), there is no recycling available as far as I can tell.
We went to two nearby groceries early this afternoon, but both were more like convenience stores because of their size and selection. However, Mel told me about the Friday market that’s about 3/4 mile down the street from our apartment. I’m so glad he did! It is by far the most enormous farmers market I’ve ever seen, also the busiest (Crazy busy! We could hardly walk through there.) and cheapest. I bought three tomatoes for the equivalent of $0.23! In addition to my needing to learn more Turkish, I also need to think in metric and count starting with the thumb. However, despite my ignorance and American way of thinking, I was still able to buy a tremendous amount of food for next to nothing. We’ll definitely return next week!
Laurel has a 15-year-old Tumblr friend from New Zealand whose cruise ship from Italy will dock in Kusadasi on September 17! They weren’t able to make plans to meet before she got on the ship where there’s no internet access, but it’s quite a coincidence.
I also wanted to post a few more pictures from yesterday, our last day in Cappadocia.