We said our goodbyes to Ertunga and Omar. They have taken care of all of our travel plans, ordered food for us, translated, etc. etc. etc. Can we go it alone??? Rob and I are starting to have withdrawal. We have been a family of four for the last three weeks. It feels like we are headed off to college!!!
They dropped us off at the pier where we were to ride a ferry to the Prince’s Island. Rob wanted to find a place near Istanbul for a few days before we fly out on Wednesday. Ertunga had mentioned that princes were exiled here after their noses were cut off. Also, people asked if we were going to spend time here. I had read that no cars are allowed. We decided to go here and rest and ride bikes.
Prior to boarding, a dry palm frond found its way through my sandals and stabbed me between my toes about a half inch. I had to pull out the “dagger”. I sat on a plastic table and rinsed it off with hand sanitizer. A young boy brought me a chair lest I collapse the little table making it go from bad to worse.
We hobbled onto the ferry and then to our charming hotel. We got the royal treatment from Onur Koçale and a room upgrade. When we asked about laundry, he said that it was free!!!
I contacted Ertunga to see if palm fronds are poisonous. Bless his heart. I sent the following picture and he consulted his friend who is a doctor.
Good news!! I am going to live!! But I won’t be wearing sandals. Learn from me and travel with sandals that are close toed. I have been eyeing some Keens for a while.
When it rains, it pours. I reached in my bag to get my toothbrush and pulled out a hand of purple slime. The lid for my special shampoo for gray hair had come undone. What a pretty mess!!
The bottom of my foot was sore and puffy so we decide to rent some bikes and ride around the island. What we didn’t know is there are MANY horse carriages.
Rob said “What is this? The 1880s.”
We feared for our lives. We were always in the way. We made it alive to the bike store. We got our bikes. I asked for a basket…then a lock…then a helmet. (I think that I detected an eye roll.)
We communicated well despite not knowing the language. Once ready to go, I said, “Which way?”
His reply was “Follow the horses.”
We tried to follow the horses but they kept passing us and walkers were in the road so if we came out to pass them, the carriage drivers would angrily ring their bells at us. And did I mention that it was uphill??? It was very stressful.
We stopped at a park mainly to destress but could then relax and appreciate the beautiful view. Rob walked out to the rocks.
We came across this memorial and it reminded us that no country is immune to terror.
We wondered where they keep all the horses on the island. We found the stables on our around-the-island bike ride.
We had dinner with a school of fish. Our conversation was dead but fresh.
Don’t you think that all meals should be served this way?
I wanted to respectfully comment on the women in Turkey. I felt sorry for the ones who wear black. I wore my black knee high compression socks one day while hiking and I thought that my legs were literally on fire since the hot sun was absorbing the heat.
If I had to wear black, I would only come out at night. If I had to go out during the day, I would make my husband wear all black, too. I guarantee that we would not be out during the day after that.
I would see a few ladies in white. That’s better. These ladies must be enlightened!!
Women in the mosque are not allowed to pray with the men. They are relegated to the balcony. Friday noon prayer at the mosque is optional for women.
Hair serves as a distraction to men so it is covered with a hijab. However, their faces are beautifully made up and they put hats and flowered bands on top of the hijab.
There is no requirement in Islam for a woman to wear the hijab. All it says is that women AND men are to cover what is shameful. (We believe that none of our created bodies are shameful but it is shameful to display our nakedness publically.)
In Turkey, women can wear the hijab or not. More don’t than do.
I asked if women in hijabs participated in sports, and Ertunga said that exercise didn’t seem to be a priority.
Lastly, I wondered if the women ever went swimming. Here is what it looks like. Note: the young boy is not dead. He is snorkeling.
Here is a woman who has official swimming gear.
The henna night and hamman night takes place on Friday and is akin to our bachelorette and bachelor parties. On Saturday, there is the official wedding of signing documents. On Sunday, the groom and his family come to pick up the bride and her dowry. The men of the bride’s family are sitting on it. The young boys block the way. There is lots of honking maybe gunfire. The groom tips all these people to get to his bride and her dowry. It sounds like weddings are a money making endeavor for all involved.
Ertunga told me this sad statistic: 440 woman have been killed so far this year by their husbands. It happens in educated couples but more often in rural uneducated couples. This is not unknown in other countries but Turkey is the highest and sociologists are trying to determine the cause.
I was sitting on a bench and two women in black wanted to sit. I gestured for them to join me. Neither of them spoke English but I think that there were either thanking Allah or telling me about Allah as Allah was mostly said in our short time together.