Turkey Shore

Friday, Sept. 17

We’ve officially re-named this trip Turkey Shore, based on the classy TV show, Jersey Shore. The locals love wearing shiny (fake) clothes, too much hair gel and glittery chains. They also love odd music – I’ve heard more Mariah Carey this week than when I was 13. But, the 90s hit Gangsters Paradise takes the cake for most airtime.

Last night we had our Turkey Shore night. We went out on the town after teaching our English friends how to play the world’s best drinking game, Landmines. Even though I spilled half a bottle of wine on myself, it was still successful.

During the game, Matt was excited to discover that the reverse peace sign (I don’t actually know what it’s called), which is the same as giving the middle finger at home, has a deeper meaning. According to Billy, it originated from wartime: when the French captured the English they would chop off those two fingers so they couldn’t shoot a bow and arrow. At the time, the English were known for being exceptional archers. So during battle, the English soldiers who hadn’t been captured would make that gesture towards the French out of mockery. So there you have it folks, a little bit of history with some offensive sign language.

Following Landmines, we went to an 80s bar called Stones, which was right on the water. They played all the American rock hits, so it was really fun. I tried to start some Karaoke to Small Town Girl, by Journey but no one was having it. Apparently walking around with an invincible microphone and a bad singing voice wasn’t appealing as I thought. However, two Germans with numerous tattoos humored me for a verse or two, so I patted them on the head as a thank you.

The night ended with Matt and Billy skinny-dipping (probably a punishable offence in Turkey, or in the very least, extremely un holy) and me trying to follow (with my clothes on). I use the word trying because I couldn’t quite make it out to the sea – for some reason I couldn’t stand up. I’m blaming the algae and massive rocks (honestly, it was the algae – the rose wine may have contributed, but it was still at least 80% the fault of the algae). So I crawled and squirmed my way to nowhere, much to the delight of tourists and locals watching from the top of the cliff. In the process I cut my elbow, knee, heel and big toe. I also discovered about 500 miniature cuts on the bottom of my feet from the barnacles. Matt and Billy got right out into the sea. When they made it out there, a handful of scuba divers were in for a treat – they were about 10 feet away and they had their lights beaming. Thankfully, they came above water laughing.

After our evening swim we stopped for Kebabs. There, two Turkish kids saw that my knee was bleeding and band aided me up. They probably wouldn’t have, knowing what Matt and Billy just did.

Today Matt and I are relaxing, hanging out by the pool and planning for Istanbul. We leave tomorrow morning. We’ve been given a really great travel magazine from Rachel’s granddad (who owns about 40 pairs of the coolest cut off jean shorts I’ve ever seen).

We don’t really have a plan yet, but are determined to get to a place called the Prince’s Islands. Apparently you can see the nine islands from Istanbul.

Quick overview, compliments of the Turkish Daily News, there’s no cars allowed – only bikes, horse drawn carriages and donkeys. The islands have endless Victorian style villas and wooden mansions, many of which are holiday homes used in the summer.  Only four of the islands are inhabited with a constant population of almost 18,000 – in the summer that number jumps to 100,000. One last fun fact: the group of islands are thought to have gotten their name as they were a place of exile for Emperors, princes and other royals during the Byzantine period. Banishing people to the islands continued during the Ottoman reign and even in the 20th century. Neato, groovy.

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