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    A SEASIDE VIEW: Awakening of a tourist town

    by Chris Drum BERKAYA
    28.04.2009 - 00:00 | Son Güncelleme:

    BODRUM - Over the last month Bodrum has come awake properly as the warming weather has brought this particularly lush spring into full flower.

    The sights and perfume of the air has prompted locals to load up with food and the little barbeque grills, and head out for a favorite green spot to share a day with friends and family. It is a brief time before the season starts, when for those who work, work at all hours on all days takes over and limits available social time.

    It is also the time before the relatives and summer visitors descend on Bodrum and preoccupy locals in different social lives.

    There have been calls for several ’pre-season’ events recently, all tapping the feeling that these are the last days of more leisurely time that can be spent with local friends Ğ new or old.

    It is, in fact, the best time for newcomers, new settlers, to be here, when new people can be welcomed by older, longer settled residents who don’t mind some fresh conversation after an unusually wet winter and economic fears sometimes dampened social life.

    New conversations and faces are very appreciated at this time of the year, and travelers tales can be very entertaining from the real long journey travelers who tend to be around now.

    An impromptu barbeque and gathering was held on the weekend in the shipyards where most of the foreign yachts are put up on dry land for winter. Of some 15 or so ’yachties’ there was just the one couple of the two who had remained through winter; they had lived aboard while high and dry, not the most comfortable of lives.

    Most of the very international group had just arrived to prepare their yachts for a summer of sailing, so conversations wandered from preferred harbors to the uses for an angle-grinder, between beer, wine and a bountiful spread of salads and meatballs contributed by everyone. The most relaxed were the McKay couple who were planning the start to a roundĞthe-world sail. Why around the world? "Because we enjoyed it so much the first time," said Betty in a soft Glasgow accent. "We have to be home for 2012, so we think we can do it."

    A ship arrives
    Another group of travelers were from a cruise ship. They were a bunch of eager Australian and English passengers keen to do the sites and sights of Bodrum in their short time ashore for the day. Their cruise is no short hop, but a long haul from Mumbai, India, where they had boarded, to the final port in UK, though most of the group were disembarking in Istanbul or Athens. Their eagerness to see a new place was infectious, given that they had already visited the Pyramids in Egypt, the monasteries in Sinai, the sights in Syria, and more along the Turkish coast. When asked how their ship came through the Somalian pirate zone, they happily told a tale of sailing at full steam at night, in radio silence, blackout paper on the portholes, barbed wire on the railings and crew on standby with water pressure hoses but no arms.

    They had, in fact, been just an hour ahead of the U.S.-captained giant tanker, and the hostage drama that occurred with that ship, which they had not heard of in detail.

    Some people in the group were planning to attend the ceremonies at Anzac Cove, and there were other travelers coming through Bodrum on the way to the ceremonies, among them a young quartet of New Zealand farmers working on British farms, just finding their traveling feet.

    Bodrum and other coastal resort residents should not just be content with hearing other peoples travel tales though, as this is the time to discover and make their own travels, even for just a day or two, while the temperatures are mild and the countryside is looking at its very best, with spring flowers and green fields. As a seasoned tour guide said to me, "I have just been to my favorite site, Aphrodisias, again, and it looks so wonderful, I never tire of it." The same could be said of much of Turkey, spring is the time to see it.
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