Kusadasi, Turkey

or “I didn’t go to Ephasus again”

There is the smell of fish in the air as I leave the ship this morning so it should be no surprise to see the fishermen lined up along the sidewalk along the harbor. As I walk toward the fort the air is crisp and cool. My answer to why the fort seems to be in good shape is easily answered as I get nearer. Relatively modern in construction, there is a barrier across the road while a flag flies high overhead. Yes, 20th century and in use, probably as government or military. As I continue up the coast road I revise my age estimate. A few holes in the outer walls has thinking WWII.

Seeing the lovely modern houses and villas and resort hotels just over the rise reminds me of how modern Turkey can be and why (as my phone reminded me this morning when it asked me to chose a new Auslandsdataplan ) I keep forgetting it is not part of the EU. One of the traditional jokes around NATO was the we should consider ourselves a success simply from keeping Greece & Turkey from war. Now, looking at the respective financial states of the two countries it seems obvious that fear and prejudice on the part of the EU is rather stupid in the financial sense. Just like we should not judge Mexico (in the US) based on drugs, bus boys, or Tijuana so should we not judge Turkey on religion, putzfraus or sanitation workers.

Walking back down the hill I decided to walk out to the fort anyway. And as it turns out, revise completely my earlier thoughts. The base of one tower is obviously centuries old. The building itself is closed for renovations. I was not wrong about the bullet holes although it might be more proper to think of them as machine gun spray given their distribution in the foundation rocks.

The secret to exploring the main part of town is to walk briskly and avoid eye contact. I have strongly considered buying a blue tooth ear piece and striding along babbling in pig Latin with it turned off just to get some peace. Kasadasi resembles St Maarten only with mosaics imbedded in the sidewalk. Skin colors vary but the pitch is the same: jewelry furs leather goods fashion coffee. Separate the tourist from their €/£\¥\$. And as it turns out, the Jade is the only ship through this month. That does make the merchants more than willing to bargain; taking the price below that which I remember from Istanbul two years where the market is rich with European tourists. What is even better is that many jewelry and watch shops have “genuine fake” right in their advertising script painted on the marquee.

Interesting sidebar: NCL has changed their OBC policy. Non cash from the cruise line itself can’t be used for the daily service charge. It can be used for “extra tips” and all the usual on board stuff. All of which means the concierge, the butler and the Sushi restaurant are going to get lucky!

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