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Dancing Between Raindrops in Antalya

Updated: Dec 24, 2023

I arrived in Antalya, Turkey Thursday night. When I got to my Airbnb address and texted my host, a man named Ferhat met me. He typed into his Google translator app: "I read that you do healing with energy. I am intersested in that. Can you teach me?" Huh, thought I, maybe Antalya will turn out well.

Ferhat hauled my too many too heavy bags up three flights of stairs to my new room.

When I told him I would like to find food, Ferhat walked with me, around the corner, and set me loose in a restaurant to eat çorba. When there is a menu, I do not usually choose lentil soup. But in Turkey, çorbası is creamy. It is warm. Outside, the weather was cold and rainy. I ordered çorba. After eating comfort food, I walked back to my room and slept.

The next day was Friday. Ferhat walked me to and joined me in a restaurant owned by one of his ten brothers. I am sure that Ferhat walked me to the restaurant. I am sure he joined me there. The rest... I am unsure of.

When I arrived, I texted my host, Dumlu. Ferhat showed up. When I asked, "Where is Dumlu," Ferhat looked confused. Then, he told me his brother was Dumlu. He told me that Dumlu was unavailable. He told me he would be my host now. If I had any questions or problems, he told me that I should call him - Ferhat.

I believe Ferhat told me that he has ten brothers. I may have misunderstood. He also talked about joining his sister for supper one night. When translating language, gender is unclear. When translating language, sometimes everything is unclear.

I think that the restaurant was owned by one of Ferhat's 10 brothers (or whatever gender siblings he has). I do not really know if this is true. When we first sat together at the restaurant, with Google translator in hand, Ferhat said: "You can eat all your meals here. It's clean, the food is good, and it is cheap."

I asked Ferhat if the people at the restaurant were his friends. He laughed and said "Evet" (which is "Yes"). On another day, while I was eating a meal there, (because I took his advice and pretty much ate all my meals there), Ferhat came into the restaurant. I invited him to join me. He said: "I need to talk with my brother." He walked over to the table where the main dude was sitting, sat down with him, and they talked. I call the main dude "the main dude" because he seemed to be the owner. That makes the owner Ferhat's brother. And the kids there, who may be the owner's sons... they would be Ferhat's nephews. So, yeah... friends, family... I am unclear as to the details here.

That Friday, while waiting for breakfast, Ferhat and I began our first lesson on energy and healing. We continued our lesson back at the hotel, a couple of hours later.

The reason for the two hour or so lag in our energy lesson was that, on our way from the restaurant to the hotel, Ferhat noticed me noticing the city. He steered me down a long walkway-kind-of-street that he said was "the Bazaar."

When people hear the word "Bazaar" in relation to Turkey, they may think of the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. There seem to be many (maybe not so grand) bazarre's all over the cities of Turkey. This Bazaar was filled with people and pop-up and brick-and-mortar shops.

Ferhat walked me all the way through the bazaar, through at least two main cross streets, until we arrived at the Turkish Riveira. I believe that he fully expected the vision of the Mediterranean Sea to draw my full attention. What grabbed me, though, was two women being videotaped while doing a choreographed salsa routine. I asked if I too could video record them.

Later, after Ferhat and I ended our energy lesson for the day, I walked back to the bazaar for a gelato, and to revisit the water. Because it was a cloudy day and the sun was setting, I did not realize that the vast water was surrounded by the massive Taurus Mountains. It would take days for me to fully realize this.

I continued to explore. There were streets lined with shops, leading down, down, down... to another cove of water with what looked like pirate ships. It was dark by the time I happened upon this sight so I was not sure what I was seeing. I decided to come back during the daylight to explore futher.

Every day I explored, further and further from my homebase. Every day, I found more streets and stairs going up, up, up... to more and more spectacular sightseeing views. All along the way were intriguing bits of Antalya.

Honestly, some of my days in Antalya blurred together. Often the weather was rainy, cloudy, and cold. Sometimes I stayed in my room. One night, after reading my phone's weather app and seeing that the weather forcast called for rain all night until 15:00 the next day, I decided it would be okay to write through the night until 07:00 (7 am). I slept till about 15:00 (3 pm).

When the sun was out, I went out.

Here (below) are photos and videos of my explorations over the course of about four days. I will do my best to put them in some kind of authentic order. Please do not hold me to it.

Going down, down, down...

I took a little side route and checked out the mosque (that you will see) in the video below.

I walked past shops, some of which I definitely could have spent a boat load of money in... had I not aleady had too many too heavy bags and needed nothing. But, I mean, check out this cool jacket...

I am still stunned whenever I witness certain signs of affection...

So many Pinnochios...

Before leaving the shops, as I turned the corner, I saw a sign on a little cafe wall that I wanted to record. I thought I ought to say hello to the people eating at the table in front of the sign, since I was video taping in their direction. The woman was not happy about this. I apologize. I told her I was taking a picture of the sign and that seemed to calm things down. Still, maybe you could not look at the couple... just look at the sign on the wall behind them (in the video below). Thank you.

And then there was the parade of pirate ships...

I walked around the bend, up stairs, to a boardwalk kind-of-thing, out to a lighthouse. Here, I could view the ships I had seen, touring their passsengers into the Mediterranean Sea.

There were people hanging out on the whatever-you-call-this boardwalk dock lighthouse thing. There were people occassionally walking along with trays of food, sometimes propped on their heads. There were people fishing, drinking, talking, just being.

I do not tend to take many selfies. I thought I would on this day, though, just to let you know that I am indeed in Antalya, Turkey, taking these pictures. Selfie below. Taurus Mountains behind. Mediterranean Sea below them.

In the next picture (below), I zoomed in as much as I could, because I thought I was witnessing a fire. The "fire" continued (in the same spot) for a very long time. In fact, the "fire" was still in that same spot on an entirely different day. My conclusion: the "fire" was not a fire. It was most likely something glittering. Sorry.

In the picture below you will see remains of a castle. It may be Hıdırlık Tower. I promise that I will hike further up hills and stairs to find it.

I believe these next pictures are from a day or two later... when I hiked further up hills and stairs to find the castle or tower (as promised).

Same view from a different lookout point further up...

Driftwood rams fighting...

A wall of potted plants and planters...

An orange tree (they are all over the place)...

Choose your fish dinner (these are also all over the place)...

As promised, I did get to the castle or what I believe is Hıdırlık Tower. It seemed to be deteriorating and there was construction all around, so the area was closed off.

The significant thing that happened while I was up there, though, was meeting my twin-flame-dancing-soul-mate whom I shall now refer to as Dancing Mama.

I am making up the story that Dancing Mama was with her two daughters. She was with two women young enough to be her daughters, and they did look to be daughters/sisters. I do not know what their relationship was though. For the sake of telling a cohesive story, I am just going with this.

One daughter was choosing and playing the dance music. The two daughters sat on the wall watching and cheering on their mom as she danced. When I came upon the scene, I could not leave. Dancing Mama invited me in and, well, what's an Ami gonna do?

Dancing Mama was so happy I joined her, she threw me kisses. In the picture (below) you can also see the castle or tower (behind Dancing Mama).

When I stopped to video Dancing Mama, she seemed to get embarrassed and stopped. I totally get it.

The three women invited me for coffee. They knew no English and I knew no Turkish. I thought it best to leave them to visit with each other and continue on my own explorative way. When we were about to separate and go our own ways, Dancing Mama hugged me and said, "I love you." I totally get it. Dancing can be like sharing a joint and getting high together. It is an instantly bonding experience. We instantly bonded. I told Dancing Mama, "I love you" back. And, as often is true after partying, we parted ways and gone was the bond. Maybe the bond is not gone. I still love Dancing Mama.

I began to walk back toward "home." On the way, on a wall, I saw an interesting take on the Last Supper. Can you name everyone sitting (and standing and portrated) in the picture (below)? I can not. I need you.

I walked past the still mellow, pre-nightlife restaurant and bar area. I walked back where I had come from, through the tunnels of shops, to where I had first seen water, across the street, to the bazaar.

In the midst of the (still) crowded bazaar, I heard music. I followed the sound to a crowd. A group of people were doing a traditional Turkish circle dance while two young men played guitars. Onlookers crowded around.

It just so happens that I knew that dance. I had learned it in Cappadocia, on the street, by the fire, in front of the Monastery Cave Hotel-Cafe. So... I joined in.

People were video taping the scene. I assume the video taping was by tourists. Maybe locals. Either way, you may one day come across this scene on social media. Look for the woman beaming under the sparkly pink cap. That will be me.

I ended that two-dance day on a high note and headed home. That would make these next photos and videos a day or two later.

I do not know what to say about the photo (above). How about you?

This video (below) was taken because I knew I needed to go back to the castle (or tower) to take a proper picture for you.

I have been infatuated with Don Quixote since my adolescence. Not only was there a statue of Don Quixote (on the side of the hill as I walked from one lookout to the another), there was also a woman sitting in a lotus posture and a man standing erect next to her, next to Don Quixote. I thought the three would make an interesting compostion. Plus, the sun was setting. It was sublime. (See... below)...

The next area (in the video below) is what I believe is the pinnacle of the walkway I was on.

Hello Antalya. Hello Kitty...

I sat for quite some time, looking at the view (below), wondering how would I paint this?

Panoramic vision can look warped. Yet, it is kind of amazing that we can fit a full 180 degree view into one photo (below).

I had noticed the ferris wheel in the distance. It was pretty darn alluring. Flashing patterned colored lights drew in my focus like a naive moth to a seductive flame.

I sat on the stone wall looking out at this view for a very long time. I sat there looking until the depth of Nature's beauty finally opened my heart and soul and I cried. That happened on two different occassions on two different days.

I sat there wondering, how did the man fishing (in the picture below) get to that rock? There was a couple sitting on the rock wall, near me. At one point, the woman and I caught eyes, looked down at the man on the rock, then back to each other, and shrugged. Body language works. I think we both felt validated. Confused still, but at least we felt a sense of solidatrity.

After the sun set, figuring it would be dark soon, I headed home. On my way home, I needed to use a toilet and stopped at a restaurant. You would not know from the outside gate that inside, the restaurant looked like this (below)...

When I was leaving, the man standing at the restaurant door (who allowed me entrance to use the toilet) asked: "Where are you from?"

Just about everyone asks me: "Where are you from?" When the people asking are shop owners, and I am trying to just walk on by, I may not answer.

Once, after choosing not to answer, as I walked on by, I heard the shop owners guessing. "British" said one. "India" said another. It was pretty cool no one guessed "Amerca."

When I do answer and say: "America," people are impressed. "Ooo," they say, followed up with "...a long way" or: "New York?" If I shake my head at that guess, they sometimes try again with: "L.A.? Chicago?" Mostly, people guess: "New York," meaning NYC. I believe that for a large percentage of the populuation, New York (or NYC to be more accurate) and America are synonymous.

I have not met one person while in Turkey who has heard of "Vermont."

The person at the door seemed very excited when I answered: "America." He said, "I am Dutch. Amsterdam." The way he said it was as if he was saying,"Because you are from America and I am Dutch, we should get together." He said: "Instagram?" Most people I have met want to stay connected through Instagram. "No," I said, "I do not use Instagram. I use WhatsApp." "WhatsApp," he said, and opened his WhatsApp. I gave him my number.

Wait. What?

"Why, Ami," I can almost hear you asking, "Why did you give your number to a total stranger?" That my friend is a good question.

By the time I walked back to and arrived at my Airbnb room, there were many texts and photos from this man. He told me I was beautiful. He asked me if I wanted to get a drink (after he was done working, that night). He asked if I wanted him to get a hotel room for us (for after our drink). He told me he lives with his parents. He sent pictures of his family. He sent a picture of his Dutch passport. It was a very quick progression.

Let me break it down.

When he asked if I wanted him to get a hotel room I texted back: "Nooo." "Okay," he texted, and then he added: "Because I like you really," and then: "You're beautiful lady" and then: "I don't have a female friend here." Huh. For some reason, all those texts did nothing for me.

Then he texted: "yes okay" then: "we meet" then: "I am a polite man." I texted, "I think I need to back out. Sorry." The texts that followed were... puzzling.

"Yes okay" then: "I am a Dutch citizen" followed by a picture of his passport.

There were a few more texts after that, that I did not answer. The next morning, he texted: "Good morning, I will not go to work for three days, I am off."

This seems like a no-brainer. Just say no, right? And yet, I did not say no. Before I continue, let me backtrack.

We had talked more extensively than just that (very) odd sounding stuff (above). He had told me he was also a tour guide. He had told me he loved doing things in nature. He had sent me a bunch of his Instagram pictures to show how much he loved being in nature, or at least how much he loved taking pictures of nature.

I texted back: "Would you like to explore in nature today? I'm wanting to do that." I quickly followed it up with: "I am not looking for a boyfriend or a fling though. Just an adventure buddy!" He texted back: "Yes I understand you, okay." So, we made a plan.

I wish I had just said no. Nothing "bad" happened. I will say that right off the bat. I do not want you to worry. It is just that I felt mostly annoyed for most of the day with him. Maybe with myself.

He said he had a car and would pick me up. Then he said his dad had the car and he had to wait for him to return. Then it took a while for him to find me. When he found me, we walked back to where he had parked his car, about two miles away. In the car, he was an anxious driver, annoyed by other cars and pedestrians and traffic in general. There was a lot of traffic. We drove very far. He was annoyed a lot for a long time.

He talked about Trump, as if Trump, like NYC, is synonymous with America. He talked about not liking Turkish people. "I do not not trust them," he said. He said he did not like or trust other people - whole nations of people. He did not like Russians, the French... the list went on. He did not like every one, it seemed, except Brits, Americans, and the Dutch... from Amsterdam. "Just British, Americans, and Dutch... not Norway, Finland... just Amsterdam." I guess that is why he thought we were a good match. I am from America. He is Dutch from Amsterdam.

I am well aware that, being an English-only speaker, I may misunderstand people with limited English. I try to understand through what sounds to me to be a heavy accent, yet I do not always get the meaning right. I only understand English. My grasp of language is extremely limited. I try to give people whose first (second and maybe third) language is not English the benefit of the doubt. There may be a misunderstanding. It may very well be me.

I tried to clarify. I tried to ask questions. I tried to make comments. I would say something and he would smile. Even if I had asked a question, he would just smile. Sometimes he would say: "I understand you." Or he would simply say, "yes," and keep talking. I do not think he understood me. At one point I said: "I did not think we would not be able to talk."

We arrived at our destination, parked, got out of the car, walked, and then stopped to see the sight that he brought me to see. It was a water fall. I believe it was the Lower Düden Falls.

As we stood, looking at the Falls, he asked me: "Do you like me?" I used my Google translator (from English to Dutch) to say: "What you were saying is racist. You know?" He read my message and nodded. I added: "...generalizing about people from one nation as if everyone is the same." He said: "I understand."

I am not sure he did understand. If he did, I am not sure one Google translated message changed a lifetime of bias.

Despite all this, the waterfall was pretty amazing. Nature does not discriminate. It is beautiful and there, for all to see and snap a picture of. And record on a video...

I had not eaten. He did seem to understand this. We walked to a restaurant. The way that Turkish tea is made and served is often so beautiful.

I ordered Turkish breakfast. Plates a plenty arrived at our table. There was a plate with fresh greens, cucumbers and tomatoes. Another with two kinds of peynir and black and green olives. There were little bowls of tahini, honey, and jam to put on bread that filled a basket. There was a hot dish of menemen and another of plain cooked eggs. There was a plate of gozleme (stuffed bread). There was a plate with three items: a pile of thin, rolled-up, fried bread of some kind, some kind of fried hot-dog-looking-meat item, and French fries.

He had told me the food was for me and that he did not want to eat. Then he remembered me saying I do not eat bread. So he dove in. We also fed the cats. There were a lot of cats around.

Then we walked back through the park, toward the car. "Do you like me," he asked again. "I do not like what you said, before," I said. "I will take you to the mountains now," he said. You too may interpret this conversation in any way you can.

We drove very far to the mountains. In traffic, with cars, motorcyles, mopeds, pedestrians. Me and my anxious driver who did not seem to like most people. He seemed to like the police. A police car would drive by and he would wave. "I like the police," he said, "and the military."

As we drove through one area, he said: "This is where Russians live. They are very rich." He said this in what sounded like a disgusted tone. It made sense. He had told me that he did not like the Russians. Later, when we were driving in the mountains, we passed a parked car. He slowed down and waved. He said: "That is my friend," in what sounded like an excited tone. "He is very rich. His father is very rich." He said this in what sounded like a proud or maybe infatuated tone.

Despite all the annoyed feelings ramping up inside me, the mountains were amazing...

At one point we parked the car and hiked. Hiking in the mountains was the highlight of my day.

As the day came to a close and the sky grew dark, we could see the lights of a town within the mountains. 

We stopped at a place (still in the mountains), where there was a kitten by a wood stove in a large room with tables and chairs. The family who lived there served tea and kebobs that, if you liked (which we did), you could carry your food up a scary-tall, multi-floored tower, with little rooms with cushions on the floor.

My camera battery was so low I could not take more pictures. I had brought my charger but it did not seem to be working. While our kebob was being prepared, hanging out in the large wood stove room, petting the kitty, I tried charging my phone with my charger, his charger, their charger... but the battery continued to get lower and lower.

Longer story shortened, it was night-dark when my biased tour-guide day-travel-buddy drove me home. He dropped me off a few blocks away from my hotel. I do not understand a lot of things. I did not understand that. I still do not understand that. I walked home.

By the time I walked up the three flights of stairs and into my room, and my driver was long gone, I realized that I had left my sparkly pink cap in the back seat of his car. When I plugged my phone in (in the same way I had for the entire time I have been traveling), I realized that my phone had stopped working. My phone was completely dead and was not charging.

The next day, Wednesday (my last full day in Antalya) was the first gorgeous, clear-blue-skied, full sunny day since I had arrived. I spent about 7 hours of the day searching, finding, and waiting for my phone to be fixed. I had been told multiple times, at multiple shops, via broken English and Google Translator apps (on other people's phones) that my phone was too old to fix, that there was no longer a replacement battery for my phone, and that I may not be able to retrieve my phone's data.

The tech guy at this place seemed sure he could fix it. He replaced the battery and it worked. We both seemed very happy. Until I asked him to plug my charging cord into my phone.

It was then, while trying my cord and then his cord, that we realized the charging port was not working. He initially, unsuccessfully tried to fix it. He said that he could fix it, and that he would need three hours or so to do that. I prayed to the Gods and Goddess to make my iPhone 6S work again. I left my phone with a total stranger. And I went out walking.

I walked back toward my neighborhood. I walked to my restaurant. I ate. I walked back to and through the bazaar. I walked toward the castle or tower. I walked past the little shops that lined the cobbled streets...

At some point in Cappadocia, I had lost my sunglasses. They were the kind that fit over prescription glasses. That style of sunglasses seems to not be a thing in Turkey. Though I looked, multiple times in multiple shops, I had been unsuccessful finding a replacement pair of over-the-glasses sunglasses. So, instead of wearing sunglasses, I had been wearing my pink sparkly cap. Today, I was not wearing my pink sparkly cap. Because last night, I left my pink sparkly cap in the back of a biased tour-guide day-travel-buddy's car. And I had no way to contact him. Because his contact info was on WhatsApp in my phone.

While walking through the bazaar, I stopped in a few shops looking for sunglasses. There were plenty of sunglasses, but not the kind that go over or clip onto prescription glasses. I walked past shops with hats. There were plenty of hats and plenty of caps with brims, but nothing called out to me. Nothing said: "Come, shop here."

Until... beyond the bazaar, while rounding a bend, walking down, down, down a little cobbled street, toward the water, toward the pirate ships... a little shop, tucked in a corner, called me. "Come inside," it said, "I have what you are looking for." I went inside. And there it was... my new (purple) sparkly hat.

Me and my new purple sparkly hat walked in the sun to every lookout spot I had taken a picture from. The views from every one of those lookout spots looked more amazing than I had seen before. It was heart-breaking that I was not able to take pictures for you.

On the way back to my phone, I got a bit lost. Actually I got a lot lost. Somehow I walked a completely new path that dumped me out at a huge gate. I believe I was at Hadrian's Gate. In fact, looking at the pictures of Hadiran's Gate on Wikipedia, yes. I was at Hadrian's Gate.

Because I did not know where I was, I of course walked in the wrong direction. And then back, toward the right direction. So, that is why the whole fix-it part of my day took 7 hours (instead of maybe five hours).

I got a lot of walking in.

Even so, as soon as my phone was fixed, I walked right back to where I had been, through the bazaar, up cobbled streets, to the water, past the pirate ships, up stairs, to the castle remains. Dude, I got us those pictures of Antalya.

First, I would like to take a moment to say: MY PHONE IS FIXED. I am 100% grateful for all the powers that converged to make this so. When I (finally) found the shop, and walked upstairs to the fix-it-tech-guy's work space, the fix-it-tech-guy spoke into his Google Translator. "I was going to call you to let you know the phone is fixed..." it read. I laughed out loud. Of course he could not call me. He had my phone. I laughed and then I cried.

He told me my charging cord was dead as he handed it to me. It was dead. I did not need it. I handed it back to him. He handed me his charging cord, the one that had been attached to my phone, the one that had worked.

I took my now working phone and his gift of a working charging cord, walked downstairs into the shop to pay, threw my hands up to the ceiling (above which was fix-it-tech-guy's work space) and bowed... maybe three or four times. Maybe five. Maybe six.

I was crying and laughing and bowing in gratitude. 100% gratitude. I still have 100% gratitude that my phone is fixed. My phone is fixed. My phone is fixed. I am singing this. I am singing MY PHONE IS FIXED. Maybe you would like to sing along? Maybe you have something you would like to sing a song of gratitude for?

Second, I apologize that what you are about to see are the same pictures and videos you have already seen. I apologize that, even though it was the perfect picture-taking day, by the time I finally took the pictures it was no longer perfect picture taking time. By the time I retrieved my phone-camera and walked back through the maze of shops and streets and stairs to take pictures, the sun was lower in the sky and the views looked hazy. Still, I hope that taking this second look will be worthwhile.

First, I am wanting to share a picture with you of me hanging with my stone buddy, Don Quixote.

There were two Turkish teenaged-looking boys sitting on the wall by Don. I asked if they would take a picture of me. They did not understand my English. Somehow we figured it out. Somehow they knew I wanted one of them to snap a photo of me using my phone-camera. Somehow the other boy knew I hoped he would move out of the picture.

After we were done, the two asked me where I was from. They seemed so cool about the whole thing, with a touch of giggle and a smile on the side. They did not react to "America." They did not say "New York." We shook hands and touched our faces together side-to-side. My favorite Turkish style greeting.

You may notice (in the picture below of me and my buddy Don) that I am sporting my new purple sparkly hat...

Now, the rest of the pictures...

Here is a boat I had not seen before. I can relate to this theme...

In this video below, consider that a whole metropolis is built on a cliff.

Note the snow-covered mountains peaking through the closer mountains. WOW, right?!

Again... how did these people fishing get to that rock?

It was easier on this sunny day to understand why the Mediteranean Ocean and the beaches here are called the Turquoise Coast. It was easy to understand why Antalya is considered the "Capitol of Tourism."

It was a hard stay for me. But maybe, at a different time of year, with a friend to share it with, I will be back to Antalya. Maybe I will spend time exploring the whole Turquoise Coast. All the way up the west coast of Turkey. All the way to İzmir.

Tomorrow I fly to Istanbul where I will visit my friends Gökhan and AJ (who I met in Cappadocia) for one night. And then, I leave Turkey (for Malta).

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