Turkish Treasures

St Joseph Spanish Point

Mahmutlar,

Turkey.

13 July 2019

Hey Mam and Dad,

How are ye? Any news? All is well here, I made it to Turkey! The weather is very pleasing here – I heard there was another storm at home, I am glad to have missed it!

Stepping off the plane, I was hit by a wave of searing heat and the blinding glare of the midday sun. It was definitely a stark difference to the somber, overcast skies of Ireland. I lugged my bags into the airport and went through the tedious process of check-in and passing through security. When I was finished, it was a matter of wading through the sea of fellow arrivees and hailing a taxicab — which turned out to be half an hour of standing under the sun’s blistering rays whilst buried beneath a mound of luggage.

The next day, I decided to fetch some groceries from the marketplace near the center of town. The cobbled streets were teeming with throngs of people, the radiant glint of the sun kept at bay by a cover of assorted, vibrant sheets of cloth that hung from the stall’s scaffolding. The scents of spices, ripe fruit and freshly baked goods commingled in the humid air, wafting into the noses of exuberant market-goers as they bartered and chatted. Stall owners lured in customers and haggled over prices, shaking their heads in weariness and vexation when their prices were brought too low. Buoyant folk music intertwined with the babble of the marketplace, the lilting voice of a singer adding to the orchestra. Although I would have stayed all day, the growing crowd jostled me about and hastened me to purchase what goods I needed. I left the shaded labyrinth of the market and re-emerged onto the sun soaked streets, a tepid breeze licking the hair away from my face and prickling my sunburnt shoulders – one of the impediments of having alabaster Irish skin, I suppose.

Yesterday, a few friends rang me to let me know that their flight to Turkey would land that evening, and for me to expect them that night. To pass the time, I decided to take a walk to the beach. Once I was sufficiently daubed in sunscreen, I set off towards the promenade – the sun beating down and a growing, sultry wind ruffling my clothes. The cerulean water of the sea began to peek over the horizon as I neared, glittering like millions of crushed sapphires in the brilliant sunlight. White spume floated atop the cobalt waves and came to rest in a frothy trail along the shore. The golden grains of sand were like hot coals beneath my feet and, although I did my best to cross the strand both swiftly and prudently, my journey to the seashore was neither brisk nor sensible. My methods involved taking a deranged, sluggish run across the loose sand in a sinuous fashion, taking several sporadic and graceless leaps, as well as hissing a string of unrefined slurs. I eventually made it to the water’s edge, panting with a sweat beaded brow and hair in disarray, my feet scorched and throbbing. I enthusiastically kicked off my flip flops and let the salt water lap at my ankles – I don’t think I’ve ever been more grateful for the sea’s cool nip. I strolled along the shore until the sun started its leisurely descent towards the skyline, my feet sinking into the wet sand under the crystal waters.

I stopped into a restaurant after I left. The food was incredible! The chefs over here must use a miscellany of spices and seasoning – I practically drooled over it when the waiter brought it out. I have to show you photos when I get home…you’ll be so jealous!

Twilight began to darken the sky to bruise-like hues of indigo, violet and crimson. The setting sun cast a golden veil over the surface of the sea, its gently breaking waves shimmering under the dying rays of sunshine. I left the restaurant and meandered home as an argent moon rose to take its place in the sky, dousing the buildings and streets in a silvery light. Thousands of stars winked and glinted in the inky firmament like the dispersed remnants of ground diamonds, forming enrapturing constellations that left me gazing up at the sky in unadulterated wonder.                I eventually made my way back to the apartment before my friends arrived from the airport. We haven’t seen each other for months, so once they came, we sat outside chattering until the moon was starting to lower and the only sounds were the hum of crickets interwoven with our laughter.

I decided I might as well fill ye in on the craic. I’m going to be out here for another week, and then I’m coming home to Ireland. I hope all is well – I miss ye loads. Lots of love, Stay safe and I’ll talk to ye whenever I get the chance.

Caoilinn