Day 1: We arrive in Fethiye at around 8:30 in the morning after spending the night on the bus since it's about a 12 hour drive to go from north/central turkey to southwestern turkey. They divided us into 2 buses for the drive down, The Party Bus (aka The Drunk Bus) and The Sleeping Bus (my bus). Unfortunately for The Party Bus, The Sleeping Bus ended up with more action as there was a fight between the Palestinians and the Azerbaijani's, who were on The Sleeping Bus, at one point during the car ride and The Party Bus ran out of alcohol about 2 hours into the drive. Sucks to be them. Luckily nobody peed on The Party Bus this year, which apparently happened last year. There are no bathrooms on these buses. That means that someone peed INSIDE the bus. Drunks are gross.
Continuing, we got to Fethiye at around 8:30 and had to wait around The Party Bus's hotel for a couple of hours since The Sleeping Bus's hotel was not allowing check in for a few more hours. Thankfully we were supplied with breakfast and were able to look at their pool and water slide that was inhabited by a group of heavily tattooed and overweight Brits in their 50's. Finally, after about 2.5 hours of waiting around, exhausted, and still wearing underwear from the day before, they took us to The Sleeping Bus hotel, which was the nicest hotel that I've been in out of the country for a long time. Not only was there a swimming pool, but our rooms were in apartment style with 2 rooms for 5 people, a kitchen, bathroom, and living room with a television, they fed us both breakfast and dinner, and there was live music in the evening. After checking in they took us to the beach for the rest of the afternoon, where we swam in the stunningly clear and blue water that was warmer than the swimming pool back at the hotel, and where we wandered around town for a few hours trying to find something to do other than get sunburned. Because Fethiye is famous for its paragliding, people were landing their parachutes right on the beach, and the sky was filled with them. The really bizarre thing about the town of Ölüdeniz (the beach town next to Fethiye) was that there are so many British tourists there that all of the menus are in English, all of the prices are listed in pounds sterling, and all of the pubs play UK soccer matches and advertise traditional English breakfasts (you know, complete with baked beans).
Day 2: We were taken on a chartered boat trip around the "12 Islands". Booze was free, drinks were free, lunch of freshly caught fish was provided. The boat would toodle around the islands surrounding Fethiye and would periodically stop off in little coves so that we could jump off of the boat and swim. I was brave and jumped off the top floor, thereby making myself look braver in comparison to the stupid European girls who were too busy tanning and bitching about how hot it was. At one of the islands that we stopped off at we were able to get off and hike for a while. And my ankle was feeling good enough to walk around in sandals and without any sort of wrap! Hurray! After getting back from the boat trip and eating dinner almost all of the other students went out to a karaoke club, but since I'm an old person and get tired really early I went to bed at 9:30 instead. Luckily I had Hilla as my roommate, who is also an old person, who went to bed at the same time as me so that I didn't feel like too much of a loser.
Day 3: Holy fucking shit adventure day! We started out the day going to Tloss, which is a huge shit storm of an archaeological site complete with Roman amphitheater and stadium, Ottoman era fortress, Lycian tombs, and cult shrine to Belerephon and Pegasus. It has these awesome tombs just carved right into the cliff face that looks like a building facade but made out of cliff. Think Petra but not quite as cool. I just sorta drooled all over the site while the rest of the students looked properly bored. Luckily I had Hilla tagging along all over with me, and Sarah (other friend, also American but from UCSB) mountain goating all over everything so I didn't feel like the only person enjoying myself.
After Tloss we were taken to by far the strangest restaurant that I have ever been to. It was a trout farm, but it looked like a real rainforest cafe. The seating was all outside, with big leafy green trees everywhere, waterfalls, pools with giant trout in them, really delicious fresh fish that was probably swimming around 2 hours before, and these elevated tree house looking things were you could sit on rugs with cushions and eat your food. They even had a bar where they had carved a channel through the middle of the counter that had water and small trout swimming through the bar. But the channel wasn't covered by anything so you could just stand there and pick the fish up. I think I stood there for like 15 minutes trying to pick up a fish. I kept walking around saying "What the fuck is this place?!" I think that whoever takes this idea to the states is going to make bank. James said that it would probably never fly because there are no health codes in Turkey so the fish bar would be out of the question in the US, and if it was able to open in the States that you would have to sign a waver to eat there. But I can still dream, can't I?
Following the strange trout farm experience and on our drive to Saklıkent Gorge The Sleeping Bus broke down. Apparently, whenever the driver stepped on the gas pedal the bus didn't go, but it felt more like the bus was jerking and moving slower than I walk. So we had to stop off at this little restaurant/tea house on the side of the road while they fixed the bus. It was another one of those bizarre moments, where 40 some odd people all of a sudden flood this tiny little tea house and just sort of milling around waiting for our ride to be fixed. At one point 15 of us just sat on the curb, transfixed watching a woman making these crepe things. I felt a little bad for the poor people, especially since less than 10 of us actually spent money there. But then finally the The Party Bus came to retrieve us and take us to the gorge while The Sleeping Bus got fixed.
The Gorge. Holy. Fucking. Shit. Awesome. Most of it was just walking through the river/stream that ran along the bottom of it. Because there is apparently no such thing as a lawsuit in this country, part of the hike consisted of wading thigh deep across a river that had just come off of a rapid. And the water was freezing cold. And it rocked. The rest of the hike consisted primarily of walking through the shallow stream that went through the gorge and periodically climbing over slipper marble rocks that obstructed the path. This was all well and good going up, since you could stay relatively dry. The hard part was going back to the entrance and having to slide down the rocks, with the stream. Almost all of us ended up soaking wet, especially since usually you would end up stepping into a pool that would be knee deep in water and you wouldn't realize it until you had already stepped down into it. At one point I fell backwards into a pool so that the front of me was dry but my back was drenched.
Now for bonehead Sarah move of the week. At the end of the hike, after managing to keep my back relatively dry to preserve the state of my camera, I decided to ask someone to take a picture of me while I was standing thigh deep in the river. As I was handing my camera to the guy to take the picture, the string for the camera got caught on my finger and I dropped it in the freezing cold water. Luckily the memory stick with the pictures is fine, but the camera is completely shot. So this is why there are no pictures up yet, because I was dumb and broke my camera.
And that ends the story of the Fethiye trip. After finishing at the gorge we were able to change into dry clothes and drove back to Ankara. I managed to dry my underwear on the seatback table in front of my during the drive.