|Last day in Selcuk (SELL-chook), a name derived, by the by, from the Turkic tribe which first came to the region of Asia Minor, prior to the Ottomans. Having driven through the tourist trap known as Kusadasi, the other jumping off point for Ephesus, I can heartily recommend Selcuk for those not inclined to getting blind drunk every night. Which means I probably won;t see any Acadia students in Selcuk.
Eschewing a third tour, I decided to test the local transport system and jumped on a dolmus, or mini-van, at the bus station, heading to the public beach at Pamucak, reputed to be sandy and uninhabited by drunken Australians singing "Waltzing Matilda...". I loved Australians until I came to Turkey. Anyway, a dolmus has no set departure time, people just keep getting in until it's full and then the driver takes off.
That part worked fine; no one told me there are no signs for Pamucak, so I was the last guy in the dolmus when the driver turned around and looked at me quizzically. "Pamucak?" I ventured hopefully. He nodded in the manner of a guy who has seen this tv show before and set me off at a point where a dolmus was heading back in the other direction, as I'd overshot it.
Nonetheless, I made it, and Pamucak is something of a secret. There were only two other foreigners there, and not very many Turks, either, considering it was a Friday and it was once again 42 and sunny. Unlike the foot-destroying stones of Loutraki, this was actually sand. Nothing can compare with Greece's side of the Aegean but for what will likely be my last sun and beach day of the trip I was a very happy camper indeed.
In the afternoon I tried walking around looking for the new Crisler Library in town (it was closed), so I laid low out of the sun with an iced coffee, had a fine and cheap dinner at Ejder (thank you Lonely Planet), and composed my thoughts for the very last section of the tour. Tomorrow it's a longish bus ride to Canakkale, for which I hold some trepidation. Selcuk has been such a success I fear Canakkale, with what I've heard about Troy being so disappointing, will not give me much to do for four days. Still, maybe I should give my groin injury a rest, finally. And my brain. Never the brain. So much still to do, so little time.
The Taleban killed a 36 year-old British doctor, Karen Woo, last week. She was part of a team taking out medical supplies to a part of Afghanistan near the Pakistan border, by horse and mule, a really arduous journey. They killed her for nothing more than being a Christian. Walking through places like Priene and Ephesus, looking across the fields at the prison where they jailed Paul after his address to the Ephesians, where Christians had to use secret signs to let each other know they were not alone, here we are, 2000 years later. Christians like Bush, Blair and Cheney invoke the Crusades and act like the Crusaders did--and folks, the Crusaders were murderous criminals. So angry Muslims strike back any way they can. Two cute kids I said hello to on the street today asked me my name. I told them, and they gave me their names. We high-fived. They followed me down the street on their bicycles, their broken English getting steadily more aggressive, a lot of stuff involving middle fingers, lifted fore-arms, pointing at crotches and the f-word. I stood for something in their eyes. I can't say they were wrong.