Friday, April 23, 2010

gimmie shelter

Dark rain clouds had been littering the sky for most of the day. I knew before long I was going to have to find some shelter for the night. What had shown on the map as a possible camp site turned out to be a water side restaurant with a nice tourist sign. Surprised at how busy it was I took the recommendation from the others dining here who were all sitting with plates of fresh fish and prawns. The owner led me back into the busy kitchen where I picked out a nice fat fish. I was really getting into this vacation shit. I ordered a beer that when delivered was paid for by the group at the next table. As two of the three spoke English we talked about (are you ready) bike touring, cameras, and music. As nice as it was chatting, those dark rain clouds had me worried that I was soon destined to get soaked. There was about 15-20 miles of paved riding to a large village getting there before the rain was my new goal.
After coming to a crossroad I turned heading for the bright city lights still another ten miles off. For the first time on this trip I was in sorta familiar roads as last year I had passed this way though in the other direction. When I came to the road construction that hadn’t progressed since my last trip I to laugh, I did as I had done the year before turning off the narrow paved main road and riding up on the empty wide smooth under construction roadbed. This was the best bike path yet. As I cruised past the shops on the narrow streets I wondered where I would find a room. The ten block Main Street busy with shoppers its café crowded with locals drinking Turkish coffee. I found the real recipe for good Turkish coffee (melts the spoon a prime indicator that you have made it right). I had always thought the ratio of coffee to battery acid was one to one but in reality it is one to six. The way you get that full burning effect in every cup. A lone taxi driver gave me the bad news that the Easter holiday had filled all the local rooms. Another six miles down the road was a beach side town that should still have rooms.
Déjàvu was this a repeat from last year. The same town he directed me to was the same place I had holed up from the rain last year. At least this time I knew the shortcut and peddled furiously as dark was chasing me. This is where it got weird. Just as I pulled into this next town I was forced to get off my bike as the streets were crowded with people on foot. A short lady popped out of the crowd. Looked right at me and said ROOM. I had to smile as this was the same owner’s wife from the same place I stayed last year in this same little village. With a big smile I followed her back to the same room as last year. If the sign had said Hotel California I would have run screaming. Now you have to know that she doesn’t speak a word of English. This whole exchange is being done just with nods and smiles. Settled in my room the rain came hard and fast for all of ten minutes. There was a festival going on and here I was right in the middle of it. A parade being led by a monked robed priest, tons of firecrackers going off, a huge bonfire, and me sitting back with a front row seat drinking some ouzo thinking this is pretty cool.

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