Well here we are in our last week of our trip. Matt is already plotting his escape from going home. Missing flights losing passports have been mentioned! We are loving Antalya - we spent 5 nights at the "Blue Sea Gardens" Pansiyon which was the place with the lovely garden and pool. But the 5 of us sharing just two small rooms is not ideal so on the advice of an old couple at the Pansiyon Matt went and checked out apartments across the road. Well they are awesome we have a what seems huge villa two bedrooms two lounges and a pool shared between the 6 villas, however we seem to be the only ones around. The funny thing is we are actually paying half of what we were for our tiny abode across the road and we have loads of space which makes for a pleasant change.
Our new apartment front
And back - yes that is the road we are standing on and Bellies room is the overhang bit
We've been pretty quiet here just enjoying wandering the streets of Kaleici - the old town. There has been a huge amount of renovation since Matt and I were here 9 years ago with the streets being r- cobbled and many of the Ottoman houses restored back to there former glory. The kids love running down the narrow alleys and we never seem to go the same way twice. A few are still in need of restoration so the imaginations run wild as whether they might be "haunted" or not. We've had a couple of trips to the bizarre to buy mostly clothes for the kids with "Hello Kitty" and "Spiderman" being the hot favourites. This is were the haggling for price occurs and it's a funny old game which I don't really enjoy but we get there in the end and the kids are very happy with their wares. Check out Tob in his Spiderman jacket - it is very sun smart with a hood that zips down the front and sunglass eye patches to look out - and yes he insists on wearing it in the searing 37 degree heat. Prices have risen in the last few years here with many things comparable to home but you still get the odd bargain. I got some Demazin decongestant for Toby today as he was so bunged up with a cold ?allergy and I need to clear it before our plane trip. Anyway the 200ml bottle cost $2.30 which is ridiculously cheap. We also laugh how in the big cities all the same shops are in the same street or area, for example all of the stationery shops in one street or all the bike shops - not sure how the whole competition thing works.
Hello Kitty chats to Spiderman
We had a two hour trip out on a "Gullet" (that's a type of boat for anyone not familiar). Matt negotiated us a price so we could head out on our own rather than having to wait for the boat to fill up or do a 6 hour trip. Off we headed with our Captain down the coast seeing some awesome beaches, hotels on the side of the cliffs and a stunning waterfall. Two hours was plenty for Miss B who due to the boat railings (which were were wooden and like stair banisters but with a 1 1/2 foot gap between each one) had to be held by one of us for the whole time.
Our trip on the Gullet - Duden Falls in the background
We also took a trip to the local Aquapark which turned out to be pretty grotty and very limited as to what the kids could do so we were home by 2pm. In the evening we often have a picnic tea of bread rolls, cold chicken, hummus carrot sticks and fruit. I makes a nice change from sitting in restaurants all of the time and we get to see a bit of local life like sit and listen to some teenagers singing and playing the guitar or play alongside some Turkish kids. I did however find myself a little confused to hear Matt swearing at a Turkish kid around 5 years old the other day. Matt said he had come up and hit Toby and due to an apathy from the kids Mum Matt had decided to tell him off. As the kid couldn't understand what he was saying he chucked in a couple of swear words for good measure.
Tob heads down the slide
Bellie shows the big kids how it's done
Some things still amuse us even after 3 months. Like when you watch TV the blank out all cigarettes and pipes replacing them with a kind of hand drawn cartoon flower. I guess images of smoking on TV are banned which is funny really as we are sure about 90% of adults here smoke. Another is that the diet is so healthy and you rarely see an overweight Turk however all of the breakfast cereals seem to have so much sugar added - even special K is sugar coated. I saw an advert last night for these cocoa pop balls that are coated in chocolate - for breakfast!
Now I'm going to hand over to Matt to write about his trip to a football game:
Antalyaspor where playing Kayserispor in Antalya so I got myself a ticket. In the process I got invited to go with the owner of the shop(Mustafa) that sold the tickets and the shirts I had brought. I hadn't met him only talked over the phone as his lady in the store didn't speak English she would text him when I went in. His English wasn't great but he managed to convey where and when I would be picked up. I met him at his shop at 6pm and got a lift with his son, cousin and uncle. We got to the stadium at 8pm as it was 40km out of town and I left them to go to my seat. Outside the stadium was a fence which was patrolled by armed police on horseback. You get to the outer gate and armed police in riot gear are in two lines which you have to go through, at the end of the line they check if you have a ticket. I got to my gate, got my ticket checked and walked through a revolving door. On the other side I was patted down - out came my phone, camera and wallet. The officer was asking me something which I was unsure of so I said I wasn't Turkish, at which time he took my wallet. Feeling a bit nervous why he wanted my wallet I watched him open the coin part and take them all out. I had about 12 coins 8 Lira in total which he took and said "Sorry". He placed the coins on a desk behind him which had other coins on it as well as metal objects and knives. The sign above the desk had a warning of what was banned, flares, knives and guns! Brilliant I thought, like who wants to bring a gun to a footy match. A Turkish man approached me and told me why they had taken my coins. It was because the supporters throw them at the players so they ban them. On the way to my seat I saw a policeman trying to lock an exit door because people were trying to come in - when he couldn't he got out his handcuffs and locked the handles together. I made a mental note as to which door not to run to in case of a fire.
The sign of "NO's" at the entrance
Inside the crowd was small but noisy. The home supporters had drums and some great chants. One in particular they would start then other sections of the crowd would sing there part so it would volley around the stadium. The away supporters who numbered only a hundred or so where "caged" in a section down one end. The had fences 10 foot high around all four sides with a netting roof, it was crazy! The game started with a minute silence which the Kayseri supporters broke half way through with there chants. When that finished the Antalyasopr supporters went mental - fists where being waved and men were running at the "Cage" obviously wanting a fight. It was all on and the game hadn't even started. During the match there was a great atmosphere. The singing was excellent and the game was good to watch. It all turned though with ten minutes to go. The singing had changed to more aggressive chants abusing each others teams, and there was more provoking each other. Down in the "Cage" the Kayseri supporters ran to the front of their section and with fists waving started at the Antalya supporters closest to them. In return they rushed at them. Both sets of fans unable to get each other but that didn't seem to bother them. The riot police entered the Kayseri section and got them back to there seats. Then the all locked arms and jumped up and down singing. When the song finished they started breaking the seats and throwing them towards the Antalya section. With the net it was futile but did send a message. Loads of fans around me jumped up and raced toward them shouting and screaming. I sat quietly in a trance watching what I had only seen before on TV. I felt a bit nervous but it was so cool to watch!
The game finished 2-1 to Antalya and I met Mustafa in the carpark for my ride home. On the way home I asked what the supporters where singing but he wouldn't tell me. Only to say "Its bad and not football" He dropped me off near home at midnight. It had been a brilliant experience, if slightly different from watching RAFC at Jubilee park.
Check out the away supporters cage
Back to Rach: Tuesday night we had a real treat for the kids. Firstly we took them to an icecream cafe and let them have the biggest icecream sundaes you have ever seen for dinner. They were astonished that this was going to be tea "where's the rice" said Holly. After tea we walked over to the other side of town to see a lights and water fountain show. It was awesome the water spouts all danced perfectly to a series of classical tunes. It really was stunning and the kids were so excited. Matt and I felt ill all night after all the icecream.
Mmmm icecream for dinner
The next night was a treat for Matt and I. We booked a babysitter - who was the cleaning lady from the Blue Sea Gardens so that we could head out for dinner. The only other time we have done that was on my birthday so we were really looking forward to it. The babysitter arrived at 7.30pm with her 5 and 10 year old boy. They were dressed in their best clothes ready for an evening playing with our kids we presume. However our kids were in bed though Bellie was playing up and Holly and Toby had just gone to bed. So we waited till they all settled and left instructions for her to call if there were any problems and we'd come home. Now this lady spoke no English at all. After dinner we snuck past the back street window to see Toby up in the lounge with one of the other kids helping to put his spiderman jacket on. That's okay we thought and carried on down the street to have a drink before returning. Matt ordered his favourite a black russian usually made from Kahlua, vodka and coke. Ours was made with Cognac, instant coffee, coke zero, diet pepsi and eventually some vodka (after someone ran to the shop to get some) Not the flashest black russians we had ever had.
Anyway we wandered back across to our villa at about 10.45pm opening the door to find the babysitter her 2 and our 3 kids sittiing on the couch "happy as" Holly's description of the chain of events was very amusing. She the babysitter kept on coming upstairs to check them. Toby and then Bella got up and she came downstairs and told the babysitter that they would be tired and needed to be put back to bed. But the babysitter shook her head and waving her finger said "No no no no - no sleep" Holly says she eventually gave up after telling her that Mum and Dad would be "very missaapointed" So the babysitters kids got to play with ours, we had a fun night out and 3 grumpy kids the next day.
A late night playdate aka - the babysitter
Today is our last day in Antalya. This morning we headed to "Sand Land" a display of quite cool sand sculptures - it was okay but not really worth the trip. We had to catch a bus and a taxi and as per usual managed to attract some excitement on the way home. Our taxi driver was keen to drive us all the way which would cost us an extra $60 over taking the bus. We declined his offer instead getting him to drop us at the bus station or "Otogar" He drove like a maniac on the 10 min trip and begrudgingly pulled over at the bus station. Just as we were getting the kids out of the taxi a bus backed into it. There was a horrendous crash and the taxi jolted back. Matt and I were both on opposite sides of the taxi and were hit by the doors as the taxi lurched back. Thankfully the taxi driver was able to toot and get the buses attention to stop the bus. We were left feeling a little shaken and thinking what if the kids had been walking around behind or in front of the the taxi.
This afternoon it is just hanging by the pool for our last Turkey swim before heading to Istanbul tomorrow morning. We're on the home run now.
That's the "back end" of the blog tonight - Matt calls them Chocolate, Caramel and Vanilla