Carob trees along the Turkish coast hum with bees busily gathering pollen. Internet reviews claim that carob honey is something special, so it's strange that the many apiaries we came across advertised their pine honey. Our guide called out to each of these, and was invariably asked when he thought the tourists would return, since that is how they make their money. Vedat couldn't give them good news--the political instability was likely to keep tourists away despite the serenity of the area--but they appeared to maintain a good humour. At one point, Vedat asked if we could taste the honey, and was promptly brought a plate full along with four teaspoons. The honey had a distinct, piney flavour, and it was difficult to stop at just a couple of spoonfuls. I would have bought some, but there was no way I'd get the hand-sealed jars through Australian Customs. Unfortunately, the commercial, sealed jars are a blend of whatever honey comes in at the time, which wouldn't have helped these local apiarists and had little appeal to me as a souvenir. Bees weren't the only insects of note. At every meal while on the coast, Dave and I were constantly swiping away wasps. Apparently attracted to our water, the few that found us each time were so persistent that I felt the need to watch every time I put a fork to my mouth in case I swallowed one and it gave up it's friendly nature. I needn't have worried. They never stayed with the food.
Each day of our walk on the Lycian Way, a different dog joined us. It would spot us leaving town and trot to catch up, then lope along side us until it was sure of acceptance. The one admiring the view joined our guide, Vedat, and me as we arrived in town, then turned back to greet Dave and Julie when it heard them following. It slept on the couch outside our hotel room, then followed us for 17km the next day. Whether it had a collar or an ear tag, or was clearly a stray, each dog was well behaved with friendly eyes and nary a bark. They all had the same hopeful, but not expectant, look in their eye when we produced food from our packs, and would lap water from Vadet's hand when he poured some from his camelbak. Vadet told us of a time he'd received a call soon after arriving at his hotel. The caller asked after a dog that had followed them for five hours. Vadet began a defensive explanation of how the dog had followed of its own accord, and the owner assured him that it was a frequent occurrence but he'd appreciate if the dog were kept at the hotel until he could pick her up. The dog was nowhere to be seen, but a couple of hours later the owner called to say that the dog had found its way home. The dog in the tunnel escorted us on a walk along Pigeon Valley in Cappadocia. It climbed like a mountain goat and knew a network of secret tunnels. It would disappear into the scrub on one side of a hill and appear ahead of
I came to Turkey to clear my head by walking one of the best tracks in the world. The Lycian Way (pronounced Lickian) is over 500km long, but we've just done 70km of it from Kayakoy to Sydima over four days. I had expected to be walking fairly close to the coast, swimming regularly along the way, but the terrain rises steeply out of the sea, so we frequently climbed to 700m and had to suffice with the spectacular views of clear water nuzzling verdant hills. The rocky scree made walking more difficult than the average tourist would like, but the views and the Turkish people made it all worthwhile. Our guide, Vedat of Alternatif, kept us company each evening, helping to translate conversations with our B&B hosts, and sharing his knowledge of the country and any topic (music, in my case) we wanted to delve into. Our hosts were universally welcoming, usually making us feel like part of the family or old friends rather than visitors.
Dave did his homework on Google and already knew a few words of Turkish before we arrived in Dalaman. It helped that 'merhaba', one of the terms for 'hello' was the same in Arabic. When he opened up Duolingo to also practice French, I asked why he wasn't using the app to learn Turkish. He had thought it wasn't an option, but a quick search showed it was. I installed Duolingo and began catching up. I wanted to be able to say 'Nice to meet you' to our guide when he arrived. Useful phrases were further down the lesson plan than I expected, so by the time I found it, I also knew how to say 'The woman eats an egg.' Surprisingly, 'eat' was the last word in the sentence, as it is in Japanese. Our guide confirmed that Turkish and Japanese were from the same language group (Altaic), of which Turkic is one of the major branches. The others are Mongolian and Tungusic. Korean and Japanese are apparently debatable members, probably 'borrowing' from the others over centuries. Borrowing makes sense for vocabulary and writing, but I find it harder to believe they replaced a previous grammatical structure with the Altaic subject-object-verb format. How widespread is this structure now? Do modern Mandarin and Russian belong to the Altaic family? Does the verb still go last? If you know, please enlighten me.