It was just after two in the afternoon when we arrived in Kusodasi, tying up just past Guverein Ada, a Byzantine island-fortress now apparently used as a restaurant-disco during the tourist season. The three passengers, an Australian with a backpack, a Frenchman with a suitcase, and myself, an American with a bicycle, were herded to the Customs Office where we were required to pay an $8 "port-tax" in any of 20 currencies. The customs officials then asked each of us whether we were traveling with Walkmen or other marketable items; as my passport was stamped a description of my bicycle was written in on the same page--I would not be allowed to leave -Turkey without the bike ...

After exchanging money at one of the many banks crowding the port area, I visited the local tourist office with Steve, the backpacker, then made plans to split with him the cost of a hotel room in Selcuk, 20 kilometers inland. As Steve received directions on where to catch a 'dumas'--the inter-town taxis found everywhere in Turkey--I began peddling east. Although the road had a few rough stretches, I all but ignored them; I was tingling with excitement from my first impressions: horse-drawn carts, shawled women working the fields, the red earth tones of Turkey. Europe paled by comparison. Perhaps halfway to Selcuk I was brought back to reality by the presence of an idle dog up ahead. I peddled faster, just in case, and sure enough--the chase was on. I won this time--but it was too close for comfort. I made a mental note to develop counter-measures against the inevitable attacks to come--that last character was looking at me as if I was dinner!

As I drew closer to town my senses were overloaded. A horse-drawn cart pulls up beside me--one of the men aboard reaches out, handing me an orange. Coming up on my right are what must be the ruins of Ephasus, once the second largest city in the Roman Empire. Even from a few kilometers away, the ruins are very impressive. As I approach the outskirts of town the road is now lined by large shade trees--I could be riding along a country road in Belgium or France. Through the trees on my left I see more ruins, those of the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World. I'm enchanted by everything I see. A pair on an approaching motorcycle waves and yells something, then loops around to join me.

"Where are you from? Where are you headed?" then, "Are you interested in handmade carpets?"

As they motor along beside me-I tell them that I have an interest, but have no money.

"Do you have a Walkman? Levis?" I am asked.

Amused, I explain that I must meet a friend in town. They acknowledge, and U-turn back the direction they were going.

Continuing on, I pass a few Turkish soldiers at the roadside, and am duly impressed--heavily armed and big, I pity anyone pitted against them.

Steve and I had made plans to meet right outside the town museum, and I have no trouble finding the museum--it's the one with Roman pillars laid on the asphalt, as parking chocks! Steve's around the corner and apparently he's found a hotel for 750 Turkish Lire/person/night. At $1.90/person it's a pleasant introduction to Turkish prices. Steve's also found a friend who, after introducing himself to me, invites both of us to his shop for a cup of 'chai', tea. We're escorted to a carpet shop and it's an hour before we manage to escape. (A note here--beware of Turkish carpet salesmen-- they're persistent and they're everywhere!)

 
 
Roadside homes outside Selcuk.
 
A Turkish market.
 
 
 
 
  Next: Ephasus  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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