Day 25: Cirali
A two year old boy was chasing a stray cat and was distracted by me. He approached my table and started speaking to me in Turkish. I nodded my head for a while, agreeing with everything he said, but he made a point about something that he felt was important and tilted his head to the side, waiting for me to respond.
“Hello sweet boy,” I said. “Does your mommy or your daddy tell you what cute curls you have?”
The boy stared at me and his mouth opened.
“It’s OK if you don’t understand my words,” I said, softly. “Maybe you can understand even if you don’t know my words.”
I smiled across the restaurant at his mother and gave her a little wave, to let her know he wasn’t bothering me.
He looked at his mother and yelled something to her. She stood and walked over, but slowly as if she wanted her son to have the space to figure it out for himself.
“I noticed you like cats.” I said. “Do you have a cat at home?”
His mother walked up and I said to her, “He is beautiful, and those curls.” I made a curling motion with my hand.
He talked to her in a very serious tone, then looked at me.
She smiled, nodded her head and said something softly.
The boy approached me and gave me a fast, hard hug.
I smiled. “Hey, thanks for the hug.”
The boy stood there, pulling on my shirt but I couldn't tell why.
The mother said, “He is want kiss you.”
“Ohhh.” I smiled. I put my cheek down and he gave me a peck.
I smiled at the boy and wanted to tell his mother what a sweet kid he is; maybe she could tell what I was thinking.
The boy walked away, then turned back and blew me a kiss.
I laughed, “Oh, really?” and returned the gesture and he laughed. We blew kisses to each other for a few rounds, and then he saw the stray cat sitting nearby and I was forgotten.
As it should be.
My evening plans weren’t until later, so I headed out to the beach.
A large family was building a sand castle where the kids directed the adults. A three year old boy and a five year old girl issued commands: Towers higher. Moat needs more water. A window here. More water in the moat. The various adults scrambled to do the kids' bidding. A worker made a wrong move and knocked down a wall, the kids squealed in protest. He quickly rebuilt the wall and the kids were right there to tell him how to do it.
Along the shoreline, other children were bouncing on brightly colored tubes in the water. I could hear them laughing from where I sat. One fell off her tube and went under water. She came up crying, then climbed back on the tube to continue to play.
I love watching children play: laughing, experimenting, failing, trying again, succeeding.
A grandfather, a father and a son found a place on the sand to fly kites: 3 generations of kite flyers. The father got the kite in the air and his son ran under the magic that lifted the kite into the sky. Then the boy ran to take over the holding of the strings; within seconds, the kite fell to the ground. The little boy ran to fetch it, and the whole scenario began again.
As it should be.
It was time to meet my British friends for an after dinner hike. They secured a guide who was more than happy to let me join the group for a night time hike to the Chimera, a place up in the mountains where natural fire burns out of a rocky outcropping 24 hours a day.
Why is there a fire burning in the middle of nowhere? There’s two bodies of thought: Either It’s either a fire-breathing monster that was killed as part of an ancient story, as in: he’s not dead yet, or the flames are part of a natural gas leak.
I personally subscribe to the idea that the fire has to do with a monster, but want to go and see it for myself. People brew tea over the flames and cook breakfast. We were going to roast some late-night marshmallows. I bought chocolate to go with our dessert feast.
I walked twenty five minutes and made it to the meeting place by 9:00 PM and texted my friends that I was there. They were driving from the opposite direction with a driver who was happy to pick me up on the way.
The driver had them text back, saying he wanted me to meet them somewhere else. I texted my friends to remind him that I was walking and it would be better for all of us if he drove to get me.
But… I told them where I was, again, at the designated meeting space. The driver had them text back that he didn’t want to drive that way. He would drive me home at the end of the night, but I needed to help out and walk to meet them in a different location.
On and on we texted. I could not jump in a taxi from where I waited, and if I walked to meet them, it would be down a dark, dark side road, which wasn’t a good idea for me to walk alone at night. And it was another twenty minute walk--without street lights.
The driver sent me a directive: be there in fifteen minutes or miss the hike.
I told them to go without me. My safety comes first.
Sad. I dragged my feet all the way home. I really wanted to go.
I got back to the bungalow. I really wanted to go. Sometimes a do-over isn’t possible. I leave Cirali tomorrow morning, I’ll never stare the fire monster in the eye.
I don't always get my way. I sat outside my bungalow and listened to the 24-hour Rooster Radio and ate some chocolate.
No fire monster tonight, but other adventures await.