October 14-16, 2014 / Marmaris, Turkey
When we last left our intrepid travellers, they were escaping the tourist trap that is Bodrum for Marmaris...
It took us a few seconds to realize that the loud grinding sound was the rear axle of the bus scraping along the pavement. By that time, the bus driver had managed to pull over to the side of the highway as we watched one of the two rear wheels continue its journey towards Marmaris without us.
We've taken lots of buses in our time in Tanzania, and we've had plenty of tires blowout, but that was the first time that I've ever been on a bus that has lost a wheel.
Having safely pulled the bus over to the side of the road, the driver did what any self-respecting Turkish bus driver would do: he smoked a cigarette while talking on his cell phone. Within 20 minutes, we were crammed into the aisle of another company's mini-bus until the next town, and then ushered onto a third bus for the remainder of the trip.
The kids seemed to take all of this drama quite well, but the delay meant that we missed our 1 pm car rental and had to settle for a short evening drive down the Datca Peninsula. The next day, however, we set out on a 2-hour rolller-coaster-road-ride down the peninsula to the ancient Greek city of Knidos,.
Of course, no visit to an ancient site in Turkey is complete with out a stop at the restaurant next door -- I have never seen so many restaurants anywhere before -- so we enjoyed some kebabs and mesa's (cold appetizers) for lunch. Then, we heard a familiar voice: Dave, the Aussie, walked up the steps! They had moored their rented catamaran at the harbour, and were coming in for a bite to eat.
"Of all the cay joints in all the world, and you had to walk to mine," I said.
Okay, I didn't actually say that, but I wish I had thought of that at the time. That, or "Dr. Stringer, I presume", but I should probably save that line for Africa, come to think of it.
But back to the story.....
The four kids hung out together as Trish and I took a look around the ruins of Knidos- an ancient fortified city of 70,000 people -- and then Dave and Nikki took us out for a ride on their boat. We headed east under sail power, and then went for a swim in another crystal-blue bay. But as we were returned upwind to Knidos under engine power, the wind suddenly blew up and the waves started crashing into the hull of the catamaran and through the open port holes.
"Batten down the hatches!" I helpfully cried. I've always wanted to say that. As a non-sailor, I'm not exactly sure what that means, but it seemed like the right thing to say in this situation.
A mad scramble ensued.
Ten minutes and 20 litres of water on Jessica's bunk later, we forged on westward, fearlessly into the winds. After a quick round of happy birthday and some freshly-baked-on-board, cupcakes to celebrate Jessica's 7th birthday, we landed safely on shore and drove the twisty roads back to Marmaris.
So, as it turns out, had the wheels not fallen off the bus, we may not have had this little adventure. It just goes to show you the value of being open to what happens, and how sometimes, something bad can lead to something unexpected and great.
Fair winds, dear Stringers!