January 31, 2009

Fethiye Conversations
Fethiye, Turkey

Pushing on all the way to Fethiye since two scheduled CS hosts canceled my stops in between

Engin, my CouchSurfing host for the popular summer city of Fethiye wrote yesterday evening that it'd be his preference that I arrive today (Saturday), not on Sunday (as it's his only free day and he wanted to do an activity like trekking). I told Onur the news last night, who was expecting an Aussie CouchSurfer on Sunday anyways. So, after 11 nights in Bornova with the university kids, I moved on.

There was a tremendous amount of moderately arid, rocky landscape as I bussed south, until the vehicle passed over a range of mountains after the (apparent mining town of) Muğla. After, it was lush and green and full of orange trees and farming.

The ride was typically uneventful, saved for the slightly annoying bowtie wearing bus attendant that discovered that I spoke English about three hours into the trip, after which he proceeded to try and chat me up when I all wanted to do was just chill silently.

The same company that bused me to Fethiye also provides free shuttles to their satellite offices in town. This seems pretty typical of Turkish bus companies, as is an attendant that serves beverages and snacks for the duration of the comfortable journey.

Engin happens to work in a lovely marina shop next near one of these offices, and I scheduled my arrival to coincide with the end of his workday. The shop he co-owns is a technical marine shop, providing yacht parts and other services (that he contracts out to third parties).

Engin, Taylor and his sister

I discovered that a pair of Canadians (brother and sister) had been staying with Engin for the past week, and that the sister was busing back to Istanbul tonight, ultimately returning to the Vancouver area (after having traveled together for the past five months). The girl is only 18—a spunky redhead that acts like a theatre major in high school.

Taylor is just 22, but has been traveling a lot recently. His time in Africa sounds very interesting, as does his method of travel: hitchhiking. Has nearly 700 hitches under his belt, and has been traveling exclusively like this for while now. He desires to go from Italy to Australia by any means but plane, hopefully by hitching.

He's a vegetarian, with sort of an Into the Wild attitude, and an outdoor backpacker with stove, pot, and sleeping mat in his pack—certainly not an urban backpacker like me. He's also a CouchSurfing Nomadic Ambassador with quite a bit of CS experience.

It feels very nice to speak with a traveler with some experience under his belt, regardless of his youthful age. He seems to have figured a lot out, but still has a lot of room to grow (especially in the areas of safety and security for person and possessions).

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