Road Rash

“Handbrake turns on the beach. What do you think?”

After a few hours on the road, we decided that racing a rented Renault on a deserted beach, and pulling 180’s with the brake sounded like big fun.

So we did…

It was our last Friday in Turkey. Since The Girl and her roommate, Haji, had the day off, we rented a car to explore the Aegean coast. Haji, is a Brit, but spent many summers in India, and likes to drive – that perfect combination of experience and youthful reflexes.

He got us out of the city, and started up the coastal road, with The Girl as navigator.  The Boy and i were in the back seat bickering like the Turkish Toddlers we’d become. “Get off my side of the car!” “Mom! He’s lookin’ at me!” The Girl handed back some snacks and told us to pipe down and enjoy our day out!

Stopping at a deserted seaside spot, we got out to enjoy the view. Absolutely breath-taking – even on a gray and windy day. Just as we headed back to the car, we were joined two gentlemen in matching uniforms, arriving in an olive drab Land Rover.

The language barrier with the soldiers was insurmountable, until one of the gents said “Dangerous”, with a sweep of his arm suggesting we move along. Which we did.

daisyfae: i kinda remember seeing a sign back there saying “Prohibited” or something. And “Do not stop to take photographs”. i wonder if that was a restricted military area?

We cruised along, none the worse for wear, to the village of Teos. Small fishing town, with some delicious old structures to conquer.

And perhaps the freakiest collection of feral cats we’d yet encountered.  Channeling “Children of the Corn”. These critters have perfected the “What are you lookin’ at, shithead?” look – popular at redneck family gatherings.

From there? Southward, to Pamucak Beach. Stunning expanse of sand. In warmer weather, this is apparently the perfect spot for swimming. i fell madly in love with the fiberglass corn shack – looking a bit lonely in the winter.  Wondered briefly if corn smoothies were the Turkish equivalent of popsicles…

Right around then, Haji suggested the handbrake turns. “Turkish Mom” had some reservations, but she was out-numbered 3-1.  The Boy was up first… and proceeded to execute a respectable turn.

Unfortunately, the sand was a teeny bit less accommodating than expected, and he dug the rear wheels about 4” deep in wet sand. Three young, able-bodied 20-somethings got out to push, as i rocked the Renault until we were clear…

“Chinese Fire-Drill” style, they jumped back in the car, and we hauled out of there – as a few curious locals were wondering what the fuck the idiot tourists were doing to their beach…

Off to Şirince for dinner! Mountaintop village, and home to regional wineries. To get there? A slightly harrowing drive up a mountain road, full of hairpin turns.

Just as i was getting cocky with the driving, attempting to pass a slow-moving car ahead of us, we came around the corner and i was staring at the grill of a bigass bus.  A thin guard rail to my right, protecting us from a tumble down the mountain.

Doing what any skilled driver would do, i stopped the car, closed my eyes, and concentrated really hard on not shitting my pants. Calamity avoided across the board, but my confidence took a gentle hit.

We agreed before dinner that i’d drive home, so my two children and Haji sampled the local wine with dinner. It was dark as we hauled down the mountain, half expecting to be chased by villagers with torches and pitchforks.

Cruising the mountainous roads back to their apartment, i was enjoying the hell out of the drive. Halfway back, Haji said “We need road beers!”

daisyfae: Not sure that’s a good idea! What are the ‘open container’ laws here?

Both The Girl and Haji assured me that they’d never seen anyone actually pulled over for anything since arriving in Turkey. And that’s with a police station across the street from their apartment.

“Yay!  Road beers!”*

We continued cruising along. Good roads, which were fairly deserted. Each small town would have a few traffic lights – apparently on timers. Red lights, with no other traffic for miles.

Once again, The Girl and Haji shared their knowledge of local driving habits, and told me there was no need to actually stop. Given that i’d been on buses all week where the drivers consider traffic signals a suggestion, i figured ‘what the hell?’, and rolled on with caution.

About a quarter-mile past the fourth light i’d ignored, we saw the internationally recognizable red and blue flashing lights. As i slowed to figure out what was going on, i could clearly hear the sound of beer cans being stashed.

The rustling wrapped up right around the time i saw the police officer in the middle of the road, signaling me to pull over with his flashlight.

“mother fuck”

daisyfae [rolling down the window]:  Good evening!  Is there a problem?

Had absolutely no idea what was going on, and decided i should get out of the car – if for no other reason, to buy some time for any further beer-stashing if necessary.  As i opened the door, he waved me on.

At least i think that’s what he was doing.  i still don’t know.  Drove on down the road, no chase car in the rear-view mirror.  Whatever he was looking for, it was apparently did not involve a middle-aged American housewife.

A potential brush with “Oğuz Law” avoided.  As was an opportunity for “Midnight Express – Family Edition”.

* Not for me.  i’m crazy, not completely stupid…

37 thoughts on “Road Rash

    • This was just one day out of the two weeks! Granted, it had a bit more in the “close call” department than our days of being tourists in Istanbul, but it was such a fab trip! With my kids… perfect.

    • This is a fairly recent (ie: past 4 years) development… i’ve always found ways to amuse myself, but the adventure factor went up when i became a full-time single empty-nester!

    • i figured that the bus drivers are used to running into cars on the tiny mountain road – and if he could get around me he would. and if he couldn’t he’d honk…

    • It’s got something magnetic going on… expect my daughter to stay awhile. I’ve had many adventures, and been lucky enough to visit quite a few spots on earth. This one is worth a return visit. Or two….

    • we were too busy ummm…. yeah…. well… for what it’s worth, i’ve almost completed an entire week of detox. my liver is considering thinking about starting to speak to me again…

  1. You almost sparked an international incident. You could have been like those hikers in Iran, except drivers in Turkey. Hillary Clinton could have been called in to save you. Missed opportunity …

  2. Whew. I also was holding my breath until the end of the story. Doughnuts on the beach in a foreign country. Glad you were able to extricate the car…. I don’t care what country I am in. When I am driving I REALLY hate seeing those flashing red and blue lights behind me. Even when they flit past me on their way to somewhere else after I have pulled over, I still don’t like ’em.

    • i have gotten so many speeding tickets over the years that my heart rate doesn’t even go up when i get pulled over. i consider it a driving expense, like oil and tires. for every time i’ve been caught? a million that i haven’t!

      • I have one speeding ticket and every time some hoon roars past me AND a semi coming up to an intersection I curse the flat-foot who sold me a ticket to the policemen’s ball!
        I’m actually pretty conservative, but I do plant the boot on an open road.

      • here in the US, we are occasionally solicited by the “fraternal order of police” — these phone solicitors promise us a nice sticker for the window of our cars that let John Law know that we love him.

        i have NEVER bought such a sticker. mostly because i’m pretty sure it wouldn’t work. guilty? yes. give me the ticket, sir. i’m late…

  3. I spent a fair bit of time in Turkey over the years. Slightly niffy on the old human rights front, but a very welcoming bunch. One of the world’s great cuisines, too.

    Bugger of a place to do business, though.

    • there are certainly some historical issues, and perhaps a few more bits of history being made… but the people i met were absolutely delightful! the food? addictive!

    • i am lucky to get a ton of vacation. but this year? i had 4 weeks planned for the second half of the calendar year — two weeks with the incredible edible nursemyra, and two weeklong dive trips in the fall. when The Girl moved to Turkey, the two extra weeks of ‘dipping into the vacation reserves’ became necessary. i am not currently planning any lengthy holidays until the bank recovers – both the leave bank, and the personal bank!

  4. Daisyfae, I’m completely flummoxed about why you have not taken me on one of your adventures. I’m a good travel partner! And I do love a good jaunt through Turkish streets with the threat of po-po in my rear view mirror.

    • you have access to giant horsies! there’s an adventure waiting if i ever heard of one! hoping to get to your part of texas one of these days – one of my favorite cities lies there, and if we could go out two-steppin’ at the “Broken Spoke”? i think there’d be stories to tell!

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