Day 8: Onto the Individual Competition; afternoon site seeing in Mangavat and Side

We began the morning by cheering on our former teammates in the 50’s event, who happened to be playing on adjoining courts. Bill had a much weaker opponent than Ken, and was able to cruise through his first round, 6-2, 6-2. Ken had a bit of a battle with a Swedish player who was seriously painting the lines.

Mike recalled his match against Chris Hearle of GBR when he saw the look of frustration on Ken’s face. Unfortunately, Ken lost in the third set. Ken is playing mixed as well as dubs, so it bodes well for his fitness in these other events now that his body won’t have to suffer the toll that singles would take on him. Plus I know he’s looking forward to sleeping in! He and USA teammate Mary Dailey of the Suzanne Lenglen Cup team cruised through their first round of mixed 6-2, 6-2, to advance to the second round.

Mike had a bye today, which was nice since we have not been able to get out of the tennis facility much. We had spent a couple hours last week in Side, which wasn’t enough and we had been wanting to return. Today we got our opportunity. After watching a few matches and a practice hit, we caught a cab, along with Bill and Dan (our friend from Portland), and visited a nearby waterfall that was like a micro-Niagara Falls, then back to Side for some meandering.

As we drove through the streets headed to our destination, we encountered two camels by the side of the road, which was funny since we were just discussing their existence in this country. Now we had our answer. Another thing we have noted was the extensive barrels above each dwelling…many attached to solar panels, indicating some sort of water heating perhaps. I’ve tried finding definitive answers on the internet, but haven’t gotten there yet…does anyone know?

A popular treat when walking the streets is fresh squeezed pomegranate and orange juice, the old fashioned way. We had it last week and it was so delicious and refreshing we had to return to the little stand where the guy hand pressed the juice as we watched. It did not disappoint.

When walking a new section of the ruins, down closer to the Mediterranean, we noticed that there were some components of the ruins that were still partially and mostly buried in the sand. It amazes me that these ruins, nearly 2,000 years old, are not more protected. People are allowed to climb on them, and in some instances, in the old hospital for example, there was graffiti inside one of the old rooms. It was sad to see that such an incredible national treasure would be desecrated in that manner. Most visitors, thankfully, are very respectful.

The rest of the excursion we walked in and out the little side streets, admiring the Turkish wares and fending off vendors. They are all quite aggressive; they reminded me of Mexican shopkeepers in their attention-getting strategies down to their haggling techniques. The only purchase qw made that day were some Turkish spices: Pomegranate tea, a fish and chicken rub, and some Turkish saffron, along with some candy. The shopkeeper was giving samples, and our friend Bill sampled one of the more popular teas, which was called “Viagra tea.” Pretty sure that was just a name to increase sales, but I’ll never know for sure, as I do not want to.

Back to the tennis complex for dinner, spirited conversation about the day, followed by another episode of Game of Thrones. The days have been so packed that we have not made it through an episode in the last several nights before falling asleep. Tonight would prove no different.


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