Crouching toilet, hidden paper

We’re near the end of our leg through Turkey; politics, mountains and new Daring Dynamos have meant we’ve been here longer than expected, but nevertheless, we’ve had an awesome time and our leg from Izmir to Olympus has been an eventful one. Here is the story of that journey.

Prior to leaving Izmir, we headed out to town and indulged in a few of the local brews. Tobias, being slightly smaller in build than Tom and I, may have reacted to the alcohol at an increased rate. After going through the formalities (where do you live, what do you do, what’s your name, etc.) with a Dutch/Turkish girl, it was apparent to her that Tobias may have been a little tipsy:

“Tobias, you look like you may have drunk too much” she suggested cautiously

The look of anger was obvious on Tobias face, but he managed to control his dyke of fury and calmly replied, “Well, your belly looks like you may have eaten too much of that fruit” gesticulating toward a bowl of fruit on the middle of the table

This signaled the end of the conversation, and in turn, the end of our night. The following morning, we were back on the road.

We made our way to Fetiye, a super touristy destination, with many holidaymakers that looked like they were pulled straight from Blackpool beach. Tops off, tits out was the order of the day, and the tattooed Brits abroad did not disappoint with their perfectly salmon pink skin, “It will go brown tomorrow luv!” Despite the infestation of sunburnt Brits, the place was beautiful and we got to visit a beautiful cove named “Butterfly Valley”. Hidden away from the main beaches, and only accessible by boat, this valley provided some breathing space from the main town and some pretty awesome cliff jumping!

By chance, a friend of mine was holidaying nearby with her family (don’t worry, they didn’t fall into the Brits abroad trap). We were lucky enough to meet up with them for a night in Fetiye and the chance to see some pretty good traditional Turkish music. It was a fantastic night that we all enjoyed, thanks for making the effort to come and meet us Jo, Nats and Matt.

Having cycled across the entire width of Europe and after spending four months on the road, Tom and I hadn’t suffered a single puncture. Having cycled 250km and after spending 4 days on the road, Tobias suffered his first. Since then, Tom has also been hit twice with punctures, and we are now getting adept at the process of stripping down the bike and performing the necessary procedure.

The cycling has been tough, mainly due to the hills, angry wild dogs, and the heat (50oC on the road). Climb after climb in a blazing inferno, has seen the three of us resting in the shade and sweating profusely (literally like someone had turned an internal tap on). One day, I drank over 14 liters of water and didn’t do a single wee…that’s when you know it’s hot. If you want a better idea of how hard it has been, go to a sauna, take an exercise bike and set it to about 75% resistance, then pedal for around 110km…

This being Tobias’ first couple of weeks has meant he has really been thrown in at the deep end and will not be ashamed to admit, that at times he has wanted to stop early and just sleep. But, credit where credits due, the lad has pulled through and completed some monster days on the bike, albeit sleeping at every single rest stop we had and professing that there is no possible way he can take on the next hill.

The tough terrain we’ve encountered has inherent rewards; down hills and spectacularly breathtaking views to name a couple. The mountain scenery here is un-expectantly luscious and could be likened to that of a rainforest in SE Asia. We’ve also been lucky enough to have some pretty amazing camping spots; deserted beaches, lakeside mounds, olive groves, and the not so desirable inner city building site, where we spent the whole night listening to stray dogs, beeping cars and crowing cockerels.

Another obstacle we’ve had to deal with in Turkey is the dreaded crouching toilet. If anyone can explain the logistics of this to us, that would be much appreciated. There is no grab bar nor toilet paper, the floor is always wet (meaning your shorts getting covered in the previous users deposits), and there is always a bucket next to the basin. This logistical nightmare has given us an unexpected appreciation for the sit-down toilet, demonstrated by high fives and whoops whenever we are lucky enough to stumble upon one at a service station!

It’s been so hot here, that since leaving Istanbul we’ve slept outside every night we’ve camped. Sleeping under the stars is great, but we are waking up with handfuls of mosquito bites, sweaty and wet sleeping mats, and Tom has woken up with a few wet sleeping mats too.

After 5 nights super tramping, cycling every day and not having a shower, I’m sure you can imagine how we smelt and looked. Our stench is something we are now used to, and the bemused/gagging look that we get from locals who brave to sniff near us, is something that we have now come to ignore/relish. Nevertheless, the shower we received upon our arrival at Kadir’s Tree house hostel, Olympus, was certainly well received.

The hostel itself is pretty cool, a shed load of…sheds, right near the beach, with a tasty breakfast and dinner included. Only trouble is, there is no meat in this hippy joint, so we are currently searching the local shops for some form of dead animal to eat.

From here, we are heading to Antalya, where we will pack our bikes into boxes and entrust our babies lives into the hands of the ever-competent baggage handlers. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing crisis in Syria, it is not feasible for us to cycle from Turkey into Africa, so we have to fly into Alexandra in order to start our North to South journey of Africa.

Having experienced the unforgiving Turkish heat, we are slightly apprehensive about cycling through the Sahara in the height of summer. But, at the same time, we are unbelievable excited about the physical and mental challenge ahead of us, and the rewards that lie in wait for us after completing our task.

We hear the weather in England is good, and in perfect time for the Olympics too. Hope you are all enjoying it, thanks for reading, and if you have a spare buck or two, please visit our Just Giving page and get donating.

Love x

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Posted on August 1, 2012, in General and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Well done, guys; you’re doing brilliantly! Busy in the office, Phil …. not that that’s of much interest to you, I know. Butterfly Valley sounds awesome. Take care. M

  2. I went to visit a toilet museum called ‘flushed with pride’ up near Alton Towers and apparantly crouching is how nature intended…it provides better support to the abdominal muscles and reduces the need to wipe. It’s how the SAS do it, but then they also put their poops into little plastic baggies and carry them around with them to prevent the enemy finding them so maybe they’re not entirely sane! 🙂 x

  3. The further south you get the worse the toilets will be…. you will be looking back at the Turkish ones with fond memories!!

  4. So about the toilets, I’m currently living in Ethiopia – the country with the lowest amounts of toilets per capita, in the world. Taking a dump requires some strong quads, good balance, and being nimble with the toilet paper in hand. As for the dirty floors, my sandals have not seen the light of day for some time. Hiking boots are almost always on, and pants get rolled up so they don’t dip down into dung.

    Tobias has told me that y’all might be coming through Ethiopia sometime soon. If so, my wife and I may have a place for y’all to stay. We’ll be moving into our house on August 25th or 26th. It’ll be in the north of the country in the Tigray region near the Eritrean border. The city is called Mekele. Until then we’ll be in Addis Ababa, the capital, which is in the center of the country.

    Safe travels until then and, as they say here in Ethiopia, Ayzo! (be strong).

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