Arrivals, Departures, & Kas, Turkey

The weather shifted from hot to humid. My clothes clung to me like a scared child clings to their mother. The bus weaved back and forth on the cliffside drive in a hypnotic dance. Corner after corner we caught glimpses of the Mediterranean sea, sapphire blue waters glinting in calm, inviting bays. Our destination for the next few days was the small coastal town of Kas. I drifted in and out of sleep, eyes heavy with the satisfied weight of a traveler. I was on the road. The call of adventure stilled in my mind. 

 

Kas enveloped us as soon as we arrived. It is unmistakably Mediterranean, influenced by its close proximity to Greece, and uniquely Turkish. It’s the type of town I could while away weeks writing lost in the words and the dark eyes of the local woman. It’s both exotic and familiar all at the same time. The streets, narrow and winding, are lined with shops selling trinkets, travel destinations, and, of course, flavorful kebab cooking on every street corner.

Night fell quietly resting its dark embrace on my sun-kissed shoulders. My skin was dry, the product of a salty swim in the waters. I walked taking pictures and listening to the sounds. In Kas, the night is when the town truly wakes. It’s not an awakening like Ibiza with it’s erotic, sexual energy and thumping of clubs calling patrons from around to world to lose their inhibition’s for a few dollars, Kas awakens in the way a sunset envelopes the horizon: warm air, pink cotton candy skies, and an invitation to join fellow travelers in a special moment. Kas at night is a place to be cherished. 

Bogenavilia fragrant the air, creeping up the walls of beautiful Ottoman houses. Two or three stories, these houses always have small wooden balconies hiding more secrets and treasures than shopkeepers sell from gleaming ground floor shops. A dozen stores sell the same tourist memorabilia: beaded necklaces, Turkish carpets, paintings held together with color more than talent.  I do not stop. The jewels of the bay call me and my camera. Tall sailing ships sleep in the harbor, immune to the call of Kas’s nightlife, their days toil forgotten under creaking hulls and gently listing decks. Atop masts, lights sway in a rhythmic dance with the undulating sea, their soft glow painting the water below. I snap my shots, adjusting rangefinder and aperture to gather the light like a memento, storing it for eternity, for sharing across the internet to inspire others to travel, to get their fix of wanderlust without ever leaving their home. 

But I am a traveler and leave I must. I know this, accept it, cherish it. My passport is proof of a life of departures, yet I know with every departure comes a new arrival. Kas, with its beautiful nights, has arrived in its totality now. Obsidian black embraces the land, the heat of the day departed. I, for one, am glad. The heat often wilts me, in body and in spirit. Now, in this moment, amidst the scent of flowers, the tang of salt air, and a camera full of memories, Kas has shared her secrets. They have arrived, not by sea, or winding mountain road, yet arrived they have.  These are the arrivals and departures that make travel so alluring. Tomorrow, I will do it all again.