Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Thermal Without the H

It had been an odd week.  Valentine's day was pleasant enough with a fairly good dinner, creative dessert plates, good company and fun conversation, but it didn't quite meet my "perfect" criteria like other holidays here have.  I ended up spending my evening with four gay men and a librarian.  I love and care for each of these people, and am so very glad I have met each of them here.  Indeed some are very close friends and I don't think I could make it here without them, but let's just say that there wasn't much romance going on.  The following week was going to be a long one with six straight days of work thanks to some professional development scheduled on Saturday.  I  had canceled plans to go out of town a few weeks earlier because 1) I had gotten sick and 2) the new friend I've also written about had moved to town and was interested in hanging out a bit, so I hadn't been away for a while.

This past weekend though... I wanted to get out of town.  Leave Istanbul behind and get to someplace relaxing and peaceful where I could rest and change my pace.  A sweet little Canadian family of three and I had attempted a couple weeks earlier, to get to some hot springs called Termal  but had been thwarted by a full ferry.  Perhaps this would be the weekend to make up for that missed trip and to go exploring.  In my mind I imagined trekking to the springs on my own.  A sort of solitary sojourn for contemplation and rejuvenation.  It didn't quite work out that way. 

I mentioned my plans to try and get to the springs to a couple of friends.  Morikke and her husband and daughter thought that a repeat adventure (this time with success owing to pre-purchased ferry tickets) might be a great thing to do as well.  They didn't want to spend the night but they might join me for part of the journey.  Susan, my librarian friend was curious, but was headed to a travel junkie trip up by the Black Sea.  Prags, my best buddy had no plans but said to call him if I wanted company.  I waffled about making reservations because I didn't want to pay for a room, then not be able to get there because I couldn't make the ferry trip.  I always seem to like to do things on the spur of the moment.  Too much planning sometimes leads to missed opportunities.... so I didn't make any room reservations.  As a matter of fact, I didn't make any plans at all.

 Saturday morning arrived and I had slept in until about 8:38.  I know the time because I awoke to a text message.  Now at this point in ... a bit groggy, no coffee, nothing in the
house for breakfast.... I was kind of wondering what to say.  I had considered the question the night before and knew that to be safe, I would have to be on the 30D bus to Yenekapi by 10 AM in order to buy ferry tickets.  But what the heck was Susan interested for?  She was supposed to be on her way to the Black Sea.  Turned out the trip hadn't gone as expected and the plans had been scrubbed but she was packed, motivated and ready to go somewhere.  Thank goodness for me, because had she not texted me... I probably would not have gotten up.  Ok, so now I was semi-committed.  I texted her back that we would have to meet at the globe by 9:45 to be safe.  By the time we got it together, I had 30 minutes to shower, pack, and scram out the door.  It was then that I remembered Prags had indicated an interest.  Well, if Susan was going... why not Prags?  And then I checked my FB messages and figured out that Morikke, Jerry and their lovely little daughter were also going and had manged indeed to purchase ferry tickets on line.  So I texted Mr. Prags too.

So now we had a crew.  Morikke plus 2 made 3, plus me made 4, plus Susan and Prags made 6.  And then I got another text from Prags telling me that he was going to invite Liz, the new Australian pre-school teacher to join as well.  Well we might as well make it a party of 7 !   I splashed and dashed and threw a few things in the backpack.  I moved some money so I could afford the ferry and maybe a hotel and I met my friends at the globe -- a statuary of Atlas bearing the planet next to the MEF apartment entrance gates, and THE main meet up landmark.  We were off on a mad dash down the hill to the bus stop.  If we missed it... our only option would be a very expensive taxi fare.  We made it with time to spare and then the anxiety of wondering if traffic would allow for a timely arrival and if there would still be enough tickets for the ferry.  We did and there were.  Morikke and family were already there, so we bought our tickets and were off on our adventure!  I love adventure.  And truth be told... I was very happy to be in the company of these lovely people instead of on my own solitary ruminations.  I would be even more grateful before the end of our day.
Heading to Yalova

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