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We will send regular newsletters to our members who have signed up for receiving it during the registration. In 'mymerhaba' newsletter, our editorial staff provides updates, with regard to any information related to places worth visiting, viewing, or otherwise worth knowing, for those who care to know more....

Botas Seaside Drive

by Fred Moore - May 2005

Carol has just returned from morning Chapel, where she plays piano and organ. I suggest we go for a drive and do lunch at the truck stop on the autobahn; it's a nice day and we should take advantage of it. As is our usual routine driving out east in the country, we leave the base and make our way to the main highway and then onto the industrial park where we can connect with the east/west autobahn. Once on the autobahn, the truck stop is not far to the east; we probably drive only thirty minutes to get there.

The highway is excellent and today we see few cars on it; we see far more trucks as they traverse the country carrying freight of every description. I know I've talked of it in the past but I still marvel at the loads on some of these trucks; I can't imagine why gravity doesn't simply turn them over on the curves. Most of the cars we encounter are moving far faster than we are. Every once in a while I'm in the far left lane and one of these speeding cars gives me the blinking light routine; meaning simply, get out of my way! For that reason, I generally stay out of that lane. The big trucks are the only things I pass and I don't pass many of them. As we descend the entrance ramp to the autobahn it curves downward and then begins a very gradual climb that seems to last for a good while. We've had a good deal of rain lately, so everything is green and beautiful.

Carol has the camera and intends to get some pictures of the scenic views in our wake but it's far too hazy for some shots. The roadway too, raises and falls through this area of rolling hills, which make photography difficult for her. The sky is filled with broken cloud cover and the sun makes an appearance every now and then. As we make our first gentle curve, a mountainside comes into view demonstrating the horrors of modern progress; the extraction of road building materials have made this majestic edifice a monumental scar on the landscape. From level with our line of sight to nearly the peak of this mountain earth moving equipment has torn the rock to bits. Should the destruction continue, this mountain will no longer even be a slight hill. I would suppose this super highway we're currently plying is drawn from a very similar edifice; I very much like the roadway but still feel down by what it takes to create it. Here comes the truck stop up on our right; I slow and pull into the exit lane and into the parking area. We'll park just past the service station in front of the restaurant. Again there are few cars here, but the trucks are plentiful; they park both in front of the facility and to the rear. It seems out of character, but there are few buses here today too.

We walk up to the building and into the main doors; immediately in front of us, a little to the right, is the serving line. We're quickly greeted by the server standing behind the line. This is a cafeteria-style facility; everything is fully displayed before your eyes. A number of waiters approach us and welcome us as they ask what we'd like to have. I turn to the one to my left and greet him warmly, as he is 'right there', the others simply fade away. I begin by pointing out the soup; Carol has one variety, while I have the other. Carol's is a yogurt based soup (called wedding soup, the name escapes me at the moment) while mine is a spicy lentil (by name, Mercimek). I have an eggplant and ground beef combination stew as a main course and Carol has a baked chicken dish, probably a quarter of a chicken. I say baked because it's displayed in a tray of maybe twenty portions and could have come from the oven that way, but it's also quite wet in the tray. It's almost a stew like mine because it comes with potatoes and peppers; some Carol indicates are very (spicy) hot.

We're seated in the family section of the cafeteria and have a lovely panorama of the mountains in the not too distant view behind the truck stop. Since it's such a lovely day, many of the truck drivers are enjoying their lunch on the extensive patio out front. The windows are huge and most all of them are fully open so we feel as though we too are sitting outside. This is a very large building and there is plenty of seating inside. In the center of the dinning area is an island where the cashier is seated. We're not settled hardly before our server brings over our soup accompanied by a plate of sliced tomato and cucumber, with lemon wedges, and fresh parsley. He also has a tin of pita bread cut in quarters for us. I use the lemon wedge to squeeze into my soup; I know what you're thinking, put it out of your mind, it really is great in the soup. There are two real staples in this country; lemons and parsley; you will get them at nearly every meal. This is some great soup too! Carol eats the parsley and tomatoes; I eat most of the cucumbers. Once our server notices our soup is finished he brings our main dishes and asks if we need anything more.

While we're enjoying these tasty entrees our server returns to the table with another gentleman; he's introduced as the boss, Abraham. As is our usual experience in this country, the gentleman is very gracious and expresses his gratitude that we would have lunch in his facility. We used our meager Turkish to express our thanks and told him, it's very good food. He invited us to return; that we'll certainly do, it makes for a nice change from our local restaurants. Once Carol finishes her chicken and veggies she asks the waiter if she can get desert. She gets up to accompany him to the line so he will know what she wants. When they return, he is carrying a honey soaked bread kind of thing covered with nuts and sugar water. I know that does NOT sound all that appealing and I can't make it sound much better; however, Carol has always enjoyed it.

As always, meals in Turkey conclude with the serving of tea. This one is no exception; our waiter brings the tea and our check--today's lunch costs right at ten dollars. After tea we make our way toward the door; we're intercepted by Abraham who wishes to thank us once again for coming, as he reiterates his invitation to return. We get into the car and get back onto the autobahn where we head further east. It isn't far before we decide to turn south toward Iskenderun Bay on the east end of the Mediterranean Sea. I've decided to get off at the Yumurtalik exit, which actually is the Botas Petroleum Station exit. (It's funny this exit is designated Yumurtalik, because there is a great deal of country between this exit and the actual village of Yumurtalik.) Once we get through the tollbooth, we start down the ramp toward the west. We don't get far before our roadside bursts with color; brilliant red poppies, purple/blue lupines, and yellow flowers resembling a daisy; the color is simply splashed across the countryside. The road is still a very nice four lane with wide shoulders so I pull over; Carol gets out to get a photo of the flowers. Almost immediately, as we continue on, we view the sea off to our left, but it isn't real clear. We continue on and as we crest the next hill we fully confront the Mediterranean Sea; there are a number of ships in the bay at anchor, the sea is very calm. I believe this station is the terminus for an Iraqi and/or a Russian oil pipeline. There were at least 4 giant piers out into the Bay. Again, the haze is such that the sky and the sea appeared to be one. The highway continues along the coast for a good distance but we're on the inside of the four-lane and can only barely see the water over the guardrails. When our highway comes to an end we turned off to the left onto another road that is paved but NO highway. This is barely a two-lane road and according to the little sign that appears to the side of the road now; we're headed toward Incirli and the water's edge.

Our view gets much better as we traverse down this winding country road toward the Sea, and then as suddenly it vanishes as we drop over the crest of the hill. We begin to descend into this tiny village; there goes a car right past me, he obviously knows the road down this hill; I can't even see past the next curve. Near the foot of the hill we've come to a crossroad; I decide to turn right and try to get closer to the waterfront, however, it isn't to be. Between the roadway and the beach is a sidewalk and some weeded area, then there are a number of small buildings covering what beach there is before the water's edge, we're not completely sure what they are, but they are certainly not villas. We figure they may be for the fisherman of this area; there are a few people milling about around several of them but we have no definitive answer. The road has some very serious speed bumps laid out across it; assuring me that someone here is determined to make folks drive slowly. On the sidewalk there are a couple of cows too; they appear to be eating some pretty sparse greens. Pastures are not something you'll see here, cows are mostly free range and generally in the company of a sheppard who walks them around the ditches and other public green spaces.

That was a short drive, we've just come to a controlled entrance and I'm not in any hurry to find out how their security works; I'm simply making a U-turn and head back the way we've come. Once I get to the road where we came down the hill, I go right past it, on to see what's over the next hill. I don't go far before a large van comes up behind me, I get over a little so it can go by; it appears to be full of children. The road has now taken a turn up the hill again. It's still a paved road but I use the term road very loosely here. The roadside is a blaze with yellow daisies, and there's a house every 50 yards or so, until we crest the hill. Now we're at another crossroad, we'll go right toward the seaside again. Here we go again, we're descending a pretty significant hill and then we're going right back up the other side. At the top of this hill there's a fella sitting under a tree as he cares for a herd of cows, there's probably 12 or 15 in this herd; they're on both sides of the road and completely oblivious to our presence.

Carol's pointing down the road now, there's a cut off carved into the hillside that leads up to the four-lane. We turn onto this entry ramp and I decide to pull over so Carol can get more flower pictures. The color is just radiant here, the red of the poppies, the yellow daisies, and the purple/blue of the lupines make a mural of the countryside. Carol has taken one photo of poppies contrasted with the rocks of the hillside, beautiful. The haze of the morning is dissipating now and the view out toward the sea is striking.

The countryside is seven shades of green with all the rain we've had and is, in a word, beautiful. I feel like I may be over using that word but the scenes before us on this afternoon are nothing short of awesome. Back on the four-lane now, we stop again for more photos. The sea in the distance is turquoise and as it washes ashore the white caps lick at the sand. After pictures we move on to the next side road, we once again turn toward the sea. Again, we're not going to get there, but I turn off toward the right and make my way to the next country road. While coming across the four-lane I noticed this little road wandering up the mountainside and thought it might be fun to drive to the top; I figured the view would be incredible. The road makes the standard meandering adventure as it ascends mountain, the dodging of potholes add to the adventure. As we break over the crest, I stop the car again for some more photos. Forget the seaside view; the countryside stretched out before us is just lush with grain, evergreen trees and a vineyard in the distance. I decide to get out with Carol as she is going to take more pictures; I can't believe the vast expanse we can take in from up here.

Almost immediately out of the car I hear this sickening hiss coming from under the hood, the water is boiling out all over the shoulder of the road. This is going to present a real challenge, as I'm no car person; I get into the car and do the obvious; I release the hood latch and then go open it up. I have a problem, no question; my immediate concern is how serious is my problem; I choose to accept it as 'minor' (the roadside just isn't that wet) and go to the trunk for my gloves and the water I always carry. There's a cranberry juice bottle full of water in the trunk; I take it back to the scene of the challenge and open the reservoir for the radiator and begin to pour. Oh, good, it fills without taking the whole half-gallon, fortunately, that reinforces my analysis. We're fifty plus miles from the base and decide the prudent course of action is to make our way home. I put things back together and get in the car; we've decided to forego the air conditioning this afternoon, it's very nice out anyway and it should help keep the strain on the engine to a minimum. I make a U-turn on the hilltop and head back down this winding, pothole-filled roadway. At the bottom there's a service station and we stop to fill up the water bottle and a couple others that we have with us; we always carry drinking water. The temperature gauge has NOT moved since the incident, I don't remember seeing it move to begin with, but I do not wish to take any chances so the air will remain off.

We make our way back to the highway, and onto the tollbooth. I collect the ticket and head for the entry ramp back home. The gauge has made no attempt to move. We onto the autobahn and I've decided to keep it slower than normal, I do 60 instead of the usual 75. It isn't long and it begins to rain, it is pouring now. This helps to cool the car even more I feel, still no heat shows up on the gauge. We make it home without incident and the water level seems fine. I can't add any water; I guess it wasn't all that serious a problem--a GREAT ending to a full afternoon.




Fred´s Farewell
A Day Trip in January
Drive to Roman Ruins
An Autumn Drive
Cappadocia - Once Again
A Trip to Ephesus and Pamukkale
Fred´s Tarsus
Northern Cyprus Over Thanksgiving
Cilician Drive
Kocatepe Mosque - Ankara
A Visit to Anıtkabir
Fred´s Weekend in Ankara
A Day in Anavarza
Driving in the Heartland
Spontaneity by Fred
A Trip to Soğanlı and Gülşehir
An Antakya Weekend
A Weekend Around Adana
A Rainsoaked Adventure
A Mediterranean Adventure
Fred's Bor Adventure
Fred's Weekend Escape to Ihlara
Fred's Lecture on Carpet
Fred's Weekend Away
Uzuncaburc with Fred
Museums of Cappadocia
Göreme - A Different Way
Night Train to Ankara
Cave Home Tour
A Trip to Kayseri - Özkonak
Kastabala in August
A Bittersweet Adventure
Silifke, Anamur and more
Around Adana
Catalhoyuk & Aksehir Adventures
Nigde Exploration
Cappadocia Again
Kahramanmaraş Again
A Trip to Kayseri - Sultanhani
A Morning Walk
Sunday Lunch Overlooking the Lake
Fred's Kahramanmaras
Holiday Drive to Mersin
A Sunday Drive to Yumurtalik
Fred's Tarsus
Fred's Cappadocia
Botas Seaside Drive
Fred's Konya Museums
A Bus Tour to Antakya
A Walk with Cuddle
Ankara Again
Gaziantep Museum by Fred
Moores' Anniversary Weekend
Shopping in Sanliurfa
The Seaside at Karataş
This is Ankara
Tour to Gaziantep-Harran
Trip to Konya
Birsen's Horizons
Fred's Trip Logs
Bahar's Views on...
Business World
From Members' Pen
Interviews with Members
Moms & Kids Corner
Pets with Dr. Demirel
The archives of The Guide
The Archives of Turkishtime
Teen's world

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Fred's Trip Logs
Fred´s Farewell
A Day Trip in January
Drive to Roman Ruins
An Autumn Drive
Cappadocia - Once Again
A Trip to Ephesus and Pamukkale
Fred´s Tarsus
Northern Cyprus Over Thanksgiving
Cilician Drive
Kocatepe Mosque - Ankara
A Visit to Anıtkabir
Fred´s Weekend in Ankara
A Day in Anavarza
Driving in the Heartland
Spontaneity by Fred
A Trip to Soğanlı and Gülşehir
An Antakya Weekend
A Weekend Around Adana
A Rainsoaked Adventure
A Mediterranean Adventure
Fred's Bor Adventure
Fred's Weekend Escape to Ihlara
Fred's Lecture on Carpet
Fred's Weekend Away
Uzuncaburc with Fred
Museums of Cappadocia
Göreme - A Different Way
Night Train to Ankara
Cave Home Tour
A Trip to Kayseri - Özkonak
Kastabala in August
A Bittersweet Adventure
Silifke, Anamur and more
Around Adana
Catalhoyuk & Aksehir Adventures
Nigde Exploration
Cappadocia Again
Kahramanmaraş Again
A Trip to Kayseri - Sultanhani
A Morning Walk
Sunday Lunch Overlooking the Lake
Fred's Kahramanmaras
Holiday Drive to Mersin
A Sunday Drive to Yumurtalik
Fred's Tarsus
Fred's Cappadocia
Botas Seaside Drive
Fred's Konya Museums
A Bus Tour to Antakya
A Walk with Cuddle
Ankara Again
Gaziantep Museum by Fred
Moores' Anniversary Weekend
Shopping in Sanliurfa
The Seaside at Karataş
This is Ankara
Tour to Gaziantep-Harran
Trip to Konya

Focus On
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Fred's Trip Logs
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