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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....

The Seaside at Karataş



by Fred Moore - April 24, 2005

Today we did lunch with friends at a seaside restaurant called 'Mavi Kum' meaning blue sand. Our lunch was recommended by our carpet dealer, Ramazan Tas. Ramazan and his wife Julie and baby son Kenan joined us for lunch, along with Bill and Peggy Lawson.

Bill and Peggy, in their truck, Carol and I, in our car, left the base at 11:00 as I had phoned Ramazan earlier and told him we would meet them at the 'hosgeldinez' sign across the highway as you get to Karatas. That's a really great Turkish word meaning 'welcome'. We didn't know at the time but; we were also met by another family, at the sign, who had been invited to join the lunch group.

As usual we leave the base through the alley and make our way to E-5 the main highway to Adana. We don't go far into Adana before we make our turn south to the seaside, as Karatas is a small port village were a number of Adana folks drive for the day to enjoy the seaside. Our turn south takes us immediately beside the Hilton Hotel, which sits on the riverside in Adana. The street from there south to the city limits stretches my definition of the word, but it's paved and very busy. Trying to find a level driving surface escaped my driving capability; I simply tried to hold the car in a lane. The initial portion of the street has no median but one presents itself in fairly short order, it simply keeps cars moving in opposite directions from using the entire road surface as they sometimes do here. I feel a lot like I'm piloting a boat on a very unruly sea. The motion of the highway truly plays on my balance, and we're NOT moving that fast either.

Traffic is not unusual today so it's simply an ordinary drive, dodging potholes and the totally unpredictable pedestrian who makes a daily trek from one side of the highway to the other. The median tends to give them a respite between harried dashes. This isn't simply one individual but generally a family, father, mother and young children. Two-thirds of the way between the hotel and the city limits there is commerce of one sort or another on both side of the road. The median makes the drive even more challenging as it is nearly impossible to see from one side to the other because of young palms that are growing there. The challenge presents itself when someone on the opposite side is intent on making a turn into and across your lanes of traffic. The median doesn't begin to offer enough width for even a small car and the near zero visibility makes the driver on the opposite side turn into your lane just to see if your coming; remaining alert goes without saying. The trick of course is to look in a 360-degree radius of your own car 100% of the time. This makes driving very much a kin to an amusement ride, never a dull moment.

OK, we've make the city limits without incident, we now have a little time to actually look from side to side and see the country we're driving through. There are a good number of citrus groves along the highway as we make pass out of the city limits. We pass through a number of smaller villages, immediately past the city limits is Havutlu, then a short distance further is Dogankent and then sporadically we travel through Solakli, Gokceli, Yemisli and finally Karatas. We travel about 45 miles from the base.

All the time we're traveling south we're passing horse carts laden with fresh cut hay, actually roadside cuttings in most cases. The load is extremely green and has been loaded on the wagons in a manner that defies my explanation as to why it stays put. We don't see a wagon that isn't four to eight feet deep in this new greenery. We note a few piled ten or twelve feet high but it's not fresh cut grasses, it's brush or shrubbery. We've also noted with the recent rains everything is really green, hence the rush by these farmers to collect what they can. I'm certain as well that some collecting we were witnessing had more to do with family feeding than with livestock. As on every drive we saw the occasional flock of sheep and goats, as well as the small herd of cows. Each of these sights comes with a shepherd and sometimes more than one; they also are generally (especially the cows) grazing along or in the ditches. One small herd (these are from six to maybe fifteen cows) we saw had a couple cows in the ditch and it was very obvious one would not want a car in that ditch. Had we not seen the backs of the cows down in there we would not have realized how deep that ditch was.

We were also looking toward to tops of the power lines along this route, as this is the time of year for storks to nest. We saw none on the way to Karatas but several on our return drive. There are many fields worked with row after row of plastic sheeting in a semi-hoop greenhouse. These are maybe a meter wide and fields in length; they cover an entire expanse of real estate. What we've generally seen coming forth from these fields are watermelons. I'm assuming today that's what is under the plastic.

OK, we've made the sign just outside of Karatas so we pull to the side of the road and wait. It isn't more than ten minutes before Ramazan and family comes driving past with their horn honking. I've turned the car off so must start it to follow Ramazan, he's not aware of that however and makes little attempt to make certain we're with him. All right, to be fair he did slow down a little, and a couple times in the village of Karatas he did even stop to be sure we were there with him.

The restaurant was a straight shot through the little village and to the left at the seaside. Ramazan pulled into the tiny parking area through the gate at the restaurant and we parked along the street outside the fence in front of the place. They had parking for about eight cars and I was not going to get tangled up inside, it wasn't necessary anyway.

Once inside the gate we walked through the parking area and through a pavilion up some stairs past the seaside front of the restaurant, past some beautiful ice plant in full bloom to a covered pier. I was interesting as the pier has a list to one side as if it were a ship that had run aground and died in that place. We were offered tables both inside and out; with the coolness of the breeze we all opted for cover. The view was nothing short of awesome, with the dozen colors of aqua green the Mediterranean offers at every port and seaside cove.

It's now about twelve fifteen and Ramazan begins the drink order for everyone. At the moment we are alone in the covered pier, however that status does not last long. After drinks we get the bread and salads; there's a plate of spicy pickled peppers and cabbage, there's a chopped mixed salad with tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, romaine lettuce and whole black olives. We also get a salad specially prepared and served with fish; roka, garlic and sliced tomatoes dressed with pomegranate juice; this is on the bitter side but quite tasty on occasion. With these we also have calamari and a bulgar dish.

We've been at this lunch now for well over an hour and Ramazan is now ordering the main attraction, fish, what we have come to the seaside to eat. The waiter displays a platter of fresh fish; we opt for several different types and ask that it all be grilled. There are several orders of shrimp, an order of sea bass, one of lagos and one of something else. Every one of these fish probably have an English name but we simply are not certain what they are so for description, just know they are all white fish and they are all 'better than fine'. One of them is grilled so that when it appears it looks like a fish draped across your plate, another is filleted with the center bone removed and laid flat up on the plate, the third is cut and grilled in cross sections; as I said all are great. The shrimp is baked and delivered in a clay-baking dish.

After three hours we're through, the cost is unbeatable; forty dollars per couple, to include a very generous tip! It's seven hours ago since that incredible meal and I'm still stuffed.

As lunch was over and all of us were making our way out of the covered pier we met Mike and Laura Flynn on the walk by the bed of ice plants. They had been simply exploring Karatas for the first time and saw our cars parked at the restaurant and decided to see what was going on. They had no interest in lunch, it was past 3 by now anyway, but they were looking to find the local ruins discussed in their travel pamphlet on Adana and surrounds.

There was listed a castle and amphitheater and they thought it would be nice to see both. We had no knowledge of either and had not seen them, so we asked the young man at the restaurant about these ruins. He looked at the brochure and indicated they were unexcavated ruins but that a small portion of the theater could be viewed if we were to drive along the coast on a not-so-nice road.

Since every one at lunch had gone their own way by now, Carol and I decided to drive the hillside and check out this possible view. We got to our cars and drove away in the recommended direction in pursuit of these ruins. Carol and I took the lead; I had forgotten that we drove this route once before some many months ago. The road was paved to some degree but it was pockmarked and not well maintained. We ascended the hillside and drove next to a number of coastal flats. Some of these flats were single family dwellings others were major apartment blocks.

The road continued to narrow as we wound our way further up the hillside and into the country. As we crested the final knoll the road transformed to one of rock-strewn dirt and became one lane! We're now driving through ordinary farmer's fields, mostly winter wheat I would say. The view from up here though is nothing short of spectacular; we can literally see the wind caressing the hillsides of waving grain. The sea below and out stretched to the horizon is multi shades of aqua. The ripples of the sea are broken in a few places by the random fishing boat. The road is now descending into more country landscape, as it tends to fall toward the sea.

Up ahead there's a turn-off descending further down the slope into a home or what appears to be one anyway. I stop the car here and indicate to Mike who is following that I've gone as far as I care to; I pull down this turn off to turn around. It's much narrower than I anticipated and as I back around I back quite hard into the hillside cut of the road. That was a wake up call for sure. I've managed to crack my tail light lens! Love this off road stuff in a car like I drive, NOT.

OK, we've both made the turn around and as we head back toward where we've come, the hillside slope offers up a small cleared area that is plainly seating; we've located the amphitheater. At the same time there's a tractor approaching us from the rear, the edge of the road is graded to some degree here, so I pull completely of the dirt lane onto the edge of the slope just above the seating area of the theater. Mike follows me onto the road's edge and we get out to see the seating below. Interestingly, the tractor passing us is pulling a wagon with the family seated on the bed; they appear to simply be out for a ride. Back to our quest, the slope has a 45-degree angle and it appears to maintain that in a pretty consistent half circle. We're assuming the entire theater is under this hillside. That would not be unusual for ruins in this country; so many exist and so little money is available to unearth them.

We get back into our cars and make our way up out of here as slowly and carefully as we can. Once we're back onto the asphalt we make our way out of the village of Karatas to the main highway and back north to Adana. Not far out of the city I make a wrong turn and stop to tell Mike 'ops' the highway turned that way, as I point to the main road to our left. We back out of the entrance to this other road and I motion for Mike to take the lead, no use getting them further lost.

On our way north, we again note all the herds of cows along the highway. We also note the storks, now out in the fields, we assume in search of food for the young ones back in the nest. Their nests are huge, all atop the tallest high power lines. You can actually see the young feeding on occasion as they rise above the edge of the nest. You can see the adults very easily as they stand a foot above the edge of the nest.

I find the road surface most interesting as it's not your standard black asphalt but is a larger grade of stone than standard asphalt and is quite white or cream in color. This highway too, goes from four lane to two lane and back with little warning and it appears the object is for it to be four lane in the not to distant future. The amount of traffic certainly would seem to indicate a wider thoroughfare would be in order. Progress will come, in time, as it tends to here all the time. I sometimes feel like the interstates in the United States are always under construction, well roadways here suffer that same fate.

The rest of our drive home is without event and we've had a full afternoon and enjoyable as always.




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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