Odeon, Efes (Ephesus), Turkey

After our first night of immense partying in Mamaris, we went back to the boat and had to wake up at 7 AM for our overnight tour of Central Turkey.  It was a rough wake-up, with my buddy nearly puking on the bus, but luckily we made it to a rest stop on time.

Anyways, after taking ridiculous pictures at the ancient ruins of Ephesus and buying a leather Porsche jacket, we got to our hotel for the night, which was pretty nice, especially when it comes to sleeping on the boat.  However, it was full of 500 squids, just wanting to get fucked up.  My buddies and I tried to sneak out and go into town, but we were stopped by the staff who told us that it was under the order of our command that we stay in the hotel.  Not giving up and with the desire to get away from 500 drunk squids, I made someone lower-ranking than me pretend to be an officer and convince the hotel staff to let us sneak off.  So we proceeded to make the long walk into town.

It was pitch black and pretty cold, so when we got into town, we saw a cafe or restaurant open, so we proceeded to walk in.  When we walked in, we saw hookahs on the tables and thought, “We are definitely hanging out here.”  A Turkish staff member came up to us, and since he didn’t speak English and we didn’t speak Turkish, we just pointed a hookah and said, “One.”  We then pointed at a poster of Efes beer and put up three fingers while saying, “Three.”  So our night started out great, we were continuing our drunk fest, smoking hookahs, away from a bunch of drunk American squids, life was good.  We kept the beer flowing, the hookah lit, and the good times going.  Then, a black Benz pulled up to the cafe and then for some reason, we got scared and decided to continue on to our next venture.  Maybe we thought they were Turkish gangsters or something.

We continued into this narrow street which probably was the center of town.  It was dimly-lit.  I saw a phone booth that was lit up, but when I got closer, I saw bottles of wine inside.  I got excited and bought one.  While I was there, I heard that familiar sizzle of meat and smelled that familiar smell of meat being cooked up.  I turned my head and I saw a guy working the grill.  He screamed out, “Americans? You come over here and eat.  I make the best kababs in Turkey.”  Of course, being drunk, we were hungry as well, so we went inside his small restaurant.

Inside, we saw two guys dressed in army fatigues and holding sub-machine guns.  One of my buddies had this idea.

“Dude….we should take a picture with those guys.”

I thought to myself, “Hell yeah.”

So I went over there and asked if I could take a picture.  The guy behind the grill told me they didn’t speak English.  So I mimed a taking a picture motion and pointed at all of us.  They looked at each other and nodded their heads.  So I went over there first and took a bunch of pictures with those guys.  Then, all of a sudden, one of the guys hands me his machine gun and mimics the same picture taking motion.  My eyes probably widened in shock, and I said, “Oh…hell yeah!!”  So I took more pictures with the guy’s gun.

Then, not being in sound mind and body,  I pointed the gun at my buddy taking the pictures and said, “Hey, take a pic of me like this.” He freaked out and I was confused.  The Turkish gendarme guy came up to me, waved his hands up, took the gun from me, took off the clip, and showed me it was fully loaded…except for one in the chamber.  I sobered up right away and my buddies weren’t able to take a pic with the clip in the gun.  Sorry about that dudes.

But afterwards, the food came out and there were other guys there, so we talked about our lives.  It was an awesome moment for sure, just bullshitting with locals and drinking with them.  They brought out some raki and shared some with us.  They called me a pussy and laughed when I asked to cut it with water.  The guy who let us borrow his gun asked to drink some of our wine and my smokes, and of course I said yes (he had a gun, what else was I gonna do?, but I would’ve done it anyway of course).

Afterwards, we went back to the hotel room, I can’t remember why we bought a hookah, but we did and tried to smoke it in the room.  It failed when the charcoal fell to the floor placing a burn mark on the carpet.  We passed out because in 3 hours we had to get back on the bus and continue our tour of Turkey.

I truly felt like a traveler that day.  Getting to experience true Turkish culture, by not being on a tour bus, and scoring a ridiculous story out of it is what I left Townieville, Wisconsin for and not superficially by hanging out with a bunch of Americans I would see everyday for the next 6 months.  Onwards to the next story…

Now for your girl in a bikini…it’s only fitting.

It was my birthday this past weekend, so I decided to take a little break and spend time with a few friends.  It was a small couple get-togethers with a party at the gym for its second anniversary.  For a person who likes hanging out with tons of people, I’m really enjoying hanging out with the few close friends I have.   Of course, despite having a few small gatherings, it had its share of brief excitement.

Now to my stories (of course, names are withheld to protect the innocent): After we left the Persian Gulf on our deployment, our first stop was Turkey.  By this time, word got around that I was the guy to hang out with, so when we pulled into Mamaris, I was rolling with a crowd that was 10 deep.  When we got to the pier, we rocked up to the first cab we saw and I told the driver, “Look, take us to a place where there are no Americans.”  He tells us to get in and we roll down the streets of Mamaris.  As we go farther into the city, the city becomes shadier and shadier.  I hear from the backseats, “Dude, what is going on?”

I respond, “Chill, it’s gonna be alright.”

“If I die here, I swear to God, I’m kicking your ass.”

Finally the cab drops us off at this little green house.  It looked pretty rundown and the neighborhood was really shady.  As we pile out of the cab and walk toward the house, my buddies are bitching that they will kill me if shit goes wrong.  I admit; I was kinda nervous as well.  But when we walked in, we found this exquisite restaurant that was beautifully decorated and right there on the water.  We were stunned.  There was no one there, so the owner shot up and said, “Americans! Please come in and have a seat.”  After eating shitty boat food for a month, we were pumped to have an awesome meal.  And dinner was awesome.  Steak, lamb, wine, champagne….we just ate and drank like, well, ancient Greek sailors.

After we pigged out, we decided we wanted to talk to some of the local Turkish girls.  I asked the owner, “Hey man, where can we talk to some girls around here?”

The owner responds, “Oh, you want to talk to girls.”

“Yeah.”

So he picks up the phone and makes a phone call.  10 minutes later, a cab pulls up and a guy in a track suit walks out.  He talks to the owner and then walks over to us.  He asks us, “So you want girls?” We look confused and say yes.  He takes out his cell phone and makes a phone call.  10 minutes later, two cabs pull up and about 12 beautiful Russian girls, dressed to the nines, walk into the restaurant and form a line in front of us.  Mr. Track Suit says, “OK, here are girls.  Choose.”  We figured out what was going on and went with it.  After my exploits in Dubai, I chose to go last.  Almost everyone chose a girl, and the girls that weren’t chosen too a cab back to wherever they came from.  We, then snagged two cabs, drove to some seedy apartment, did our thing and left.

The rest of the night consisted of a Turkish bath, avoiding the squids, and trying to drink at 10 bars in one hour.  We didn’t make it, only because we were completely wasted and we had to get back on the boat.

Part 2 next time.  And it doesn’t involve hookers, sex, or going to jail.  In fact, it’s my favorite travel story and one of my most memorable nights.

Here’s your girl in a bikini for the day.  Obviously, she’s Turkish.