x0x Dalyan from the sky
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x0x Dalyan from the sky
By AKGUN AKOVA
Looking at Dalyan from the sky is like an anatomy
lesson where the body is geography. The canals
below you spread like green veins.
"When the waters of the flood receded, the Oaxaca
Valley was a swamp.
A handful of mud came to life and began walking.
Turtle was walking very, very slowly. His head
stretched out, his eyes wide open,he moved
forward, roaming to see the world that the sun had
brought back to life. At a place that stank,
Turtle saw Vulture eating carrion. `Take me to the
sky,' he said. `I want to meet God.' Vulture made
him repeat his request several times. Turtle poked
out his head to plead, and then, because of the
unbearable stench, retreated it back into his
shell. `You have wings; take me up,' he begged.
Tired of this insistence, Vulture spread his great
black wings and took off with Turtle on his back.
They flew through the clouds as Turtle, his head
pulled in, complained, `You smell revolting!'
Vulture pretended not to hear.
Who knows how many times I had gone through the
reeds in a boat, over the blue crabs and past the
nests of birds. Just once I wanted a bird's-eye
view of all this, all together.
This bird's-eye view was secured for me by a
two-person aircraft called the micro-light. It
could take off from a 200-meter runway, and even
if its engine stopped could easily land like a
Immediately after takeoff we were met by slight
winds that tested us.
As we climbed higher the winds eased off, but
chopping began in the blue of the Mediterranean
and the green of Lake Koycegiz.
A minute after we were airborne I looked down and
murmured, "One day the angels looked down from the
sky and saw green snakes!" And indeed the water,
slowly running among the maze-like reeds, did look
like snakes slithering along the ground. But the
canals I was describing as snakes had, since time
immemorial, been reaching the Mediterranean where
fresh water mingled with salt. Dalyan is the place
where Lake Koycegiz meets the Mediterranean: a
dreamy piece of water....
And where it ends you find the sand dunes of
Iztuzu, where the sea is rarely tame, as the waves
chase each other like white-faced children,
tossing off foam as they batter the shore.
SCORES OF BOATS
As we roam through the sky the rays of the sun
glance off the water and dazzle me. Down below the
summer visitors are riding forward in boats
through the maze of reeds, which in the fall will
turn a golden yellow. Flat boats are used in
these waters because they don't churn up many
waves. Riding past as fish known in Turkish as
`kefal' jump out of the water, the passengers see
the ancient tombs carved in the rock cliffs above.
And they float past the fish garths, which are
slowly collecting their catch in nets. Before long
the Mediterranean will greet them with a mother's
embrace of waves. As they run to throw themselves
into these waves, they will forget all their
unhappiness, all their heartache, and all their
hopelessness. The only thought in their minds will
be that they are dolphins. Dolphins giving
themselves up to the water in order to swim the
whole length of the Mediterranean.
These thoughts were passing through my mind as I
contemplated the boats, when suddenly a stork flew
by below us. Meanwhile the archeologists were at
work in the ruins of Caunos, while on the beach
tiny people played ball. The planted and plowed
fields looked like daubs of paint on an artist's
palette. There are people taking mud baths who see
us but don't care, their only thought is that the
mud is giving them health. As we fly over the
town, the swimming pools in the gardens of the
hotels look up at us like blue eyes.
Out on the Mediterranean the cruise boats have
cast anchor at an island so the passengers can
have a swim. This island boasts a small
lighthouse, and because of a hole that resembles a
cave is called `Delikli Kaya', The Rock With A
Hole. Divers, tempted by the extremely clear
water, can pass through the hole in small
SEEING THE TURTLES
The divers are down at the bottom, so I can't make
them out, but I do see the tracks left by sea
turtles on the sands of Iztuzu when they crawl up
on the beach at night to lay their eggs.
At the door, with a beaming smile on his face, was
Uncle Osman. He hugged me tight. I was up early
the next morning. His woollen saddlebag hoisted on
his back, Uncle Osman had already taken his cows
out to graze. Climbing among the little streams
and steep rises, I was breathless by the time I
caught up with him. We reached the foothills of
Marsis and, skipping over rocks and precipices,
wound our way up to its 3200-m high summit. While
I rested, totally winded, Uncle Osman kept an eye
on the cows through his binoculars. Ten minutes
later he stood up again. `Rest up,' he said, `but
budget your time so you'll get back down again
before it gets dark; otherwise I'll worry.' And
with that he vanished between the rocks with the
agility of a goat. Gunner Osman was still full of
life, as vigorous as any youngblood.
In winter he picked the oranges, satsumas and
grapefruit that he grew in the large garden of his
house and gathered chestnuts from the forest and
roasted them on the stove, all the while yearning
for spring and the yayla season to roll round