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x0x "Turkish Riviera" swaying to tune of the well-heeled

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  • Turkish Radio San Francisco
    [Distributed by TurkC-L with the express permission of the author.] x0x Turkish Riviera swaying to tune of the well-heeled BY JANE WOOLDRIDGE, 12 Nov. 2000
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 2, 2000
      [Distributed by TurkC-L with the express permission of the author.]

      x0x "Turkish Riviera" swaying to tune of the well-heeled

      BY JANE WOOLDRIDGE, 12 Nov. 2000

      The Miami Herald

      BODRUM, Turkey -- Polo-shirted yachties stroll off their wooden sailing
      gulets, crowding the cafés for late-afternoon cocktails. The dockside
      promenade sizzles with sleek young men on motor scooters, young women with
      taut bared bellies, jewelry-decked middle-aged couples from the mega
      yachts moored nearby. Above the center of the harbor's twin lagoons rises
      a medieval castle where, incongruously, a hawker sells camel rides to

      The Midas glow of sunset splashes across tables set on the sand. Revelers
      sway to the rock beat of music blasting from the day-trip boats returning
      from an afternoon of snorkeling and partying. Beachfront restaurants tempt
      would-be patrons with the evening specials -- Tequila Sunrise at this one,
      Sex on the Beach (vodka, grenadine and OJ) at that one -- for a mere 2.4
      million lira (about $3.65 per drink.)

      It's all prelude. A few hours from now, the PYTs will rise from their
      disco naps, fresh for another feverish night of throbbing club music,
      obscenely-priced (for here) drinks and pulsating laser lights at the
      triple-decked outdoor Halikarnassus.

      Those less inclined to drop $15 for the cover charge -- cheap by Miami
      standards but a fortune in Turkey -- will cozy into cave-like bars tucked
      among the centuries-old lanes of the bazaar like the Temple, where local
      Lotharios swirl around female tourists slick with second skins of
      Spandex. Partyers with serious stamina will ante up the $15 at M&M and
      leap aboard the club's catamaran for a nonstop sailing bash that departs
      at midnight and doesn't return until dawn.

      Sun, beaches, first-rate diving, picturesque sailing, endless cocktails,
      robust shopping, pricey cafés and nonstop discos. No wonder Bodrum is
      known as the Turkish Riviera.

      It is ``a sanctuary for sophisticated vacationers and trendsetters
      . . . alluring . . . cosmopolitan,'' writes Andrew Harper's Hideaway
      Report, a newsletter for well-heeled globetrotters.

      In summer, that is.

      ``In winter,'' explains Zafir Küstü, owner of the popular midrange Su
      Hotel, ``the population here is about 33,000. In July and August, it's up
      to 250,000.''

      And it's growing, says Onuralp Kalleci, owner of Crystal Tours, a Bodrum
      travel agency specializing in dive trips. ``We're getting more and more
      Americans'' -- thanks in part to cruise ship companies including Windstar.

      Though still a thriving under-30 playground with plenty of cheap lodging
      and loud music, Bodrum and the seaside villages nearby are heading
      uptown. Mid-range and upscale boutique hotels are popping up, with
      expansive condo resorts just a few kilometers further out.

      Wealthy businessmen have built homes in villages around the Bodrum
      peninsula, jutting into the Western edge of the Mediterranean Sea. In
      winter, European painters and writers have begun taking houses in the
      nearby town of Turbükü -- more easily accessed since an airport opened in
      recent years.


      The centerpiece town of Bodrum promises an undeniably romantic setting
      that blends island Greece with ancient Rome, all carefully maintained by
      local ordinance. Spare white sugar cubes of hotels and houses -- with a
      maximum height of two stories -- spill down the hill below the ancient
      Roman amphitheater toward Bodrum's twin lagoons. When the harbor is full,
      some 2,000 sets of masts appear above brightly painted hulls, private
      gulets and those for hire both by the cabin on group tours or by the
      yacht. Crowning the scene is St. Peter's castle.


      It's a town with a past. Herodotus, the so-called father of history, lived
      here in the 5th Century B.C., when it was called Halicarnassus. It was
      here that King Mausolos created his massive funeral monument, a stone
      stack of columns, friezes and statues reaching 140 feet named the
      Mausoleum. Pliny the Elder dubbed it one of the Wonders of the Ancient

      In the 1400s and 1500s, the Knights of St. John plundered the stone
      (already felled by earthquakes) to build St. Peter's Castle, a fairy-tale
      fortress of ramparts, towers and heraldic crests complete with
      peacocks. Once home to 50 knights and 150 soldiers, the castle served for
      centuries as a strategic post to the Ottomon Turks before its
      transformation to prison at the turn of the 19th Century.

      In 1964 it became a museum. In the years since, its displays have expanded
      to earn it kudos as one of the finest museums in Europe. Today, its former
      baths, chapel and towers house Egyptian amphora from the 7th Century B.C.,
      excavations from shipwrecks, glass bottles dating back 5,000 years,
      medieval weapons, Bronze Age fishhooks, carved seals, a rare scarab of the
      Egyptian queen Nefertiti, gardens, a wine bar, shops and even a dungeon.

      Which, incidentally, doesn't look so different from some of the cozy,
      rock-walled bars and clubs that crank up at night. Torture chamber or rock
      club -- it all depends on timing. And the music, of course.
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