So… you’ve seen enthralling pictures. You’ve lusted over the beautiful ocean views and sun-kissed beaches. But now you’re wondering if I’m selling my soul (or my bodeeeh) for the opportunity to be here. What do I do everyday, and does it involve nekkidness? Well, I tend to be barely dressed and I am working nights, but don’t worry, the only Poles around are the gents I serve beer to.
24 Hours Of Olympos
Experience a sudden urge to pee. Groggily fall out your cabin. Contemplate stepping into the bushes and hoping no one sees you. Decide against it because of one social construct or another. Find slops (flip flops). Navigate orange trees with eyes closed. Don’t crash. Return to your cabin, cursing the architect who decided to drop the toilet five hundred million miles from your bladder. Sleep.
Wake the hell up. The cabin you are sharing with 2 other (awesome) girls gets pretty warm during the day. It’s not unbearable, but there are better places to be – like an ice cold shower . Fortunately this coincides perfectly with breakfast time. Whoopee! Prepare for the day by donning your bikini, grab your towel and a sarong. Hit the aforementioned cooling shower (next to the damn toilets) with your bikini on. Hop out, tie your sarong (or reworked scarf) around you, and think about how it’s just way too hot to be self-conscious.
Chow down. Realise you are slightly hungover from heat and local bira (beer). Find solace in choosing from the Turkish kahvaltı (breakfast) buffet; rolled oats or cornflakes, delicious black and green olives, tomato, cucumber, hard-boiled eggs, blocks of soft beyaz peynir (smooth white cheese) dusted with sesame seeds, fresh baked crusty white bread spread with honey and a selection of sweet and savoury biscuits. Finish off with chilled watermelon and a glass of unsweetened black chai (tea).
10:00 – 1:00 pm:
Do what you gotta do. If you are a writer, hop through a another refreshing shower before whipping out your laptop/pen and paper/chisel and marble on the cushioned deck. If you are a freelance anything, join the writer. Go for a walk to the fruit market, with it’s remarkably sweet nectarines, or explore the ancient ruins. It’s incredibly hot, you generally find yourself relaxing in a hammock, or visiting friends at another pansiyon (hostel). Take a nap for an hour or 2, but not in your cabin because barbecued foreigner isn’t on the the menu.
Chow down again. Grab yourself some leftovers from the night before; eggplant stuffed with spiced mince and tomato, shredded carrot in thick yoghurt, vegetarian köfte (minced food shaped by hand) made from lentils and bulgar, cooked green bean and tomato salad that’s always better cold. Marvel at how much you’re eating but seem to be losing weight. Avoid the fresh bread because you want to keep it that way. Enjoy a traditional Turkish coffee, and have a local friend read your fortune in the sludgy bottom.
Get your ass down to the beach. Discard your flops in favour of walking shoes because you’ve already lost a pair to the treacherously sharp stones. Take the 1km walk through Olympos’s only street. Greet the locals with your newly cultivated Türkçe (Turkish, duh). Stay pleased that everyone seem to like you so much, because you’re trying so hard. Navigate the pebbled beach, drop your towel and enter the clear water – float with ease in the excessively salty water, paddle through shoals of tiny black fish. Jump off a 6m high rock into the dazzling blue. Go kayaking or snorkeling. Explore, and have a shit load of fun. Do this all with new friends. Buy some midye dolma (stuffed mussels) from Serkan on the shore, and squeeze on fresh lemon in the sunshine. If you didn’t nap earlier, you do so now.
Head back to Deep Green. (Or wake up). Stop for sticky dondurma (ice cream) along the way from Hussein, the best ice cream man in Olympos. Get home. Chat to whoever is around. Wash the ocean out of your hair, chuck on a dress or as little as possible. Consider your make up bag for a moment, then laugh at yourself because it’s just too much effort.
Once more, chow down. Feel astounded for the third time that you are eating so much, but getting smaller. Fill up on rainbow coloured salad- dark green lettuce, fresh herbs from the garden, purple cabbage, sunshine yellow corn, tomatoes and cucumber- with pomegranate and lemon dressing. Find fava (broad bean puree), spiced bulgar and yoghurt on your plate, along side flame grilled fresh caught fish, Mediterranean veggie stew and grilled chilli. Catch up on the events of the day. Finish off the meal with an ice cold hazelnut coffee and a glass of chai. Prepare for your shift.
8:45 – 1 am:
Get your volunteer on. The sun sets. Spend the evening chatting to guests, taking drink orders in poorly pronounced Turkish that you’re actually very proud of, and laughing with Ozzy the metalhead barman; he knows all the words to Sepulchre’s music but nothing of what they mean. Get to know the other volunteers better. Teach EVERYONE your local handshake. As it approaches the last hour, start experimenting with mixing your own cocktails and celebrate when you make one everyone likes – insist they put it on the menu as your legacy. Feel pretty darn chuffed at how many people are waiting for you to finish before they hit the town.
1am – 3/4 am:
Disco Disco, Party Party! Pop over to the bar next door, where you are already incredibly comfortable – greet the owner and bartenders like old friends because that’s how they treat you. Find the other staff from Deep Green that are inevitably there, and dance like a mad person with people you can’t speak to yet understand so very well. Realise how much you love the saxophone because of the live band that plays every night – also your new friends. When the bar closes at 3am, join the locals for a last drink and good conversation while the place empties out. Laugh out loud all the time, because you can’t keep your joy inside; the best way to describe how you feel right now is “Free”.
Sleep like a boss. You quietly open the door to your cabin, shed your clothes and climb into both your pajamas and your bed. As your head hits the pillow you swear silently at yourself for forgetting (yet again) to go to the bathroom. Decide to wait anyway, even though you are fully aware of the torture that awaits you come morning. As you fall asleep, think to yourself, “This is the life.”
Experience a sudden urge to pee…