Wednesday, October 27, 2010
No visit to Dalyan is complete without a stop across the river at Kaunos - also known in ancienter times as Kbid. All you have to do is talk to the fat guy at the end of the block. Pay him three and a half lira and he'll get his wife, sister or mom to row you across the river. From there, it's just a 15-minute walk down the road. Of course, this ruin doesn't begin to compare with Aphrodisias. Few can. But there were quite a few unique things about the city and its residents. First of all, everybody from Kaunos had either a greenish or yellowish (accounts vary) pallor from malaria and other swampy diseases and secondly, rulers of the city were worshiped as demi-gods by the populace. Talk about being able to push through one's agenda! Lastly, up until (and probably beyond) the arrival of the Romans in the late first century BC, the language here was Carian. Next door in wonderful Lycia, they spoke Lycian. Greek probably wasn't spoken in these places until the first century AD. So there you have it.
Here's a view of the town if you climb up the acropolis, which looks like this from below:
That's the theater in the foreground. More on that later. The climb up the acropolis hill was a bit chancy due to the roving gangs of giant wasps. It's strange that they aren't present in nearby Dalyan. There are just pesky hornets, which are quite small in comparison. However, once I was above the wasps, I found that in order to reach the top, I would have to do a fair amount of rock climbing. No thanks. I mean, I'm all about Hellenistic fortifications, but I'm pretty sure that the rewards were greatly outweighed by the risks. The lower town was pretty interesting. The theater is nicely ruined:
I like the olive trees that have grown up between the seats. There also this weird Byzantine church with interesting mosaics and other ancillary stuff:
On its little informational plaque, they say that this is one of the best preserved early Byzantine churches anywhere. I would not agree. There's nothing that riveting about anything going on here. Sure, they've got mosaics and all, but that's not such a big deal. All you get are walls. Further down the hill is the rest of the city:
This last item here is a monumental fountain with a copy of standard Kaunian weights and measures on it. It gave foreign merchants a reference so that they wouldn't feel like they were getting ripped off by these greenish-yellowish people. It's also been reconstructed. That's kind of a no-no in my book. I think that if something's a ruin, it should exist in its ruined form. Time is the destroyer. Let's accept that. The trend lately is to recreate the building on a computer and post that on the placard. I think that's a fabulous idea. It gives you a chance to compare, contrast and discuss the differences. Rebuilding is kind of unnecessary.
And so that was my trip to Kaunos. Just a note: during my last visit, I saw a turtle and, of all things, a kangaroo rat. This time, I saw none of either. And it wasn't because I didn't look. I looked plenty. Here's why I didn't see any of those creatures: the turtles were on vacation and the kangaroo rats are very scarce since the introduction of kangaroo cats, who were also on vacation.
That afternoon, I went to the mud bath/thermal springs up the river. This involved getting a nice Turkish guy to ferry me across in his boat. When he dropped me off on the other side, he said that the method for getting back over was to come to the same dock and yell till I got his attention on the other side. OK, fair enough.
With that settled, I went into the bath place. It was beset by tour groups. During my time there, groups of English and Poles were brought in. I've mentioned this before, but my, the English are quite an unhandsome people. That's fine. What they lack as a nation in physical beauty they make up for with quick wits and nicely turned phrases. The Poles on the other hand were, on the whole, quite breathtakingly gorgeous - even the old people. They speak a lovely Slavic language and do not act like they own the place. Sorry, I have no pictures of anything or anybody. There's really not much to photograph - just people getting muddy, rinsing off and then dunking into the sulfur hot springs. It makes you smell like rotten eggs! It was there where last spring I met Amanda, the girl from Zimbabwe who later stood me up. Don't worry, there were no past ghosts for me in those water - only lots of English people with bad teeth and even worse tattoos. I left before I could be joined by the attractive Poles of all ages. There's only so much sulfur that one can absorb before one begins to smell like a rotten eggs permanently.
There was no need to yell for the nice boat-guy. He just happened to be passing by and I flagged him down. He was ferrying people around, so I helped load and unload some old guy's moped. When we got back to his dock, he apologized profusely for having delayed me. That was very nice of him, but there was no need. I mean, what else did I have to do? I'm just some schmoe of a tourist. And the Dalyan River is so very nice to ride on. No apology was necessary. I soon returned to Dalyan and its many, many English and fairly many German tourists.