Sunday, October 21, 2012
The Ridiculous Demre
In contrast, Demre is not difficult to get to; it's just right there on the coast road, just waiting to fleece hordes of predominantly Slavic tourists with all its St. Nicholas silliness. Just to reiterate: St. Nicholas was born in Patara, y'know, where I'm staying. Is there this kind of hysteria there? Certainly not. There's a St. Nicholas Hotel and a Santa Claus Market, but nothing else. The difference is that this is where St. Nick's church was. And if signs can be believed, it's also where he opened his first restaurant.
A few hours earlier, this street was probably awash with tourists - and Turks trying to entice them into buying or eating something. Owing to my late-afternoon arrival, the mood was more relaxed.
But still, there was nonsense like this going down. The guy with the beard is a St. Nick impersonator. The people surrounding him are Turks. They should know better.
Sorry for the blurriness here. Getting any closer to this asinine statue would have cost me $15. This is on the grounds of the St. Nicholas church, which these days has been completely covered by a corrugated iron roof. Attractive! Anyhow, these children have obviously had an accident with the super glue. They have adhered themselves to Santa and they're not going anywhere. Santa doesn't look pleased.
Here's the response a few yards away. St. Nicholas is now a Turkish sea captain who is just a little too friendly with the children. Which one is better? They're both terrible and Demre is dumb.
I mentioned the daily Slavic invasions. St. Nicholas is pretty important to them. You see lots of signs in Russian. This one is flogging icons, but with a difference: it's on the grounds of the church. Here's the literal translation of the sign: Icon Center of St. Nicholas: Church of St. Nicholas grounds of the church, Demre. Wow, a little repetitious, what, what?
This one just says: Center of Orthodox Icons and a lot of blah, blah, blah underneath that. And once again, Turks will come right at you speaking Russian because they just figure you're some stray Slav looking for an icon. That doesn't happen very often in Turkey.
No matter what you do, Demre's dogs will not be impressed.
I didn't linger. I caught a bus back to Patara and got back early enough to tell my hotel owner about how stupid Demre was. Of course, he already knew.
Posted by Igor Keller