On top of Alanya peninsula is a hotel, which was illegally built on the hill and then abandoned after authorities discovered it and shut it down. The forsaken hotel itself is rather eery and surreal, with every implement from nargile pipes to a Foosball table to an English dictionary simply left behind in the spot where it was last used, as though time stopped in this one place. It’s great fun for an urban explorer.
But that’s not nearly the best part, because if you continue into the back patio, you find some mysterious overgrown brick wells. As you approach them and look down into the blackness, they echo with the timbre of vast emptiness and an unplaceable but distinctly alive sound, which to my excitable ear sounds like some kind of unhuman monkish chanting. Or maybe the ghosts of dead monks.
On the same patio there are roofed thresholds with vertiginous dusty stone stairs leading into semi-darkness. I’m instinctively nervous of what their dark recesses could hold but embolden myself with the thought that Lara Croft would not be afraid of venturing into any kind of mysterious underground place (yes, I pretend to be the Tomb Raider when I am exploring). The air becomes chiller, the alien noise louder with each step. My hand finds a bannister strung with a utility lamp, which illuminates a vast chamber lined a half-foot deep with clear water.
A castle cistern! I love these things. My eyes crawl over this unexpectedly and impressively vast place. Looking down to the base of the stairway I find–
two white ducks swimming and bickering, their gossip reverberating through the vast cistern.
Not ghosts. Ducks!
Then a curious old man who apparently lives in the neighborhood came out from somewhere and showed me that you can wade through the water, which felt great on my tired feet.
The locals here in Alanya are rather unbelievably candid, gregarious, and hospitable. Just in the past 48 hours, I been fed orange juice, beer, cay, coffee, apple tea, and more cay from locals who spontaeously insist that I sit, drink, and talk with them in broken English and Turkish.
Tomorrow classes begin.