Winter in Alanya means rain. And rain. And more rain. The rain started unseasonably late this year, leaving us with a sunny early December that found us still donning swimsuits and hitting the beach. But nature must run its course, and the expected rains arrived this past week with a Revelations-worthy fury: dark sinister clouds, drenching deluges lasting for days on end, blindingly bright lightning, thunder whose crack resounds in your chest. The other night a bolt of lightning struck in the backyard of our apartment (right outside my window), causing us to lose electricity for several crucial hours. And then it happened again tonight.
Anyway, this morning we left our homey perch on top of the peninsula to study in a cafe down by the harbor. We could see the whitecapped waves roiling the Mediterranean, bigger waves than we had ever seen in the bay. So of course, later on, I took a break from studying and went to the beach to explore. I walked along the pier followed by a supplicatory trio of wet, famished strays that sniffed my toes and gazed into my soul with their puppy-dog eyes. If I weren’t leaving Turkey in a week, I would have taken them all home with me.
When I arrived at the beach I found it totally transformed from the pristine turquoise paradise it had been before. The turbulence of the past week of storms had caused the sea to belch up piles of garbage–sticks and plant matter, tires, a significant number of discarded yogurt containers, plastic pipes and assorted rubbish. Beneath the mask of garbage, the sea was so sandy and the sand so wet that you could hardly tell where one started and the other began.
I followed my eyes along the coast and noticed some black dots on the water in the distance. At first I disregarded them but looking back I could discern movement and human-like appendages. I realized that the dots were wetsuit-clad surfers braving the wind, thunder, and lightning to ride the unusually huge waves. As I was marveling at their awesomeness, a light sprinkle had begun which remarkably quickly turned before my eyes into a water-and-hail downpour. The onslaught overwhelmed my raincoat and umbrella, so I found shelter under the roof of an out-of-commission carousel. Perched on a unicorn, I watched the meteorological spectacle unfold and then die down into a mild drizzle.
Just another rainy day detour.