Thursday, August 13, 2009

Ephesus, The Camera & My Ride

Ephesus, Turkey. Dating back 3000 years, this ancient city was built on a bay where the Kucuk Menderes river reached the sea in western Anatolia. The river dried up long ago and the coast is now 12 miles away. Steeped in a rich history with biblical ties, I found this place fascinating.

When we travel, I'm the one behind the camera. Seeing the world through a camera lens is a completely different perspective. The point of view narrows into a focus on detail. While I'm snapping photos, I have a tendency to wander off in search of the ever elusive perfect shot. The lines and angles of Ephesus presented so many photographic opportunities.

I wandered from pillar to pillar, pile of rubble to steps of marble looking at angles and interesting textures. Snapping and re-snapping photos as some baseball cap or romantic couple appeared in my view finder without warning.

When I finally lowered the camera, this is what I saw.

People everywhere, and not a soul I know.

Each group coming off a cruise ship for a specific shore excursion is assigned a guide and a number. The guide is supposed to display the group number at all times. So I hopped up on a block of stone and scanned the crowd. Uh oh. No husband and no tour guide to be seen anywhere. Having poor distance vision, I asked a dozen or so Americans to scan the horizon for my group's identifying number. No one, absolutely no one, took so much as a second to help me out.
Angry with my own stupidity for wandering off, and totally disgusted with my fellow countrymen for refusing to help, I stood there wondering what to do. I needed something to help me see. D'oh! The camera has zoom -- instant binoculars. Heartened, I searched the crowd again.

Still, no group.

Images of being stranded in Turkey danced in my head. I wondered about getting a cab back to Kusadasi port. Did I have enough cash on me to pay for it? Would the cabbie even take US dollars? What about the language barrier? Was I destined to repeat that night we were stranded outside London without a cab in sight? What if I missed the ship all together? How do Turkish males react to lone American women? Are the news reports of kidnapped Americans true?

Frustrated by the ridiculous thoughts flying around my head, I took a deep breath. There were several groups from the ship that were on the same shore excursion. Logic would dictate that I could catch a ride with any one of them. All I had to do was find a tour guide holding a sign with the Princess Cruise logo on it. Relieved by this more realistic plan, I peered through the view finder again. Zooming in and out, I scanned the crowd again.

Still no luck. Desperate and out of ideas, I did the only thing left; I re-traced my steps. Low and behold, there was my group. They hadn't moved in over 20 minutes. And that sign with the number on it? The guide was using it as a leaning post....number down in the dirt.

Now I always keep one eye on where I belong no matter how fascinating the world looks through a lens.

I never did get that perfect shot. Never the less, each image tells its own story of that precise second in time. Isn't that cool?

Click on any image for larger view.

The oldest known billboard carved into the marble sidewalk. Located near the main city gate, it gives directions to the full service establishment for the lonely man.


A small section of what was once the baths.
In the 4th century, this facility was large enough to
accommodate hundreds of people. It also served as a hotel.


The amphitheater. Despite the state of disrepair and lack of railings, tourists are allowed to wander at will.

The Memorial to Memmius, grandson of the dictator Sulla. At the end of the 1st century a fountain was added.

A view of Harbour Street from the Amphitheater. Also knows as Arcadian Street, it is 1739 feet long, 68 feet wide and paved with marble.




1 comment:

Dade said...

Fantastic pics and great story!

I haven't yet been to Turkey and it is very near the top of my list.

Excellent post, ED. Keep it up.