After parting ways with Rob who was headed further East (view a few of his pics here), Mickers and I boarded the bus, stashing the oranges at our feet. Ten hours later, we arrived in Antalya, sweating, exhausted and hungry for anything but oranges. In a bleary eyed stupor, we stumbled upon a fancy hotel that just happened to serve a sophisticated breakfast buffet on a beautiful terrace with a sea view. I suggested the low key coffee shop next door but, desperate for a nice place to hang out until the rental car office opened right next door, Mickey offered to pay. I agreed to stay.
Half way into our meal of fresh honeycomb, a selection of local cheeses and delicious curried eggs, I realized that we’d implanted ourselves into a Turkish version of The Four Seasons. Surrounding us were women clad in fabulous Miami-wear, looking like they had been personally outfitted by "Uli" from Project Runway. And there I was, my hairstyle courtesy of the bus headrest, my red sneakers caked in dirt from Cappadocia and my fingernails died an unmistakable shade of orange. Meanwhile, Mickey had been wearing the same shirt and pants for almost a week at this point and had lost his razor. To provide some context, I'd say we were both strong zeros on the continuum of propriety.
Just when I thought we could slip out without causing yet another scene, Mickey asked for the check and was told that our bill was 280 New Turkish Lira, the equivalent of US $210. The server must have seen the shocked look on our faces, which prompted him to write down the total for our review.
We should have known by that point that Turks have a difficult time with money conversions as they’re still getting used to their new currency (the New Turkish Lira) which was introduced in 2005. The old currency was also called "Lira" but had six more zeros for every one unit. For example, 1 New Lira equals 1,000,000 Old Lira.
On the spot currency calculations communicated in English as a second language are enough to confuse most locals, understandably. Having offered to pay for my meal, Mickey looked relieved as he fished a mere 28 Lira out of his wallet.