I’ve been into to town of Fethiye now, and found it actually not too be that different to the resort, except you have to pay for things there, and there are police.
The police first. There are quite a lot of them and most of them are riding bicycles. They are all packing heat; mostly sidearms but I saw one SMG outside the police station. We spent around four hours in the town and I saw more police in that time than I would in two or three days at home- and these were all out and about on bikes or on foot with the people they are supposed to be protecting, not in cars, not hassling anybody, just patrolling. It was nice to see.
They even smiled on their way past!
The best bit, they were all dressed in blue! No body armour, no utility belts and no black (chosen to intimidate, don’t forget) bastard offspring of a SWAT team and the blackwater Iraq contractors uniforms. Boys in Blue! (and girls- and do they look nice with their guns!) Out here in Asia, where they are supposedly not as ‘civilised’, whatever that means.
The town itself was an eye-opener as well. The first thing that struck me was there was no litter. None at all. Occasional bins here and there, mostly nearly full. I didn’t see anyone sweeping up rubbish either, so the people must actually care enough about their town NOT to chuck all their crap on the floor. Either that or they have street sweepers who are both extraordinarily efficient and invisible. I had to look -and I mean really, really look- for any cigarette ends, that’s how clean it was. It rubs off too- I found myself looking for a bin to put mine in, not to avoid a fine but because I didn’t want to muck the place up. Amazing.
There are no road markings either. Granted, the roads aren’t as busy as english roads -in fact, nothing seems as busy as it does in England- but everybody seems to get around just fine. We only saw one pedestrian crossing in the whole town, and yet crossing the roads was a doddle, motorists seem to take care not to run you over and compared with my stays in Germany and France (where even being on the crossing doesn’t guarantee your safety and yet zebra crossings abound) it was simplicity in itself.
The smoking thing: it does extend beyond the resort. The cafés in the town are much larger and much more enclosed than anything in the resort, and they all allow smoking throughout. It seems unless you have four brick walls (three brick and one open are fine) their smoking ban doesn’t apply.
Which brings me (finally) to the public toilets. Well, we found one but I don’t think it’s ‘public’ as we understand the term. As far as I could tell it was being run as a business by two guys, charging TL1 a go. Not too bad and I didn’t mind paying as it was clean and available, and compared to the UK where you have no choice but to pay the council and they STILL don’t provide you with facilities (and then hand you a fine when you get a little desperate on a night out) it approached perfection. There wasn’t even a tramp shaving inside, so it was an improvement on the privately-run facilities in Victoria Station which cost an equivalent amount.
Overall, and bearing in mind that I’ve only had a snapshot glimpse of life here I would have to say that the balance seems to be much more palatable than the one struck back home.