My holiday in a neighbor country

My holiday in a neighbor country

I can’t recognize my youth’s Bodrum anymore.

Bodrum, where I spent only a small part of my holiday, is glaring with millions of dollars of investments. Seemingly, that small and lovely fishing town characterized by the author Cevat Şakir Kabaağaçlı (aka Fisherman of Halicarnassus) has gone with the wind.

Astaş Company has made a major investment in Bodrum with a project constructing luxurious villas on 600 acres of land in Paradise Bay, one of the popular stops of the famous Blue Voyages.

Once, I came across an interview with Astaş Board Chairman Vedat Aşçı in a newspaper.

Aşçı was saying in the interview that the project, developed with the Mandarin Oriental Resort, would cost $600 million and 60 percent of the villas were already sold.

He said their customers included member of Saudi Arabia’s royal family and the rich of the Gulf countries, along with the leading business people of Istanbul.

According to Aşçı, whose tourism investments in Istanbul and Bodrum will reach $350 million; their villas in Paradise Bay will attract jet setters from all over the world to Bodrum. Important business contracts will be made between Turkish and foreign investors in these villas.

Let’s keep Aşçı’s words in mind.

Another project, which has already attracted the jet set to Bodrum, is Azerbaijani businessman Mübariz Mansimov’s Yalıkavak Marine.

Palmali Group, which belongs to Mansimov, bought Yalıkavak Marine for 42 million dollars last year and made 30 million dollars of additional investment in it.

One can find the popular brands of the entertainment sector such as the Billionaire Club and Cipriani in Yalıkavak Marine, opened this season with the architect Emre Arolat’s new design.

Since I already decided not to spend my annual leave in Bodrum, which I always remember with nostalgia, I preferred to spend my vacation on the northern Greek islands.

That was the right decision.

Because I not only had the chance to swim in peaceful beaches and bays, but also ate wonderful seafood which were unbelievably cheap when compared to the restaurants in Bodrum.

Our boat was a very comfortable one, with 10 cabins on it. There was a crowded Italian group and two English tourists accompanying us on the boat. Our captain’s route was: Kos Island, which is the nearest island to Bodrum, Leros Island, Patmos Island, which is famous for the monastery at its top, and the Lipsi and Kalimnos islands.

The islands were not crowded due to the economic crisis which has hit Greece and Europe. Milos restaurant, which is on Ayia Marina Bay right at the back of Leros Island’s harbor, is very popular among the Turkish tourists.

Milos restaurant, which is famous for its calamari, grouper fish and lobster pasta, was full of Turkish tourists, as you can imagine.

When we were there, the restaurant’s keeper Takis was engaged in a deep conversation with the Turkish guests.

Each night we had dinner at different restaurants in Patmos, Lipsi and Kalimnos islands. But the amount we paid never exceeded 25-30 Euros.

Now I want to make a small comparison between these islands and Bodrum.

My friends who went out for a drink in Yalıkavak Marine last Sunday, paid three or four times more than the amount I mentioned above for only two drinks.

If things continue going like this, I guess we will escape to the Greek islands, while the jet set of the world will flood to Bodrum.