Butterfly Valley

Halfway through Butterfly Valley on the Mediteranean coast sits a tiny village called Kabak. Further down by the cove is Shambala, owned by three Turks. One has stretched earlobes and a handlebar moustache, the other a mullet-meets-fauxhawk, and the woman with long blonde dreads with flowers, feathers and beads woven in. It’s an artists’ community here, the art made from and/or inspired by the natural beauty here. And there is so much of it!

The water is a clear blue, the mountains that drop right into the water covered in hundreds, probably thousands of blooming olive and pine trees. The sun is hot, but the steady breeze and shade is perfectly cooling. I lounge on my balcony with my feet propped up, reading my book all day… butterflies and irridescent beetles fly by lazily while downtempo electronic music floats through, carried by the wind from the camp next to ours. The roads are so undeveloped and the paths so windy, that camp might as well be half a world away from ours.

I was told that during sunset, as the light travels more and more parallel to the water’s surface, you can sometimes see wild dolphins swimming along the outskirts of this cove (I never did, sadly). At night, not even the moonlight is necessary to guide your steps– all the stars that city life hides from you come out. I’ve never seen Orion’s Belt so close to the horizon before. Sometimes, fireflies come near my balcony.

Food here is locally grown or raised. I’ve never had such flavorful tomatoes. The olives are picked and prepared here; they have long conversations about how best to harvest them. Cucumbers are crisp, eggs and meat fresh. At night after dinner, I sit with (yet another) Chicago couple and an English-speaking Turkish girl around the bonfire, talking, laughing, smoking cigarettes and drinking red wine. No one knows what day it is anymore.

One of the owners dropped me off in the nearby town of Fethiye this morning. We were speeding down the steep, slanted road, kicking up huge clouds of dust at 60 mph in his 4×4 painted with zebra stripes… windows rolled down, cold mountain air rushing in, psytrance blasting from the speakers, sun on our faces. What more can I say but… fuckin’ awesome!?

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