30-Jul-2003 -- My wife and I were visiting Turkey as the first leg of a 10 week round the world holiday. At the last minute I threw the GPS into the tour bag, thinking that it might come in handy in case we ever became separated from the tour group. After a week of fielding questions from other members of the group about this strange device I kept offering up to the sun gods, I started to explain about confluence seeking.
To my very great surprise, as we were driving along the southern Mediterranean coast of Turkey between the ancient ruins of Perge and Aspendos, Mary noticed and pointed out to me that we were quite close to a confluence point. Interested at first in seeing just how close we were, I consulted the tour map and set a waypoint as we crossed the 31 degrees East line of longitude. I guessed that we were less than 10 km away, but had no idea whether it was reachable, and whether anyone else had been there before.
On arrival in Antalya, we headed for the nearest Internet cafe. No, it had not been visited before, and the Mapquest map suggested that the site was quite close to a road. Adrenalin rush!! My head was spinning with ideas as to how this could be accomplished. I already had plans to return to Aspendos that night to see a live performance of La Traviata in the fully restored Roman Amphitheatre. Perhaps I could persuade other members of the touring party to undertake a small diversion into the countryside along the way.
This fell through when everyone else decided that dinner around the pool would be less hectic. Time for plan B. Could I hire a car and drive to Aspendos via Yanköy? I now needed help from our Tour director. To this day, I don't think she understood the significance of the journey, but on my behalf she negotiated, at first unsuccessfully to find a rental car, and then bargained with a Turkish taxi driver to drive me approximately 40 km there (as the crow flies) and back for 40 million Turkish Lira (that's about $ 36 Australian).
At 4pm on a hot Wednesday afternoon in mid-summer, we set off. Sayed, my taxi driver, managed quickly to communicate that benzine was very expensive, and that we might not have enough for the journey, and that the Turkish Lira was not all that it used to be. US-$ 5 towards the cost of his petrol, and he was happy enough to spray me with perfume to keep me cool. The rest of the journey was a bit of an anticlimax. The confluence was exactly where the map said it would be. Only a minor perturbation when I first thought that it might be on the side of a steep hill, and then finally when I feared that it might be in the middle of a glass house used by the locals to grow vegetables, did I doubt that we would reach the goal.
We walked all around the glass house, trying to locate the exact spot, which turned out to be in a field which had only recently been harvested, and only metres from the roadway. Sayed was happy to take my photograph, and delighted that I was interested enough to take one of him, and another of his taxi. He did point out that the actual distance travelled had been closer to 50 km than the promised 40, but another US-$ 5 note, one more spray of cooling perfume and we were the best of friends again.
Oh, and I made it to the opera later that night, too!
I think that the tears and feeling of despair which followed a week or so later when I felt sure that the downloading of my images from my new digital camera to CD had been botched, and the camera RAM chip apparently wiped clean by the camera shop (neither was true) should be ignored and attributed to the sort of extreme high which confluence seeking gives one, and the low that follows failure is a natural consequence.