Since we are in the northern hemisphere, I thought I would take this opportunity to do something I have never done on my birthday before, and go to the beach. In Sydney, Australia, a birthday in July means a celebration in the middle of winter. Australia is a pretty hot country in general, but Sydney is not warm in winter, with the average temperature in July hovering around 13ºC (55ºF). So it was quite a novelty for me to be able to spend a day in the sunshine at the beach to celebrate my annual click-over.
We travelled north an hour-and-a-half to the Black Sea coast, to a pretty seaside suburb named Kilyos. Kilyos is not far out of Istanbul, but for two travellers who have been living in the inner-city for months, we may as well have been a million miles away. There were trees and hills and a great stretch of coastline to admire.
We spent the day at a private beach club called Solar Beach. It was a Friday, so we had the place pretty much to ourselves, the weekend crowd would not show up until evening when they throw beach parties at the club for the horde of Istanbullus looking to unwind on the long, hot summer weekends.
I had never been to a private beach before so I didn't know exactly what to expect. It was pretty cool. It was well set up with lounge chairs, umbrellas, a couple of bars, a restaurant, and lots of carnivalesque entertainments.
To ensure you can't get bored, there is a basketball court, several jetskis, giant inflatable tubes, even a hovercraft. Down on the beach, the organizers had set up a contraption that was a cross between a jumping castle and a soccer field, so the players kind of bounced around drunkenly while trying to kick the ball into the goals. There was a flying fox, too.
The time went incredibly quickly that day and it seemed like only a few hours after we had arrived that it was time to return to Istanbul.
Back at work, one of my English classes surprised me with a birthday cake.
It was a pretty special birthday.