Today we take a roundabout way to the beach. At the outset, the mostly concrete path is walkable. The flora left and right ranges from oriental hickory to soft-needled pine to all kinds of fern and thicket. There are cacti in bloom, green banana clusters, sweet-scented citron trees, all looking sharp and well looked after.
As we move closer to the coast though, the vegetation grows wilder, messier. We pace down a footpath flanked by a freeform hedge that has forgotten the last time it was trimmed. There is an odd, rhythmical sound coming from behind dense leafage to the left: difficult to pinpoint its source. I mention to Luke that it was here the other day that I had seen a couple of large grey seabirds. ‘It looks as if here might have crept all sorts of furry paws’, I say. The next thing we know, a huge—and I mean huge—rat hurries down the track in front of our very noses, promptly vanishing under the hedge.
…….. A rodent scuttling
…….. across the path – appearing
…….. double size!
The by-now unsettling noise does not cease with the rat’s disappearance. In fact, it seems to be getting louder: schrum…schrum…SCHRUM… Is there a whole army of belligerent beasts lying in ambush? And what if they decided to go for an all-out attack! Oh boy, are we relieved once we reach the end of the footpath when rows of lawn sprinklers suddenly come into view.
…….. Here the ocean breeze
…….. and loose sand, our legs
…….. our only guide
Footnote: Belek is a coastal village near Antalya in southern Turkey.