For this pair of portraits, I will share a story from Turkey.
This is my new friend Jack, of Australia, who I met in Olympos, Turkey. He was rather unassuming until one late night a group of us decided we had to go to the beach at 3 in the morning. The beach is a 15 minute walk from our treehouse bungalows through the ruins, with nothing but nearly full moonlight. The only problem, our friendly bartender informed us, was the presence of a potentially armed guard at the gate of the ruins. Instead of giving up (what fun is that?!), we dressed in black, armed ourselves with beer (necessary for our German compatriots), and my camera, and planned a covert mission to sneak past the guard, manage a fence, and make our way through the cover of night to the Mediterranean.
Off we went.
With Jack as our fearless leader (although after 3 hours enjoying the bar, none of us were too hesitant), we crossed the dirt road and walked down into the dusty riverbed that runs along the one road in Olympos. Filing silently over the rocky ground, we heard a high, whining noise approaching us. We assumed it to be one of the scouts on a motorcycle, but he was on the road and failed to see us in the shadows. We continued, the Germans' beer bottles clanking much louder than normal, it seemed.
Finally, we reached the fence, a chain link line that cut from the guard station into the forest as far as we could see. We had been told there was a way through the barbed wire, and when we arrived we found the space where other trekkers had gone before. After scrambling over the wire fence we froze, looking quickly around to be sure we hadn't been discovered. While we had been glad for the moonlight when we we planning our trip, it created the most danger by starkly illuminating the wide creek bed through which we were walking.
Once past the guard, we scrambled up the embankment to the main path that winds through the ancient ruins and breathed a collective sigh of relief. The moonlight threw eerie shadows among the ruins piled high along the edges of the path. Roman baths, ancient pagan temple arches, sidewalks and roads; the remnants of ancient civilization rose around us. After pausing to collect ourselves, we made our way through the ruins, more quickly now, until we saw a flash of light up ahead. We sprinted, wide-eyed, into the bushes that lined the trail.
We stopped breathing, hearts pounding in our chests.
After a long 60 seconds , two figures walked casually past without pausing.
We made it to the beach shortly thereafter, scrambling over the rocks to curl up and enjoy the stars in a pile of bodies and blankets to stay warm in the depth of the cool Mediterranean night. It got colder and people dropped off, succumbing to exhaustion and temperature, but a handful of us made it to watch the sun rise over the water. It was beautiful; I will post photos soon. Afterward, Jack and I walked back in silence, content to enjoy the experience.
We waved at the guard on our way out, who looked at us with a bemused cock of his head.