Turkey Update

Posted on July 19, 2014

Well, the week has so far has gone without too much alarm but with plenty of incident where things could easily have descended into mayhem or possible violence aimed at me, courtesy of my Friend Kate.

More of that later.

A good part of the week has seen me drifting around on my own, which I think represents a bit of a gamble as, when I left England, I wasn’t entirely sure whether I would embrace my own company or hate it. It’s not that Kate doesn’t like me, we just have different ideas of how to entertain ourselves, she is Mediterranean and loves sunbathing, I am just plain nosy.

The gamble has paid off this week by ensuring I have been busy all the time and it has certainly been enhanced by spending time with a Turkish café owner who, I have now found out, is called Mervelt rather than Marvellous, as I once thought.

So, to kick off proceedings on Thursday, I went to a traditional Turkish barber that I had been recommended to and they set about my head with aggressive but seemingly skilled and good intent.

My knowledge of the Turkish language could be regarded as weak, in fact non-existent, so like any good Englishman, when confused, I nod to confirm I know what the Hell is going on…Not a simple up and down nod I’ll have you know, but a series of frenzied nods over the space of five seconds that make me look like an electric shock victim.

On this occasion, my frenzied nodding  landed me in a situation where a cut throat razor was taken to my head as well as the rest of my face and throat and though I am bald, I do normally retain some head and side burn hair, a kind of large centre parting if you will.

Not any more I didn’t, this was the full Monty and I wasn’t even getting sponsored, not even when proceedings got really lively courtesy of my ears and nose being given a good seeing to with what can only be described as a Bunsen burner.

The best was saved to last when my barber held up a bottle and simply said…”Yes?”

I need to learn to exercise the frenzied shake of the head that babies use when they don’t want spoon feeding as the obligatory nod resulted in my attacker throwing battery acid in my face. He didn’t of course, but it felt like it, though it soon settled down (I think it was lemon juice) and I must say I exited the building with the cleanest head I have had for many a year.

So, on Thursday night Kate had an early one, which left me watching a children’s entertainment shown on my own. I decided that before I was accused of being a 1970’s BBC presenter and taken in by Operation Yew Tree, I would to pop over on the boat to see my new found friend and I ended up assisting him in the bar and helping him clear up, which was all good fun.

As a reward he took me out and and about and showed me some bars which kicked off a steady descent into drunkenness; it was then that I really started to get to know him better and understand what a struggle it was for him to earn enough to pay for his family (before you cynics start, he was not looking for financial sympathy as he paid his way).

“You see Paul (I had given up reminding him my name was Bob) Spain, Portugal, Greece are cheaper now, we are not busy, not busy at all…It is not just other countries though, it is the fucking all inclusive hotels…They kill us.”


I had a sudden overwhelming sense of guilt…I had befriended a really decent guy, yet there I was, in his town, doing my bit, albeit innocently, to assist his ultimate downfall. As I said in my last post, there was something about the gluttony of all inclusive hotels that doesn’t sit entirely well with me and in one sentence this hard working man had confirmed my fears.

All inclusive hotels in Turkey are like Beefeaters and Toby Carveries in the UK…Okay, they are different in that they are well built, even luxurious, but the result and the intention is the same…They will happily put independent restaurants out of business and they don’t give flying fuck.

Sorry I needed to say that.

So anyway, by now I was quite drunk and before I knew it, it was 2.00 am which was fine but I had told Kate I would not be long four hours previously and she had the key…There is no doubt she would have dozed off by now, as dozing off tends to take minutes rather than hours.

So this left me with a dilemma and most of you men out there know that the problem with being a bit drunk means that dilemmas are dealt with in a way that may not appear as rational in the cold, or in this case, hot light of day.

My options were

1/ Sleep on a sun bed allowing Kate to wake up and assume I was dead

2/Bang on the door and risk a good hiding

3/Break in through the balcony and risk a good hiding

I chose option four and successfully bribed the reception man with 20 liras to get another key. Drunken logic told me that I could sneak in, go to bed and Kate would be none the wiser.

The flaw in this plan was that Kate had no idea I had managed to buy a key of an opportunist receptionist, why would she?  So when a man stumbled unannounced into her apartment in the early hours like a clumsy burglar, what did she do?

Why she shit herself of course,  at least until she saw it was me,  which resulted in her expression changing from panic to anger, to one that offered very real potential of violence…Because of her profession, she has enough in her armour to give me handsome battering, despite any ludicrous allegation that she may be of the weaker sex.

Somehow I avoided physical punishment but was treated to a metaphorical volley of verbal blows that had me hanging on to the ropes…I had to concur that my cunning plan was, in hindsight, littered with flaws and that, judging by Kate’s mood, it hadn’t quite worked out as one had hoped.

Breakfast the next morning was, shall we say,  interesting, and it is fair to say that if we were married and not just old friends, morning coffee would have been taken amid ugly discussions of how we were going to split our assets once the divorce papers came through.

I decided that my best policy was avoidance for a while and as I left for the boat across to Bodrum I contented myself with the fact that if Kate was a pan of water, she had now gone from boiling to mere simmering.


Me Cutting a Dash at Bodrum Castle

Once in Bodrum I went to the castle that offers stunning views across the bay and for 25 Liras you can tour the whole place with a pair of headphones giving you details of its history; that is providing you walk at the right pace for it to keep up…It can get confusing, as when I went for a wee, I was told that I was standing (and indeed pissing) where a historical and bloody battle had taken place.

If I had been in a pub in Basingstoke, it would have been quite apt.

I have a strange relationship with headphones as they make me lose all sense of my personal decibel levels, so when I asked a man to take a picture of me he looked at me as if though I had said…”I AM GOING TO FUCKING  KILL YOU” and he scurried of into the distance.

So I left the castle and walked into town where, it being Friday, payers were in full swing, so I decided to check things out by removing my shoes, getting out my mat and praying to the west in the hope that Kate may be on the edge of forgiveness.


Locals Praying for Kate’s Forgiveness at the Mosque on Friday

I didn’t really know what the chap was going on about, it was kind of singing and praying at the same time but he seemed to know what he was doing and at times I started sort of getting what was on his Friday agenda, or at least I pretended to.

When I left, I shook hands with what looked like one of the key men who as a gift, offered me a copy of the Quran  and an industrial looking device that he said, if strapped to my shoes, would stop me getting pins and needles on the flight home…Which was nice.

On my return Kate was calm, very brown and smiling again. It was a signal that our friendship had survived its sternest test and she was now seeing the funny side of my well-meaning idiocy.

She has always known and liked me for being a twat, but it takes a holiday to discover the levels of twattishness I am capable of achieving…They are quite meteoric .

I don’t mean to be a twat, it is written in my DNA.

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