Friday, 27 May 2011

Holiday Snaps: Basting my Turkey

Pit-stop capital

The long journey from the airport to my hotel revealed some interesting things along the way. Maybe 60% of that journey was on smooth macadamised road, the rest appeared as if the road was under construction in parts.

In fact, there were earth-movers and caterpillars all working through the night as it they were on some 24-hour rolling shift pattern to get things sorted.

We had a pit-stop at the regional capital of Mugla which was some 80 kilometres into the journey where the use of free toilets and a quick snack was allowed; I even got a few minutes on the free wireless internet connection to learn that Ratko Mladic the most wanted Serbian fugitive from justice had been seized.

The shops willing priced their goods in Turkish Lira or Euro, the Euro is literally legal tender here and there is no fuss.

Earth-moving nights

We took off again for the last 51 kilometres to Marmaris when I noticed other notable resorts on the Mediterranean coast as Fethiye and Antalya were 131km and 306km away respectively. The nearest airport to Marmaris is Dalaman but that itself is 100km inland.

It took another 100 minutes to get to my hotel as we traversed the windy roads with a driver that drove with a carefulness that had me so grateful. In Gran Canaria, the buses sometimes get driven like sports cars, hair-raising does not begin to describe the sensation you feel.

The check-in was easy, I had the dreaded all-inclusive wrist-band slapped unto my right cuff like I was being arrested and then I made for my room.

I know you are not supposed to use a lift when there is a fire but there was another chilling warning too, earthquakes – that is a different kind of earth-moving than the English quip about.

Accost at no cost

I could not wait to get online, there is free wireless internet connectivity in the hotel lobby but I could find no power sources, I’ll check later.

After posting a few comments and blogs it was almost 2:00AM Turkish time, an hour ahead of my home time zone and I was hardly sleepy so I made out for a stroll.

One is going to be a kind of novelty it seems and it is not that I tried to be inconspicuous; still in day-cravat and a jacket but without the customary hat and not forgetting my cane I had not made 150 metres when I was accustomed and asked to visit for a free drink.

I got introduced to the restaurant/bar manager who was sat outside with the unusual setup of having the CCTV of activity within the bar beamed from a projector onto a mega-screen.

Like royalty, I had left my accommodation without my wallet and was served coffee on the house as interest waned over a while as I finished my coffee.

We are not weedy

I fielded as many questions as I could as the troika of allegiances to England of birth, Nigeria of ancestry and The Netherlands of residence jostled for prominence along with my unusual appearance – they were all friendly.

After coffee, I got up and continued my stroll to the main street which is the only major street before you hit the beach. I was not going to be beach combing at that hour so I walked up the street where I was accosted again and dragged in to sit and talk.

I immediately told them, I could spend nothing but that did not deter them, I could not help but notice a number of shops, bars and even a tour booking office was open round-the-clock, something about a city that never sleeps.

The dubious reputation of The Netherlands precedes it, they all thought we did marijuana smoke for oxygen; I could not remonstrate enough that it was the stuff for tourists and residents had lives to live.

Complementing compliments

By the time I was assessed, a pocket square, cufflinks, brogues though not shining, someone thought I was a mafia boss; shining shoes would have made me out to be a dealer, I wonder what would have happened if I had my hat on too.

My knowledge of Arabic words borne of a nominally Muslim heritage and the basic research I had done about Turkey, at least I felt the Cypriot island division was well known but it had them thinking I was a British agent; no one was listening to me about my real job.

They averred many tourists are clueless about things Turkish that my presence just made them suspicious of some covert activity – yes, covert and they send a stand-out agent to investigate and gain access by exploiting the friendliness and hospitality of the Turks – even I had to tell them, it was developing into a very readable story.

Planning to get around

I had a glass of iced-tea but declined the offer of food, not that early in the morning as one of my friends on Twitter and Facebook who dwells at the end of the world in Norwich is wont to do – elves, sprites and fairies of the deepest night – yes, it does get dark like real touchable dark here.

I will eventually try an original Turkish kebab and when ordering Turkish, I should beware of using the Greek substitute words.

When I returned to my hotel at just before 4:00AM, there were some guests checking in, what a journey they must have had, I should get a map and do some exploring after I have met with the tour representative later this morning.

One thing I should never forget is to keep the Do Not Disturb sign on the door handle, I don’t want my DNA venturing out of its legal jurisdiction, you sometimes wonder where these old man get their legendary libido from, one would have thought Viagra wore off after days of overdosing on the pills.

No comments: