Tuesday, 5 July 2011
Last week I arrived back home from a holiday in Bodrum, Turkey.
In Turkey I was happy.
In Turkey I was relaxed.
On Wednesday I went to work. I logged in and opened my emails and found approximately one gazillion of the bloody things all of which were fighting each other for my attention.
It took a minute for me to succumb to stress. It took another minute for the anger bug to bite me on the arse.
It was as if I hadn’t been away at all. Sitting there at my desk I found myself pining for the sunshine, begging for the beach and missing those lazy days by the pool.
One day I shall dwell on why my job pisses me off but for this post, I shall endeavour to be positive and reminisce about our holiday.
I had never been to Turkey before so I was really excited about visiting a new country. I would have preferred to have travelled around a little and experienced the less commercial aspects of the country but both Mrs PM and I were in desperate need of a lot of rest and relaxation. The lure of the tourist traps, beaches, swimming pools and sunshine were too much to bear.
I won’t bore you with the daily details of our holiday but I will emphasize some of the more memorable experiences (well as memorable as a week long package holiday by the sea can allow).
Here are some of the highlights:
(1) Our hotel was full of Turks so we were spared the usual British home from home experience that a lot of my compatriots feel they need to make their holiday special. Barely a word of English was spoken, allowing us to get a small taste of being in a foreign land. The Turkish holiday makers were keen to have fun though and the pool area was a hive of activity with Turkish holiday reps dragging people up to perform silly dances, sing silly songs and generally have fun. We watched with amusement as the reps performed a Turkish song similar to Agadoo with a comparable silly dance. Mrs PM was tempted to join in but resisted at the last minute.
(2) It was hot – very hot – bordering on being too hot. Our hotel was at the top of a hill and on the first day we embarked on a massive walk exploring the local town before climbing the hill back to our hotel when we had had enough. We ended up slightly lost and the hill was extremely steep. By the time we found our way to the hotel we were both almost dead. Mrs PM almost threw up and I flopped onto a chair in the hotel bar, barely able to say “water”. We sat there for twenty minutes sipping water supplied by a very kind barman with sweat pouring off our bodies. We decided that we would take taxis from that point on.
(3) Turkey is the first Muslim country I have visited and at one point we were enjoying the sunset over Bodrum Harbour when the signal for prayers came from the local mosque. I was fascinated by this. Turkey seems to be quite relaxed when it comes to religion and while there might be a few devout Muslims, most people carried on with their business.
(4) The food was brilliant. I had to try a Donner Kebab and it arrived, sizzling on a hotplate. It was wonderful. Turks love their food and I was very impressed with the cuisine generally. There wasn’t a single meal that I didn’t enjoy.
(5) Turkish men are very friendly and very forward, particularly with women. On the first night we were enticed into an open air bar and within five minutes a waiter had demonstrated to me how Turkish men greet each other. He kissed me on each cheek (he needed a shave) and within seconds he was holding Mrs PM’s hands and hugging her. He offered free drinks to the “young, romantic and sexy couple”. Mrs PM loved the attention but I wondered whether he was very short sighted, describing me as “sexy”. We were offered free shooters in this bar and a few others too. Thankfully we were fairly sensible about it and only had a mild hangover the next day (not a good idea in the heat). Most restaurants and bars we visited were similar with the waiters and owners offering us various things “on the house” (like Apple Tea, Raki and even a small fish in one place). Wonderful hospitality.
(6) A couple of the friendly waiters were quite surprised to discover that I was forty eight years old. One guy in particular said I looked about thirty two. What a charmer he was.
(7) We embarked upon a boat trip that was extremely good fun. There was “free beer” available but it was so weak that I stuck to coke. The food, however, was very good and we were able to plunge off the boot into the Aegean Sea to cool down. The highlight was watching the Turkish crew performing their traditional Turkish dancing on the top deck of the boat while other passing boats watched with a mixture of fascination and enjoyment. A very nice day.
Our original plan had been to see some of the local sights, particularly places like Ephesus. Sadly after the first day we decided that it was simply too hot to spend six hours travelling to the place and another three hours walking around. In a sense, I’m glad for two reasons.
First, it gave me a chance to really relax, spending days by the pool, reading, listening to music and swimming.
Second, it gives us an excuse to go back. The next time we go, our destination will be somewhere closer to Ephesus or Izmir. It also makes sense to go when it is a little cooler, perhaps in May or September.
I am quite excited at the prospect of visiting Istanbul also – perhaps that’s yet another trip.
To summarise, Turkey is a great place. It is relatively cheap, very friendly, as excellent food and there is a lot to see and do.
I would recommend it.
Now then, I have to make inroads into this huge heap of jobs that have piled up.
If you can read the future, dear reader, and are willing to share next week’s lottery numbers with me I would be most grateful. In the meantime I shall post a few photos on my photo blog when I get round to it.
Still, every cloud has a silver lining - we're off to Ibiza in a few weeks - and I can't wait!