Tuesday 5 July 2011

It Only Takes A Minute

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!


Elephant's Child said...

So, so pleased you and Mrs PM had fun. As I mentioned (I think) the smaller portion loves Turkey and has been back a couple of times. And he loved Ephesus and Instanbul. So hurry back. He also raved about the friendliness - on a couple of occasions he was invited to the homes of people he had met casually (asking directions and the like).

Kath Lockett said...

It sounds divine - maybe an idea for us to explore from Switzerland next year....

And the bad thing about work is that studies have shown that the first week back after a holiday is the most stressful due to the backlog of work that is sitting there, waiting for you, lurking in readiness to destroy your newly-found sense of happiness and relaxation!

drb said...

Finally Mr PM! I have been waiting patiently for a review on your Turkey trip. Thanks, a lively description! I wanted to say,'Welcome back!' but decided it wouldn't be appropriate upon seeing your emos.

Looking forward to go to Turkey next year Sept.

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing the highlights of your trip to Turkey. I never thought Turkey was a Muslim country. I thought it was a Christian one because Bible history recorded that St. Paul preached there. One of my former employers was a Turkish woman who is a Jew.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi EC,

That doesn't surprise me. Rest assured we will see Ephesus and Istanbul. I loved Pompeii so Ephesus has similar appeal.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Bonjour Kath,

It's pretty close to Switzerland but then again you have most of Europe to choose from so you are spoilt for choice.

Those studies are so true. I just wish I could return without the pain of work.

One day, Kath, one day ...




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi drb,

Don't worry - I'm over the "stress" and am now failry relaxed and resigned to the drudge of the daily grind.

You will have a great time in Turkey - when I go again it will be later in the year when the heat has died down somewhat.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Bingkee,

I believe about 75% of the population are Mulsim with the remainder being mainly Christian and Jewish (according to wikipedia). What struck me is that it seems to be fairly relaxed but admittedly I only saw a little bit of this.

Of course, one of the REAL religions is football (soccer) where most of the guys support Besiktas, Galatasary or Fenerbahce. We know when British clubs play them in European competition just how passionate they are.




BaliMoz said...

Waiting for your trips review..we will be please to know the place you have visited in Turkey

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Balimoz,

We stayed in Gumbet, right next door to Bodrum and also visited Bitez which is the other side of Gumbet.

All very nice places.