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Old 28th September 2004, 15:01   #1 (permalink)
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Travels in Turkey - Part 4

Holiday with the Kids

By now my once fairly happy household had become as cold as a Penguins bottom. Relations between Peter and I were reduced to non-committal replies or long periods of silence.

Letters and phone calls from Mehmet, became a twice or thrice weekly occurrence. I still had my doubts about going back to Ovacik and Turkiye, for the simple reason that one, it had been a holiday romance and even if I hid them in the suitcase, I still had two young children.

My sister-in-law and I sat down and discussed a plan of action, should things not work out as planned. We only had to pay for our flights and spending money, because we would be staying in the hotel free of charge and this included our food. We also had three children's birthdays to celebrate and taking Alex, my nephew on holiday with her, solved his present problem.

We went ahead and booked flights for April 19th bought and froze party food and some presents for the family. The kids were naturally excited and produced all their favorite toys to take with them. Eventually, Cathy and I got things organized, booked the taxi to the airport and waited for the big day.

Four AM is not an ideal time to be leaving for the airport, but we piled into the taxi and headed off for Gatwick airport. We arrived as the sun came up, hearded the children through departures and breathed a sigh of relief as we finally took our seats on the plane. As we taxied down the runway into the glorious sunrise, I realized that whatever happened now, there was simply no going back.

The flight was uneventful, the kids moaning they were bored and refusing to eat their appetizing breakfast provided, so Cathy and I quite happily put away two and half Air 2000 brekkies. After all, you never know when you are going to eat again and I hate food going to waste.

We arrived at Dalaman on a scorching hot day, white sunshine flooded the plane and the heat haze could be seen on the far, purple mountains. As the plane stopped, for reasons unknown, even now, I didn't want to get off. The kids couldn't wait to get onto the ground, so pushing my doubts to the back of my mind; I heaved a Thomas the Tank backpack down from the overhead luggage and followed them off.

Stepping into the cool airport was a surprise. I could only remember an October morning, six months earlier when the place was quiet to say the least. We obtained the necessary visas, the children going on the adult visa and no charge.

We queued up to have our visas stamped, while the children managed to get themselves outside into the arrivals hall. In those days, people waiting did not have to stay outside the building and the place was swarming with Turkish men. Some held pieces of cardboard bearing names that were not mine, whilst holiday reps lingered in the background looking lost and flustered. It is hard to remember how we managed to grab our luggage without losing the children, but thirty minutes later, Cathy and I staggered through arrivals with the cases, a huge inflatable banana and three children.

Reaching the edge of the crowd, I scanned the walnut brown faces for a familiar sight. For what seemed like a life time, I forgot what Mahomet even looked like! From the steps leading up to arrivals, someone caught my eye and sat there like an ancient King was Mehmet. He nodded and carried on talking to another Turkish man. For those of you who are seasoned travellers in Turkiye, you will know that this is typical Turkish male behavior and no offence or rudeness was meant.

Telling everyone to follow me, I walked towards the two men. Shook hands, kissed first Mehmet on both cheeks three times, as is the custom and then waited to be introduced to the other man, who I now recognized as his uncle. The children stood behind my legs and I pushed them forward to meet the man, who I had decided, was now going to be an important part of both their lives.

As we walked to the car-park, I introduced Cathy and Alex to Mehmet. He was taken aback that it was Peter's sister, but didn't batter an eyelid. We squashed into the estate car, Cathy and the kids in the back with the cases and me sat on Mehmets lap in the front, with his uncle doing the driving, because Mehmet was not old enough. We crawled out of the airport onto the Goeck road.

For new visitors to Fethiye, the road from the airport has been re- surfaced, re-routed and bought up to date. In those wonderful days, it was a simple tarmaced road, complete with pot holes, where the winter rains washed away the surface, loose stones and the threat of rocks falling from above. To add to the excitement from little tracks darting off the main road, tractors piled high with watermelons and wooden boxes would appear going mind boggling slow.

With the bottom of the car, practically scraping the tarmac we crawled into Fethiye. No roundabout in them days, not even a traffic light……………..they added those when Mehmet was away doing his army training. We drove across the junction, past the garage and upwards into the mountains and Ovacik.

The journey took around two hours, with Alex constantly throwing up out of the window, AJ complaining the case was stuck in his back and Callum happily snoring his head off. I didn't ask Cathy how she was, but she was talking, so obviously not too badly trumatised.

We reached the top of the mountain and picked up speed. I could smell the pine trees through the open window and from unseen fires, a wonderful smell of wood smoke lingered. I only have to smell wood smoke these days and I am immediately transported back in time.

Down through the village we drove with the kid's wide awake, alert and craning their necks out of the windows. Pulling into the hotel, Mehmet's mum was waiting for us. Getting out the car she ran towards me and gave me the most wonderful welcome. It wasn't what I was expecting because here I was stealing her little boy and a married woman with two children at that.

She immediately took to AJ who in those days, was a lovely child. He had an angelic smile, beautiful grey eyes and a rotten temper, which he still has 14 years down the line. Callum was and still is more refined and just said rather politely, “ Oh Hi” and wandered off to explore.

Cathy and I were taken to our rooms. She to a room at the far end of the hotel, the boys shared a room down the corridor and I was given the biggest and best room in the hotel! It was on the next floor up with wonderful views of the mountains of Fethiye and all the fields in-between.

Throwing the cases into the respective rooms, we went downstairs to find the children and have a cup of tea. For those of you who are unaware I am a total tea aholic. In an average day here, I drink about 5/6 litres- every day. I had come prepared and produced my own mug and a box of tea bags. Not that I don't like Turkish çay – I love the stuff, but because the tea sold for the tourists – Liptons Yellow label, is worse than dish water.

The tea was duly made, Cathy and collapsed onto chairs and the children disappeared somewhere over the next field. If you are concerned about my lack of interest in my own children, rest assured, they were and are as safe as houses in turkiye and far safer than they have ever been in England. Someone, would keep an eye on them, smack them if they needed it and look out for their interest.

Cathy made her excuses and retired to her room. I was left to talk to Mehmet and I had no idea what I was going to say! I imagine that it went something along the lines of ‘ I missed you so much' or words to that effect, but I honestly cannot remember. He said that he loved the boys and I said, hahaaaa tell me that in a weeks time! I guess we made small talk, remembering we were sat in the hotel, his family were about and emotions are not expressed openly in turkiye. Even now, the habits I learnt back then have remained and I do not kiss or touch my boyfriend in public.

Initially, it was very hard to accept but believe me, it is far nicer than seeing a couple glued together with all fish lips or groping each other at the bar which makes those not participating uncomfortable. For the older readers, it is I imagine, courting in the fashion when you were young.

Mehmet was called away to cook and I went up to my room to unpack and take a shower. I then walked down to Cathy's room and with her help we unpacked the children's clothes, toys and believe it or not a bag of Boglins!!! A Boglin is a toy made of rubber who is shaped like a puppet. It is ugly, wrinkled and has moving eyes, which you operate by putting your hand up its bum! I never packed them, Cathy denied doing the deed so who was it?

That done we went downstairs to call the children for a shower and dinner.

The first night we ate in the hotel. Cathy happily tucked into her Turkish food although she couldn't understand why everything was served on small plates. As long as she got her chips, she was happy. Callum (a walking dustbin) ate everything in sight, Alex picked and AJ point blank refused to eat anything and sulked.

Knowing my youngest son, better than he knows himself, I just ignored him. My reasoning is that if a child is hungry, he will eat. Mehmet's mum wasn't having this. She went into the kitchen and boiled him an egg. Bringing it back to the table, she cracked the shell and tried to feed him. It was hard boiled and AJ refused, gesturing he wanted it runny. I still don't know whenever to call her a poor woman, or a mad woman but she went and cooked no less than four eggs until she produced one which met with AJ's approval. She then sat and fed him the egg, with soldiers until he had eaten it all.

By now it was 7/8 pm. The children were overexcited, but not tired enough to sleep. Having visions of my two running amok through the hotel, I told them to go and get a jumper because we were going for a walk. Now parents everywhere will know that walking the little darlings a couple of miles before bed, will make them sleep all night. Well, that is the theory. Hah, for once the theory worked. A quick stroll down the road and they were soon complaining of feeling tired. The children were packed off to bed and by 9.30pm were all fast asleep.

Love is in the Air
Cathy and I breathed a sigh of relief and headed for the bar. People from other hotels came over and it wasn't long before we were surrounded by six or so Turkish men, listening to our every word. Ooh Turkish men are romantic and Cathy was soon snapped up by the guy over the road, Mehmet's best friend Fedai.

I don't know how long we sat drinking, laughing, dancing and enjoying ourselves. The raki flowed, the night grew chilly and amongst the midnight blue sky a million stars appeared. Fedai sang to me and made me cry, a taxi driver proclaimed he loved Cathy with all his heart, or he didn't love her tonight, he would love her tomorrow!

People drifted off until there was just the four of us at the bar. Mehmet's eyes locked on mine and he took my hand. Leading me upstairs, I knew the moment I had waited six long months for had arrived.

Checking the boys on the way, we walked wrapped in each other into my room. Nothing mattered. but getting into bed and making love. As he slowly undressed me and ran his hands over my body, I knew in that instant that I was never going to give this man up for anything. I don't know how many times we made love that night, but it was in the cold light of day, that Mehmet left my side and went off to cook breakfast.

I lay there for a while, lingering in Mehmet's warmth, smelling his muskiness and realized without any pang of regret or doubt that I was in love. Whenever he felt the same or not I had no idea. I wandered out onto the balcony and watched the sun flit slowly across the mountain tops until it reached me. I knew or rather felt that this was meant to happen.

Yes, I know it was the first flush of love and that all my common sense had flown out of the window. So what? I didn't care then and I don't care now. What Mehmet and I had, was and always will be special. I have always lived my life with the belief that I don't knowingly hurt another human being and if I can live up to that, when I shuffle off this mortal coil my place is reserved. I don't answer to anyone on this earth, only him up there.

I was aware that I had hurt Peter badly, but he had numerous chances in the past, to put things right. I simply gave up trying to save my marriage and accepted that it wasn't going anywhere. It wasn't a case of not having tried, because I tried for the last four years of the marriage and I was married for 13 before I pulled the plug.

Hearing the kids screeching or so it seemed I hurriedly dressed and went down to their room. As I turned into the corridor, Cathy was coming out of her room. Throwing open the door to the boys room, we interrupted a rowdy pillow fight between Alex and Callum . AJ was nowhere to be seen. We set off downstairs to find him, leaving the boys to get dressed. As we walked into the restaurant, AJ was sat at the table being fed eggy in egg cup. He had apparently woken early, gone downstairs and finding Mehmets mum, gone with her to collect the chicken eggs and see the chicks.

We all sat down for a Turkish breakfast, which you should all know consist of eggs, cheese, tomatoes,cucumber,olives, Jam and bread. All washed down with dark red Turkish tea. After six little tulip glasses of tea, I was ready for the first day of the holiday.

Discussing where we were going with the boys, we decided we would walk down to the beach. The hotel at that time, was yet to have a pool and there was only one hotel in Ovacik that did.

Smothering the boys and Cathy in suntan cream, I waved them off to the beach. How they managed to walk from Ovacik down to the beach, I will never know, but they did and I have the photographs to prove it! It later transpired, that Cathy had previously arranged for Fedai to go with them and whilst I was thinking how wonderful and understanding she was in taking the children off my hands, she had ulterior motives herself…………….Cathy if you are reading this, I know that you snogged Fedai on the beach because the boys told me!!!!

Facing the prospect of a whole day alone with Mehmet I was excited, apphrensive, nervous and scared stupid. Loving someone miles away without having physical contact does that to you. I wanted him so badly, when we were not together that my heart ached. When we were together, I was scared of getting too close for fear of rejection. Hah strange creatures, us women.

I need not have worried at all. The day was simply magic and for the first time in ages, I spoke and someone actually listened rather than dismiss me out of hand. We spoke of where we were going, what the future held, how we both felt and a thousand other things.

It was then that Mehmet confessed he wasn't the 21 years of age he told he was in October, but in fact he was just three months into seventeen. Was I shocked? No I don't think so. Unlike here, where age difference is a big talking point, in turkiye it is just a number. I asked him why he had lied to me and he simply replied that had I known the truth I wouldn't have been interested in him. Yes, he was correct in that assumption, but it was too late now.

We lazed, talked and slept the day away beside the pool. From time to time we would jump in for a swim but even then it was holding hands. We were like super glue when you accidentally cover your fingers with the stuff - Impossible to prize apart.

As the sun crept lower, we knew that we were going to have to go back to the hotel and spend some time apart. We lingered as long as we could, kissing and cuddling until we were rudely interrupted by Mehmets brother Bayram, who told Mehmet he was wanted in the kitchen. Aaaaarrggghhhhh ………………..

On reaching the hotel, Cathy and the boys had returned from the beach and were all asleep. Hardly surprising with the walk they had done. I have still to do this walk, but every time I travel up and down the same road I remember them and their epic walk – the things we do for love!!!!

JENNI

April/May 1990

Last edited by Mushtaq; 10th February 2006 at 23:28..
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