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Old 28th September 2004, 15:03   #1 (permalink)
LİVİNG İN PARADİSE
 
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Travels in Turkey - Part 5

Birthday Party

Three days later, it was time to have the children's birthday party. All the boys were born within two weeks of each other, making April and May a constant stream of choccy eggs at Easter and unlimited parties, presents, magicians and Bouncy castles. For the first time in years, there were no party bags to be filled, mutant turtle cups to be bought or names to be added or crossed off the party list!

Cathy and I had bought out sausage rolls, ham, cheese, and jelly. On the day, we sent the boys off with Fedai and descended on the hotel kitchen. Mehmet's mum made a huge Turkish flat cake with almonds and a gigantic tray of baklava which is layers of filo pastry filled with pistachios and sugar syrup.

No-one except Bayram, would touch the sausage rolls or Ham. It was hilarious watching sensible Turkish people prod the ham with a fork as if it had teeth and I actually chased Mehmet round the kitchen, waving a sausage roll at him. Bayram took a bite of a sausage roll and said “Don't tell my father”.

Eventually the food was prepared and it looked remarkably like a party spread back in England. We laid the table with a paper He-man cloth, matching plates and streamers. We blew up balloons and hung them from the vines. Leaving the table, Cathy and I went for a shower and change of clothes.

Half an hour later, I was back downstairs waiting for the boys and Cathy to reappear. The boys arrived hot, sweaty but not tired enough to enjoy a party. I told them to go and have a shower and walked to the bottom of the stairs. As we looked up, Cathy appeared dressed in a black dress and stilettos. She looked good. Grabbing the hand rail, she began to descend. Alex said something to his mum and she momentarily took her hand off the rail. She took one step forward, then slid un-ceremoniously down the remaining six steps!

The boys stood open mouthed as Cathy slithered towards them screaming. Help her, me? If I could have done, I would but anything similar happening to myself or others and I am laughing like a hyena! Between hoots of laughter, I managed to ask her if she was ok as she slid gracefully into a heap at the bottom of the steps. The boys helped her up and luckily apart from a grazed elbow and a cut on her knee she was fine. I escorted her to bar, still laughing fit to burst and gave her my normal remedy Efes. Ten minutes later with spaceman plasters dotted on her body, she was ready to roll –what a trooper.

We sat down to eat with the family and a few friends who the kids had met out there. We laughed and joked, squirted silly string everywhere and had a jolly good time. The boys opened their presents and I too had presents to open, my birthday being the next week. The kids were packed off to bed, the table cleared and all the adults voted on going down the disco.

Not being able to walk in her scrapped stilettos, Cathy went upstairs to change. I was already in uniform – jeans, tee-shirt and trainers with a jumper because the evenings get very cool.
Mehmet told us to walk down the road a little way and off we set. We did wonder what the hell was going on, but five minutes later we saw the family car being pushed out of the drive. Mehmet had sneaked the car keys, whilst his father was sleeping and between them, the boys rolled it out of the hotel so that it wouldn't wake his father up. The boys were allowed to use the car, but Mehmet hadn't passed his test and didn't for another two years and Bayram was at school the next day. No one ever considered how the hell we would get it back in without making a noise and in the event, we didn't.

We entered the disco, bought our drinks and found a bench against the wall to sit on. The boys strutted their stuff whilst Cathy and I watched the would be ‘John Travoltas'. Turkish men, love themselves and every disco had huge floor to ceiling mirrors. Every hip thrust, boogie and shimmy was reflected in all its glory. To be honest, they don't need women to make them feel good, they all have this great confidence in themselves and all think they are the cat's whiskers! We soon got bored sniggering at them and got up to dance.

All too soon, Bayram suggested that we headed home as he had to be up at 7am for school and it was now 3am. Groaning and moaning, we left the disco which was now looking empty and drove back to the hotel. Mehmet drove straight in across the gravel, headlights blazing like the bloody Calvary! No wonder his father woke up and dressed in his stripy PJ's and jacket he stood in the hotel doorway and gave us all a good tongue lashing. Cathy and I assumed it was a telling off but not being that fluent in Turkish we never did know.

Turkish manners are very strange things and whilst Mehmet's father was well aware that we were sleeping together, it was not polite to go marching off to bed together or to be seen as if we were. I looked at Mehmet and he shrugged. Cathy and I said goodnight and went upstairs. She to her room, me to mine. I undressed, got into bed leaving the door unlocked. Sure enough five minutes later Mehmet appeared, undressed and climbed into bed. We spent a lot of time playing this silly game but it is common practice in turkiye and even in 1996, it was impossible to book one room in a hotel if you were not married. Things have moved on now, but if you travel out of the tourist areas, time has stood still.

We had lots of great times on that first holiday, including another trip to Dalyan where this time we hired a whole boat and did manage to travel down the Turkish Nile, reaching the sandbar and the sea.

Mehmet's father drove us to Kaþ, Kalkan and Patara where the beach is amazing, but such a palaver to reach. We spent days down at the lagoon with Mehmet, played football with the local children and even had a meal out in one of Fethiyes top restaurants – The Meðri. Thinking it was really expensive, Cathy and I were cautious, but Mehmet informed us that he had worked there washing up and we got a whopping 30% discount off the bill. I still do, fifteen years down the line!
Cathy had formed some kind of relationship with Fedai and we now went out double dating. Mehmet's mum was only too happy to keep an eye on the boys, once they were in bed and it was only AJ that caused problems.

He would come downstairs at midnight, looking for his mum. Usually we would be out and Mehmet's mum would take him into her bed and settle him off again. One night we were walking down to the village and a car pulled up. Winding down the window, the driver said to Mehmet one word…….Aldwyn! Cathy and I looked at each other, shrugged and got in the car without a word. The man took us back to the hotel, waited until Aj had gone off back to sleep and then took us down to the disco. Some babysitting service.

The days flew past and Cathy and I had already spoken about coming back on our own in September. As a surprise, Mehmet and Fedai organized a midnight picnic down on the beach.

As usual, Cathy and I were sat at the bar one night and feeling tired – how unusual, we were thinking of having an early night. Mehmet and Fedai were huddled together talking, as only Turkish men do and we just ignored them, talking amongst ourselves.

Mehmet disappeared into the kitchen and came back with a bag and three bottles of Champagne. Looking at us and grinning at Fedai, he said “Come on we are going out”. Neither of them would tell us where we were going but us girls, didn't need telling twice. Turkish men have two modes; they either do nothing or do something out of the blue. If it is the later, then I would advise you to go along with it. If you hesitate, they are more than likely to go off by themselves and believe me have a bloody good time!

Walking down the road, the boys in front Cathy and I came up with all sorts of crazy ideas. A taksi drove past and stopped. No one had any money and I thought how the hell do we pay.
Pay? No way were we thumbing a lift. Heheee ladies, you should try this for yourselves. Not very wise advice, but one that I have done regularly in turkiye with or without a man in tow.

We all got into the taxi, Mehmet in the front talking to the driver and we drove off down to the beach. Thinking that perhaps we were going to Crusoes, or Harrys Bar Cathy and I didn't bat an eyelid. Nearing the beach, the driver drove to the right and parked. Strange, because the bars are to the left and the only other building was the resort round the other side of the lagoon.

Climbing out into the cool night air we asked where the hell are we going? With a smile, we were told” wait and see “but, to be quiet. We stepped over the fence dividing the private or conservation area from the main beach and walked towards the lagoon. Thinking the boys had completely loss their marbles or that we were going fishing, Cathy and I followed.

Half way along the beach, the boys stopped. We were told to sit down. From the bag, Mehmet produced a blanket which he spread on the sand, a loaf of bread, some cheese and olives. There was also a bunch of grapes………..

Cathy and I looked at each other and the boys said we thought you would like to go swimming!! Swimming at this time of night or morning when it's this cold, no way Jöse! Oh god, if only we hadn't opened the third bottle of fizzy, if only the heavens had opened. If only.

No, nothing came from above and rescued us and sure enough an hour later, there were two butt naked English women bobbing away in the sea accompanied by two equally naked Turkish men. We splashed around, played giants fight and laughed ourselves stupid. I'm sure that it was the champagne making us laugh, but then it could have been mid-spring madness or the moonlight.

Eventually we got cold and headed back for the beach. Now one blanket and four wet people doesn't leave much drying space! We dried ourselves off as best we could and yes mum I could have caught pneumonia and died. Huddled together, we sang silly songs, joked and finished off the champagne.

They did it first, honest. Without a word Cathy and Fedai disappeared into the darkness, Cathy's white bum showing their path. I think they were looking for shells or something……..Leaving Mehmet and I alone, was asking for trouble – no sooner had they turned their backs, we were busy making out on the blanket on the ground! God, it was amazing. I did a lot of firsts on that holiday, first skinny dip, first sex on the beach and first time to ring the bell three times in a row! Woooh, if any of you need to spice up your love life, find a deserted beach, a blanket and the moonlight. Of course a blanket isn't a sort of fashion accessory, or something you have in your wallet gents, but unless ladies, you wish to pee the Sahara desert for a week, I would strongly recommend a cover of some sort.

We rested had a cigarette (how French!) and resumed from where we left off. I think it must have been Mehmet's age, but boy could he perform. It is some sort of Turkish cultural thing, but Turkish men do everything with one ear open and have sonar like bats! If you think he won't hear you picking your nails, too late. Something penetrated Mehmet's brain and he immediately stopped what he was doing and urging me to get dressed, pulled his trousers on.

Have you ever got dressed, with your eyes shut? Have you ever had to feel your clothes out of a pile of similar items? No? Neither had I and it was only by chance that I managed to find my bra in the dark. My knickers were never found and for all I know they now lay buried under six foot of sand on the lagoon.

It was two embarrassed looking people in a state of undress, that saw Cathy (still showing her white bum!) and Fedai walking hand in hand towards them. We sorted out what clothes belonged to whom and attempted to dress ourselves. This done, we collected up the remains of the food, floated the bottles out to sea – apologies are due here, but we were not at that time really thinking about conservation and the ozone layer, and left the beach. Fedai and Cathy hugging each other and Mehmet and I holding hands.

We walked down to crusoes, found a taksi and were driven back to the hotel. By now, the sun was rising and the cockerel was crowing. Looking at my watch, it was 6am and we still hadn't been to bed. Knowing the boys would all be awake in less than an hour; we decided against going to bed and walked down to the bakers for fresh bread.

Ahhh, now there is nothing more tantalizing, than the smell of freshly baked hot bread and butter. Amazingly, Cathy and I were starving and we had eaten a loaf and a half before the children put in an appearance. Telling them, we had got up early to go and get the bread and that we were tired, we sneaked off to our rooms.

Mehmet never slept that day, nor did Fedai. Unfortunately when you run a hotel as a family business, sleep is a luxury not a necessity. Cathy and I slept till lunch time and woke refreshed.. Mehmet had gone to Fethiye and only Bayram was about at the hotel. We found the boys playing in the garden and took them down to the village to buy sweets.

It is a long walk on a hot day and we went the scenic route, which now is down by the Orka and new apartments to the bottom field, then left to Hisaronu. In those days, we would walk amongst wild flowers, chickens, scuttling lizards, scorpions, the odd sleepy kaplumbaða (tortoise to you) and it was a wonderful, living nature lesson. Rather than a twenty minute stroll down the main road, this would take us up to two hours, stopping here and there when something took the boys eye.

Reaching Bunyamin's little wooden shop, we went in and bought sweets. Turkish sweets, even now are not a patch on the English ones and it took them ages to decide what to buy. A short walk up the road, we stopped at the wonderful Chocolate Éclair place and had tea.

Like everything else, all good things come to an end and as the sun set over the hills of the kaya it was time to make a move whilst there was still enough hot water left for showers.

Cleanliness is next to goodliness I hear you say, true. Three young boys accumulate a huge amount of dirt and grime in a day and ‘wet ones' only skim the surface. If there was no hot water, Cathy and I would spend the evening with three, much tanned, blonde haired street urchins. It was a sight we didn't relish and gathering our bags and kids, we headed home.

Jenni

May 1990

Last edited by Mushtaq; 10th February 2006 at 22:29..
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