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Old 29th September 2004, 16:18   #1 (permalink)
LİVİNG İN PARADİSE
 
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Travels in Turkey - Part 13

After the events of the previous night, Mehmet and I decided after a lie-in, to have a quiet day. The boys asked to go horse-riding and Mehmet took them over the road, making arrangements for them to be dropped off at the hotel, when they had finished.

There was only a week and a few days left of the holiday and Mehmet and I really needed to talk properly and discuss his reasons for straying. Making yet another pot of tea, I sat down on the bed to listen, argue, call him a Pratt and explain why I no longer trusted him.

A lot of what had gone on, had happened simply because I was not there and Mehmet being a typical man, who always needed to know he was the centre of attention, or number one looked for it elsewhere. He was flattered by the attention and chasing.

I had by this time, realized that I didn't have two children, but three. All the boys were jealous of each other, my two resenting the time I spent with Mehmet and he the time spent with the boys. Although they all got on well, played games and went places together, I constantly felt that I was been dragged in all directions. For two weeks, I could deal with it, for longer and the strain began to show.
Having finished putting the world to rights and discussing the future, Mehmet and I left the apartment. We found the boys playing in the car park and took them down to the beach for a swim.

With the main beach dropping away sharply and the waves too big for the boys, we all preferred the Naturist beach across the bay. Here it is less crowded and when the boys were tired of the sea they could go and play football up in the café. I think a good reason why the boys (all three of them!) preferred to go there, was the naked women.
There were none to be seen that afternoon and we had the whole beach to ourselves. A few cars and the odd dolmus crawled past on the cliff road, but we were undisturbed.

Callum took all his clothes off and was soon butt naked in the sea. Mehmet joined him and urged AJ and myself to join them. Not needing much encouragement we pulled off our swimwear and rushed in. If by any chance, you encountered naked bodies splashing around Paradise beach, in September 1995, I do apologise if you were embarrassed.

After four hours of playing knights on horseback, hunting for shells and generally larking about it was time to go. The sun was setting and it was getting cold. On the way back to the hotel, we stopped at ‘Dippy Dolly's', long since gone, but was next to the entrance to the car park at the side of Crusoe's bar. The boy's had milkshakes, Mehmet and I çay. We played a few games of pool and then left.

By the time we got back to the hotel, it was evening. Mehmet's parents had gone to visit Mehmet's mum down the mountain and Biray was off with his mates drinking. Mehmet went into the kitchen and cooked dinner for us all, whilst I played games with the boys and got them ready for bed.

After we had eaten, Mehmet dragged the brazier out and lit a roaring fire in front of the bar. We sat around talking and playing backgammon, whilst the boys started to nod off. At nine o'clock I led them off to bed, tucked them in and before long they were off with the sandman.

I picked up a thick jumper and went back to the fire. On the way past the swimming pool, I could hear voices from the bar. Sighing to myself, I realized that we had company and that a quiet evening alone, simply was not on the cards.

As I reached the restaurant, I could hear Tina Turner blaring out simply the best. Instinctively I knew that whoever was there were tourists. Not because of the choice of music, but had it been friends or family there wouldn't have been any music playing at that level.
Turning the corner, I saw that there were at least seven teenage girls and boys standing around the bar and Mehmet struggling to serve them.

Pulling my jumper over my head I walked round the bar. Fixing my smile, I asked what was wanted. I simply have never understood why a simple question does not result in a simple answer. Did they tell me what drinks they wanted? No, I was given a look as if I was something the cat had just sicked up and was totally ignored. Had I been rude, abrupt or anything other than charming, it would make sense. Mehmet caught my eye and winked. I know he was trying to reassure me, but I felt like picking up a beer glass and crowning him one!

Shrugging my shoulders, I left him to it and sat huddled by the fire minding my own business. It is hard enough having a boyfriend working in the hospitality business without thoughtless women rubbing it in. I am not a jealous person and business is business, but there are times even now when I just want to slap someone hard!!

With my head buried in a book I watched from a distance. Before long, two girls climbed onto the bar and started dancing. The others danced around the bar and in the middle stood Mehmet, a smile fixed on his face but his shoulders telling a different story. Mehmet's father Nevzat had gradually learnt to accept many changes in his life since opening the hotel. Having people dancing on his bar, was not one he would take laying down, as they soon found out when he returned some fifteen minutes later!

With a face like thunder, he marched into the bar and turned the music off. People protested and he ignored them. Shouting and gesturing at Mehmet, he waved an arm at the two girls on his bar. Taking one look at his enraged face, they climbed down.
It is difficult to draw a line between how far to go, when it comes to keeping the customers happy. Nevzat would complain when the hotel wasn't making money, or getting enough customers, but when they were there he did everything possible to discourage them.

With a face like thunder, he stalked past me and into the house. Mehmet turned the music back on and the group resumed their drinking, albeit a little quieter and subdued. I put down my book and joined Mehmet behind the bar. I felt like marching off to bed, but there were glasses to be washed and a bar to be wiped down. At least if I was there working, I knew Mehmet would get to bed at a reasonable hour and sober. From past experience, I had learnt not to leave him behind the bar, unless I wanted to have a drunken Eejit climb into bed with me.

We poured drinks, chatted to each other and acted as the genial hosts. I was still being ignored, but Mehmet was having brandy and lemonade bought for him like there was no tomorrow and being the obliging chap he is, he was knocking it back. So much for my reasoning that he would be sober. Readers of these stories or ladies with Turkish boyfriends will know Turkish men have two modes:-They either ignore you completely, or get so sloshed they declare undying love for you regardless of the company. This was the undying love mode. To my embarrassment and everyone else's amusement, Mehmet declared to anyone that would listen, that he loved me and always would. Kicking him in the shins, I told him he was drunk and to go to bed.

I asked everyone to drink up and started to clear the bar. They protested, they asked for more drinks and eventually getting the message began to leave. AJ staggered up to the bar in his P.J' s and informed me that Mehmet had fallen over the chair, hit his head and was bleeding! Oh, brilliant. I couldn't leave the bar unattended AJ was too young to be left in charge, so Mehmet would have to bleed to death on the floor.

Saying goodnight to the stragglers, I pulled the security flaps down and started to padlock them. Grumbling and moaning everyone left. I locked up, stacked the sink with glasses, wiped the bar down, emptied the till and turned the lights off. Picking AJ up, I walked back to the apartment.

Mehmet had indeed fallen over and was bleeding. Nothing major, just a graze on his forehead and from the noise he was emitting under the blankets, it was hardly going to kill him. I put AJ into bed, got undressed, shoved Mehmet over to the far side and climbed into bed. It seems my head had only just touched the pillow, before I heard Mehmet's mum calling for him. Next to me snoring like a train Mehmet lay, totally oblivious. I poked him and was rewarded with a grunt and some strange words which could have been, ‘leave me alone'. Sighing, I got out of bed and opened the door. Gesturing at Mehmet sprawled beneath the blankets to his mum; I stood aside and let her in.

She took one look and yanked all the blankets off the bed, shouting at him to get up. The fact Mehmet was stark naked, didn't faze her one bit. Rolling away from her, Mehmet tried to protect his modesty. Ha, ha with a Turkish woman on the warpath, not a hope in hell. She shouted at him in Turkish and he moaned, clutching his head in agony. Stifling my giggles, I went into the bathroom to have a shower.
As I stood under the shower, the door opened and Mehmet walked in, looking like a zombie. He pushed me to one side and stood under the hot shower. Awww, poor lamb. Not only did he look rough, he admitted he felt like death. Smiling sympathetically, I shoved him out and passed him the towel.

He dried himself off, left the bathroom and I could hear him looking for his clothes next door. When I emerged from the shower, fresh as a daisy, he had gone. I got dressed, woke the boys who were still fast asleep and walked over to the shop for bread. On the way, I passed the bar where Mehmet was tackling the pile of dirty glasses, his mum standing behind to make sure they were done.

On my return, I put the kettle on and started to cook breakfast. The boys appeared and I sent Callum over to get Mehmet. We all sat down to eat, the boys tucking in vigorously and Mehmet just picking. I sent the boys out to play in the garden and started on the washing up. Mehmet simply kicked his flip-flops off and climbed back into bed. I have always found that when men are suffering from the hair of the dog, it is simply best just to leave them to their own devices. After making sure Mehmet was ok and not likely to choke on his own vomit, swallow his tongue or fall out of bed, I left him to it.
Calling the kids, we waited outside the hotel for a dolmus into Fethiye.

As it was a Monday, I knew the kids would be happily amused wandering around the market for hours. Spending money on bird whistles, plastic water pistols and although the denied it, the attention they got from both being blonde. As we trundled across the cobblestones into Fethiye, I told the kids that I would take them for a pizza after we had strolled round the market.

Luckily, this was achieved in a little more than three hours, a water pistol fight and a go at trying to hook a live trout from the water tanker! It was nearly three pm, before we started the walk into Fethiye and despite moans and groans; I herded them along the dusty pavements.

The pizza place is on the road which runs up the back of Fethiye towards the market and is still there today. The kids loved eating here because they were spoilt rotten and allowed to put their own toppings on the pizza. Many a birthday and other occasions have been celebrated here.

We placed our order and climbed up the wooden stairs to sit down. We could have sat downstairs, but with the kids running about and a main road, I felt safer upstairs and the kids wouldn't disturb anyone else.
The pizzas arrived and the waiter placed a fourth one, covered in chilli flakes and pepper on the table. I told him that we hadn't ordered it and he said No? Thinking that perhaps he didn't quite understand, I reeled through our order which had been placed in front of us. Giving me a smile, which implied that I was probably, not all there he said ‘It is Mehmet's'. Oh, so where is he then?
The thudding on the stairs as he pounded up them, revealed Mehmet's whereabouts. With a grin like a Cheshire cat he sat down alongside Callum.

Once Mehmet appeared, the boys settled down and ate their pizza without too much going on the floor, over each other or smeared on the table. However easy going Turkish people are, unless it is their own child they will not put up with bad behaviour from children. In Turkey, children are seen and not heard.

For once we were able to sit down and enjoy a meal. We listened to what the boys had to say, discussed the next time I would be out and general everyday chat. We finished the pizzas, ordered Ice cream to take away and left.

Driving the scenic route back from Fethiye we climbed the mountain above the old town and dropped down into the Kaya. The sun was setting on the far mountains and the whole valley was bathed in a warm glow. If you have never driven to or from Fethiye through the Kaya, you have missed a wonderful sight.

Arriving at the hotel in the early evening twilight, we were surprised to see a group of people sat at the bar. From inside the family rooms, Mehmet's mum appeared pulling her headscarf over her long, wavy black hair.

From the snatched conversation between her and Mehmet, I gathered
that a party of four people had turned up at the hotel and wanted accommodation for the week. Despite the hotel being closed, Mehmet's father wanted the money they would bring in. He never for one minute considered the inconvenience or hard work that everyone except him would have to do.

I looked at Mehmet and shrugged my shoulders. Regardless of what we wanted or Mehmet's mum wanted, the hotel would be open and a full service provided. I took the boys over to the apartment, got them ready for bed and telling them to play quietly, left them and headed in the direction of the bar.

Before I could get that far, I met Mehmet's mum going up the stairs to the hotel rooms. Her arms were piled up with clean sheets and pillowcases. She looked at me raised her eyes towards the heavens and sighed.

Giving her a nod, I walked up behind her and took the sheets. At least there were only two rooms to be opened up, cleaned and the beds made. With two of us doing one room each, it would take less than an hour. We prepared the rooms and opened the windows. Even though the rooms had only been shut up for less than a week, they were stale.
Annem (Mehmet's mum) walked down the stairs taking off her headscarf as she went. For her, the work was over and she could go to bed. I looked at my watch at it was 9.30pm.

No nice warm bed for me for at least another five hours. Mehmet and I had planned to go to a bar later that evening but it looked liked being shelved. Fixing my tourist smile, I walked round to the bar. For once, Mehmet's dad was playing the welcoming host and standing behind the bar all smiles. He hardly spoke any English, except when he wanted to and this was one of those occasions.

Looking up and seeing me, he gestured for me to go away. Glancing at Mehmet, he mouthed a silent no and indicated that I should sit down at the bar and have a drink. God, why is life so difficult sometimes. Knowing that Mehmet's disapproval was much worse than his fathers, I sat down.

One of the guests asked if I would like a drink and Mehmet nodded to say that it was ok to accept. Having taken a drink from them I started chatting. Everyone was introduced and the drinks flowed freely. Some of the group started yawning and winking at Mehmet, I took it as our clue to speed things up. At this rate, there was a good possibility we would still be hitting the bar later. Two of the guests finished their drinks, said their goodnights and left. The remaining two, who were in their late thirties continued chatting and asked us where the night life was to be found. Always obliging, Mehmet offered to show them after we had closed the bar. I could have strangled him, kicked him to death even mutilated his body with a long bladed knife.

I did neither. I smiled at him, left the bar to go and get changed and reappeared some fifteen minutes later dressed in clean jeans, tee-shirt and my well loved sloppy Joe, which after nearly two years in the army was very sloppy. Locking the security grille and emptying the till, Mehmet went into the house to get the car keys. Once again our time alone had been interrupted, words left unspoken, problems unsolved and so the relationship sailed forth for yet another year.

<center>JENNI</center>

October 1994

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