13:11 Thursday 19th July 2018

Next to the rural town of Iskanderun, is the seaside resort town of Arsuz. And that's were I was yesterday.

Now, there's two things I don't like: Mountains and sea. Which is to say, the vertigo of mountains and the enormous wide turbulence of the sea. Not exactly phobias, but I get nervous. So it's somehow inevitable I spend three months living in a Mediterranean paradise that's got lots of mountain's, and lots of sea.

So, yesterday we went to Arsuz, and I got persuaded to try a boat ride. An hour in a slightly rickety-looking, slightly petrol-smelling boat, with my host, and the pilot who speaks tourist vocabulary in several languages.

I didn't so much mind the dry heaving over the edge. Or the splashing of seawater all over our clothes. Or even the occasional big wave which knocked us and our cans of beer over.

(Oh yes, I got persuaded to try beer. Didn't like that either.)

No, it was just the vast...unsolidity of the water. You can't walk on it, I can barely float in it, you can't breathe in it, you can't reason with it and you can't even predict it. Two thirds of the earth's surface is trying to kill you.

But I did have an idea. Maybe it's not vertigo. Maybe it's something akin to agoraphobia. I can control my emotions enough to prevent panic or freezing, so it's not a classic phobic reaction, but I think I really, really don't like open spaces.

Jamal of course loved every minute. He even enjoyed getting soaked by spray. I have to admit the cold water was welcome, as a counteragent to the sun.

There then followed the routine round of eating too much excellent food in bizarrely cheap restaurants, sitting and digesting while Jamal smoked the shisha ("hookah" in Turkey), failing to blag our way into posh hotels...and then eating even more too much excellent food.

And I don't care if that sentence wasn't quite grammatical.


  1. Sounds like a good time! I love mountains, and boat rides! I also love good food and finding good prices.

    Totally with you on beer--it just makes me pee a lot. If I want a nice buzz, I stick to the stronger spirits. Of course, Muslims don't drink alcohol, so I always wonder what they are imbuing that gives them a buzz.

    1. Muslims don't drink beer the same way christians don't eat pork.

      We have our hypocrisies, they have theirs.