Turkish Resort

14:15 Sunday 15th July 2018

For me, a day off is when you do whatever interests you - without pressure of time or other people's expectations. For our Arab cousins, it's when we do nice things for each other.

Yesterday was a day off, and Jamal my host did nice things for his family, and me. The family were deposited with their friends, where they could run around, play, sleep, fight, sing songs and do all those things children love doing. Usually at the tops of their voices.

I got taken to a hotel resort. With beach, swimming pool, sun loungers ... and someone improvising jazz saxophone over a techno backing. Had I been warned, I might have been able to bring swimming clothes. But he lent me his. And I managed to rip them open while getting some bruises as I attempted to climb into the pool.

I've been through a few holiday resorts in my time, and I can't recall anyone looking happy in them. People stroll around, take dips, sunbathe, drink coffee in the restaurant and cola under the umbrellas. Sometimes they venture into the ocean, or strenuously pose for "spontaneous" family photos.

But the photos are the only places they seem to smile.

Perhaps holidays are things to only plan for and look back upon. Like wedding days but not birthdays, diets but not blow-outs.

But the main event was at another hotel. The owner was a friend of my host, and the event was a wedding party. Presumably there was a bride and groom somewhere around, but the garden was filled with around 200 guests, all in improbably formal attire...and all of it white.

Not just the clothes, but the table, chairs, cockery, lighting fixtures and stage were sparkly white. It was like something out of a disney cartoon. Or 1973.

The interesting thing is what it says about the Turkish economy. Like, you can run a hotel that's priced out of the range of ordinary folk, but that rich bastards would never think of using. Turkey has a social climbing middle class, specifically an <i>upper</i> middle class - one with kitsch bad taste, aspirations to live in a dream world, glamourous wives who run the large small businesses their husband's own, love of the police so long as they're not present, and lofty but vague ambitions to make it big while pretending all they really care about is family.

Which means Turkey may now be more part of Europe than part of Arabia.

There was catered food, which like all food at all formal events I've been to, was amazingly well presented, sometimes unidentifiable, and made me violently ill.

After a few minutes failing to throw it up in the toilet - while outside a man appeared to be changing his socks? - I settled for sipping coca cola. Which was labeled in Turkish "Orijinal Tat". Well, quite.

This is what happens when you do nice things for me. I embarrass you by splitting your shorts and being unable to eat your food, while wishing I was back in my little room, figuring things out on a computer.


  1. Your host seems lovely.

    Give it time. You'll develop an iron stomach...or return a whole lot slimmer! Win! Win!