The clock had been ticking for nigh on two years. Tick Tock. Tickety Tock. 1460 home-made beds and 2190 meal-time marathons later, the time had finally come. For a holiday. Another one? Never mind a year’s worth of maternity leave, weekend joyrides in Amsterdam or the five week stint on The Costa Del MIL (& for that I most definitely deserve a medal). No, what was needed was a belting holiday blow-out, of the bum meets beach meets balcony meets bar meets buffet meets booze meets boogie meets bed kind. And with a party of six regressing-on-adolescent adults, four terror tots, one bouncing baby and a stuffed Minion in tow, forget Anonymous in Antalya. There was no question that this was going to be a holiday to remember. And so were we to be remembered. By every other poor sod in the environs.
The build-up was BIG. It began months in advance with all manner of desperate diets. Juicing it from breakfast through to lunch with a no-carb rule at dinner – pretty much everything was a no-no in order to expunge that excess bulge of baby belly. And with the prospect of actually being seen in public, even worse, by friends, in what can only be classed in the same bracket as “under garments”, there swiftly followed a Herculean hunt for the best boob-boosting bikini on the market. Not such a simple task when there’s nothing much there to play with. Apparently.
Packing commenced well over a month in advance. Psychological packing, that is. Of the meticulous minutiae kind. Mental lists spawned hand-scrawled check-lists, spawned detailed diagrams, spawned conceptual blueprints. The days of chancing hand-luggage only on those dirty weekends away of old, were a distant memory. As a family of four now, we had to think BIG. All possible eventualities had to be met. And thereby began the mammoth packathon, covering every inch of carpet space across the entire first floor. With a minimum of four outfit changes per person per day, an entire medicine cupboard, various large inflatables [child-friendly ones too] and even elements from the kitchen sink, one could mistakenly presume we were emigrating to the third world. They don’t sell washing up liquid over there . Apparently.
But a week prior to lift-off, panic set in when the iPhone fiend confirmed our worst fears. It was going to rain. F*&% me, it was going to lash it down. Brollies, macs, hats and covers all went in. Forget luggage allowance. All our dreams and hopes were dashed in an instant. The holiday that had been eagerly anticipated by all, was r.u.i.n.e.d. Before it had even started. Thank Goodness we don’t all believe everything we read though. Several refreshes later, our dependable best friend reported sustained sunshine all the way. Nothing was going to rain on our parade. The holiday was back on.
Having safely arrived in paradise, day one remains somewhat of a blur. Is it rude to blame this on the uninterrupted flow of all-inclusive, all-intoxicating liquor at every bar stop en route to the beach? Or how about being bombarded at buffet-bedlam by shot-glass upon shot-glass of boozy blancmange, layer upon layer of buttery baklava and tier upon tier of bespoke bakes? Confounded further by the Babel-esque array of languages being spoken, whoever thought we were in Turkey clearly got it wrong! But fear not, vodka is vodka in Russian and by day two, we were befriending all nationalities with our fluent pool-side lingo and by night, we could be seen gaily gyrating to the mini-disco beat. In German.
We have evidence.
Finally a holiday would not be complete without a spot of souvenir shopping and a symbolic souk thrown in for good measure. So with our very own, dedicated travel-rep in tow, the Brits chartered a local taxi in search of some copy-right-exempt, bargain buys . Thirty minutes later, after dicing with death through dangerous driving and exchanging unintelligible just-nod-your-head pleasantries with our chauffeur, we finally arrived at our destination. Local + souk it was, but tourist + trap it was not. We’d only rocked up at the municipal meat, fish and veg market: Saturdays and Sundays only, don’t miss out on the tastiest trout in town. Is it any wonder there were no Pucci purses or Bilberry bags on sale in this dive? But fortunately for the local economy, help was on hand and we were “gratuitously” guided around the corner, through an alley, in a lift and down some stairs into a showroom. A showroom of spectacular proportion. A showroom pulsating with purse porn. And in true British style, the budget was blitzed in an instant, I got to see “Derek” in his leopard-print thong and the merchant rubbed his hands together in glee and shut up shop until Christmas. Robbing cheating ba&%$ard.
And so, nine sleeps later, we boarded the plane home, two stone heavier and a shade or two darker than “Melinda’s” Slightly Sunkissed bottle look, but happy nevertheless, in the knowledge that we’d made our mark in Turkey. A la Brit.
Apparently what goes on in Turkey, stays in Turkey.