Saturday, 25 September 2010

Magic in Kalkan

Izzi and Sophie were dressed up and ready to go.  Dave had secretly put his sat nav in mama's bag so he could take it apart in the restaurant, between courses, and discover why it wouldn't work in Kalkan.  With mama determined to find a nice place to eat off they trotted into the old part of Kalkan.  It was such a treat to wander along the harbour and up and down  those narrow streets.  Traders and restaurant managers invited their custom at every turn, but it was all so good humoured - and all really tempting.  Dave thought it would be good to find somewhere reasonably cheap - as the day had been a little pricy so far!  Clare nodded, silently disagreed and continued in her quest for the perfect meal that evening.
As it happened, the restaurant at the top of her list had just 1 table left, overlooking the harbour, and they offered free starters and free drinks after the meal.  Mama didn't hesitate long enough for Dave to notice that it was a tad pricier than he may have wished and within 30 seconds they were sitting, looking out over the bay of Kalkan as the sun started to set behind the hills. It was so beautiful; couldn't be lovelier - or so thought mama.  But she was wrong!  The evening was all set for real magic.
It wasn't long before the waiters were gathering round bringing drinks and menus and the choice seemed just right, for everyone.  The restaurant manager appeared and welcomed them to Kalkan.  'Was it their first night?'  His friendliness and good humour rubbed off on them and they were able to discuss how many ways they could use the 3kilo bag of lemon salt as well as who they could realistically give barbeque spices to as Christmas presents, for the next 3 years.
The meal arrived   - amazing.  Rarely does everyone get exactly what they want from a meal, but that evening Dave had his Turkish sizzling steak, mama her stuffed sea bass, Izzi her parmesan chicken and Sophie her chicken amaretto.  It was all sublime mmmm.  The restaurant manager returned to check it was all ok.  Lovely.  The food that is; well and the restaurant manager too actually.
Sophie, looking stunning in a strapless white dress seemed to be having trouble with her hair.  She kept tossing it this way, and that way, tying it up and then letting it loose.  Her eyes seemed to be following something too.  Oh yes, it was the restaurant manager.  His visits to the table seemed  to become more frequent as the evening progressed whilst Sophie still seemed to be having difficulties keeping her hair in order.
Dave got his sat nav out of mama's bag and started to look closely at it, presumably hoping to find a special hidden Kalkan switch.  Izzi and mama giggled at this, but Dave didn't even look up.  Sophie was completely oblivious to the sat nav situation as she was still having enormous problems with her hair and trying not to look as if she was watching the restaurant mangager.  This was difficult as by now he was circling the table every 30 seconds or so, seemingly unpeturbed by the sight of satelight navigational equipment in pieces on the table.  He was nice!  He was funny and he looked good.  He asked to sit down.  Actually he asked to sit down where Dave was, but that wasn't going to happen, there were too many bits of black plastic laid out carefully in that place.  So he sat down and chatted.  Sophie was finding her hair completely unmanageable by now and was tossing it around like a 60s go-go dancer.  The restaurant manager's questions  curiously seemed to be aimed more at Sophie than the rest of the family.  Had she been out much in the evenings?  Did she like Kalkan?  Could he help her with her hair?  Would she like to go dancing? 
Sophie looked at him and decided that perhaps she should be doing his hair, giving hers a rest for a while.  And so Izzi and mama watched as the two of them tossed their heads around in the most bizarre headbanging type of courtship dance ever seen in Kalkan.  Meanwhile, Dave was under the table looking for the small black bit that had come off his sat nav kit.  Luckily, an impromptu firework display lit up the street at that moment - illuminating the missing widgit.  A look of puzzlement crossed his face briefly as we saw his daughter sticking flowers into the restaurant manager's hair, but really he had much more important things to do - he was sure he'd almost cracked the sat nav problem.
  Izzi and mama sat happily watching the fireworks, Sat Nav Man and most of all  the hair dancers.  Two lovely young people who had just met and clearly couldn't keep their eyes off each other. Was it love at first sight?  Well, It really was a magical night! 
Did Sophie didn't go dancing that night? Find out in the next post

After the Spices

It seemed best to move on, put 'The Pricy Affair at the Spice Shop'  away on a top shelf,  and try to rescue what remained of the day.  And so it was that Mama, Dave, Izzi and Sophie found themsleves in a tranquil and slightly far out beach club in Kas. 
After a good lunch, a swim, a siesta and some music from The Doors (although Riders on the Storm may seem as innapropriate for summer in Turkey as the other favourite - The Titanic theme tune!) everyone was in better humour and the shock had started to wear off.  However, it wasn't until that evening that they started to see the funny side of Spice Shop Horror Story.
The journey back to Kalkan was beautiful and the family decided to book an excursion to Kekova, rather than drive themselves there, in an effort to save money.  It all proved to be a much better idea!  It was also decided that a nice meal out would be a fitting way to end the day.

Surely not a bad day in Kalkan

Almost unbelievably, the day got off to a rather bad start.  Yes, even in Kalkan things can go wrong, feathers can be ruffled and sweaty brows become ruffled with displeasure. ( In order to save embarassment and huge legal bills I will create some nom de plumes for the participants in this blog - unless they have nothing to lose from being named!)

Anyway, as I was saying, it was a bad start to the day.  Mama had decided that a trip to Kekova, the sunken city, was in order and had got up early, had a swim, lay down on the sunbed, got too hot, had another swim, lay down on the sunbed etc etc, until deciding that it was about time everyone got up so they could set off on this amazing sounding adventure.  So mama sang and whistled as she made breakfast, cheerily calling out to Dave, Izzi and Sophie to come and partake of  the spread of water melon, toast, cheese, olives, yoghurt, chocolate (what?), yes chocolate and all the other goodies that she could find.  Let's just say that the loggerhead turtles on Patara Beach would have completed several trips around the bay before these family members managed to drag themselves from their beds.  Ok, so perhaps if mama had mentioned the plan to go to Kekova there may have been more of a turn of speed - but she was ever so slightly sulking at this point and didn't see why she should share.
It was, therefore, somewhat later than the 9am start envisaged by mama when the family set off in their somewhat battered hire car, muttering the usual prayers that the car would manage the ridiculously steep hill that they had to climb, and sometimes slide back down - just a little - towards the deep blue waters of Kalamar bay. 
As usual, Dave set about organising his Sat Nav to guide them on their way.  He bristled a little at the giggles, but being a man, was able to rise above any hasty retorts.  A sat nav is clearly a very useful toy, sorry tool, in a man's collection of stuff, but not in Kalkan.  Kalkan is off the sat nav radar, (well this one anyway).  This sat nav had suggested many twists and turns on the journey from Dalaman airport to Kalkan, and had found no roads at all in Kalkan itself.  As a result the journey from the airport had taken about 5 hours instead of the 90 minutes suggested in guide books.  The guide book was pretty useless too, mainly because it was still sitting back in Sussex on the table with a map, mama's mobile phone and digital camera.
However, you can't go far wrong when you're looking for a sunken village. Who needs a map!!!  Mama had read it all up on the computer earlier that day and with her photographic memory nothing could go wrong. All they needed to do was to stick to the coast road until they came to a little village beginning with C, or G, or possibly Q.  Then they could hop on a boat and enjoy themselves.  Indeed the drive along the turquoise coast with it's hairpin bends and awesomely beautiful views unfurrowed mama's brow and restored family harmony. 
Ah, well, it all started to go wrong  when they got to Kas.  The main road stopped going along the coast and instead rose, higher and higher, taking it's users deep into the Turkish interior.  So map less and with the most useless piece of plastic ever to call itself a sat nav spouting rubbish in an Ozzy Ozbourne voice (it had become stuck on this near Gatwick airport), they decided to turn round and head into Kas and catch a boat from there.
This would normally have been no hardship.  But it was getting towards midday now and mama was not best pleased.  Even less so when the only boat told them it would take 5 hours to get to Kekova and they should have got there early in the morning!  So that was that.  No boat trip, no sunken island, just lots of midday sun in the middle of town.  Hmm.  Well, Dave decided to make the best of it and have a stroll around Kas, whilst mama walked 10 paces in front and Izzi and Sophie squabbled over hair accessories.  There were some nice enough shops around, lots of touristy places, clothes, hardware and then a spice shop.  Unable to resist the offer of free food or drink mama was sucked into this amazing emporium where huge quantities of spices were displayed in large open crates.  And mama and Dave bought.  Yep, saffron, turmeric, cumin and many others. Mixing them together as they went the very nice salesmen offered up most of the contents of their shop?  'Nougat maybe?'  'Yes please.'  'Apple tea?'   'Why not!'  'Try the lemon salt?'  'Mmm interesting'.   'Turkish delight?'  'Oh go on then.'  And guess what?  They threw in an extra box of apple tea FREE in case the 5 kilo bag they had bought should run out quickly.   All this for just 100 turkish lira.  No bartering, no hesitation, just out with the wallet and then off in the midday sun with about 20 kilos of barbecue spices that would cost them an extra 36 pounds in excess baggage on the journey home.

Love at First Sight - Kalkan, Turkey

There's clearly something about Kalkan that encourages love at first sight.  You can tell just by looking around at people.  There they are, lets call them A and B for simplicity. A and B are sitting having a drink in a bar, chatting to each other, as you do - probably about the weather or the price of stamps; all perfectly normal stuff that takes place all over the world.  But then suddenly, just as A (a man) is explaining why it is utterly ridiculous that there are no postboxes around and people shouldn't be expected to walk all the way to the post office to send a card he notices that B ( a woman) is gazing at a spot about half a mile behind his right ear, with a most peculiar expression on her face,  Concerned, A stops in mid rant to ask B if she is alright, and B - with a gentle sigh and contented smile mutters that everything is absolutely perfect, possibly adding a comment about the blueness of the sea or the general loveliness of, well everything... And that's happening all the time here.  It's understandable, even predictable - this beautiful little place is out to capture hearts and souls and has all the charms to succeed in this. 

But it's not just that sort of love at first sight I'm talking about. It's romance - and one very special romance in particular that is going to be the subject of this blog.  Just a girl and a boy - she's English, he's Turkish and it was pretty clearly love at first sight for both of them.