Friday, 29 April 2011

What's afoot? Wearing high heels in Kalkan and other adventures!

What’s afoot? Wearing high heels in Kalkan and other adventures!

Do I hear sniggers?
girl leaps off boat near Kekova, Kalkan, TurkeyWell,  shoes are an important subject and I don’t think they’ve been addressed yet in any of the travel literature I’ve waded through in my research.   Whilst for some people it may be enough to gaze at images of Kalkan bay, wondering what it will feel like when they finally dive into that crystal clear, deep-as-forever water,  for others the pressing question of what shoes to pack has been known to cause anxiety and unplanned chocolate consumption when no answer is forthcoming.
So, this is where we put that right.  We will tackle the shoe problem that often underlies hidden tensions in the preparations and packing department at home.  If you’re wondering what on earth I’m going on about – have I been at the wine already perhaps? – then you must be a man,  travelling alone possibly.  Maybe you’re just a little unaware of the sheer variety of footwear that must be considered when packing for one’s holiday in Kalkan.
Look at the options.
Suppose you are looking forward to a week in Kalkan;  seven glorious days of sunshine doing as much or as little as  takes your fancy.   Fantastic!  In fact we could pause here for a little day dreaming…but, we won’t.   No; we will focus on shoes.
caroline's shoe collectionPerhaps you don’t know Kalkan well.   You’re thinking you may need high heels, low heels, kitten heels or no heels, white shoes, black shoes, silver shoes or gold shoes, trainers, walking boots, deck shoes or swimming fins. Well, assuming you are arriving in 21st century style – by plane and car with a teeny weeny baggage allowance, rather than 19th century Grand Tour - with huge entourage of servants, camels, horses, carriages, boats and more – then I fear you will need to ‘rationalise’.
It’s tough, but Dr Who tardis style suitcases simply don’t exist and the need to select ‘a few’ pairs of shoes is all too clear. For the men this may mean just two pairs – sandals, which they may choose to wear with socks of course, and flip flops. For women though, it’s not so simple. You may feel you need high heels to complement your outfit. But, in Kalkan wearing high heels may need to come with a safety warning! The steep hills which give the town its charm, provide daily cardio-vascular exercise and enable roof-top dining with stunning views also make tottering along on stilettos a somewhat hazardous activity . But hey! You’re coming to Turkey where exciting and adventurous activities abound.
royal highness shoe by schuhPerhaps you’re planning to celebrate the Royal Wedding with a bit of ‘royal highness’. There could be no better to excuse than this to indulge in a pair of Prince Court Glitter shoes from Schuh. Sparkling like an impromptu Kalkan firework display, they will definitely get you noticed round town; and not just because you’ll be standing nearly 6 inches higher than usual! Like Kate and Wills you may need an entourage to support you in your mission to show these off to their best advantage. You may wish to astonish the neighbours as you step out from your place of residence – however palatial that may or may not be. But I suggest you have have a taxi waiting round the corner. Either that or someone with a pair of flip flops to change into! The taxi will mean you could intrigue onlookers as you process downtown, royally waving at them as you pass. The flip flop bearer will offer a slightly less royal package, but it will be a pretty essential one. The hills of Kalkan need respect!
Maybe one of your reasons for going on holiday is to step up to new challenges and enjoy new experiences. Turkey certainly has plenty to choose from. From Kalkan you could choose kayaking, paragliding, scuba diving, white-water rafting or many other fantastic life-enhancing activities. You can book before you leave home or sign up to when you’re wandering around the cobbled streets of the bazaar in magical old Kalkan in the evenings.high heeled trainer
Did I hear you say you’ll need to ditch the high heels for these activities?  Not necessarily. High heeled trainers may not have seemed a must-have item in 2010 – but that was so last year.  Now you could sport a pair of Diesel high heels ( in distressed denim).  Just imagine the impact you’ll have when you turn up at Patara beach for a spot of horse riding or kayaking in a pair of these!
I’m stil researching the latest in fins for your snorkelling and scuba-diving experience; available in Kalkan: harbourside with the Dolphin Scuba team and also at the Kalamar Beach Club with the Kalkan Dive Centre.   But I think it’s safe to say that high heels will play no part in this.   Instead you will just have to dive into the crystal clear Kalkan waters and do a little fish watching.  Give your feet a break!
Step into whatever shoes you choose for your Kalkan holiday and let them take you where you want to go. Your holiday is the chance to make your dreams come true – and Kalkan is an amazing place for that to happen.
In the words of William Yeats:
“I have spread my dreams under your feet
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.”
Just don’t forget the flip flops!

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Kalkan - Love at first sight

The Kalkan Phenomenom - Love at first sight
view from the rooftop bar of Tera Mare's  Kalamar Meltem Apartments**
view from apartment bar in Kalamar bay, Kalkan, Turkey
There's clearly something about Kalkan, Turkey 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 (quite likely 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 (probably 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.
So what is it about Kalkan that  makes it so uniquely perfect?  There is important research into the Kalkan phenomenon with a growing band of people willing to sacrifice their time to investigate the causes of Love at First Sight in Kalkan.  You may even notice some of these undercover operators if you visit Kalkan this year.  Stationed across the village in restaurants, bars, beach clubs, and around the harbour these people may appear to be doing very little apart from drinking in the atmosphere - or drinking up their ice cold Efes.  But don’t be deceived - they are working.  It’s a tough job but someone has to do it...
You may be wondering how you too could sign up for this project.  Researchers are in constant demand - after all, statistics tell us that 89% of all surveys can not be verified scientifically because they are too small*.  So how can you get selected for this role?
Firstly, the Love at First sight in Kalkan project does not just take anyone.  You must demonstrate your training and qualifications for this position.  Observational skills are paramount and I suggest three ways of honing these.
  1. The infinity pool lookout.   Practise this one several times a day until you have perfected it (could take years though).  Float at the side of the pool, with elbows on the poolside - apparently gazing at nothing but that view of the bay.  Drink in the view.  Thus positioned you are ready to report on any changes at sea, like the sun glistening on a passing boat or something.  It could be important, or not.  Variations on this approach are useful.  You may find that lilo manoeuvres (in pool or sea) can be similarly effective observational platforms.
  2. Bar and restaurant work. Again, this may take years and years of undercover work to get a full picture of what is going on in Kalkan.  I suggest you try out a number of different bars and restaurants,  sitting at different places, observing the Kalkan way of life and making mental notes.  Please don't write anything down as it may get into the wrong hands.  Who knows what someone else might do with this research.  It is important to keep yourself hydrated and healthy during this arduous training so ensure you always have a full glass of something - maybe an Efes, an ice cold glass of rose or even an apple tea - ready to hand.
  3. undercover researcher in Kalkan, Turkey
  4. Mingling with the publicThe important thing is here is don't let yourself be spotted.  As a researcher you need to blend in seamlessly and appear to be just another happy person in Kalkan land.  So go shopping and spend, spend, spend!   What better way is there to appear that you are not just loitering and observing than by buying beautiful and essential items such as jewellery, leather bound books or beautiful lampshades.  You know it makes sense.
Are you still interested - knowing that this challenging training needs time and commitment if you are to get it right?  Good.  Well get training and I'll let you know the next steps very soon...
based on a ten day study of holiday habits conducted under blazing sun with four participants, one of whom couldn't do the maths...
**Extensive range of accommodation available on Enjoy Kalkan website including some of  the Kalamar Meltem Apartments.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

BBC News - London 2012: Olympics tickets website 'crashes'

BBC News - London 2012: Olympics tickets website 'crashes'
Ok, I left it late to buy tickets for the Olympics. This was due mainly to the cost. However, at 9 pm I started to select and buy some tickets. I wanted gymnastics ones, maybe some diving too. And after a bit of umming and ahhing at the price I put in for a couple of tickets for the opening ceremony too. Everything seemed to go slowly until I started to pay.

I can never remember my passwords for these things. It's not the cards so much as the other checks - some of them want numbers and letters. Some even ask for punctuation. 2 or 3 months ago I had asked myself a cryptic question, the answer to which would put my card through the system. But I had no idea what it was. I have nearly learnt my mobile phone number - after about 3 years. I'm still not quite sure and have to look it up to check. Anyway, I went through the process and discovered my secret answer - I have to admit it was damn clever! But that's all I can say!

I then tried to resume my purchase but ... the site crashed. Great! It was 9.35 There then followed about 2 and a half hours of trying to log in again. Sadly, I had no knowledge of my password, having skipped that step with an activation email, so I had to go back to square 1. For a while there was nothing, but then the website started to acknowledge my existence and seemed to put me in a queue. I waited, and waited. Then I decided to check my emails. But this had the effect of closing down my application. So I had to start yet again. I learnt from my mistake and kept the site on screen - but nothing. An hour, hour and a half; two hours passed - no joy.

Then at about 11.50 the site let me on. More than that it took me to the checkout where my basket of sporting goodies from earlier awaited me. This time I had my secret codes written down so I wasn't caught out and this time it all went through. Yeahhhh!
Whether I will be able to afford the tickets if I get them is another matter. But at least I feel I've done my best. Hopefully, I'm on my way to the 2012 Olympic Games. Brilliant!