Monday, October 19, 2009

The Turkey Diaries: Day 1 - Monday 14th September 2009

Finally getting round to this for two reasons: 1) I'm feeling a bit better now, and 2) It's been five weeks since we set off for Turkey and if I didn't post the diaries soon it would be the next holiday before I got around to it. So.....

Day 1 is more of a prologue than an actual diary entry, given that most of it was spent travelling to the airport, waiting at the airport, flying, arriving, travelling by coach and arriving at the hotel in the middle of the night. We had a bit of fun with the chav-tastic experience of waiting in the check-in queue with numerous underdressed and over-tanned bleach blondes called Chantelle and Danielle (yes!), and various men who could be mistaken for beached whales. The overdressed, pale redhead and the man with the flat stomach stuck out like a sore thumb!!! Welcome to the package holiday experience!! Of course we’re more used to DIY book-it-yourself flights and booking the hotel separately, so for once it was nice to have it all done for us.

After an hour’s flight delay (not too bad as holiday flights go) it was time for one of our longest flights ever - four and a half hours. I try to sleep but it’s impossible thanks to the constant stream of travellers going up and down to the loo. Now I am partial to the odd glass of wine (!) But one thing I can’t stand is people drinking alcohol before or during a flight. On the one hand, airlines don’t want to let drunk people on a plane and put us all at risk of "air rage" - so why do they sell alcohol on planes?

Anyway we eventually arrive at Dalaman airport....taking our first steps off the plane into warm, late evening air and onto Turkish soil. One unusual aspect of arriving in Turkey is that you have to pay £10 for a visa stamp. I was quite excited about this as the only other time I had my passport stamped was in Canada, 12 years ago. You know me by now, I can get excited about the most mundane little things!

After a further episode of the Chantelle/Danielle experience at the baggage carousel - how do these people survive beyond their front door, let alone in a foreign country? - it’s a two hour journey from Dalaman to Icmeler by coach, a journey broken up by a stop off at the "comfort stop" which is as far removed from the usual motorway service stations as you could ever imagine, as it looks more like an exotic old bazaar. The one thing it probably shares with its British counterparts is the overpriced food and souvenirs, but it did give me my first sighting of all the things I wanted to buy in Turkey. Here is a picture which I actually took on the way back to the airport, one week later:

Back on the bus on the way to drop off passengers in Marmaris and Icmeler. Although it’s the middle of the night, I am still mesmerised by the new and unfamiliar sights, like the illuminated mosques and the all night cafes. I’m a bit scared by the descent into Marmaris, but the coach driver ensured we had a safe journey. Eventually we arrive at our hotel in Icmeler, and after checking in and unpacking it’s time for bed: 5.30 am. We will be back up again in two hours. Tick tock, tick tock....nighty night.

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