Tales of a Turkey Tourist
Fighter planes over our Hotel
Greetings Campers - haven't been blogging the last few shows as I've taken a break to grab a holdiday with the family in Turkey. Sadly the Turkish tourist business is not in great shape at the moment since the shooting down of a Russian jet last November on the Syrian border meant a blanket ban on Russian charter flights to Turkish resorts - 8 million Russians visited in 2014 according to our waiter - and none since the ban!
Added to this the recent bomb at Istanbul Airport has caused more panic amongst tourists - even our resort (a Club Med on the other side of the country) had 200 cancellations. Another attack was committed at Nice on Bastille Day this year (14 July) - what a crazy world this is!
I'd just like to say, a light entertainment professional, I stand shoulder to shoulder with my brave comrades in the Turkish leisure industry who have been valiantly sweating the footprint to give me and my family a fabulous holiday - so a big f**k you to the terrorists (if I have any amongst my readers)
The Turks are genial hosts, even though ClubMed is a French company, owned by the Chinese and French seems to be the main language - which is great for my rusty language skills. We are effectively in a tourist bubble in our resort, but in reality, it feels like a sophisticated pan european Butlins with reps (or GO's as they're called here - Gentils Operatifs) from all over the world - all charming, multilingual, they wear name badges, with the languages they speak denoted by flags.
This morning Gilly and I had a tennis lesson with Antoine (French-5 languages) before going off sailing with Rares (Romanian-7 languages) and tomorrow we are water skiing with Sem (Belgian-4 languages inc. Russian and Japanese).
While there is nothing to stop you sitting around on your arse all day getting trolleyed and putting on several stone with the amazing food - the resort encourages you to get active.
There are three pools here, one for kids, one for families and one for adults (topless sunbathing etc)
Everyday at noon there is a kind of insane dance round the family pool to fab Euro hits, led by the redoubtable Aziz - the energetic general manager. Yesterday, after we'd finished dancing and I was at the bar getting another beer, I got chatting to a french lady and her husband who complimented me and Gilly on our dancing with words to the effect that it obvious there was a lot of passion there? She repeated the word "passion" several times and it slowly dawned on me (about half an hour later) that this might be some sort of coded invitation to dodgy adult fun - who knows? One thing is certain - anyone who is turned on by my dad dancing is well worth giving a wide berth.
Anyway, Bastille Day on the resort was eventful as we walked into breakfast to be greeted by vagabonds, 'neer do wells and beggars (in other words: the GO's-here's Mustafa-Moroccan-4 languages) lining the route.
On entering the restaurant we were greeting by the King and Queen (general manager Aziz and his wife-they are North African, hence the "whiting up"!?)
Following brekky there was a parade to the Bastille by the King.
On arrival, the King appealed for calm and told the peasants to get back to their work, eat cake etc etc.
The mob (including yours truly) ignored his appeals and launched a full scale attack on the Bastille with water bombs. I can report the King has a very accurate throw and I got hit several times (the advantages of being tall!) before we stormed the Bastille and celebrated with a few beers - VIVE LA REPUBLIQUE!
We are due to fly back the day after tomorrow to the UK and last night, we were woken by texts messages from friends asking if we we're alright? It turned out that there was an attempted coup d'etat by the military in Istanbul, but it collapsed after a few hours (16th July). One of the events that has marked this holiday is the deafening racket of fighter planes overhead during the last few days - most tourists assumed that this was to reassure holiday makers that they were being protected, but it now makes me wonder?
Hopefully we'll have a smooth passage home!