Friday–Down to Earth with a Bump

Jumping off a cliff isn’t what I normally think about when I wake up in the morning. Not often anyway. Today I was contractually obliged to do so. After giving Half-Price Alfie a load of shit, and eventually some money, I was booked on a 9am flight. As I showered and got dressed I started to wonder if this was really a good idea. After all, I wasn’t entirely sure if I was afraid of heights or not…

Wandering down Tat Avenue early in the morning was quite nice, I saw the sellers setting up their stalls, food being cooked and, most importantly, Shadow Bar wasn’t trying to burn themselves down with a can of Febreze! In fairness it would be an improvement if they succeeded. I reached the store-front where Alfie normally sat and gloated but he wasn’t there. I was unceremoniously plonked in a seat and told to wait. After a while we were told to follow some guy where we were joined by a bunch of other people from other hotels. A piece of paper was put in front of me, “Sign this” said the man behind the desk. I did as I was asked/told, then afterwards jokingly said “Have I just signed my life away?” trolololol and all that. I just had. If I die from death in the face, it’s not their fault.

With my mortality now legally subject to change without notice we were all packed into the waiting mini-buses. Beside me sat a Japanese guy, about my age I’d guess who didn’t say a work, behind me sat a Russian couple, there was a middle-aged British couple who were lovely to speak to, and a pair of Aussie brothers. For each of the passengers there was also a pilot, as you’d hope. The bus spluttered to life and we began to climb.

Remember what I was saying about the roads in a previous blog? Yeah, well these weren’t roads. They were just dirt tracks. This was fine at first, the suspension was a little rough as you went over the bumps but it was bearable while at sea level. After a while though, we weren’t level with the sea anymore. Oh no, we were quite a bit higher. The roads were rougher. And thinner. And winding. I wondered if the drivers looked back in their mirrors and tried their hardest to make us tourists shit out pants. I didn’t, but I was close. Close enough at times that I actually started to wonder if I should have left a will!

After a climb that seemed to go on for a very long time, we arrived at the launch pad, 6380ft above sea level. Then the views started

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On the drive up we had drawn names from a hat – Okan was my pilot today. Without saying a word slapped a harness on my back, clipped it around my arms and legs, pulled at the metal hooks and then buggered off. This gave me a chance to see how the rest of my bus-mates were getting on. Russia, Japan and England were getting on fine. My attention was drawn to one of the Australians. He was using his charms to ingratiate himself with the guardian of his life.

“G’day mayte! I’m Jayson, oo’re yoo?”

“I’m Ali”

“Ah noice! C’mon then Ali-ba-ba, let’s do this eh?”

Ali-ba-ba. He called the man who controls his decent Ali-ba-ba. Twat.

So there I stood, watching the flights ahead of me take off. I honestly felt like I should have been more apprehensive, nervous, scared, terrified, petrified even. But nope, I was fine. I even checked my pulse to see what was going on in my chest. About normal. Clearly I’m all man and this kinda shit doesn’t face me. Man points.

My delusions of bravery were cut short as someone shouted “Sir! Stand there!” which I did. Okan attached himself and the parasail(?) to us and gave me these sage words of advice regarding take-off –

“If I say run, run. If I say stop, you stop or we die.”

I couldn’t even muster up a smart-arse remark (ME!) and just nodded.

“Go, RUN!

Giddy-up Benji!

A run full-pelt, as fast as my lanky legs will carry me! All the time spent on the gym’s treadmills, walking to work every day, it all pays off! For about 3 steps. Then the air fills the paraglider(?), lifts me off my feet slightly and pulls me forward.

RUN! RUN! RUN!”

Who am I to argue? With a hop, skip and a jump I’m in the air, and…

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There was a lot of air between my shoes and the floor…

The views were spectacular, and very peaceful. You have the sound of the air running past your ears but other than that it was very relaxing. However, I had mentioned to Helen the day before that I was a little concerned that conversation with the pilot may be a little stilted. You know if you’re stuck in a lift with someone that you kinda know, but not really, but feel like you should say something? That’s awkwardness for a few seconds? A couple of floors. Try having someone sat against your back, literally in control of what happens next, and not a word to say.

“So….. been doing this long?”

“Yes”

“…Cool”

Also, just to add annoying to awkward, he has a little camera on stick which he’s using to take photos and videos of me, while I take photos and videos of anything else. Clearly going to sell me them later, or use it as some kind of black box in case the worst happens. I’m trying to enjoy the views when he says “look at camera” and then waves this tiny camera in my face.

Anyway here are a few snaps Open-mouthed smile

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This is Oludeniz in it’s entirety

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This is the hotel we were staying at. I was tempted to sell this photo to them for their brochure (for money off the bill, ofcourse) but I couldn’t be bothered!

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I really like this shot, dem boats is pretty! And I hear one if the Captains runs a full-body massage service…

As you can probably tell we’re getting closer to the ground now, the subjects of landing comes up. The below photo seems appropriate.

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“When I say stand, stand.”

Interesting words. One I totally understand, but we’re going rather fast, probably about 25-30mph and our runway is coming into sight

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The moment after I take this photo he shouts “stand up!” – there’s no ground beneath my feet so it’s a physical impossibility. But hey, that floor’s getting closer! I stand on nothing, land on less than that and collapse in a pile on the floor. I stand, regain my composure, back to awesome.

I meet up with Helen who was thankfully not nearby to see me collapse up my own arse. We spend the day chilling and baking in the sun. We return to La Plaza for dinner, working our way though the menu. As we begin to tuck in to our mains, Helen’s eyes are drawn to something moving over my shoulder. “Benji, look who it is…” As subtle as I can I look over my shoulder to see a collection of Peroxide Blonde women sitting down… wait… is that…

Nose and Spanners! The two from the plane! The two discussing how to split a pie smaller than my hand. Here. In a place that serves full meals. That cost money. But Nose and Spanners aren’t alone, they have the entire Peroxide Patrol – a dozen or so. All with the same shade of blonde, same make-up and I swear a couple of them were wearing the same dress. There were even a couple of kids with them, young girls, same colour hair as the taller specimens. It was just odd to see, so many Copy/Paste women. Bit of a shame really. Even make-up didn’t help Spanners out much.

Also, the restaurant seemed to be playing music in the style of a Mexican Richard Cheese. “Gangsters Paradise” was one of the songs that piped up, but without the verses, just the chorus. Proper weird.

We wandered back to the hotel and met a fluffy little kitten who literally attacked my feet as i walked past. Cutest kitty in the world but a right little bastard! Would attack anything that moved, and when left alone would cry out until I walked back in, she’d then pounce from behind a wall! Now and then though, she’d settle…

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Helen fell in love with her and insisted on taking Daisy with her to bed. Her name was apparently Daisy as Helen decided as such. I think it went well until about 3am when I heard Helen open the living room door and put Daisy out. Apparently she was attacking Helen’s face in the night! Heh, awesome cat.

Tomorrow is the day of the boat trip…. Sure it’ll be fine….

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Thursday–Ancient Villages & Accidental Mountaineering

Time to explore them there mountains! Up nice and early! Showered, fed – ate the biggest peach I have EVER seen then dressed and covered in super-stingy sun-goo (AAARRRRGGGGHHHHHH! etc) and even saw the vaguest sign of a tan! Moving from Strawberry Yazoo to Banana! That’s an improvement…. right?

For the first time that week I was able to activate Nerd Mode. Those who know me will also know that I love my gadgets. Phones, cameras, tablets, just tech in all it’s gloriousness! So far my phone and tablet have been locked in the safe in my room. I had spent the entire week so far without anything on me. It was glorious. I didn’t even have WiFi in my room! Can you even imagine that??? No Wifi!? But now…. now the time had come…

Canon EOS 650D Digital SLR with 18-135 Image Stabilised lens, 16GB memory card and extended battery grip with secondary battery to double it’s shooting and recording life. That, dear reader, is how I roll. I also packed along a little Ixus 70 point and shoot, just in case. All this packed into my backpack, ready for an adventure…. Little did I know what was in store…

Kaya Village sits near the adjacent town Fethiye and is often referred to as a Ghost Town. It dates back to the fourth century BC and has survived the Lucian, Roman, Byzanthian and Ottoman Empires. Fair play to it. But first, we have to get there. This requires a trip on the many mini-buses that run between the towns. The roads here are nice in places, and bloody death-traps in others! Snaking up the sides of very steep, very HIGH mountains, you’d home for a nice smooth ride with plenty of space either side. Not so. Clearly the drivers are bored of the standard journeys and like to throw in some danger by leaving it to the last second before turning for a corner… or swerving amongst traffic. Bastards. Oh yeah, road markings seem to be more or less ignored.

We were dumped in a nearby town and told to wait for the next bus. While we sat outside a bar, the sun started to really warm up. We met a fine British gent, with tattoos all over his arms and neck, bald head, flabby gut and a lovely wife doing her very best to dress like a lamb. He was wearing a t-shirt which focused on the rear, lower-half of an attractive woman. For some reason the manager of the bar behind us thought this was too good to miss and insisted on taking his photo. Not quite sure what happened there. No doubt those t-shirts will be available in Tat Avenue soon!

The next bus arrived, the driver did his darndest to roll said bus down a mountain but failed and had to deliver us breathing to Fethiye. Better luck next time chuckles! First thing’s first, drink. Water. Beer. Luckily there was an ancient farmhouse/bar with a wide range of beverages. Epic. Good god it was hot… That sun was becoming merciless!

With water and beer consumed, we started to get some lovely views, here are a couple from the ground!

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See that building in the top-left with the red flag? Keep that in mind…

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As we explored the area, Helen started to recognise some buildings from a previous trip here. There was a man, and he sold cool things… Unfortunately here wasn’t at his shop, ironically he was in London, enjoying the….. the errr……. Anyway, we met this guy

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Epic Hippy Man, I forget his name. Helen bought a painting of a boat. It was a good time!

We then headed off for an ADVENTURE.

We got lost instantly.

We found yet another bar and asked the best way to get to our destination. “Oh, follow the path over the mountain and you’ll see it. It’ll take you about 45 minutes.” Turns out this man was a liar and if I ever see him again I’ll punch him in the throat!

We begin to climb the steps between the ancient buildings. At first there was a sense of humility – walking through streets that are literally thousands of years old, between houses that sheltered so many families. We picked out chimneys and areas we thought food would be cooked – families together cooking meals etc…. After a while though the humility turned to humidity – hot, sweaty and gross! This didn’t stop us having a little fun though!

Having listened to the early morning prayers f_or a good few days now, me being me, I had perfected a pretty good impression of it. Politically Incorrect to the extreme, but good for a cheap laugh. Helen was also very fond of my impression of this scene… Time to brush them both off while there’s no-one around.

I do the Family Guy impression – it gets a laugh from Helen…. and no-one else. Perfect. I then take a deep breath, sing from the diaphragm and let rip

“AAAAIIIIIIYYYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAHHHL
AAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaa…..”

Helen howled with laughter. The two Turkish gentleman walking past didn’t. “Afternoon” I say with a nod. Luckily I think they saw the funny side. If they hadn’t my previous concerns about being on YouTube could have come true…

Time for some more pics!

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We keep climbing, good god it’s hot… Remember that building with the flag? Turns out it’s an old chapel, and it has a lovely view

chapel panorama

Mountains are tricky buggers. A lot of them are “up”, all the way to the very top, then they tend to drop away suddenly. Seeing as we had gone up, we had to head back down, to our destination.

We head down the mountain, there’s no path so we have to make our way though the thick trees, jagged rocks and various pointy things. Flip-flops are not meant for this kind of punishment! Also, I’ve been trying to shake off a cold I’ve had since I got on the plane here, so every few steps I can feel…. liquid at the back of my nose and mouth. Rank. I was reminded of Finding Nemo and Mount WannaHockALoogie… So I did. I’m not proud of that.

I’ve mentioned how how it was, right? It was hot! In fact, we’d been walking in the mid-day sun – a whopping 47C! FORTY-SEVEN! It was crazy! But, through the trees we saw what we were looking for – Cold Water Bay. I stop to put my camera away, fearing I might damage it as the terrain gets rougher. Helen takes this opportunity to bugger off and make her way down alone.

By the time I reach the bottom, Helen’s already in the water – “It’s glorious Benji!” she shouts. With that I drop the backpack, remove the my dirty t-shirt and run into the water! Cold Water Bay by name and nature. It really is glorious!

Now we’ve cooled down, the matter of getting back home comes up. “I ain’t climbing over that fuckin’ thing!” says Helen. I’m inclined to agree. With that I swim to the nearest small boat and shout “ ‘excuse me mate, you’re not a taxi are ya??”. Rudge finds this hysterical. To this day I’m not sure why… Turns out he was, but he couldn’t be bothered to take us back to Oludeniz, so I had to swim to another and ask again. Thought I’d rub some funk on it this time – “Captain of the S.S. Sunflower (that’s what the boat was called), would you be willing to grant passage to Oludeniz for myself and my companion?”

He looks at me blankly. Too much funk.

We manage to barter passage but there’s something a little off about this guy. I keep an eye on him. He keeps an eye on Helen’s chest. “I have business” he says “Full-body massage”, he says. “Seems legit” says I. “You two can both fuck off” says Helen’s face.

Was hilarious!

Captain Letcher of the S.S. Seedy Sunflower drops us back on the beach. We scurry to a bar, eat and drink our bodyweight and wander home, exhausted. Although Helen seemed to summon enough energy to kick the ShitHead out of me…

I slept very well that night. Until I realised that tomorrow I was going paragliding… more on that soon!

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Wednesday–Lazing and Letching

While still half-asleep I roll from my back onto one shoulder, completely forgetting both shoulders are severely burnt. The reminder comes in the form of a wave of agony running across my back. Just to add insult to injury, I haven’t even gotten a tan! I’ve just gone kinda pink, I look like a bottle of strawberry Yazoo! Oh yeah, putting P20 on sun-burnt skin hurts like hell too! I’m learning so much this holiday…

Today’s plan is to avoid the sun, let our bodies recover from the sunbathing yesterday – Helen was pretty sure she got a dose of sunburn too, so we chill by the pool and read. Not very exciting, so to liven things up a bit I wait for a quiet moment, drop my kindle on the table and do a running bomb into the pool!

I can happily say I won this round of Benji Vs Water. Clearly the element of surprise worked in my favour as the water got out of my way very quickly, so much so I managed to hit the bottom of the pool with my arse! As an added bonus, I managed to remain completely air-tight, no water up my nose or in my mouth! Result! I even had enough time to have a fun idea : float to the top, face down and remain completely still… Maybe Helen would think I hit my head and completely freak out! It’d be hilarious! I also had enough time to figure out what would probably happen. I’d run out of air before Helen even looked up from her book. I’d then choke, get water everywhere and flail about like a muppet until I found my feet, whereupon she’d look up, call me a twat and then return to her book.

What actually happened is I raised my head from the water, victorious as a manly man for making a big noise and splash, Helen looked up and said “bored then?”. After a short swim I returned to the shade and dried out blissfully slowly.

That evening we wandered down Tat Avenue, heading for our restaurant of choice, “La Plaza”. This establishment serves delicious food served by some pretty tasty waitresses! Now, I’m not a letch, honest I’m not, but these ladies were very pretty. Helen’s evil mind starts to turn and she asks the following:

“What if I told her I was your mum and you really wanted to take her out for a drink but was too scared to ask?”

Knowing that she would actually do this I had to tread VERY carefully. One wrong word and she’ll raise her hand to summon one of these girls and love every second of my mortification. I can’t remember exactly which expletives I threw at Helen, suffice to say we had a good laugh. Har de bloody har. It wasn’t just about the scenery though, the food was genuinely good, so much so we visited a total of 5 times across the 8 nights!

Suitably fed and watered we begin our trip back up the hill. My bloated tummy actually enjoys the opportunity to stand still outside the shops while Helen darts about the shops like a magpie. Only downside is this street has manholes that lead directly down to the sewers below. Now and then you’ll get a whiff and wish you hadn’t!

Amongst the Shops o’ Tat there are some proper jewellery shops, Helen makes a bee-line for Pandora thingies and I stand there looking utterly confused, thusly. As a gamer, I am often hit with the term “waste of money”. Not to be sexist but this tends to be from female friends. I can understand this mentality as gaming isn’t for everyone, but it seems anything small and shiny can get whatever price tag it likes and get away with it.

As I looked at a very pretty little Pandora boat, and it was pretty, I can admit that, the £40 price-tag made me think back to a similar argument. While I gloated over my Gears of War 3 Collectors Edition, complete with game, shiny things and statue, a friend of mine pointed at it and shouted “How much was that!?” My response of “£120” made her voice go up 3 octaves and screech “How much!? What a waste of money!” Feeling like I was getting backed into a corner, I noticed her designer handbag plonked on the desk. “Wuh… I …. It…. Wait, how much was that handbag?”

“….shut up” says she.

“No no, fess-up, how much?”

“£300.”

“THREEEEEEEEE HUNDRED POOOOUUUNDS! And that won’t last anywhere near as long as Gears!” I shout.

I had won that battle.

Back to the little Pandora boat, Helen clearly likes it and the Jeweller asks her if this is a gift from the boyfriend, gesturing towards me. This catches me by surprise but luckily Helen’s mind is still being a naughty little shit and she simply says “This is my son…” I do my best to keep a straight face while the Jeweller tries to grasp this. “This is your mother!? Such a beautiful lady!” He then calls to one of his colleagues and they begin discussing how attractive she is. “Do me a favour mate, that’s my Mum you’re talking about!” I chip in, just to make things weirder. Eventually she gives the game up and confesses, but damn that was fun. She buys the trinket and we leave, knowing we totally screwed with their minds!

We also have a chat with Half-Price Alfie. I was after paragliding trip, and a free boat trip sounds like a damn good idea… unless it was going to be a “romantic” one… Helen would probably tell all the other couples that we’re mother and son just for shitz n gigglez.

Sitting down with Alfie we look at the 6 Bays boat trip, a quiet boat with no more than 30 people which visits 6 picturesque bays for a swim Sounds pretty good. We start to talk money and it’s pretty clear Alfie’s playing fast and loose with exchange rates. Helen detects bullshit and goes in for the kill, grabs his calculator, breaks down the transaction with today’s Lira/Pound Sterling rates and gives him what the price SHOULD be. It was great to watch. As it turns out we didn’t have enough to pay it all on us anyway, so I agree to leave a deposit of all the cash I have on me – all of 10 Lira…. about £3.39. “We’ll be back tomorrow Alfie and we’ll look at the price again and pay the remainder” declares Helen, I chime in with “where you will re-calculate the total cost with rates that reflect the current economic climate.” Alfie looks suitable worn out while Helen howls with laughter.

All in all, the paragliding should be awesome, and the boat trip sounds nice. Actually sounds better than it looks thanks to the pictures in the brochure – Slightly blury, low-resolution images, just clear enough to pick out a collection of middle-aged sun-burnt orcas frowning on the boats as the sweat runs amongst their folds. They’re probably from “oop nyorth” too… urgh

“’ere Alfie!” I begin “You wanna get new photos and brochures done mate, there’s not a single bird I’d bang in here!” I thought I was doing him a favour, constructive feedback and all that. Helen agreed if the roars of laughter from her were anything to go by. Even the random guy sat behind me chuckled, and his wife did the best to keep a straight face. I just hope Alfie took my advice to heart.

We leave Alfie feeling victorious knowing that Helen can detect dodgy dealings, and I’m more than happy to run interference as needed! We walk back up the hill towards the hotel. Between us and it stand multiple clubs which are all blaring out music, lights and noise in the hope of drawing punters in. To our right is a bar which as an Elvis impersonator every night, kinda ruins the magic really. To our left is Shadow Bar. Every cringeworthy moment rolled into one loud and obnoxious bar. “Gangnam Style” blares out of the speaks to an empty dancefloor, but 3 of the staff are on the bar doing the rodeo dance and all that. The real icing on the cake is the man behind the bar, biding his time until the chorus comes… wait for it….

wait for it….

“Oppa Gangnam Style!”

BOOM! Bar man let’s loose with his lighter and BOTH cans of Febreze! Pyrotechnic extraordinaire up in this hizzle! For a moment I mistook the flames as part of an actual pyrotechnics kit, but it was just a guy with a lighter and cans of aerosol.

The sheer spectacle has me and Helen in hysterics, while the captive audience of zero seem less than impressed. To be fair, the bar wasn’t empty, it’s just all the customers were all sat looking away from Captain Febreze and his Ambi-Pur Trio, staring vacantly at the football on the telly.

We return to the hotel and take part in our evening ritual – Helen beats me almost to death at Shithead. I win one, glorious round but then that’s it for about 20 more we play that evening. Broken once again I head to bed and lie down..

AAAAAARRRRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!……. SHOULDERS…… BURRRRNNNNN…… aaahhhhahhahahahahahaaaaaaaaa……

I hope you’re enjoying these blogs! Next time we end up exploring an ancient village, abandoned by the Greeks over 500 years ago… Plus we do some Accidental Mountaineering… in flip flops…

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Tuesday–Time to BURN

One full day in Turkey and I don’t have an amazing tan. Time to step the game up a notch! With stupidity as my ally, I shall return from a day sunbathing looking like a Greek God – Lord of the Nerds! With that in mind I’m a little less careful with the application of my sun-goo. In my (foolish) mind it was the sun-goo’s fault I didn’t get a tan yesterday and I need to accelerate progress! I would pay for this later.

The lagoon was our destination today, and to give you an idea of just how awesome the place is, here’s a pic… I’ll explain how I took this photo in a later blog…

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On the far-right is the bars, clubs and shops o’ tat I mentioned before, across the bottom is the beach next to the beautiful blue sea we swam in. That gorgeous bit of blue nestled amongst the mountains is the lagoon. More clear water, sunbeds, food and drink nearby, and…. Northern folk. Lots of them.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Northern Folk. Lie. They annoy me. Lunch is lunch, not “Dinner”, and dinner is dinner, not “tea”! You DRINK TEA! It’s Simple logic! And it’s “Ketchup”, not “red sauce” Their bastardisation of the English Language is something I shall have corrected in my New World Order. Liverpool, your days are numbered.

Imaginary geographical genocide aside, this place is amazing. As I wade into the lagoon, tiny little fishes swim around my giant feet and scatter before I batter them and serve them with chips. A feeling of being at one with nature washed over me, despite the fact I was surrounded by loads of people, boats and noise. There are platforms dotted around, bobbing in the water, so we decide to swim out to one, maybe 150 meters away.

There’s been a running theme thus far, me vs water. Swimming it seems was not my calling in life. But, stiff upper lip and all that! Given that I have more experience since the incident with the pool on Sunday night, and this water is calm, not trying to beat me to death like the waves yesterday, I thought I had a good chance. I was kinda right. I made it to the platform relatively in tact, drinking maybe only half a glass of salty water! See, progress!

While Helen and I sat on the wooden platform as it gently bobbed up and down. Surrounded by warm water, lush forests, big mountains and cloudless blue skies…. I felt like I was sat in Far Cry 3 (computer game, look it up!). This feeling was magnified when I saw a shadow raise from the depths below.

Me: “Helen….. What the fuck is that?”

Helen: “What…?”

Me: “THAT!”

H: “Oh my god it’s a tortoise!”

As Helen scrambled to the edge and leant over the platform trying to get the ancient creature’s attention (coulda been 100 years old for all we knew!) I was presented with two options by my mind. One was to kick Helen just hard enough not to hurt her, but send her face-first into the water, just for shitz and gigglez. However I value my life enough not to risk that. The other harked from my earlier thoughts of Far Cry 3 – kill the turtle with a high-powered rifle, dive to retrieve it’s body and skin it, using the remains to craft bandoliers for carrying more weapons and ammo…..

It was at that point I realised some time away from my Xbox was probably a good thing. It was still tempting to push Helen in though, but as the tortoise disappeared back under water, my chance seemed to disappear with it.

Keeping my thoughts of turtle murder and general douchbaggery under wraps, we enjoyed some time in the sun until we decided it was too bloody hot and that we needed to swim back to cool down. We returned to shore, sat on our bed thingies and deployed the Kindles. I’d never realised how nice it was to read a non-technical book with the sound of gentle waves, a soft breeze, distant sounds of merriment and the warm sun…

That sun. Damn it was warm. You know that feeling when you’re literally cooking, you feel those waves of heat as if you’re in a microwave? Yeah, I had that. I guess using my 20/20 hindsight I should have probably put some more sun-cream on…. but I had stupidity on my side remember? I went for another swim! Any sun-cream i had left had now washed away…. I’d figure that out later.

Remember my rant about Northerners earlier? Well I was enjoying my book when they do that really annoying thing that Northerners do – talk. Well, shout. That weird kind of talking when it sounds like shouting but it’s just how they communicate. “Yuhright luv, cunya git mee a canna fizzy pop, ta duck”. Makes my skin crawl! There was about 6 of these annoying blobs, 3 women and 2 men, and one little boy. All of them, apart from the kid, were covered in tattoos, reminded me of graffiti on city-centre car parks. The little boy was being taught how to speak English, the sheer irony kicked my mind in the balls and I really hoped he’d find someone to teach him REAL English during his formative years.

As the burning sun began to set we headed back to our apartment, played some Shithead (I lost epically) and we headed to our rooms. This is when I realised I’d actually burnt my shoulders in the sun. Quite badly in fact. Come 4:30am me and the mosque were almost in unison:-

AAAAAIIIIIIIIYYYYYYYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH MMMMMMMMOTHAFU…..”

Almost in unison…

Check out the next blog, there’s some accidental mountaineering, and we visit Half-Price Alfie again! – Coming soon!

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Monday–”Benji Vs The Sun” (the planetary body, not the newspaper…)"

I’d heard that temperatures could reach 37C. I’d heard stories, even apocalyptic predictions saying so. Any time the mercury passed 27C in the UK Thames Water would declare a drought and the Daily Mail would call it a “heatwave” and report how anyone over 65 falls over dead. The Daily Express is a bit more reserved normally, explaining how Princess Diana once went out when it was warm. My biggest worry on the flight there was that Helen, who has travelled pretty much all her life, would be completely fine with the heat, but I would become a trembling wreck of skin and sweat. But, “we’re on uz ‘oliduz” so I’ll just have to man-up and deal.

Stepping out of the shower in the morning, with about 4 hours’ sleep on board and still confused as to what in crikey-fuck all that shouting was last-night, I applied sun cream. This P20 stuff is pretty hard-core, one application for the whole day etc. As I covered my body I became more and more aware that my skin was whiter that an Annual Ku Klux Klan Konvention. My mission this week was to change that.

Top-to-toe in sun-goo, rocking t-shirt and shorts (sorry Turkey, it’s only gunna get worse) we stepped into the sun. There was lots of it. We darted towards the hotel’s bar and ordered up some breakfast. As the sun became hotter and hotter on my back I started to understand how the scrambled eggs on my plate felt. We shared a moment. Then I ate them. With breakfast consumed we headed down to the beach.

Oludeniz is the proud owner of a beautiful stretch of beach with emerald-blue water and a nice collection of bars, clubs and shops full of tat. The walk from our hotel is certainly and interesting one – a straight road down the hill containing bars/clubs/shops o’ tat with all the owners yelling at you to buy stuff from them. Dozens of vendors also trying to sell you paragliding trips, safaris, quad-biking and all that cool stuff that Health & Safety Inspectors have nightmares about. One of these vendors was “Half-Price Alfie” – think Del Boy on holiday, you’re golden. Seeing as I was interested in paragliding he managed to get my attention and we had a quick chat. He referred to me as the whitest guy on the island. The truth hurts. But he gave me the drive I needed for what was next, we’ll return to Alfie later…

As we reached the beach I couldn’t believe my eyes as the beautiful blue water stretched out before us. Blue. Like REAL blue. Not photoshop blue. Actual post-card, “wish you were here” blue. Turns out the water was wonderfully warm too! While Helen was in the sea before I knew what was going on, I was faced with a moral dilemma. If I take my tshirt off to go for a swim, the run could reflect off my skin, blind the pilots of any nearby aircraft and bring them down in a twisted mass of molten metal. Also, while I had invested time at the gym recently, I had also invested in Pizza from the Hut. As I tried to summon the courage to inflict my bare upper-half upon the innocent bystanders, I looked around for support from my fellow, pudgy man. Inspiration was not far away – 10 meters away sat a well-tanned amorphous blob of a woman, no top on with her nipples between her knees. I felt if a whaling boat came looking for me, I’d just point them in her direction and swim on. With that, I went into the sea.

As soon as I was deep enough to begin actually swimming, I was reminded of last-nights battle with the pool, where I jumped in all manly-like, the water took exception to this, beat me up, almost killed me and spat me out a broken, wet drip of a man. I took every precaution I could hoping not to get swept away and killed by the wild waters of the sea, but still managed to drink an unhealthy amount of salty water… Phrasing.

For the next 3 hours Helen and I had a really good catch-up. We discussed her ex-boyfriend and my ex-girlfriends and came to the conclusion that humans are annoying. Fact. The hours ticket by and we started to think about dinner. We booked a table at a lovely restaurant and headed back to the hotel for a shower and a change of clothes.

Before we got to our room we plonked ourselves back at the bar. I ordered a drink which sounded good on paper, but my confidence started to drop when the bartender looked at 3 different books explaining how to make it, picked up the wrong bottles several times, and presented me with a greeny-black mixture which tasted like death. He sucked as a bartender but seeing as he was a local and spoke the lingo, I took the opportunity to get some answers: “’ere mate, what’s all that yelling about at four-thirty in the morning!?”

Subtle.

His answer was much kinder than the drink he made. He explained that it was a call to prayer, and telling the locals of recent events to pray for. In this instance, a gentleman had passed away who lived in the town and his funeral was in the coming days. It’s quite nice in a way, bringing the whole town together with a sense of community…. but it’s a bit bloody loud and kicks off at bastard o’clock in the morning!

Loaded with knowledge and a dodgy drink, we went off for our showers etc, and wandered back down the street, amongst the vendors and stalls. We bumped into Half-Price Alfie again who said if I booked a paragliding trip that he would give us a free boat trip through the bays. “Free romantic boat trip, I give you free romance!”. Helen and I shot bemused looks at each-other, “we’re not a couple” was the reply he got which seemed to throw his sales pitch off completely. But we promised we’d think about it and come back to him. Right now, the next thing on the agenda was dinner!

Prawns are nice, me like prawns. King prawns are great. Tiger Prawns are, as it happens, EPIC! I ordered tiger prawns in garlic butter and was presented with a plate of 3 of these beasts, each the size of my HAND! I stuffed my face and felt very happy. We polished off our food and headed back to the apartment. Helen unpacked a deck of cards – “fancy a game of Shithead?”

“Shithead” would, over the coming week, become a word that sent a cold chill down my spine. A game played with 9 cards each – 6 on the table (3 upturned and 3 face-down) and 3 in your hand which you play, replenishing from the rest of the deck. Once the deck is used, you play the 6 cards on the table, the up-turned ones first, followed by the last 3 but you play them blind. The players take it in turns to match or beat the value of the last card played and if you can’t go, you pick up the pile. Helen is very, VERY good at this game. I am not.

I went into this game with the best intentions, but basically got my ass handed to me throughout the entire week. If I had to take a guess at the final score, I would say something along the lines of Helen 53 – 3 Ben. I know I won 3 rounds for a fact, but I lost count of Helen’s scoreline after the 3rd night. She was as always gracious in her victory – “OOOoooooooo that’s another one to me Benji, ‘av it you shlag!” etc etc. Truly exemplary sportsmanship… Luckily Helen and I have a very similar sense of humour so we both laughed… I was at no point tempted to pick her up and throw her in the pool. Not. At. All.

Helen headed off to bed victorious, I moped back to my room and upon looking in the mirror, was annoyed to see I hadn’t gotten any colour in me at all! This would change soon though as the next day we were heading to The Lagoon for some sunbathing…

What could go wrong…?

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Sunday/Monday – “Getting There”

Picture me, if you will, sat in Gatwick Airport, killing time, reading my Kindle, minding my own business, when 7 armed Police walk by, complete with sniffer dog! Now I had nothing to hide cuz I’m far too boring, but seeing 7 peeps walk past in full armour and sub-machine guns with all the trimmings, was a bit nerve-wracking! Why I’m starting the recount of my holiday here, I’m not entirely sure but roll with me here – it gets better!

I was invited to Turkey a few months before by my good friend Helen Rudge and here I was, awaiting her arrival with a gun in my face. Sort of. Anyway, she arrived and after a bit of duty-free shopping and a pint, we boarded our Thomas Cook flight and scoped out our fellow travellers. Sat either side of the isle, Rudge and I had a blonde each sat ahead of us. It transpired they were on their way to a wedding, quite who’s we didn’t care. Ahead of Helen there was a lady with a prominent nose and a “the whole world owes me” vibe. Her name was now Nose. Sat ahead of me, Helen informed me, was a woman with “a face like a sack of spanners”. Codename Spanners.

Nose and Spanners spent the whole flight discussing the cost of the duty free alcohol, quibbling with the flight attendants about price and the cost of a similar bottle from their local. All fine and well, let them crack on. But. When Helen and I are enjoying our actually rather delicious in-flight meals and those two are turning to look back at us like begging puppies, it all felt a bit weird. “Shall we share a pie” became the subject of their conversation – looking back at me while I ate. Bless ‘em. “Eight pounds for a meal! We can’t afford that, let’s split it. Look, we get a twix too, we can share that!” Perhaps I’m being a little mean, but it was very off-putting while i was trying to eat having Nose and Spanners stare at me…

Eventually the flight landed in Dalaman Airport at around midnight. Now time for the Visa queue! £10. Easy. Although we only have Turkish Lira on us. “Don’t worry, they accept that” smiles the flight attendant! Turns out this was a shit-eating smile cuz as we get to the front of the LONG queue for Visas – 500 irritable travellers from many different flights, all queuing up to get their sticker to let them in. Get to the front and ask “how much in Lira?” The man shakes his head “ah, no, pounds”. This is clearly a sneaky trick. The mighty pound is strong against the Lira. Fleece the incoming visitors for £, exchange for Lira. Job’s a good’n! That’s the only reason I can figure for a country not accepting their own bloody currency at the door! Anyway, we queued up to exchange our Lira into Pounds, got our stamps and then queued up to go through passport control. As I stand under a massive illuminated sign that reads “Passport Control”, this scouse bird waddles up to me and says “skuse mi mayte, dyaknow wur paaasport kontrowl is?” I look at her disbelievingly and point up. She get’s the message and waddles off.

After a TERRIFYING taxi journey to our hotel, we arrive to a lovely 2-bed apartment with a gorgeous pool. A very temping pool. I’ve already got my legs in said pool, boxers and tshirt on. “Dare you to jump in Benji, I double-dare you mothafucka” say Rudge. So I jump in…

As the chlorine water fills my mouth, nose and throat I realise I haven’t swam for a VERY long time and I’ve completely forgotten what I’m doing! I expel the air from my lungs (for some reason) and flail about until my head surfaces with my eyes covered by my hair. Graceful I was not.

After peeling my tshirt off and grabbing another from my bag, Helen decides now’s a good time to unpack and also share out the spending money. x money divided by 7 days, divided by 2. Shouldn’t be difficult. It took us about 30 minutes and a calculator. But it was 3am by that point.

I also find a very troubling sigh next to the toilet in my bathroom:-

“Please do not flush toilet paper down the toilet. Please use the bin provided”

This broke my brain. I stood there, my eyes tracked the sign. Toilet paper. The Toilet. The Bin. Many things felt wrong. I walked to Helen, confused.

Me: Rudgey…

Helen: Yes Benji?

B: There’s a sign by my toilet…. Says I can’t flush toilet paper…

H (grinning like a maniac): Yes Benji, what is your question?  >:-)

B:……. dafuq!? What if I drop a wrong’n!?

Helen explained the situation and we decided it’s best to ignore the sign. Shortly after we head to our rooms and begin to sleep….

Then 0430 happened.

AAAAIIIIIYYAAAAAAAAAAAAA ALLLAAAAAHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!

My brain went crazy! With enough sleep and someone explaining to me that it’s the local mosque bringing everyone together for prayer, I’d have been fine. Unfortunately, my brain went to the darkest depths of my little mind, all rational thought was expelled and my brain said “You’re gunna end up on YouTube, being beheaded by guys in turbans with those big curvy swords!!!” I’m not proud of that little breakdown, but looking back on it now it’s quite funny….. i think….

The morning came and with it, the next big test – Benji V Turkish Sun & 37degreesC….

To be Continued…

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People Annoy Me…

It’s true, people annoy me. Perhaps that’s a little broad, but honestly, I mean SERIOUSLY, some people are so dumb!

As a species, humanity has survived hundreds of thousands of years. Discovered fire. Invented the wheel. Mastered travel across the land, sea, air and space. We’ve split the atom. Created super-computers, SO MUCH STUFF! But all that goes out the window as soon as we’re presented with:

“Welcome to the Sainsbury’s Self Service. Please scan your first item….”

Somehow, this kills the shit out of our IQ. Actually, given the friends I keep, I’d imagine we (as in you and me) do really rather well, but we (as in… y’know, them, not us…) get all in a tizzy.

Tonight I was frequenting my local supermarché on the way home, picking up the essentials for a weekend with my girlfriend. Y’know, jaffa cakes, yorkshire puddings – things she likes (surprise honey! Smile with tongue out) So, there stands I in a queue for the Self Service machines as the tills normally manned by the damned are all closed. 4 machines, 1 offline for no real reason and 3 in use by fumbling monkeys.

First machine is being poked and prodded by a woman who, the third being used sparingly by some douchebag on his phone. On the second machine was a foreign lady who in fairness just got on with it and buggered off with her shopping! The guy in the queue ahead of me replaced the technologically-savvy foreigner, leaving me to wait for the twat on his phone.

His shopping consists of a loaf of bread and a random thing – a box of some sort. Two swipes. Then he’s paying by cash, well, change. What, £3? Simple as! But oh no, he has some important conversation going on with someone in Douchebaggistan so he faffs about while the queue behind me gets longer. Now comes the payment – put thing in slot – we’re men, he should be good at this but OOOOHHHH no he’s dropped it on the floor! Quick, talk on your phone more before you do anything! Finally he gets his shit together and aptly fucks off, leaving me wanting to give him a round of applause.

I take my place between dude in queue before me, and woman STILL prodding at the machine. One thing i notice is that she is indeed using her own bag. Well done love, nectar points in the bag (heh, see what I did there?) So yes, the points are in the bag, but her shopping isn’t! “Please take your items…. Please take your items….. Please…. BITCH! WTF!?” OK, I made that last one up. I don’t create user interfaces, but if I did… She’s flapping about trying to open those wafer-thin plastic bags, throw all her organic carrots and crap in them while the queue edges closer.

Meanwhile, I’m bossing the machine. I really don’t know how these things make so many people feel utterly baffled! Press the button on the screen, wave barcodes at the machine and put your stuff in the bag. Honestly, how hard can it be!?! It’s not the bloody Krypton Factor!

Anyway, I had no real point to this, it just felt good getting it out! Think I might keep this going as I stumble across people and their….. “quirks”

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