Las Vegas-on-Sea

Vinnie in the Foliage

After a hearty brunch, Nick decided to initiate us into the ancient Ionian ritual of bush bashing to bring down the olive crop, a technique that has remained unaltered for countless millennia. Liam took to thrashing  a cane with great gusto donning a fetching floral headscarf for the occasion. I withdrew to the foliage to keep Vinnie company. Vinnie was distinctly nonplussed by all the fuss and took refuge in a sunny spot.

Next on the packed agenda was a whistle-stop tour of the dubious daytime delights of Kuşadası, the Aegean gateway to the splendours of some of Asia Minor’s best preserved historical sites. Having read the ‘Rough Guide’ which uncompromisingly describes the resort as “a brash, mercenary and unpleasant Las Vegas-on-Sea…” my expectations were rock bottom. In fact, I thought the epitaph more than a little harsh. The town is a touch rough around some of its sprawling edges and not as classically attractive as Bodrum, but it does convey a vital urban buzz which I found appealing. I was unpredictably impressed by the busy throng of real people, the boulevards of real shops and the sprinkling of smart bistros. And Kuşadası does provide one important facility that sets it above the rest – a proper, bone fide gay bar that entices an eclectic mix of trannies, dancing queens, sugar daddies, gays for pay, hairy marys and the odd bemused bi-curious northerner in search of furtive titillation.

Sunset Behind the Marina

We stopped off for coffee at a trendy café along the neat promenade and watched the sun set over the marina. We contemplated the stark contrast to our cute but comatosed little town of Yalıkavak where nights are spent holding hands and contacting the living. Where’s Doris Stokes when you need her?

Karyn dished up a gastronomic triumph for the evening’s victuals, serving duck terrine which she fretted over all week according to ‘The Competitive World of Expat Cooking‘. She needn’t have worried. The reclaimed brick had done the trick, and the terrine was superb. Karyn invited a few old fairy friends along for the slicing ceremony. We were particularly amused by senior citizen, Peter, a dedicated Friend of Dorothy and philanderer extraordinaire who is an accomplished, competitive cook and keeps a Turk in the basement for afters.

The next day we took homespun kahvaltı in the local soba-warmed lokanta, escaping the crisp mountain air. Popular with both the Chelsea tractor brigade and villagers alike, the rustic eatery served up a plentiful plate of traditional fare. We hit the road after breakfast, waving farewell to our generous comperes and their tender menagerie. I had utterly enjoyed sparring with an intellectual thoroughbred. We shall return.

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