The show is over and the curtain has fallen on our final Anatolian performance. It’s been a long and successful run but they’ll be no ovation or encore. As we said goodbye to Gümbet, Liam and I reflected on our time in this ancient land of paradoxes and plenty. Turkey has provided a restful respite for our weary bones and taught us that we can live differently and work with less. This is a profound lesson that many would be wise to copy. We don’t regret a single second of it.
We’ve both enjoyed and endured some extraordinary exploits with some extraordinary people. From the outset I called our cast ‘the mad, the sad, the bad and the glad’. This epitaph was no less true in Bodrum than it was in Yalıkavak three years before. From our first encounter with the pretentious expat rat pack to the Bodrum Belles, the Gümbet Gals and the Bitez Babes all sorts – the ladies of this small corner of Asia Minor do what they can to live their lives in dignity and grace. Many succeed. Many don’t. Listen up, ladies. Take a little advice from an old pro. When your ship is holed beneath the waterline, head for the lifeboat. Don’t flounder about like flotsam just because the sea looks inviting.
We’re not looking forward to the downside of Blighty life – the unpredictable weather, the fretful recession or the endless whinging. Let’s face it, some of our compatriots, whatever shore they wash up on, have turned whinging into a class act. Nevertheless, our course is set and it is a step forward, not a step back. But, there’s a sadness in my soul. I shall greatly miss our entertaining encounters with the hopeless, the hapless and, yes, the happy go lucky. So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, adieu to the emigreys, vetpats, semigreys, VOMITs, MADs, Emiköys, and sexpats. You gave me an unexpected tale to tell and for this I thank you. The next instalment is on the story drawing board.