Bodrum’s radical urban overhaul is almost complete save for a few rough edges that will be completed next year (or sometime never). I took afternoon liquid refreshments at Bodrum’s organic deli, a great place from where to people watch. Their natural fare is even more delicious during happy hour when a glass of white costs only 4 lira a shot. The tubby waiter with precision hairdo, George Clooney eyes and Russell Crowe features serviced me silently with charm and grace.
I watched Bodrum life pass by in all its ambling majesty. The strolling likely lads with their grand gelled tresses and baffling stares promenaded along the promenade, stopping to check their reflections in the porthole mirrors of Helva Bar. I watched the Helva bar boys wash down the floors in anticipation of a profitable night’s innings from the urban elite and the Ukrainian prostitutes who silently ply their trade among them. A rainbow of cars cruised by from Nissan tanks to clapped-out Fiats. Happy-clappy kids played hide and seek in the play school playground opposite. Sunny Cabaret was provided by Bodrum’s resident drunk (I thought that was me), who frothed at the mouth, toyed with the traffic, harangued unsuspecting tourists and talked to the street animals like a modern day Dr Doolittle. I staggered home to the tune of the Hi-De-Hi public address system and another power cut in the full knowledge that our Turkish expedition would soon come to an end. To quote Old Blue Eyes, “Regrets, I have a few.”
Living as do at the heart of old Bodrum Town, we are both regaled and disturbed in equal measure by the glorious non-stop cacophony that surrounds us – the silly-speed mopeds farting down the street, the earth-quaking Turkopop vying with the impatient horns from every four-wheel Nissan tank, the catcalls from the randy rooftop pussies, the amplified ezan bouncing about in surround sound, the discordant cock-a-doodle-doos from the roosters in every courtyard and lonely mongrels barking incessantly until they’re hoarse.
One of the charming aspects of town centre living is the twice daily water-man who heralds his arrival by ringing his little bell. He’s a hairy giant of a beast who effortlessly swings his 19 litre bottles around like a Herculean water carrier. It’s enough to make a boy go weak at the knees. For a while, we were waterless. Our dusky su-seller’s familiar ding-a-ling was missing from our noise-scape. Maybe he was ill or away visiting relatives? A week went by before, one afternoon, we saw him silently pass by our window. Liam rushed out, empty bottle in hand. “Where’s your little bell?” he asked. “Finish,” was the shrugged response. “Many complaint because of noise.” Liam struggled to understand above the roar of the traffic. “But I like your little bell,” he said. Su-man smiled the warmest of smiles and shook Liam’s hand. “I know, my friend. I know.” It’s a real shame. We miss our big man’s little ding dong.
Now for the tenuous link. Sit back and feast on Ding a Dong, Teach In’s Eurovision Song Contest entry for the Netherlands some time during the Seventies (judging by the outrageous glam drag).
When I planned my virtual tour, I knew the book would have to take centre stage. There would be little point if it didn’t. But I didn’t want to just bang on about it and do the hard sell. People would get bored and simply switch channels. I know I would. I had to find a theme, something to maintain interest. I also wanted to say something related to the people that have kindly let me loose on their blogs. A theme gradually emerged: me. My favourite subject.
Today’s post is on Helen’s European Journey. Elegant Helen is wander-lusting gypsy-like across Europe (well, so far across Iberia – give ‘em time) in a travelling caravan with hunky husband and two pretty pussies in tow. So, folks, I give you… me and caravans. Not the dusty camel trains of antiquity hauling exotic goods along the ancient Silk Road from China to Anatolia, but the common or garden static metal type of my childhood. It’s a tenuous link, but stay with me.
Happy New Year to pansy fans one and all from a stormy, rain-sodden Bodrum. In the best tradition of the New Year and all those cheap-to-make review and top ten TV compilations I give you:
Perking the Pansies Top Ten 2011
An eclectic mix of the mad, the glad, the sad and the bad, the old, the bold, the sold and the gold. It’s interesting how few of these posts are actually related to expats directly. The list represents around 20% of all hits to Perking the Pansies (out of about 500 posts). Fancy that.
Our neighbour, bubbly Beril has just returned from an extended stay in Ankara to see family. She’s been away for about three weeks leaving Bianca, her fluffy white pubescent pussy and child substitute, in the expert care of hubby Vadim (not that they’re actually married – deliciously scandalous in these parts). She’s returned to a shocking discovery which has rocked her world. No, Vadim hasn’t developed a Rakı habit and taken up with a local floozy. That wouldn’t be that shocking. The fluffy feline has gone from precocious kitten to feisty minx, seeing off the competition and guarding her territory with feline gusto. The girl’s got balls. No really, the girl’s got real balls. Bianca has become Bianco.
Our neighbours have rowed little of late. There was a time when we were regularly disturbed by bubbly Beril screaming like a banshee. Beril has an excellent set of pipes which she can use to volcanic effect. I think the acquisition of Bianca the snow white cat a few months ago has calmed the spirits and silenced the guns. Bianca is an inquisitive creature. She’s now firmly in charge of our shared garden and tolerates no incursions by rivals. I often see her patrolling the low garden wall looking inquisitively out on the world beyond. I hope she doesn’t get too bold otherwise she may get set upon by the mean felines that strut their stuff by the communal bins or end up as road kill along the busy thoroughfare where the speed junkies race.
Living in the centre of busy, bustling Bodrum means compromise. Hubbub abounds. It comes with the territory. It’s part of the charm. We filter out the mad traffic, high-pitched horns and loud rows. We’re from the Smoke and old London Town is not so different. It’s the price worth paying for the short skip to the marina inns and eateries that serve to remind us that we’re sophisticated boys about town (or so we think). Calm country living in the middle of a muddy field is not our style. But, (here comes the but) we are wrestling with the double whammy of ferocious, veracious miniscule flies and barking mad, howling hounds. The midget midges circle us like we’re rotting corpses. The mozzie net has been re-erected above our bed as our only line of defence.
The flies will die but there’s no easy solution for the dogs. As all emigreys know, most Turks have an entirely different relationship with man’s best friend. Here in Bodrum you will see some dogs on leads but they tend to be the toy variety attached to the over-dressed well-to-do. Most mutts hereabouts perform the traditional guard and protect function, chained up outside. For our considerable sins we’re surrounded by four of them. Passage down our busy thoroughfare, even in the small hours, is constant. So too is the barking. We’re serenaded by quadrophonic yapping 24 hours a day. Have people not heard of house alarms?