Back to Turkey

We were struck down with the dreaded lurgy over the festive period and it just went on and on. What’s a boy to do when he’s at his lowest ebb, snot-wise, and he needs to perk up the pansies? Book a holiday of course. And the holiday we booked is to Dalyan in southwest Turkey. We plan a week of R&R with a bit of sightseeing and beach-bumming thrown into the mix.

We all know about last month’s catastrophic earthquakes, which flattened large swathes of Turkey and Syria, killing tens of thousands. It’s truly heartbreaking. We got a small taste of it when we lived in Bodrum. It was just a minor tremor, no damage done, but it still sent us fleeing into the courtyard.

The recent disaster will put some people off visiting Turkey but I hope not too many. The last thing the country needs right now is yet another blow to the economy. As most tourist businesses are family-owned, it’s the ordinary folk who suffer the most.

The situation is desperate and will remain so for a long time to come. If you’d like to help, please give what you can. It all makes a difference. There are plenty of appeals out there to choose from. Here’s one in the UK:

Disasters Emergency Committee

On a lighter note, Dalyan is a long way from the disaster zone. This is how I described it in Postcards from the Ege, a tongue in cheek guide book I wrote many moons ago:

“Back in the day, Dalyan was a quaint and sleepy village on the banks of the Dalyan River. The town first hit the headlines in the mid-eighties when an international campaign successfully defeated a plan to develop the nearby Iztuzu Beach where endangered loggerhead turtles famously lay their eggs. Turtles and tourism now co-exist (just). The soft, white sand is well worth a visit but take a packed lunch, slap on total sunblock and don’t step on the eggs. You don’t want to be responsible for wiping out an entire species.”

And the nearby ruins of Kaunos:

“Stuck in the bog of the Dalyan river delta with a chronology dating back to the 9th century BC is Kaunos, a city lost in the vegetation for over 300 years. Originally a Carian settlement and now a UNESCO World Heritage site, the ruins are a jumble from different periods – Greek, Roman and Byzantine. Kaunos was a regional seaport of some note. However, like Ephesus, the silting of the harbour left the city high and dry and sealed its fate. The site is best reached by small boat from nearby Dalyan. You’ll gently put-put through the crystal-clear river past majestic reed beds belly dancing in the breeze. Today, the city is appreciated as much for the prolific wildlife as it is for the scattered stones. Also, as with Miletos, the surrounding swamp is particularly popular with holidaying mosquitoes. The city was finally abandoned in the 15th century following a malaria epidemic. You’ve been warned.”

The last time I was in Dalyan was over 25 years ago. I can’t wait to dip my toes in the warm waters of the Aegean again. I might even persuade Liam to take in a mud bath with me in a vain attempt to regain our long lost youth. Yes, this was me back in 1997. It didn’t work then either.

Inevitably, the resort will have changed but I hope not too much. I’ll keep you posted.

Bodrum Rocks

After a couple of false starts, the race towards summer is on. We feared the sun-kissed season had been cancelled this year. The starting pistol was an earthquake beneath our feet at 4am yesterday morning. Just a tiddler of a tremor at 3.1. Liam woke with a jolt and went in search of fault lines. I slept like a baby through the whole thing.

The Ab Fab Impossibly Glamorous

The Ab Fab Impossibly Glamorous

impossibly glamorousI’d like to introduce American Expat returnee, Charles Ayres. Charles is funny and talented, and quite famous in his own lunchtime. He’s written for Harper’s Bazaar and Metropolis, handled the international PR for Tokyo FM’s annual Earth Day concert and popped up the big and small screen, most notably on the Japanese TV show “It’s OK to Laugh” (Waratte ii Tomo) and film “The Billion Yen Jackpot!” (Juoku-en Kasegu!)

Charles lived in the Land of the Rising Sun for 12 years and left after the 2011 earthquake. After experiencing the Big One, he moved to San Francisco to wait for the next Big One. He’s released his autobiography, Impossibly Glamorous, “The rudest book you’ll ever love,” detailing his life growing up as a raver in the American Midwest and taking over New York and Japan.

Charles has been a great supporter of Perking the Pansies, virtually from the beginning, and jumped in to help with promoting the book. He was one of the first to review Perking the Pansies

Check out Impossibly Glamorous on…

Ringing the Belles

New Year’s Eve brought a couple of tremors and torrential rain to Bodrum. We refused to let Mother Nature throw us off kilter or dampen our spirits as we joined the Bodrum Belles to drink in the New Year. The place of our undoing was Musto’s Restaurant, our haunt of choice. The source of our undoing was a bottle of Jaegermeister doing the rounds courtesy of a particularly boozy Belle (you know who you are). Think 100% proof cough mixture. At the stroke of midnight, Liam and I kissed in front of a passing copper, put out some windows with a salvo of party poppers the size of bazookas, watched the creditable firework display and shuffled from side to side to classic, cheesy, gay dance tracks of yesteryear. I wonder who chose the music?

It doesn’t get much cheesier than this.

Have you checked out the book yet?

In Support of Turkey’s Earthquake Victims

The tragic news emerging from eastern Turkey is becoming grimmer by the hour. The frantic efforts to find survivors continues and countless people are sleeping out in the open in sub-zero temperatures. There are ways to help. Please check out Turkeywithstuffin’s Blog for details.