Perking the Pansies

Perking the Pansies

Our hobbling tour of Bodrum was something of a boozy whirlwind and confirmed I can’t do multiple piss-ups anymore. It was season’s end with flight prices to match, but the interminable limp through Stansted was a brutalising experience when compared to our little local airport. Working to a slum-it budget, we bagged ourselves a hotel in Bodrum for eleven quid a night, breakfast included. Nothing much worked in our barrel-scraped digs but the family-run gaff was clean and convenient. This was the first time we had set foot on Turkish soil since we called time on our Anatolian adventure in 2012 and we were determined to make hay. Naturally, the wedding of the year was the main event but we also wanted to share a jar or two with some of our old muckers, so we pitched our standard on a Bodrum Beach and waited for battle to commence. The onslaught came in waves and after nine hours of friendly fire, talking ten to the dozen about everything under the moonlit sky, we staggered to the nearest taxi rank. A huge hand to all the Bodrum belles and beaus who really made our day. You know who you are.

These images are as blurred as our vision was by the end of the evening.

Of course, no trip back to Bodrum would have been complete without a reunion of the Sisterhood…

… the antidote to the VOMITing sickness that afflicts the many Shirley Valentines who wash up like driftwood on the beaches of Turkey. Many of the Sisters are reformed VOMITs who’ve been through the ringer, some more than once, but have emerged to tell the tale stronger and wiser. The Sisters stick together (like birds of a feather), because men are rubbish.

Expat Glossary

So after a day trip down memory lane along Turkey Street (more of this later), we joined the Sisterhood in Musto.

Musto was top of our list and sat in a prime location on Marina Boulevard opposite the smart shopping parade. Its handsome young owner, Mustafa the Magnificent, was second cousin to our landlady and a generous and convivial host. The eponymous Mustafa learned his trade at Sünger, his uncle’s legendary pizza parlour, a place that had been dishing up margheritas to the sailing squad since the early seventies. Unlike some of his rivals, Mustafa never resorted to pressganging people in from the street. He courted the emigrey crowd with Italian seasoning, palatable wine, affordable prices and generous yolluks. It was a formula that attracted swarms of discerning diners, even out of season.

Turkey Street

mustoMusto has expanded considerably since our last visit, though I’m pleased to say the menu and ambience remain special. Back in the day, regular meetings of the Sisterhood always kept the pansies perked, particularly during the chilly winter months when Bodrum life was as a slow as pond water. Thank you Doc, Jess and Victoria.

There was a distinct autumnal nip when we got back to Norwich and the heating went on for the first time since the spring. A day or two later, Liam departed for London on family duties so I sank into the sofa to watch an ancient episode of Midsomer Murders on ITV3 with my carcinomic ankle resting on a Swedish pouffe. I was unsettled. We thought our trip back to Bodrum would be our swansong. Now I’m not so sure. Despite challenging political times, Turkey has worked her magic all over again. Blimey.

bodrum-beach

Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines

To rescue me from a life of drudgery and chores, delicious vetpat Vicky invited me to brunch at Musto’s Restaurant, our favourite Bodrum eatery. We were joined by a retired thespian and impresario (who shall remain nameless to save his blushes) and his Turkish partner. They’d jetted down from Istanbul for the weekend. We took our ringside seats to watch the spills and thrills of the Turkish Air Force Aerobatics Team – the Turkish Stars – who performed their madcap supersonic routine above our heads. The low-rise, high-octane precision performance was loud and fabulous. The ear-splitting gig wasn’t entirely a surprise since the boys with their toys had spent a few days practising beforehand – clipping mobile phone masts and setting off car alarms. Catching a snap proved difficult as the magnificent men in their flying machines criss-crossed the firmament. The romantic finale was a hazy heart etched into the sky, a fitting tribute to the Istanbul lovers. After feasting on a delicious Turkish breakfast banquet that just kept on coming, we spent the sunny afternoon chatting and drinking in the magical stories of a thesp’s days treading the boards. Perfect.

Pictures courtesy of the Bodrum Bulletin

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Ringing the Belles

Icing and Slicing

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?

Sizzling Bodrum

Old Bodrum Town has hit the season running. In the heat of the day people slowly amble along the promenade, gorge on gossip in the cafés, browse and graze in the posh shops or relax under cooling shade of a tall palm tree. By night the prom sizzles to the heavy beat of Turkopop and a madding crowd of the weird, the wonderful and the well-to-do. This is my rapid round up of what’s hot and what’s not along Bodrum’s celebrated promenade.

Musto’s – Great food, great prices, great host and popular with the biker’s fraternity
Zazu – Nice food, pricey wine, good ambience
Hong Kong – Cross the street to avoid the relentless hassle from the waiters
Good old M&S – Older Turkish men just love their Blue Harbour range
Sünger Pizza. An old Bodrum stalwart. Unpretentious. Try and get a table on the roof terrace
Kahve Dünyası – Great coffee, pretty waiters and a chocolate spoon with every cup
Marina Vista – Lovely hotel in a great location. Pity about the surly service
Tango – So, so steaks, astronomic wine prices, arrogant waiters.
The Yacht Club – Cool place with live music
Fink – You’d need a second mortgage to drink in here
Helva – I spy a lady of the night
Is there anywhere in the world without a Starbucks?