Faith in humanity: Restored.

Considering my ordeal the other day, I think I can be forgiven for having a slightly eschewed image of the kindness of others. Seeing my ex-boss’ cold stare as I lugged my suitcase out of the door and waited for a taxi cemented “People can be bastards” right at the forefront of my Lessons Learned Archive.

Yet, my new maxim has already, thankfully, been proved wrong.

The other night, I arranged to meet with Regina. She was leaving Fethiye for Ankora, and this would be the last time we had the chance to meet (possibly forever) so I was keen to get one more round of backgammon in. She’s the only one who’s ever let me win. She arrived at our meeting point, and slightly breathlessly told me that a German couple who had been staying at the hotel I’d briefly worked at were waiting in a car around the corner for us. They’d offered to take us for a meal, if we would like to.

So I spent the evening with three Germans, talking about the nuances of English (you try explaining to three non-English speakers why we say “iron” the way we do) and gossiping about the hotel. They had been horrified to hear what had happened to me, and insisted on paying for all of my drinks and food by way of saying they were sorry for not helping me out sooner. This was to be considered their “tip” to me for all the work I’d done at the hotel. I was charmed. What wonderful people.

We waved Regina off on the night bus, and I promised that if I was ever in Germany, I’d make sure to arrange to meet her again. (I’ll stay in touch Regina, don’t worry!). The couple drove me about a mile away from my hotel because they didn’t understand my English directions, gave me their business card and asked me to keep them updated.

Me and the Greeks, all kicked outta Kaya. 

The next day, I grabbed the dolmus to Kayakoy. I’d thought about skipping this day trip out, seeing as it’s frighteningly close to the ol’ demon hotel, but pushed that thought out as ridiculous and looked forward to wandering around the ghost town.

It’s very creepy. Completely empty, except for those chilling sheep cries that sound like trapped souls calling out for forgiveness. In the 1920s, thousands of Greeks were forced out of this village. Just imagine that for a second. One day, you’re having your breakfast, dropping the kids off at school, knocking up some shelves for your front room; next,you’re packing up everything and leaving. Not just you though, the entire street. All of your neighbours, at the same time.

The 17th century church was particularly eery. That used to be a place of real significance. People got married there, worshipped there. They mourned their dead and celebrated the newborns. This was a place that was important to almost every villager at some point in their lives, and all that was left of it now were the bare bones of its architecture and a few tourists wandering around. I was sat imagining all the years of prayers that had happened here, when a Scotsman and an Irishman walked into my eyeline.

I know that sounds like the beginning of a joke, but they really did; Kevin and Jerry. They asked how long I’d been sat there, I told them since the Greeks left. They said I looked good for a ninety odd year old, must be something in the water. We set off around the ghost town together, speculating what the buildings were used for and explaining what on earth “linguistics” was. Upon spotting a hotel in the distance, complete with swimming pool, one of them exclaimed “the lying bastards, we were told this was a ghost town”. It’s the first time I’ve laughed like that in weeks, and I was really thrilled to have such company.

We stopped for lunch at the entrance of the village and tested each other on our knowledge of world flags, Charlie’s Angles and Manchester United players. They pointed out that me and the Greeks that once lived in Kayakoy had something in common; we’d both been kicked out by the Turkish. They told me about their lives and their families, and I told them about my little adventures and writing. They refused to let me pay my share of the bill.

Wandering back through the park, we came upon a dog. Admittidly, it was quite big- but no larger than Ralph, really. Though it was scampering about in the opposite direction to us, Kevin and Jerry quickly u-turned and hotfooted their way out of any, ahem, danger. Leaving me trailing behind. “How manly of us, leaving a young girl to that Rottweiler. When you write that up, make sure you put that we rescued you from the jaws of a wolf.”

Kevin and Jerry “Are Large”

So, Kevin and Jerry, if you’ve managed to remember the name of this blog, thank you. For saving me from that pack of wolves/camels. I almost certainly wouldn’t have any arms to type this with if it wasn’t for your combined bravery. And with a slightly more genuine gratitude, thank you to both sets of couples for reminding me that not all people are bastards. Some of them are really, really lovely people.


Being alone; how a restless girl copes.

Okay. Without wanting to sound macabre, this blog post is going to be about being on my own. It’s not one massive sulk, so you can all just put away your eye rolling and miniature violins. I’m in a self-inflicted solitary confinement over here, so I’ve had plenty of time to think this through.


The first step of being alone whilst on your travels is this strange sense of overconfidence when it comes to strangers. All of a sudden, I’m this social butterfly, befriending people from all over the world with my charm and boundless self-assurance. I don’t know how it happened. It just did.

Touring Blue Bays of Fethiye :)

I went on a boat day trip thing the other day, and the relaxed atmosphere and gorgeous settings led me to casually striking up conversation with complete strangers. Dasha, the Ukranian schoolgirl, impressed me with her English and we chatted about school and university. On hearing an English accent while taking a boatside dip in the sea, I swam right up to a couple from Essex. I’m now welcome to visit them if I ever find myself in the part of Fethiye they have a B&B in, which is nice. I also braved speaking a little Mandarin to a Chinese family- which considering the last time I spoke Chinese I burst into tears, can only have been down to a surge of misplaced confidence. They more or less understood what I was trying to say, but their English skills far outshone my Chinese ones, so I was spared the mortification of singlehandedly ruining the beauty of a language. The day was a success, and I can now safely archive this unlikely bunch into the group “Met On Holiday” and move on. Woo!

Only just managing to stay upright in Saklikent Gorge.


In trying to recreate my sudden surge of social ability, I went on another day trip. Well, that’s not exactly the reason. Saklikent Gorge is mindblowing- and warrants a day trip regardless of whether there’s any likelihood of making new mates or not. Whatever. My friend-making skills were scaled down to zero, as no one spoke any English. In fact, I felt very conscious that I was the only person in a group of twelve who never had the faintest idea of what was going on- how long the journey would take, the price of entry, how to not fall and die in the gorge. It would have been pretty maddening, but instead, it just got boring. Not speaking to anyone frustrated me. I became sulky in the evening, having not uttered a single phrase other than “sorry, I’m English” all day. I’d read all of my books, the wifi connection was failing me, I didn’t feel like going to a bar where I wouldn’t know anyone and have to sit on my own. So I frowned all night instead.

I’m my own worst enemy when I get like this. Nothing anyone says can swing me out of a grump like this one. But that was irrelevant. No one was saying anything much to me at all, nevermind trying to lift my lonely spirits. So I moped around my hotel room and bitched at my friends when the wifi connection lasted long enough for me to send a facebook message (sorry, friends).  I was lonely and bored and I wanted to watch fucking Coronation Street already. Moodily, I went to bed for lack of better things to do. 


After a good telling off via email from a few friends, I decided to shut up whinging and make the most of having some time to myself. How often do you get an entire week, unimpeded by any responsibilities, unmarked by any urgencies, to do exactly what you want with? And considering how rare this week is, what better place to do it than on the edge of the Mediterranean coast? So I packed myself a little bag of pens, books, notepads and my iPod, and marched out to the dolmus station.

I spent the day writing. And I mean the entire day. I wrote things I’d intended on publishing for The Yorker, I wrote reviews of the places I’d been, I wrote things I wouldn’t dream of publishing on here for fear of people actually reading them. The bemused waiter asked me if it was my diary. “Sort of“, I replied, flashing a quick smile and accepting my third refill of fresh orange juice. The orange juice glasses got increasingly decorative and elaborate as my time in the cafe went on. The first glass had been simple, ice, straw, drink. By the time I left, I was getting flashing straws, umbrellas, slices of exotic fruit wedged onto the glass, fireworks. I like to think they were playing a game of “How-much-shit-can-we-put-on-her-glass-before-she-looks-up-from-her-notepad”. They were probably just trying to increase the chances of a tip, but a girl can imagine.

Pen running out of ink, and myself running out of writing-steam, I popped on a water taxi back home and went for another walk along the harbour. I sat and idly watched the sun set over the bay with some fishermen, meandered back to the hotel, and had a long shower. Today’s been good. This is the kind of solitary confinement I could get used to.

Sighh. I guess I can go without speaing English for a day if this is what the evening looks like. 


All quiet on the Fethiye front. Thank god.

With all the drama of yesterday slowly fading into obscurity, I figured it was about time I got round to some of this exploring lark I was so keen to do prior to being unceremoniously shown the door in Kayakoy. Having shook the last of the shakes off, I dolled up and strode out, in what I guessed to be the right direction, towards the centre of the centre.

Fethiye is stunning. It’s quite difficult to justify exactly how beautiful it is without getting soppy, or sounding like I’m exagerating. To put it plainly, if I lived here, or saw this view everyday as of now for the rest of ever, I don’t think I’d get bored. I wouldn’t stop marvelling at how bloody pretty it is.

Fethiye bay.

York campus lake, eat your heart out.

It is a slight shame that I’ve come at a time of year when they’re remodelling one area- the town square on the edge of the harbour. Though it hardly detracts from the beauty of the bay, it’s quite an odd sensation walking along a gorgeous pier, busy looking out onto the Med, and finding yourself to have stumbled into a construction site, complete with bemused workmen who see straight through your attempts to look like you’ve ended up there on purpose. That aside, this has been my favourite place to go for a walk, anywhere, ever.

My paper rose!

I ate at a great restaurant overlooking the bay, Address. The staff were a touch overly attentive, but it was quite nice having someone to talk to. Travelling alone can get pretty quiet, and talking to myself in public just won’t do. So the chatter was welcomed- even if they only wanted to list names of football players upon finding out I’m from Manchester. I got made a little tissue rose- for “being gorgeous” no less- and was asked to return to the restaurant after they’d all finished work, which I politely declined. My boyfriend would have been horrified, after all. I neglected to mention he doesn’t exist, but that’s irrelevant.

I’ve done more touristy things, mostly wandering around the old town looking at fabrics and spices and trinkets- I bought a gorgeous handwoven cushion- and headed back to the comfort of my air conditioned room while the sun was a its harshest. Then, a surprise visitor! Regina, of heroic fame, turned up unannounced. Delighted, we headed out for some chai, gossip, and a game of backgammon.

I suck at backgammon.

I’ve had the worlds longest shower, stocked up on Fanta, and have my outfit planned for the boat trip I’ve booked for tomorrow. Now I’m off to watch the sunset in a bar some place. I’m trying not to be smug, having seen all of your complaints about the weather in emails and on facebook/twitter, but it’s really really hard. I’m not even sorry.


Being kicked out. (Or; The second thing to go wrong in Turkey)

Today, I was kicked out of my hotel. I know that immediately summons up images of me being the tourist from hell, but I didn’t throw a TV out of the window or anything. I didn’t even have a TV. Or a window, come to that.

Long story short, I was staying at a boutique place through this workaway scheme I’ve talked about. It means I got free bed and board in return for five hours work a day, five days a week. That’s a reasonable commitment, and a reasonable offer, imho. Unfortunately, the hours turned out to be much longer than I’d anticipated. Anywhere between nine and twelve hours became the norm, the expected.

Up at eight, washing up, serving breakfast, cleaning the pool, hosing down the paths, gardening, lugging wheelbarrows of dead leaves and egg shells to the compost heap, nipping to the local farm to top up an empty coke can with milk, preparing rooms, incessant sweeping of leaves, and waiting up until all of the guests have returned from their wanders at gone midnight. It wasn’t difficult, though occasionally strenuous in the baking sun. No, the work itself was easy. There was just so much more of it than I considered fair.

(Side note- Jack Smith, on planning a possible trip to Croatia, snubbed the idea of a workaway placement there, as the level of work (about eight hours) the hostel place wanted in comparison to how much simply paying for the rooms would have cost, worked out at less than minimum wage. I’m no mathematician, but this is exactly what was happening at my place in Turkey. I’m not afraid of a little hard graft, but this was getting ridiculous) 

The free time was excellent, of course, when I could get it. I had maybe, four, fivehours a day? I’ll write another post on what I got up to later, but for the most part I waited for my next instructions by the pool. This hardly seems like I was having a tough time, I’m aware, but I wanted to actually see Turkey. You know, outside of the hotel grounds.

Anyway, I digress. I told my boss that I was going to leave the next day, as I wanted to do more travelling. She kicked off. According to her, it was dishonest of me to come to her hotel with the intention of leaving after a week. She didn’t believe my protest of not setting out with that intention. She rebuked my argument that I work more than the advertised five hours a day (!!!!!). She told me I could leave. Not tomorrow, not later, now. I packed my bag.

Now, a grown woman, knowing full well I had nowhere to go, no way to get there, and no place to stay, kicked a nineteen year old girl, on her own, in the arse end middle of nowhere, out onto the streets of a country I couldn’t even speak the language of. I don’t mean to sound accusing, but if that isn’t a touch rash, then I couldn’t tell you what is.

Luckily, I had Regina. She’s a German teacher on sabbatical, and we’ve become quite close since meeting at the hotel. She speaks Turkish and English, and upon seeing me, hysterical and lugging my suitcase, found me a taxi and gave me some advice as to what to do next. A few phone calls later, my taxi arrived, Regina negotiated a price, and I was on my way to central Fethiye. Without her, I’d be lost in the woods of Kayakoy dragging my face and 14k suitcase behind me.

I’ve arrived in central Fethiye, and am booked into a small hotel near the dolmus station. I rocked up, slightly hysterical (you know me, never one to get upset in the face of chaos) and was shown my new room. I phoned my mum and a friend to let them know I was safe but in a different place, and sat and thought for a while.

Half in shock still, half relieved, I didn’t really know what to do with myself. I showered (they have two settings here, scalding hot, and “off”.), wandered round Fethiye village, ate something, and stared at the balcony in a daze. I think tomorrow, I’ll go to visit Paspatur . Hopefully it’ll be slightly less eventful. I don’t think my mum’s nerves could take another surprise.