I have been quite a louse and not satisfied your desire for Turkey photos and Turkey stories. This I will try to rectify.
Only, you will have to be patient, as my internet connection at home is - yet again - not working, so I must do this Blogger thing surreptitiously from work. I don't exactly want to be the next "La Petite Anglaise", so you'll just have to bear with me as I sneak in a few sentences at a time, only to quickly hide the Blogger page with an Excel spreadsheet when I hear my boss' door open. (And really, this alone should raise his suspicions, as I'm not exactly a fan of the program.)
And now, Ladies and Gentelmen, I give you Turkey!
Taa daa! That was easy!
Except we didn't go to Istanbul, and that right there is the famous Blue Mosque located smack dab in the middle of that fine city. I don't exactly have all my Turkey photos with me at work, so this will have to do for the moment.
Okay, wait. I can at least tell you a funny story.
Handsome and I were on vacation in the lovely little tourist town of Kuşadası, located on the west coast in between Izmir and Bodrum. We had decided on a package deal with a 'French speaking club hotel'- which I have to admit I was less than enthusiastic about, expecting to find myself in the middle of Turkey eating cuisse de canard and bavette à l'échalote and trying desperately to block out songs by Michel Fougain and Johnny Hallyday blasting in from the organized activity pool. (As in Water aerobics! Stretching! Water polo!)
Thankfully, the hotel turned out to cater much more to the Turkish tourists, who far outnumbered all others, and weren't exactly interested in doing aerobics to un, deux, trois. The hotel served delicious and authentic Turkish cuisine, the staff was majority Turkish, and much to my delight, most of the music blasting from the activity pool was Tarkan, Candan Ertegun and the like.
By the end of the second day, we had already established a ritual. After spending all day snorkeling, scuba diving (full post on that later) or sightseeing, we would come back to the hotel, shower, get dressed up and head out to the the bar overlooking the sea to have a rakı and watch the sunset. I love an excuse to get dressed up. Especially if it's to go to a place called "The Harem Bar".
After a long day visiting the ruins at Aphrodisias during the beginning of our first week, I noticed an angry rash on my thigh, no doubt an allergic reaction to some plant or sea thing. For days, I regularly slathered it with copious amounts of bug cream, and even borrowed Handsome's super strength Egyptian cream, which normally gets rid of the most persistent irritations. But this rash was not going down without a fight, and it stubbornly ignored my attempts to placate it. After several days of no results, I had a flash of brilliance one evening as I was getting dressed up to go to the Harem Bar.
"Why not try toothpaste?" I thought.
The minty-ness would feel good, and it might turn out to be the miracle cure. (This probably only makes sense to me and mother, who believes aspirin, garlic and vinegar can combat just about anything that ails you.) Hey, it did a bang up job stopping up the nail holes in my former apartment, and it had even made my scuba mask stop fogging up. (An old divers' tip, apparently).
I spread the Colgate - extra whitening - on the rash, let it dry, and finished my toilette. I put on my flirty brown mini dress, dabbed on some perfume, and slipped into my high heeled strappy Brazilian sandals.
Handsome surveyed the results with a whistle of approval and held out his arm. We made our way through the hotel to the bar, keeping an eye on the time so as not to miss the setting of the sun. We waved at the hotel employees we had become friendly with, trotting out the Turkish for "Good evening!" and "How are you?" much to their delight and amusement.
We crossed the garden, passed the oxymoronically named "quiet" kiddie pool, and waved a hello to the diving instructor who was closing up shop below. We stepped up and onto the terrace of the Harem Bar, and I headed out to grab our favorite table while Handsome got the drinks.
I lowered myself into the nearly ground-level banquette as Handsome carried out the rakıs with a devlish smile. He slid in next to me on the multicolored cushions, draped his arm around my shoulders and we settled in to watch the sun set. We talked of what we had done, seen and heard that day as we marveled at the shades of red, yellow, orange and purple in the sky. We waited for the very last sliver of sun to disappear below the horizon, on alert in hopes of seeing the "le rayon vert." (He saw it, I didn't.)
We stared into each others' eyes, whispered words of love and talked of what to do the next day. The stars came out, and we stretched out on the cushions to point out the few constellations we knew between the two of us, as strains of Turkish music weaved around us.
He sat up, and I put my head in his lap, continuing to stare at the night sky.
"You know," I said, reaching up to run my fingers through his hair, "this is just what I hoped it would be."
"Mmm," he replied, and leaned down to kiss me.
"I mean, all of this: the music, the rakı, the sunset, the stars, this place.." I gestured around us and brought my hand back up to caress his face. "You, this. It's just so perfectly romantic."
"Yes, it is." he said, smiling.
"But even all this loveliness," I said, sitting up and looking him in the eye, "all this magic, cannot possibly take away the fact that at this very moment, I have toothpaste on my thigh."
We laughed so hard our stomachs ached.
And then we went to dinner.