Friday, 28 September 2018

A morning smile

Look who we met at Yalvaç museum.  Discovered close to Pisidian Antioch this lion made me smile too. 

Thursday, 27 September 2018

Change of view

Ağlasun emerging from the morning mist 

It's lovely to wake up to a different view from time to time.  Even better when the trip away from home is purely for pleasure and the whole day ahead will be filled with archaeological sites.  Lots of photos to come when I get back to my desk top. 

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

The hat moves on

September 2018

My husband was very fond of his hats. His nickname in Bodrum was 'Şapkalı', literally 'with a hat'.
His favourite was a panama bought from Lock & Co in London. This one was passed on to brother Tim at Teo's funeral.  The everyday caps have been passed around to friends or given to charity but one hat remained. When the panama was put away for winter, the felt fedora came out of its box. I couldn't imagine giving it to charity and it was not something my son-in-law would wear so it has been hanging around...until Monday when Tamer rang to say he was near Bodrum. They met in their first year at M.E.T.U. and remained friends, popping in and out of each other's lives in Bodrum and Ankara.  So the fedora has found another good looking head to sit upon and I know it will cut a dash in the streets of Ankara.

Tamer trying on  Teo's first panama hat some time in the 80s

Monday, 24 September 2018

Catching up

The year is 1982, my first season working in Bodrum for a flotilla company called Yachtours. At the end of each trip, the lead-boat crew of three would arrange a barbeque for the guests.  We had a massive iron grill made and we'd take it out to Papuç Bay once a week to cook up enough steak, chicken and meatballs for around 50 hungry sailors.  (This is no longer possible as Papuç Bay is now the home of Sea Garden Hotel and non residents are not allowed access). We also had to take all the drink. We usually managed all this with little fuss or bother and everyone had a great time.  I can't remember what lead up to the above photo. Skipper Jimmy is trying to rescue the provisions with Bosun Pete rowing to the rescue while Hostess Annie was was on the lead boat taking photos. I know I had all the meat on board with me so it is the grill and beer Jimmy is saving. Paul, the land-based manager, was probably on his way with replacement dry charcoal. The party went ahead without further hitches and the clients had no idea we had nearly drowned their supper.  The steel dinghy by the way was presented to us as 'The Unsinkable Tender'.   I suspect we saw that as a challenge. 

On Sunday Jimmy was back in Bodrum with his wife Joey. Paul and Eileen, like me are still living here (although only for a couple more weeks) and the old team was back together for a lunch in Sugar and Salt, just meters from the Marina where we used to work  together 36 years ago.  This time nobody got wet feet. 

Joey, Jimmy, Eileen. Me. Paul

Friday, 21 September 2018

Decorated ladies on the road again.

This year I am prepared. My bicycle has brand new tyres so I should be able to cycle the whole route. I will be filling my basket with flowers and pedalling the car-free streets of Bodrum.  The event starts at 4pm tomorrow (Sunday) in the centre of Bodrum. If you were planning to drive through at that time - forget it. It's time to get on your bike. 

Adorned, prettified, bedecked and on a bike - 2016 

Last weekend had me looking frantically for a bicycle pump. My bike had sat unused for at least six months and the tyres were flat - not in a calm, smooth, toneless, low-heeled, unfizzy, unchanging way - in a deflated, airless way.  You can see I've been reading the thesaurus again and it's all due to the Süslü women's bicycle ride on Sunday 25th.  'Süslü' is translated as 'chic' in most English language Turkish publications, but it really means adorned or decorated. Someone in a monochrome Chanel suit would be 'chic' but she wouldn't be 'süslü'. Add a pink feather boa, a pair of fairy wings and a couple of balloons and then she would be 'süslü'.  I held off writing this blog post because I couldn't think of a good word, but hopefully you get my drift. My bike was more süslü than me but I managed some fake flowers in my hair and a charity shop Christian Lacroix jacket, worthy of an early episode of Ab Fab. And why were we dressing up and riding through the streets of Bodrum? Because 4 years ago, Sema Gür, a teacher in Izmir wanted to encourage women to ride bikes, without having to invest in all the lycra and padded gussets that usually go with the sport.

This year 28 cities and towns staged a 'decorated women's bike ride' and as a non political event it managed to highlight a number of important issues including the right for women to ride a bicycle - a freedom recently withdrawn in Iran. The right to wear what we want, whether it be shorts or a hijab. The demand that bicycles be given safe space to ride, rather than taking our life into our hands every time we take to the road in Turkey and the general appeal to get out of the car and on to two wheels.

Cars were stopped for our ride and we were preceded by a traffic cop on a motor bike so for once we experienced perfect riding conditions.  My ride was cut a bit short as I realised that my newly blown up tyres, unlike my enthusiasm, were gradually deflating  and I had to push my poor bike the last few hundred metres home.

Monday, 17 September 2018

Going on a 'Living'

At the end of the season, hardworking charter yacht crew used to go on a "Living".  They'd done the 'Working and Earning Money' - several months with barely an hour to themselves - so as a reward, they'd load up their boats with rakı and head off up the Gulf of Gökova to catch fish and party for a week. 
I had a bit of a "Living" on Saturday to reward myself for a busy summer spent in planes, taxis and ferries. It was only a day on a small wooden yacht popping into the bays around Kisebükü but I can confirm that being in the company of good friends, eating fish straight from the barbecue, standing chest high in crystal clear turquoise water while contemplating whether the geology of the rocky bay is art, and a drink or two with a spontaneous game of Charades, is definitely 'Living' and we don't do enough of it.  

Thursday, 13 September 2018

How times change

The culinary highlight of a trip to the UK used to be an Indian meal and a pint of Guinness (but not necessarily together).  Not any more. Draught Guinness is now readily and relatively cheaply available on the harbour front in Bodrum so after a day that started at 4am to get to my return flight at Gatwick airport, I can relax with my favourite pint in my favourite town.  I'm sure someone will let me know if a good curry is to be found on the peninsula. 

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Time to sit and stare

Not everyone is rushing around the Bodrum peninsula in a car or minibus - it just feels that way in July and August (and June and September). Some have time to sit and watch the idiots dash by and contemplate the madness around them.  I'm looking forward to very soon joining the ranks of those that have time to sit and stare. I will be looking outwards, not down at a smart phone, but maybe through the lense of a camera. I am very aware that BacktoBodrum Bog has been a bit 'meh' recently and the only excuse I have is that I've been working away and have missed concerts, shows, races and other events which would have made good copy.  "Can do better" has been stamped on the 2018 report card and as September marks the start of new term, I shall endeavour to get this upgraded to "Much improved" this Autumn.
Thanks to all of you who have stuck with it and keep reading.

Saturday, 8 September 2018

A local foreigner

I had a conversation with a young woman yesterday which reminded me why I like living in Bodrum. I shall translate it as best I can into English.  We had been chatting for a bit when she said,
"Are you normally a foreigner?"
The word "normally" threw me and I dithered over the answer, so she helped me out,
"I mean, when you are not speaking Turkish, are you a foreigner?"
So I told her that I had been born in England but moved to Turkey many years ago.
"How many years?" She wanted to know.
A second of mental arithmetic and I came up with the number 36.
"Wow " she said "I am 22 so that's 14 years longer than me, so you are normally a Türk and only  sometimes a foreigner."

I thank her for her confidence but I will always be a foreigner and it is a very pleasant place to be.  The Turkish word 'yabancı' defines someone from outside. It could be outside your village, your town or your country. I have been very fortunate as 'an outsider ' in Bodrum and have always been treated very kindly. In the early days it was embarrassing to be a yabancı as we were always ushered to the front of queues or found a chair to sit on while others were standing. Refusing to comply caused more fuss so we gave in and accepted.  The influx of foreign tourists in the late 1980s put pay to that thank goodness. I've heard myself described as a 'Yerli Yabancı' - a 'local outsider' or 'Bizim Yabancı' 'our foreigner', so if I'm ever faced with the question again I will reply that I'm a 'local foreigner' and happy to be so.

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

In praise of Gözleme

Gülsüm on her home ground. Try her gözleme at Bodrum's Friday market.

Looks like a pancake but contains no eggs or milk, the ubiquitous Gözleme is a one of the best snacks to eat while traveling around Turkey.  

This cheese and potato titbit set me back nine and a half lira with the lemonade and I took half home to eat later. I can't think of many places where less than two dollars or just over a pound will get you this much tasty food.

The whole family was involved at the Karaova Festival to keep up with the demand

To make Gözleme you need a large flat surface to roll out the simple flatbread mixture of flour, salt and water and a long thin rolling pin to achieve a paper thin circle of dough. 

This is then spread usually with herbs and cheese or potato and cheese and flipped over on itself as it is cooked on a metal skillet made specially for the job. A wash of butter or oil allows the dough to brown.  You know it's cooked when it stats to gözleme - brown eyes appear on the cooked surface. 

Saturday, 1 September 2018

Are you coming?

Anyone walking around Bodrum yesterday evening will be aware of the festivities happening in Mumcular today and tomorrow. 

I hope you are on your way

I am