Sunday, November 11, 2007

Being a misery guts in Istanbul

I am in Istanbul for a few days - purely for a holiday. On the flight here, I was sitting in a row with a couple of pensioners and their grown up daughter and her husband. They were all drinking beer and reading tabloids and had little sandwiches they'd made themselves that were wrapped in tin foil. The daughter kept shouting "Are you alright Dad?" every 5 minutes. Dad had comedy false teeth and applauded when the pilot landed the plane. I joined in, just to be polite.

I hate planes - I am 6' 2 and find it very difficult to sit comfortably in a very small space for more than an hour or so. I always sit behind the person who puts their backrest as far back as it will go for the whole flight and then needs to be told by the air steward to put it back in the upright position because the plane is landing. I tend not to put my own backrest back because I worry it will annoy the people behind me - so this gives me even less space. I was trying to read The Guardian, which didn't help - it's so big, you have to fold the pages into quarters before it becomes manageable. And then it's all moaning and doom about Bush, the environment and everything else. They're not as bad now that Tony Blair has been booted out, but they're a miserable lot on the whole. I banged my head twice on the seat in front of me, didn't get served coffee and as a result had a headache and was in a rotten mood by the time I had arrived. It's at rare times like this that I wish that I was married to a corrupt politician in a South American country, or a corrupt CEO of an American corporation so I could afford to go business class everywhere.

Turkey is a bit like being in the 1970s. In the taxi to the hotel, my seatbelt didn't work and the taxi driver didn't seem to care (he was either drunk or was wearing aftershave with very high alcohol content) and was far to busy using his mobile phone and tooting his horn indiscriminately to notice me struggling. At one point, we were stuck in a queue and about 20 cars started beeping their horns in macho unision. It felt like the end of civilisation. The whole ride I kept thinking about how Princess Di died because she wasn't wearing a seatbelt.

Our hotel is very charming though - we are staying in a room which apparently John Paul Gaultier has stayed in. It is the campest room ever - an enormous chandelier and everything is decked out in gold and brocade. Our room has a private hamam which is rather nice - though I keep imagining John Paul Gaultier in there and it's a bit off-putting. I like Turkish people - they are generally very friendly - although the male heterosexual arm-linking and crotch grabbing sometimes makes me confused. You never know if someone is just expressing their culture at you, or whether they're in love. I think we should let them into the EU. They have some lovely rug shops.


Old Cheeser said...

Damn it! I posted a comment on here and it seems to have evaporated. I was going to say that I enjoyed your plane anecdote and could relate a lot to it.

Interesting what you say about Turkish men too. I went to Marmaris on a day trip a few years ago, when holidaying in Greece. The men as you say are very friendly...I was, erm, propositioned by two men and all I was doing was shopping! What they suggested was kind of shocking.

Fin De Fichier said...

Yeah but was his phone a fly Motorola Dynatac?

matty said...

I'd like to go to Turkey.

You're so polite.

I would be aggressively pushing the person's chair in front of me and pushing mine back as far as it will go until they gave me an upgrade.

...but, I'd be nice about it. all very passive-aggressive.

Is that an American approach?

Dessie said...

Sometimes, little Lube, you scare me.