last updated August 29, 2012

Nothing To Fear But Fear Itself


The most interesting thing about going on a package holiday to Turkey is watching some people's reaction to telling them it's a 'package holiday'. A lot of people I know go on city breaks and squirm at the thought of someone organising a trip for them by a beach. I was a bit like that until I went to Fuerteventura 10 years ago and had the most relaxing two weeks of my life. Most people who squirm have never done it or found somewhere good enough. From the beginning, it's been a case of finding a good hotel with a company that chucks in flights pretty much for free, entertaining a rep who may or may not give you some handy local hints and then doing what the fuck you want for the rest of the time. We got a hire car thrown into our deal and had a beautiful, small and quiet hotel away from Daily Mail Central that was the middle of Kalkan.

Everyone talked about how bad the driving and roads were: compared to Britain the roads aren't well marked and aren't built up at the side, and sometimes people don't indicate - but apart from that I found drivers to be courteous and relatively slow (the cost of petrol was probably the main factor).

You can be sceptical of people selling you stuff but the 75 year old fisherman who approached us as we were fresh into town, gave us a great deal and a lovely day on the water. I tipped him with a sketch of his boat.

The guys who chat you up on the street to get you into bars are salesmen, but if you give them a chance and chat to them they can be intelligent, interesting people - far more astute, witty and politically knowledgable than their British counterparts. I had a great education about Ataturk by one guy and, wanting the drawing I'd been working on, in the end let me buy my food and beer with ink and paper.

I actually grew to liking these encounters - more than many places I've been (aside Morocco) drawing was commanding great respect and even worked as a currency.

One day we pulled up to a road side eatery in a very local setting and, with no menus or conversation, ordered 'food'. Our trays of goodies, water and bag of bread came imminently and we ate a feast. The lunch service was finishing and chairs were being loaded into a van. We didn't think anything of it until when we went to pay were told there was no charge - this was a pre-wedding party and lunch was on them. Now that's hospitality.

Posted by stupot at 01:30 PM Wednesday 29 Aug