It was another glorious morning and after breakfast on the balcony we put our agreed plans immediately into place. Kim stayed in the apartment sitting in the sun and I went food shopping at Carrefour. I really must try and remember that Kim is so much better than me at seven card stud poker!
Carrefour was about three kilometres away along the Kemal Atatürk Boulevard and rather than wait for the Dolmus bus I decided to walk a while and see if one came along, which they frequently did but only between bus stops!
This reminded me of going to football matches with my dad in Leicester about fifty years ago. Very close to my grandparents house where he parked the car there was a bus stop with a direct service into the city but dad rather cunningly always started out for the match at a time that was certain not to coincide with the bus timetable. I never caught on to this little trick of course and he had a very brisk walking pace that required me to run along side him just to keep up as he strode out ahead. It turns out that dad just didn’t like paying bus fares which he considered to be an unnecessary expense in life. I have inherited that trait!
I eventually arrived at the supermarket and filled my wire basket with the items on Kim’s list and was feeling rather pleased with myself until I was suddenly aware just how heavy the trolley bag suddenly was and how uncooperative the wheels were when trying to steer it. I really didn’t fancy walking all the way back with that because the town planners in Altinkum have done some curious things. They have provided nicely surfaced pavements but then every few metres planted a tree in it, and trees so big that you are forever having to go up and down the kerbs to go around them and into the road so instead I waited at the bus stop until a Dolmus came by.
After only a short wait the bus turned up and the driver did that thing that bus drivers do everywhere and pulled up several metres after the spot where people were waiting so that they had to pick up their bags and walk to the door. This is something that must be hard-wired into a bus driver’s brain at birth.
With the shopping completed and water supplies replenished it was time for a swim so we took a dusty track off the main road and made for a place called Paradise Beach and when we arrived we could only agree that it was so aptly named because here was a golden crescent of pristine sand shelving slowly into the sea. A sea that was changing colours like a kaleidoscope – butter milk cream over the wave polished stones, vivid blue over the butterscotch sand and imperial purple over the swaying weed.
After the walk in the hot sun, the shopping expedition and the fight with the shopping trolley it looked so inviting so there was no time wasted diving in and taking a refreshing swim.
There is currently a beauty salon fad in the United Kingdom and elsewhere which involves parting with substantial amounts of cash, taking shoes and socks off and dangling them into a tank of fish which will nibble away at the dead skin and provide a natural pedicure. The toothless fish are called garra rufa and are also commonly known as ‘doctor fish’, they come from the Eastern Mediterranean, mostly Turkey, and there were some in the sea today and when we stood still long enough they congregated at our ankles and shortly got to work.
While we enjoyed our free foot treatment it became obvious that the discerning little creatures preferred my feet to Kim’s and I could easily steal her fishy medical companions by standing close to her. Kim became irritated by this so I explained to her as best I could that the only explanation I could think of was that while some men are ‘babe magnets’ I really couldn’t help being a bit of a ‘fish magnet’!
This alternative beauty treatment sounds weird but it might be considered positively normal compared with some others. For example, bull semen, a moisturising hair treatment that uses the sperm of Angus bulls. Ox bone-marrow shampoo from Brazil, Nightingale droppings used in Japan as a facial cleanser, snail slime used in South America as a hand cream and snake venom in Africa which is claimed by some to have the same face-freezing effects as Botox – if you want to freeze your lips, simply kiss a cobra!
After the swim we walked back along the coastal track and came to a small cove with a shack made of driftwood and what looked like old canvas and curtains for shade. This turned out to be Ray’s private beach and as we approached he came out to meet us and invited us to swim – so we did. Having made use of his beautiful beach but not having hired a sun bed from him (5 Turkish Lira) it seemed only good manners to take a drink with him so we bought some beer (8 Turkish Lira) and sat and chatted to him for a while.
After the beer we wandered back to the apartment and as evening approached and the sun went down we now prepared for our evening meal and assembled a feast of barbeque delights and Turkish (Greek) salad and when it was gone we congratulated ourselves on a wonderful gastronomic effort (well, Kim’s mainly if I am completely honest) as we sat under the stars and reflected on an excellent day.