Before I left for our trip to the south of Turkey, I asked God to give me a sign. Then two things happened.
I'll never know what these things were because as the woman sitting next to me started to type the first bullet point the steward came and asked her to switch her blackberry off.
No, madam, it has to be switched off completely during landing. Please switch it off completely now. Please. Yes, Madam, like that.I could have told her that before hand, but I relished reading somebody's diary as they were writing it, and also, she hadn't said anything when Max had put the blinds down on the windows during take off - you're not supposed to, but he's scared, so he does it anyway.
But more interesting to me than the signs she did get, is the reason she asked for them. Is she unhappy? She didn't look it, sitting with her husband and two grown up sons, coming back from her Turkey trip, having seen (from her blackberry diary) Efes, Pamukkale, and the usual. Maybe there's a big decision she has to make? If so, she's not hiding it from her husband, or anyone else for that matter, as she could not fail to notice that I was reading over her shoulder. Maybe the family has to make a decision. Or maybe she just wants God to say hi. Which God, I don't know. She might have been Japanese or Korean. Her English was good, but accented and she wrote with a dictionary. But I don't suppose that matters. Gods, whoever they are, give signs. That's part of the job description. I wonder if she went to the temple of Apollo at Didima? Big sign traffic there. Used to be anyway, in the days of the oracles.
All of this is a round about way of saying: we're back. And this had to be one of our best beach holidays since ever. Children were exemplary. And the facilities were excellent.
We stayed in a small pension run by a ex swiss footballer and his French friend. But we spent most of our time at Marianne's resort, the Club Yali, a huge thing with three pools, countless restaurants and bars, a long well shaded sandy beach. The manager, Aytug hanim, let us come in everyday and eat and drink as much as we liked for a very reasonable discounted price. So we did. Eat and drink, that is.
And swim: in the pool and in the sea. And Marianne and I even took part in aquagym classes twice a day. Most days. Which is good because we ate a lot of dessert.
As far as Turkish holidays are concerned, I have to admit it was rather uninspiring - we stayed at the hotel all the time, and I feel a bit sorry that Marianne and her husband didn't get to see any of the beautiful sights we love to visit every summer - those sights that my neighbour on the plane visited. But then I think we had something much rarer, much more precious: we got to spend a whole week together, our children happy, getting to know each other, yet accepting each other as family, without prejudice.
We did have one night out - or in, depending on your perspective: that is, we ate dinner at our pension. The owner bought some meat, made a salad and some chips, and the men barbecued. We finished it off with a birthday cake, assembled by the children to celebrate three of their birthdays. The evening was fun, and it felt like home. A home from home, that was neither theirs nor ours, but shared - something Marianne and I haven't had since I was 17 and she 11, and something our children never experienced.
So that was fun, and we'll do it again, next time also with Sister3 and her family.
Did I bring back anything pretty? Normally when I go on a beach holiday I bring back pebbles, large stones, drift wood, bottles full of sand, shells, etc. This year, in keeping with the more conventional tone of the holiday, I brought back some pretty, apparently good quality but probably fake Longchamps Pliage bags. I needed a larger beach bag...
But we're going back to the Aegean and to the Black Sea later this summer, so there' ll be plenty of opportunities for picking up stones! (and using my new bags).
Did anything go wrong? Well, we had a moment of near panic, when Max decided on the way back that he wasn't going in the plane (this is what we were dreading and spent ages preparing for). My husband grabbed him and dragged him a few meters, and then everything was fine. He even opened up the blind after take off to look at the clouds.
So if I believed in God, I don't suppose I'd be asking for signs right now. I'd be saying a big thank you for a beautiful week.
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