Wednesday, 24 October 2012

On staying alert in the rain

Down in Hobart, Tasmania, at 42. 8 degrees south, our good friends on Galactic are removing the plastic insulation from the inside of their hatches and letting in the spring air.  Here in Marmaris, Turkey, at 36.8 degrees north, it's all about the rain. By all means open the hatches, but make sure you're around to batten them down when need be. For if summer was blisteringly hot, the next six months will be wet. That's the forecast - same every year apparently.

Here's Enki tied up at her new home on M pontoon at Netsel marina with a little showerproof something thrown over the boom - kind of like grabbing the first parka you find from the hook behind the laundry door. It's awkward to climb around, being tied to the lifelines, but it'll do for the moment.

By the time the first big storm from the south hits, she'll be kitted out in some serious protective gear. This morning we unfolded a new waterproof shelter which completely encases the cockpit, zipping onto the bimini. We need some help from a professional canvas-maker to attach it to the boat - our excellent electrical man Ramazan sent his excellent canvasmaker mate Rashit over this morning to look at that job, and a few others on the list. But he, like everyone, is winding down for the Feast of the Sacrifice, Turkey's longest public holiday, which starts this evening. So it'll be a week till things get moving....

The Russians moved in this afternoon, on both sides and behind us. There goes the neighbourhood, at least temporarily. Marmaris International Race Week begins on Saturday, and the word is there'll be 170 extra boats, and 600 crew, mostly Russian, squeezed into the marina over that time. A huge open-sided shed was built overnight in the hard-stand area. There'll be a bit of vodka going down, perhaps?  Nothing against bare-chested boy racers per se, but we were just getting used to our relative solitude on the fringes of the marina. I was curious to know if Alex, former boy racer that he is, felt any temptation to get out there again (cruising boats are invited to enter the regatta). "None," he said.

He's been laid low with a cold, so we postponed the ruins trip north to Ephesus and Pergamum.  A couple of days ago, while I was going through the hoops of buying a new 3G sim card, he nipped off for a haircut in the bazaar. It's become a habit, something he never did at home, but barbers in Turkey are cheap and plentiful. He enjoys the pampering. This haircut however got out of control.

Beyond the usual buzz cut, eyebrow trim and flaming of ear hair, he was subjected, without any questions being asked, to a brutal waxing of his nose and nose hairs, a facial peel, and, he admits, "the best shave I've ever had". I'm sorry I missed the shot of the cutthroat razor at his gullet because with hindsight he might have feared a wrong move by this particular barber of Marmaris.

I arrived when the nose was being waxed. What the.....? He shrugged. He was in the hands of a pro. While his facial peel was setting, I found myself led into a chair and, again without a question being asked, my face lathered with peel, my eyebrows, jowls and moustache (me, a moustache??) waxed!!  I protested feebly, then told myself, "just relax", it can't be that bad". I can't explain now why it was impossible to resist, except that this guy was.... a pro. It was a slow day. He was playing with us, he and his offsiders, pretty hustlers all of them. Reeling us in.

When it was all done, and he'd admired his work - "it's a good job, isn't it? Ten years younger, I make you ten years younger" - our man pulled out his calculator to show us what we owed him. 185 TL.  I felt Alex tense up. He'd never paid more than 20TL for a haircut in Turkey, with the usual trimmings. You don't take Alex for a ride. Me, yes, but not Alex. The boss appeared. Alex held his ground, and then went on the offensive, with some very imaginative footwork. It might have been funny watching him dismantle their pathetic defence, but it wasn't - it was creepy. We got out of there for 70 TL (I'd paid 60 TL for a haircut, a half-leg wax and a pedicure a couple of days earlier, so I knew roughly what "pampering" services were worth), and walked home the short way, knowing we'd been taken for fools and had behaved like fools. Still stuff to learn, even when you've been out of home as long as we have.

On safer ground buying fresh herbs and vegetables

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