Friday, 2 November 2012

Red tape

We're legal. Turkish residents for a year. How about that?

We picked up our little blue books from the port police with four days to spare on our tourist visas. For one as pathologically law-abiding as myself, my relief can't be under-estimated. I was skipping. Top marks to the Turks for efficiency too. Our applications were processed in two weeks,  exactly as promised, notwithstanding a major public holiday (it felt like Easter to me) falling smack in the middle of that period.

And we're mobile too. There are no photos yet, but the unthinkable has happened - Alex riding a bicycle. As evidence, I give you not one, but two bikes parked at Enki's stern. He's talking picnics. I'm doubtful, but I like his direction. At the very least, having bikes brings our outlying pontoon that much closer to town and its amenities. Yesterday, spotting ominous clouds, I sped into the chicken shop and was back before the rain quickened, dodging huddles of tourists doomed to be drenched on their way back to the cruise ship dock.

There won't be many, if any, more monster liners into Marmaris this year. We're definitely in the off-season now. Race week ends tomorrow. It's been fun, in a crazy way. Plastic sandals and sailing paraphernalia cluttering the pontoon. The new Russian middle-class wearing spanking new boat shoes and matching sponsored polo shirts. Morale-boosting Russian march music - think Smirnov vodka ads - blaring as competitors hasten out of the marina towards the start line each day. The Dutch alongside us counter by turning up the Internationale. I heard boats belting out Highland pipes and rap this morning, but the Russians definitely have the musical advantage. "We are the champions...." I can hear from further down the pontoon. They'll give it a nudge tonight.

The guys next door (and below) 

And when they're gone, we'll be left with the hard-core cruisers. We're meeting a few of them now, and liking what we find. While we were away last weekend, another Hallberg Rassy (our kind of boat) tied up three along from us. Whisper HR, she's called, and she's from Melbourne, via Asia. May and Kevin shipped her to Turkey in April. They know Dave and Melinda, who spent the first two months of the season on Enki, and they knew Russ, who bought our old HR42 Andiamo and sadly died while cruising her in Malaysia. The neighbourhood suddenly feels a lot more like home.

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