Clever Mikes articles crack us up!!
Sunday October 1, 2006 The Observer
The pickup truck drives along the Bodrum esplanade and stops outside the restaurant. On the side, in lurid pink lettering, is: Halikarnas - The Club. On the back are three young women, dancing like they're being attacked by wasps, wearing tiny bikini tops and strips of black cloth for underpants, with which they appear to be flossing their nether regions.
We have just been discussing underpants. By 'we', I mean me, Belinda and Pat, the Aussie couple I've just been reunited with after getting separated from them at the Romania/Hungary border. And by underpants I mean mine, whose regular turnover is a particular obsession of Belinda's. (I tell her I am putting clean ones on every other day, but it is a terrible lie.)
'You gotta get your photo taken with them,' Belinda tells me, mercifully moving away from the issue of my personal hygiene and pointing at the dancers. Belinda is the same age as me, but manages to make me feel as if I'm 14. So I meekly move towards the truck like a petulant teenager.
'Don't worry, I'm not a pervert,' I tell the girls.
'They are Russian. They don't understand you,' the driver tells me as the girls move to the far side of the truck and look at me as if I'm a pervert.
We've all got photographs of ourselves we'd rather didn't exist. I have two. The one Belinda has just taken and one from 1986, the last time I was in Bodrum, showing me wearing a leather glove on one hand and sporting a denim waistcoat, glove-clad hand pointing to the stars, head tilted downwards to the floor. For, during a brief spell that summer, I too was a dancer at the Halikarnas, Turkey's world-famous open-air nightclub.
The driver explains this to the girls. I grin at them and say 'Yes, yes', and stick up my thumbs. But they're still looking at me as if I'm a pervert.
But yes, it's true. And yes, it is a long story. But back then, I didn't let the silly little fact that I dance like a Thunderbirds puppet missing some strings matter. Every night I'd go out on stage, part of a 15-strong mostly English showgroup, murdering 'Grease' or 'Absolute Beginners' and strut my stuff in front of paying punters, full of brio and unquenchable self-belief, and, even writing this, thinking about how terrible I was, is making me want to stuff my head inside my T-shirt.
Belinda insists I go back to the Halikarnas and even escorts me, holding my hand, telling me it'll be OK, like it's my first day at school. But there is a slow accumulation of dread. I really don't want to go back and I'm not sure why.
'He used to be a dancer here,' Belinda tells the doormen and they have a good chuckle. The story is relayed to the young people in the queue, who look as if they've been told to imagine their parents having sex, then the girl on the cashdesk, then the cloakroom girl and, my, how I filled their evenings with a little joy.
I walk through the whitewashed tunnel and into the vast, spectacular space; the dancefloor with the floodlit backdrop of St Peter's castle, the colonnaded terraces. It is more or less the same - give or take the near-naked Russian podium dancers, the foam-filled dance floor and the hip hop - and the memories come percolating back.
I look at the stage and think back to 1986, and the photograph of that fresh-faced dancer with the leather glove and the cut-off denim waistcoat, frozen in time. And I can remember, as if it were yesterday, the innocence and sense of entitlement, the energy and limitless horizons. And sitting there, thinking about the then and the now and everything that's happened in between, I cannot help but smile.
Posted by Patrick Peck at 02:58 PM
GREECE: October 06
We are now in Crete Island, Greece and have found a great dry, safe, secure garage to park our bike for FREE!! We were riding around Iraklio (the capital of Crete) looking for a hotel with a garage like we had in Seville, Spain last time we left the bike for a year. No hotels here have garages, we did a big internet plea for help, then decided to go for a ride. At a stop light we met a guy on a Varadero (big bike like ours!) and we got talking at the next few stop lights, as you do, and he asked if we would like to go to see a Museum. Sure, we had no plans, anyway to cut a long story short, he offered us the use of his garage underneath his business. His name is Spiros Amitzoglou, he is 30 years old and we have learnt to trust him to look after our baby for 16 months!
The weather has finally caught up with us and its time to put the bike away and continue on foot!! Crete is the most Southern part of Europe, so it will be good when we come back in March 2008 and head towards the Middle East.
We have now done 100,000km travelling by motorbike over 3 trips!!! First one South America, then Western Europe and now Eastern Europe and it just keeps getting better!! We have a great system going, we both know our jobbies and it works. We are travelling slower each trip, which is the secret to great, magic moments and unique experiences. We have had a very social trip this time, which has made it extra special. We still get excited by a new town, ruins, hotel rooms etc but it is time to head for home again.
Our special friends that we have made and met this trip include Kate Peck from Sydney, John Cameron from Cairns, Brian and Sandra Smith from Calgary Canada, Jo and rEkiny from Poland, Oliver and Csilla from Romania, Mike Carter from England, Grant Davis and Susan Markwell from Cairns, Liz Bashford from Cairns now living in Scotland, Alanna and John Skillington from Brisbane. We travelled with all these people this trip for different periods of time and IT WAS MAGIC!! So get off your buts the rest of you and start planning to meet us somewhere in the Middle East in 2008!
Turkey is one of our favourite countries and we travelled slowly (abot 60km per day) down the West Coast of Turkey from Gallipoli to Kas for the months of September. It really was magic, great weather, great people, wonderful food and CHEAP- we highly reccommend Turkey for anyone starting travelling, its perfect!
One morning in mid September we came downstairs of our Pension for breakfast and were looking sleepy eyed at the couple at the table next to us. They were looking at us too and it took us all a millisecond to realize it was Grant Davis and Susan Markwell friends who live 300 metres from us in Cairns!! They told us that Liz Bashford was on her way too!! Amazing, so we travelled with them for about a week and then went on a 3 night, 2 day sail over the sunken city near Kas with them. Check out Lizs photos on her site http://web.mac.com/lizbashford under Sailing Turkish Med. We had a blast, got kicked out of many restaurants, for laughing too loud and thoroughly enjoyed their company. At the same pension we met Alanna and John Skillington, other Horizons Unlimited members see there blog: www.horizonsunlimited.com/tstories/skillington from Brisbane on their bike. So here we were in Turkey with 2 Australian motorbikes with QLD number plates! Alanna and John continued on to Iran and we went to Rhodes Island, Greece.
Rhodes Island is the "worlds finest surviving example of medieval fortification"- the most amazing and huge walled city we have ever seen and we have seen a few now! We really enjoyed our stay there and walked all over it, amazing photos coming soon!
Then over to Crete where we are now. This weekend we will catch a ferry to Athens, catch up with some HU members there and then maybe hire a car in Greece to check out the mainland, then Paris 7 Nov for an EXPENSIVE week as Paris is the second most expensive city in the world, but we HAVE to see it!!
Thats about us for now, hope you are all doing well if not behaving yourselves!!
Posted by Patrick Peck at 02:14 PM