Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Shoots,leaves and eats

We were waiting for a transfer between Bodrum Airport and Bodrum Marina along with a hundred or so other passengers who were lining up behind designated signs such as Jones Taxi; Thomson; and Gallic Flights. Our board never appeared,at least not the board listed in the joining instructions. As darkness gathered we were suddenly aware of a minibus driver carrying a bit of cardboard with the word 'Fiesta' scribbled on it.

A stream of what we assumed was fluent Turkish, plus violent body gestures got across the idea we were to get on his bus - and to finally prove it he showed us a crumpled paper list which included our mis-spelt names. So we were off. The instructions had suggested a 15 minute trip.This turned out to be a spelling mistake on the information sheet, to put alongside alongside the "emergency" telephone contact that was 3 digits short of a full mobile number. 

After what could be called an interesting 45 minute drive, including lifts to random strangers encountered at any red traffic light, we arrived somewhere near the intended drop off point. Had there been much traffic on the road the ride would have been even more interesting, verging on exciting I would guess.

"Where exactly was the boat?", I asked in fluent English ; the common language of all the passengers, but clearly not a language for the driver. (In all fairness no-one could speak any Turkish so it is perhaps churlish to expect every minibus driver to speak English). Another stream of Turkish followed with more body gestures and a very disappointed face when I declined to give a tip.

So ..there we were, stranded at Bodrum's main harbour with only the name of the boating company (Barbaros) as a clue.There were only about a hundred boats in the harbour so it should not have taken too many hours to trail the luggage past each one. By sheer good luck the first Barbaros boat we approached was waiting for 2 passengers so we boarded,relinquished our passports, ate a hearty meal and discussed our good fortune. 

By 8 am the next day the real passengers had arrived; we were invited to leave as promptly as possible and to follow our guide to the correct boat. So much for a good start.

 If only the driver or skipper had been able to speak a little English...

A few days ago I was admitted to hospital with a suspected deep vein thrombosis in my right leg. I listened attentively to a learned doctor who told me about the possible effects of my condition and the dangers of a pulmonary embolism. As he was speaking English I paid attention and tried hard to register my understanding.

 Inside my head I was suddenly back in Turkey listening to a language which I could not understand. The same happens when I try to pin down a car salesman on the price of the car which interests me; or the ways of buying a three piece suite as explained by the clued up sofa expert. Why do people use jargon when clear English would be so much effective? And what do all the strange shorthand text messages on my mobile phpne mean?

The common motto seems to be "shoot first", followed by a "rapid retreat" and a juicy burger or two.

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