Monday, August 06, 2007

It's been almost a month since we've been to Turkey and back but it's only now that I've got the chance to really sit down and write a little about it.


There's not too much to say actually only because all we did was laze about by the pool or beach all day. You practically had to scrape us off our deck chairs. The most tiring activities we engaged in were the few laps in the pool and jostling around with the other guests during meal times which were served buffet style.
Which brings me to the next topic: The Other Guests.

Where do I even start?

90% of the guests were Russian, followed by Germans and to make up the last few 1-2%, The Rest Of Europe. I was the only Asian, let alone Singaporean there so you can imagine the minor stir (in the form of polite, curious looks to outright blatant stares) yours truly incurred. That's fine, I've been living with that for years.

What really took me by surprise and later got on my nerves, were the dagger like stares the other young women, say - late teens to twentysomethings? - were throwing me. At first I was confused and then a sense of déjà vu hit me. The last time I recieved such dirty looks from other females was more than 10 years ago, when I was a singleton on a night about town in the discos and pubs. As anyone who's been through the single scene, you'd know how competitive it can be.

Anyway, when I finally realised what was happening, the next time I got glared at bitchily, I returned the favour and a little extra as well - a shake of the head and a good dose of rolling eyes. For crying out loud, I'm a married woman with a 7 year old son! I pointed it out to Hubs and he very kindly told me to take it as a compliment. I suppose. Still, it's not nice. Especially when you're on holiday. After a couple of returned stares later, I gave up altogether. You can't do something mean without being or feeling mean in the first place and I am not that person. Besides, I'm at a phase in my life where such petty grieviences were beneath me.

Then there were the waiters and assorted male hotel staff. They were such terrible flirts! From the coy to the outright-unless-you-are-dead-you-didn't-know-you're-being-hit-on. The first two days were bearable, lame and cheesy even but by the third day, I just about had it. I felt really harrassed. I mean, I just wanted to get a drink or a towel without being made goo-goo eyes at or flirty small talk. Again I repeat, I'm a married woman and a mother of a 7 year old son, for crying out loud! Catch me when I was single but not freaking now. Married I tell you, married!

Before you assume I'm vain enough to think it was only me getting the attention, it wasn't. No, Turkey is a democratic society so every other young woman who looked half decent in a bikini got hit on as well. The only difference was, they (the girls) were lapping it up.

I wasn't the only unhappy one where this issue was concerned. Hubs got annoyed too. No, not because of me, he knows I'm a big girl and can handle myself. But rather, he had to wait extra long in queues for his drinks while the bartender flirted with women ahead of him in line. And even then, the quality of drinks were noticeably different. When I went to get him a double whisky cola, you could most certainly taste the whisky. When he went to fetch his own, a fly couldn't even get high on the stuff. I offered to lend him one of my bikinis - "You need one of these before they even look at you around here." He snorted.

My last gripe on The Other Guests, namely, The Russians. Please note that I'm not a racist and I'm only commenting on the ones we had the misfortune to meet at the hotel. Now, Cesar's Temple is a nice 5 star resort, on the upper end of the list if you will, in terms of pricing and what not. So, at the risk of sounding like a snob, you kind of expect a certain type of guest, wouldn't you? Well, the Russians we came across were armed to the gills with US Dollars but what they forgot to pack with them were basic manners and graciousness. It's like their civic mindedness went on holiday too. I won't go into details but the adage where it says money can't buy class and manners? All true. Hubs and I went through different stages of shock, disbelief and then plain annoyance.

That aside, I really did enjoy myself. And so did the two men. They spent alot of quality time together in the pool and the waterslides. This is the first holiday whereby Hubs and I didn't have to keep a constant eagle eye out on the son near a pool. He's been taking swimming lessons for the past year and can swim fairly well now. However, the over-protective mum in me made him wear armbands. Just In Case And All That. We got him some rocking Shrek ones so he didn't mind at all.

There were 3 pool areas but we were permanent fixtures at this particular one as it's more family friendly with the water slides, jungle gym, 2 restaurants and the beach all within less than 100m from the pool.

The water slides

The resort itself was just as advertised on the website. Even though it was peak season, it was sprawling enough not to feel too cramped or too crowded. The views of the sea were breathtaking. Another thing to note was the management's effort to keep everything thing in line with the Roman theme. There was a small, proper amphitheatre with stone steps for seats where a nightly revue would take place. We went once but it was all in Russian so we gave up on that idea. Instead, we spent the evenings at the outdoor bar playing Uno instead.

Some of the hotel rooms

Noah's Ark is actually the kitchen catering to two restaurants nearby the pool and beach

Check out the psuedo Roman fountain and Pantheon style restaurant in the background. Beyond that is the sea.

The jungle gym for kids

A closer view

As for the food - I have mixed feelings about it. It wasn't the best but we already expected it, being peak season and all. It was done buffet style but what made it bearable was the choice of outdoor seating. So there we were, facing the Mediterranean Sea every evening, enjoying the breathtaking sunset while having dinner.

The hotel offers her guests a choice of alternative set menu dining at the other in house restaurants. This we had to do of course and we particularly enjoyed the Ottoman restaurant with it's delicious Turkish cuisine. Our son didn't care too much for the spicy food but Hubs and I enjoyed it. I especially enjoyed the hummus and bread and almost wanted to lick the plate clean. *blush*

So, would we visit Turkey again? Yes, in a heartbeat. Afterall, this was our second time. The first was a couple of years ago and it was a different part of the Turkish Riviera. But this particular hotel? No. It's not as if the resort is lousy, in fact, it's actually rather comfortable and has good facilities. It's just lacking that X-factor. The last time we felt the same way about a hotel was during a holiday to St. Raphael, on the French Riviera. Again, it was a super fine hotel with a fantastic golf course, pool, apartment-like rooms complete with kitchenette etc. However, we didn't get that holiday feeling, the X-factor. We never fail to get that in Spain or Italy. But all in all, this has been a good holiday for the three of us as we got to spend loads of time as a family. That is the most important thing.

Hubs and I are already making plans to return to one of the Canary Islands soon. Lanzarote perhaps? Or we may do a rightabout turn and scare Beau Lotus by plonking ourselves on her front porch in Modena and eat expensive pizza. Haha. Who knows?

S, you've been duly warned. *evil cackle*

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The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 12:19 am

6 calories
Joyce, your legs !!!! Its ... legs. Great legs! Finally get to see your legs. Hmmmm ... hope i did not scare you. HAhahah. Have a great week ahead.
J, if those legs were yours they were heavenly indeed :-).
I know what you mean about the hamsap Turks and Russians, I was in Turkey a few times in my early-20s (covered the country from South to North) and though fat like a pig still got propositioned or physically molested every 2m I walked. I was told then that many females turn up there for the sun, shopping, sightseeing and the sex - which explained why the Turks thought all female tourists were good game.
As for those girls, I wouldn't worry about them indeed. It is low-class to stare daggers at other women - because if you believe in yourself you wouldn't worry about the competition.
And indeed with age and being married, it's no longer interesting having to flirt. We usually have better things to do, don't we?
Certainly money can't buy polish and manners (at least not immediately), which funny enough I was just telling myself the other day. My bro went to HK Disneyland and was literally pushed off the cashier by some queue-cutting Chinese woman (and added to that they were often loud and non-apologetic).
I liked Turkish food too when I was there. But after a while can get pretty sian, still nothing compared to Asian food in general.
Your hotel looked great, especially the water slides. Though honestly you exaggerated by giving your 7 Yr old arm bands. Even my 4 Yr old refuses to wear them now. But not bad at all, I'm tempted to head there myself, they'll love the slides.
Forgot to add that if you turn up in Modena, forget the pizza, you can cook me Kyoto Spareribs :-)
Hi, I'm glad you 'unlurked' otherwise I wouldn't have been able to follow your very enjoyable blog. Cheers!
The resort looks FANTASTIC! I'm sorry you got hit on and stared at though. Sounds like some people need to relearn their manners!
Samantha: Thanks! LOL. No, you didn't scare me at all. At least you didn't call them tree trunks. LOL. Thanks for dropping by and you have a good week ahead of you too.

Lotus: Haha, yes, those are indeed mine and I was referring to the weather, not my legs. Heh.

The way I saw some of the other women (tourists) behaved with the local men, no wonder they got this perception. The local women were rather conservative to the point of almost unfriendly unless they warm up to you.

I do agree with you about believing in oneself. To be honest, unless being provoked, I never threw visual daggers at anyone when I was single. I just didn't see the point. I mean, the pond is big enough for everyone, no?

The only person I flirt now with is the hubby. I think it's important to do that to keep the marriage alive.

The arm bands.... yes, I'm super kiasi. LOL. He only had to wear that if he wanted to be in the adult pool. He was er, hands free when in the kids' pool.

There was also a water park some 10 minutes down the road to the resort. We didn't go there but from what we could see on the outside, the slides were impressive.

Point noted on Kyoto ribs. *wink*

umami: Hey, thanks for dropping by!

Jean:Like they say, you can choose the resort but not the guests. It really does take all kinds to make up the world.
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