Saturday 26 July 2008


I spent the evening of the 20th trying to make good the custom of saying my goodbyes to relatives. Luckily my friend Serhan was around with his car to help me fulfill my duties. I knew 5 weeks was a long time to be away, especially during the height of the summer season.

Arriving at my uncle's hotel, I had barely enough time to neck a whisky and a couple of beers before I made my way down to meet the First Choice coach running a Bodrum transfer that I'd managed to secure a place on.

Bodrum airport is actually closer to the town of Milas and has only recently started accepting international flights. First Choice, it seems, has pretty much got the monopoly.

I often hear Turks complain about the quality of the tourists coming from England. Everyone remembers a time when Turkey was an 'exotic' location, somewhere off the beaten track. As I tried to kill the hours in the airport, I could see what the Turks were moaning about. For that night as I searched for a place to sit amongst the masses jetting back home to Doncaster, Manchester, Newcastle and Gatwick, I realised that the departure lounge had all the class of Jeremy Kyle's Green Room.

Nevertheless, 4 hours later I had touched down and was soon in the arms of mum. I'd missed her loads over the months and it was lovely to see her again.

After a brief kip, it was time to crack on with the main reason for my early arrival in the UK... renew my passport. I had already filled out the forms online and had them sent to mum in preparation for my arrival.

Apparently now you have to call to make an appointment. Gone are the days of turning up at the Passport Office and waiting. Unfortunately, there was a slight problem...

Due to a strike, the only appointment they had was in Newport, Wales which would mean leaving immediately. After some calls, it was apparent that I didn't need a 6 month expiration buffer on my passport and therefore didn't need to renew it to be accepted into the USA. Bargain.

But I will take a moment here to rant about Civilisation.

Q: Can I travel on my passport? A:

[1] Home Office: No
[2] Passport Office: Don't Know
[3] US Embassy: Probably
[4] Trailfinders: Yes

Note: 1-3 palmed me off to their websites. Why? I was on the phone to them at the time. Anyway, then I got straight onto the other pressing matters at hand. Firstly:

Oh fish and chips. I missed you so.

Next came prawn korma swiftly followed by a Chinese I couldn't even carry. I was recharged with missed tastes.

Over the next few days I caught up with friends, helped mama around the house and slowly got myself prepared for a trip I've dreamed of all my adult life...