Some people think that our life is just one happy-go-lucky, fun-filled vacation and most of the time things go very well; however, when we do make errors, they tend to be doozies!
Take Didim, Turkey, for instance, where we went to see the ruins of The Temple of Apollo, the fourth largest ancient Greek sanctuary and the seat of the Oracle of Apollo. The site is breathtaking and, unlike Ephesus, there were hardly any other tourists to bother us. The gigantic columns and gorgeous stone carvings were all ours to enjoy quietly and we were elated to have come so far off the beaten tourist track that we could enjoy some reflective time among the majestic relics.
After our leisurely tour we strolled to the car, not another soul in sight, as we discussed our delightful experience. I plugged the hotel’s address into the GPS and our pleasure began to deteriorate. It seems that Didm was developed so fast and haphazardly that even the satellites couldn’t keep up. The quaint seaside town we thought we had chosen turned out to be miles and miles of condominium complexes crammed side by side on unlovely hillsides and it took us a long, hot, frustrating hour to locate our target.
We thought we were in trouble when we entered the gate and heard the “boom chucka boom” of bad Euro music blasting by the pool. When the manager of the apartment/hotel slapped a plastic wrist-band on Tim’s arm and demanded money to be held for our purchases on the property, our fear heightened. We were shown to our suite, which was a two-story affair that looked dramatic and modern, just like the picture on the web, and at first we were relieved.
Then we discovered that the upstairs windows would not open and that the air conditioning button didn’t produce results. I called the desk. A young man appeared and announced that for three Euros he would turn on the air. We were annoyed, but too hot to argue, so we paid up. Soon we were comfortable. Then we tried our computers. No internet. Another call, another visit, another three Euros. My computer worked fine. Tim’s could not connect. Are you with me yet? Yes, you’ve got it, another three Euros for the guy who kept bounding up the stairs with the bad news. We didn’t attempt to watch television, but I have a feeling that our boy would have been knocking on our door with his hand out if we’d called about it. We were mystified at these strange experiences, but a check of the Expedia site revealed a small toggle which lists services which are not included in a listing. We now check that spot for information before making reservations.
We tried hard to enjoy ourselves that afternoon and evening, but Didim didn’t do it for us. We cruised the town searching for an appealing restaurant, but when that proved fruitless, we obediently followed the signs to our “free” dinner at the hotel. The restaurant was left over from a 70’s iteration of current building and its major feature was a view of the pool – from underneath! We had a jolly time comparing notes about underwater bars and restaurants we had frequented in our youth and tapped our feet to the boom chucka boom, happy in the knowledge that we would escape a day early for the peace and quiet of Marmaras.
Marmaras is in a gorgeous location – a seaside setting few places can match. It is also a three-hour cheap flight from Moscow, so you know what’s coming next. We had made the “all inclusive” error, but this time on a massive scale. The crowds were larger and the boom chucka louder. Most of the men were over muscled and everyone’s idea of Western resort wear appeared to have been formed sometime in the 90’s.
We were saved by a room far from the main building which featured a nice little balcony and an effective air conditioner, so we were comfortable and reasonably insulated. We amused ourselves by exploring the peninsula and enjoyed our final dinner in Turkey at one of the specialty restaurants the resort offered. It was a lovely evening in a beautiful setting with great seafood and charming service with not a boom chucka to be heard, so we left Turkey with plans to return. Next time, though, we’ll read every syllable of the fine print!