Friday, 2 July 2010
Postcard from Turkey
Things I’ve learned from my children on holiday
Dressing for travel is no longer a function of style. Considering travelling with children I opted for sandals comfortable and sturdy enough to afford sprinting if necessary. I decided to dress in dark gray and black, colours least likely to show up chocolate, ketchup or anything worse. I went for a garment with pockets – lots of ‘em and quite capacious. The only adornment – a necklace – was chosen as the baby finds it especially amusing.
Lists can let you down. Packing slavishly to a list can mean you miss out on the most basic items. 20 minutes into a four-hour flight as news greeted my nose that Boy Three was no longer constipated I realised I’d forgotten to put nappies on the changing bag.
Boy Three’s thighs are a mighty force. Certainly not going to be contained by something like an age 1 to 3 spf factor 50 sun suit.
It’s possible to have a pizza flavour adventure. Boy One is widening his dining experience. He’s had pizza with bits of tomato on it – not good, pizza with just cheese – much better, and chicken pizza – wow this is amazing. Bacon pizza, however, he is saving for breakfast.
Pitta bread is awesome. Who knew? Has something of a passion for the hot and delicious puffed-up bread served with every meal.
Children, particularly those on the autistic spectrum, do not like browsing for a restaurant for supper. It makes them anxious. They just want a plan. You can tell because the more places you idly reject the closer they sidle and the harder they hold your hands.
The town square in Bitez is not just up there by the mosque. Not sure where it is, but it certainly isn’t just where the lady said.
Getting sunblock in your eyes will make them all puffy and weepy. And it will make Daddy feel bad if it was he who put it there.
If it looks improbably like you’ve scored yourself a peaceful afternoon with a sleeping baby and internet connection, don’t count your chickens. The party that went to the water park will come back early.
New anxieties will emerge – mosquitoes in spite of there being none in evidence, instant combustion at a fire show and the baby drinking sea water, a self limiting affair.
Navigation is not as easy as you think. A five-minute walk to the village centre may actually result in an hour-long wander along dry river beds unsuitable for prams, past mansions with nasty looking guard dogs and through olive groves.
Beware the hammock. It might look inviting and comfy but if you don’t get in it right you’ll end up in a heap with everyone laughing at you.
There are always sentences you don’t imagine you’re ever going to hear. “Do you think we need to warn the waiter that the baby has just put lettuce in his pocket?”
Turkish women aren’t visible. Everyone here in Bitez is very friendly and they love kids – waiters, postmen, drivers, deckchair attendants, cleaners, ice cream sellers etc. But there aren’t any women to be seen working any where.
Restaurants will be chosen according to the calibre of the high chair. Boy Three has suddenly become vocal and opinionated on the subject. Some just will not do, others will be escaped immediately.
If you want to avoid getting invited into a restaurant or bar by the charming, but enthusiastic, staff be a woman on your own with a small child. Interestingly, they won't want to know.