Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Boat trip

We've become friends with Master Ahmet, Said, Dimitri, Okan and Hakkan who are the men who run the water pipe cafe on the sea front. We've been going there every day to enjoy the ritual of smoking a water pipe ( Turkish: nargile) or two as the sun sets over the mountains and the paragliders. So far, so good customers.

Anyway. After a long evening last week we were enthusing about their location, amazing range of intersting fruit-based nicotine-free smoking materials, friendliness, charm, etc, and saying what a shame there was nothing like this in Camden, because they'd make a killing. We then all got 'excited' and brainstormed business opportunies over a lot of whisky. The evening culminated in me writing and designing them a new sign and logo. John advised on music policy and end result is that the cafe is now called ' Ottoman's presents... *Cafe del Mar ' ( *Turkey is not the place to be pernickety about intellectual property law and a chalked sign is not going to cop it when the shops are stuffed with fake Gucci. Prada, Burberry, Versace...)

Anyway, the 'rebrand' worked. There has been an immediate, massive upsurge in business and it is now packed out every single night. As a token of their appreciation the cafe staff asked me and John if we would like to go on a boat trip around the coast arranged via Oskan, a cafe patron and friend of theirs . We did the tourist boat trip last year and enjoyed it so we gratefully accepted. And thus we made the leap from 'good customers' to 'best mates/family'.

Spent today lazing on rolling/pitching boat with about 60 other tourists, 20 of us on the top deck/sun roof and the rest below where there were tables. Chugging over choppy azure waves, stopping regularly so we could all throw ourselves off the roof, snorkel round rocks, scream as we were surprised by icy underwater springs, scramble about on rocks like goats and generally have a great lark of a time.

All day we were followed, pilot-fish-like, by small boats full of enthusiastic boys of limited English but huge charm and force of personality; each selling some product or service. The youths would leap on board our boat whenever we slowed down or anchored and offer us the opportunity to avail ourselves of various delights, including...

Canteloupe melons halved and filled with icecream ( from an electric kitchen fridge balanced in a rowing boat)
Ice cream cornets
Pistachios and hazel nuts
Cheese, chocolate or apple pastries in a basket
Chocolate, honey or banana pancakes ( these made to order by a heavily-shawled elderly lady, possibly a grandmother of one enterprising youth, with a large hot plate plugged into a generator in a tiny dinghy)
Hand massages
A trip on a jetski ( a teenage girl on our boat availed herself of this one and slipped quietly over the side to be plucked out of the sea and swept off at speed by a handsome grinning youth whilst her mother shrieked 'Come back Alison!')

It was all most exciting. Drama occured when the boat broke its ladders when coming into land at Butterfly Valley, the ladders being the means by which we were supposed to enter the water, but that only encouraged the passsengers to try wilder and higher leaps and dives off the side and off the roof. Returned at 5.30pm very tanned and with only minor scratches from climbing rocks in bare feet. Also having secured the unswerving life-long friendship of one of the crew, who needed help composing a series of romantic text messages to his girlfriend, aged 18, from Ireland, whom he assured us he was planning to marry as soon as possible. (They had met on the boat 6 weeks before. ) We ended the evening fishing with the captain on his private boat. Didn't catch a thing.


Anonymous seth said...

hi rachel,

oh man am i jealous of you guys..what a trip youre having while im roasting here...hope alls well otherwise...:)

August 22, 2005 10:57 pm  

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