I`ve left it too long to blog. There were so many things I wanted to write about – a very difficult second quarter, equally difficult third quarter, a trip to Istanbul, a trip to Ankara, a trip home, a new house, and many things in between. But the longer the list grew, the more daunted I became by the self-imposed backlog of stories. So, in order to make myself write again I decided to temporarily absolve myself and suspend the catching-up and just write about what’s on my mind.
What happened yesterday was that I got a terrible stomach bug. Or food poisoning. Or are they the same?
We spent Friday night at the newly built Radisson Blu Hotel. Some girl friends and I went to the spa there after work. While everyone else was enjoying a massage, I headed straight to the pool. I love swimming! I dream about the summer and spending hours in the cool clear waters of the Mediterranean sea. For now though, I had to settle for a large echo-y pool room. This was my second time there, so I came armed with my own swim cap – the one we were forced to buy there at our last visit was so tight, I swear I can still see the lines on my forehead one month later.
The sign requiring the use of swim caps is hilarious. Somebody got lazy and instead of translating the Turkish word ‘bonE’ (cap) decided to leave it untranslated. As a translator, these slips, especially in an expensive international hotel, really make me mad. Seriously, why not pay a qualified translator, or, at the very, hire a proofreader? Then you won’t have ridiculous signs like the one below, or a menu with “Caesar salad made which chicken chests’
As far as pools go, this one was nice and big. It would be perfect really, except for two things. One – the water didn’t smell like chlorine. Not one bit. Which would be a good thing, except that if it wasn’t chlorinated, how clean was it? And is this why I spend all of the Saturday clutching a bag of frozen corn to my forehead, weak, pale and sick to my stomach? And, thing number 2 – other people. I know it sounds terrible and grumpy but isn’t there a swimming etiquette of sorts? As in, pick a lane and stick to it, even if there are no real lines. Why would you not stay in your lane, swimming in circles and zig-zags instead? Why would you dive into a relatively small pool, splashing everyone in the process? For that matter, did you realize it is perfectly possible for an adult male to swim without splashing? Ooof, I feel better now.
So, aside from swimming, I hit a steam room and a sauna and then we spent some girly time at the hamam – the traditional Turkish bath. The last time we went here it was with my two good friends, and it was a snow day. Despite the fact that it snows every winter here in Kayseri, the city seems to be ill-equipped to deal with even remotely heavy snowfalls. Coming from Siberia, where it snows 5 months a year, it seems unfathomable to me that sidewalks and roads aren’t cleaned daily and when Mike decided not to drive to work because it wasn’t safe, I decided to walk and had to act as a snow plough most of the way – so much snow was there on the sidewalk. Anyway, that lovely Wednesday our students were attending a winter festival and so we teachers were given a day off. The girls came over to my apartment where we cooked up a feats of a breakfast, with waffles and some pork sausage that was smuggled in from various countries where we went on holidays in January, complete with champagne cocktails.
After a long leisurely meal we went to the Radisson spa and lost ourselves in the world of steam, soap and water.
Back to last Friday, where, squeaky clean, I went one floor up to the hairdressers, where I felt very proud of myself for managing to express myself in Turkish and explaining to the hairdresser exactly what I wanted in a haircut and understanding his suggestions on the matter. Very happy with my haircut but lamenting the impossibility of replicating the hairdresser’s seemingly effortless styling, I went up to the last floor, where the girls and I were meeting up with more friends for dinner and drinks. The setting was stunning – a magnificent view from the rooftop restaurant, a beautiful table in a semi-private room, and a great company.
Unfortunately, the food didn’t quite measure up to its glamorous surrounding. It was quite pricey, especially for Kayseri, but really really average, if not worse. To make things worse, one of us saw the waiter in the kitchen spitting on the floor in disgust after Gareth complained that his cake was too liquid and then refusing to serve us, and then our bill mysteriously contained more drinks than we actually had. All in all, not a great experience, which is sad – one thing you`d expect from a world-famous brand like Radisson would be consistent quality everywhere in the world.
And then I got a stomach bug. Since I ordered the same food as 3 other people, who are all fine, I blame the pool water. It was a horrendous day and I`m lucky that Mike was there to look after me, fetching me endless cups of cold water, ice-packs for my head and my stomach, cooking me rice, sticking a thermometer in my mouth and assuring me I didn’t have the Ebola. Today, on Sunday, I am feeling well enough to complain about unruly pool visitors and lack of snow ploughs, so that means I`m well enough to get out of bed and start the day!