I have lived in Antalya for 5 years and have a website called Antalya Living to promote the area.
I started it mainly because my friend sold real estate here and so I thought I could sell some of his property on the back of the website to earn some commission. I had no other income options and wasn’t prepared to hang around the docks, just yet.
I thought that Antalya has a lot to offer and not many people in Britain are aware of it’s charms and so as I couldn’t perform comedy here, taking photos and making video blogs was a way to do something creative. If I don’t, I go mad(er).
Unfortunately after the credit crunch my friend went out of business (our drinking habits didn’t help) and so I teamed up with a more well established Real Estate company and promote properties now on my own dedicated Antalya Property website, although I have made more money from scratch cards than I have with them and I don’t buy scratch cards.
Although I have also put a lot of hours into the Antalya Living site, I hadn’t taken the website all that seriously as a way to make money. I had tried to get advertising for it at one point but Turkish people don’t like giving out money with no obvious return on investment. As any Turkish waiter will tell you, they prefer the ‘If you can bring them customers they will give you commission, if you’re lucky’ business model.
After I started going out with Ellen, who has her own site here called Ellen In Turkey I realised that maybe the site has some potential after all, especially if the two of us were to work on it together because her head is better than mine.
She was booked up to go to a Travel Bloggers convention in Umbria, Italy and even though we had only been together a short time, I said I would go with her, mainly because I wasn’t wanting her to come back and brag to me how great the food and wine were.
I also discovered that Umbria has beautiful countryside, which due to it’s greenery reminded me of the homeland. It must piss down a lot there too.
We both just hoped that we could last six weeks together so that I didn’t lose my flight ticket money and so she didn’t have to pay for a double room with one occupant.
Surprisingly enough we made it. Obviously, she must be a very tolerant person but I must be too, because let’s just say tidying up after herself is not her strong point. It’s bad when I have to pick the dirty knickers up off the floor and she doesn’t even wear any. Yep, I have to pick my own laundry up. It’s like having a second child.
Mind you, I’m sure as she cooks my dinner every night, otherwise I would live off cheese sandwiches, that she maybe thinks I am childlike too. I guess all the photos I have with my tongue out don’t help my case much either.
Anyway, the convention was organised by Oliver of Travel Bloggers Unite.
I am sure he had some help but it was certainly promoted through that site.
I hadn’t paid much attention to the event other than try to figure out what classes I would attend, but Ellen was checking out all the other attendants sites and realised that my version of Antalya Living was a poor relative of most, if not all, the others.
So she found a new theme which I installed and for two or three weeks, right up until the end of the day before we left, we slaved away trying to upgrade the site so that it looked a bit more presentable.
She could then tell the others about the site with her head held high, especially after she had spent so much time correcting my grammar and spelling mistakes as well cutting down on the number of my photos and the length of my run on sentences.
We got to the hotel and had a quick sha…, er, shampoo, before heading off for dinner. It looked like rain and so Ellen was going to take a brolley but I told her I’m Scottish and brolley’s were for wimps. She didn’t tell me how far a walk it was from the main hotel to the hotel restaurant.
Halfway there, of course it had to start pissing down. Ok, we could have done with a brolley and asked her why she ever listens to me.
We started to run and fortunately for both of us we didn’t cardiac arrest because the hotel buggy was on it’s way back from dropping others off and picked us up and turned back around. So we didn’t get totally drenched, which is always a bonus, especially if you want your woman not to give you dagger eyes all night after you’ve convinced her to leave her brolley.
Then Oliver appeared wearing a Star Wars T-Shirt and said “Hello William and Ellen”. I was quite impressed he knew who I was but obviously I had to tell him to call me Billy.
He came up to me at Dinner and said “Good news, I have got a hold of some 5 litre bottles of local wine which you can buy for only 7 Euros.” I know I’m Scottish but that is one bargain I wouldn’t be investing in as I knew if I did, I would have ended up pissed for the entire conference.
But then he said “Oh, and we are having a party at the Villa next door afterwards and the Wine will be available for free there. You are Scottish, I expect you to drink a lot.”
Sometimes, Scottish people just get forced to drink. Our reputation proceeds us, not always for the good because we usually can’t help reinforcing our Rab C Nesbitt stereotype. Well, I find it difficult anyway.
For instance, we had paid 25 Euros per head for the meal and wine was included so let’s just say the waiters were well acquainted with me by the end of the meal. They’re now on my Christmas card list. Just a pity I don’t send any.
Then I had a couple more large ones at the Villa from the 5 litre bottle and the next morning, surprise, surprise, I felt like shit. It didn’t help that I had a cold coming on but I blamed Ellen for telling me that Italian wine never gives her a hangover. Of course she doesn’t drink it like it was the last Vat of Blood at a Vampires Wedding.
While at the party I chatted to Oliver who asked me which team I supported, Rangers or Celtic? It is a standard question I am used to getting in Turkey. I said “Hibernian”. He, like most Turkish people said, “Who?” I was about to explain but realised he was taking the piss and said, “Exactly”.
I then asked him if he had ever seen Scottish Star Wars series on Youtube. He said he hadn’t but it sounds ominous. I told him it was and pissed myself laughing. I sent him the link after the conference but got no response. Maybe it is sacrilege to aficionados but I think it’s hilarious. (Don’t watch if you are easily offended. A turkish girl asked me to translate what they were saying after I had posted it on facebook and after I told her, she wished she hadn’t.)
Ellen and I then got talking to Ken Kaminesky who was there to give a few photography classes. Ellen was slavering all over him like I would Sinead O’Connor but I told him I hadn’t seen any of his work before. So he popped out his IPhone and showed me his photo on the cover of National Geographic. Ok, point taken. Must be nice to have that in your back pocket.
Ellen then went walkabout and Oliver introduced me to the lovely Saskia from Wimdu.
As soon as Ellen spotted us getting on so well she was over quicker than a Scotsman who’d spotted a loose fiver. Saskia got a message of the result she had been waiting for, that her company won the equivalent of an Oscar for Public Relations. This made her very happy and I took the opportunity to have a quick snap with her to celebrate.
Then we smelt burning and it wasn’t love.
No, it was the rubber on Ellen’s shoe. She was resting it on a floor light and it started melting.
I’ve heard of some methods to get the attention of your partner back from a pretty girl but that one takes the biscuit. Don’t worry sweetheart, you didn’t need to go to those lengths…she wouldn’t have fucked me in a million years.
On that note, it was time to leave. We were both tired from the full days travelling and I physically couldn’t drink any more wine anyway. I discovered that six large glasses was about my limit.
On the way out of the Villa, Oliver asked if we wanted to go on a Helicopter ride in the morning. Well, being an international man of adventure and never one to turn down a new experience, especially a freebie one, we said yes and so that was the planned lie in, out of the window.
On getting back to the room Ellen told me why we had been given 2 small cuddly bears with our room keys. There was a competition sponsored by the Canadian Tourism Commission and the prize was a trip to go to see Polar Bears.
There were two categories, one for the best photo and one for the best tweet. All you had to do was finish the sentence ‘I want to #Bearwatch in Canada because…..’ Well, of course, I had to enter. It was my duty. Only problem is my sense of humour.
I had brought my Kilt Thong and so put that on and shoved the bear in the only logical place and got Ellen to take a few snaps of me with this one being the our chosen Bearwatch entry.
Other Entry Contenders
I don’t need to tell you I never won. Why I thought I had a chance, is another thing. The only person to ever mention it was Forrest (The Other Side of the Coconut) and that was because I was sitting across and aisle from him when he opened it in his Ipad.
He just looked across and shook his head.
My caption was ‘I want to go bearwatching in Canada because I’ve got the balls.’ We can all thank Ellen for that one.
Later on he said to me that I should win with that entry. So I blame him for my raising my hopes. It didn’t sound tongue in cheek to me but maybe that was wishful thinking. I like to delude myself. It brings me comfort.
So anyway, we had to be outside the Hotel Lobby at 9.30am so we had to get up at 8.30am for breakfast. I was not in a good condition. It seems like every time I go on an aeroplane, due to the recycled air in the cabin, I get a cold for a couple of days afterwards. Also, my head hurt like bear that had been clubbed, but obviously I was the one doing the clubbing even though we never went to one.
So, we were there waiting at bang on 9.30 only to be told by Oliver that the Helicopter pilot was not sure if he could take it up because of the weather. Ellen and I looked up to see nearly totally blue clear sky with not even a hint of wind. Ooookkkk. Whatever. Oliver laughed too.
Michael from Changes In Longitude was also waiting to go on the Helicopter and so we got chatting. Or rather Michael and Ellen chatted while I thought about how good sleep would be.
Michael decided he had waited long enough for the buggy and went back to his room and not long after I decided that we should just walk to the helicopter take off point and see what’s happening.
When we got there the helicopter was just taking off with Ken and Cherina (Quiet Wanderings) next in line. Ellen and I claimed the spot after as it was now nearly 11.
We got chatting to Ken and Cherina and I told them of how I had recently had to go for an x-ray because I had sore ribs after a turkish women had pulled her car out in front of me and I slammed into it. The thing that annoyed me most was not the fact she pulled out without indicating (or looking for that matter) but that after I pushed my bike to the side of the road, she was looking at the dent in her car and crying while phoning somebody. Not even a quick “Are you ok?” People sometimes really get on my wick. We are losing touch with our humanity and it makes me sick. I said “You’re more bothered about your fucking car than how I am” and got on my bike and drove away in a huff. Only when I got to Ellen’s did I realise that I had been injured.
Cherina then told us about the time she was walking in Paris and fell down and broke her rib. I had only caused a fissure in one of mine in a bike accident but she broke hers walking in the street with no-one around her. Try as she might she couldn’t spruce up the story and that in itself became the joke. She now vows never to tell it to anyone again. Poor thing. I am sure it hurt a lot more than mine did and mine was pretty sore, especially when I sneezed, which was becoming more often as my cold took it’s grip.
After Ken and Cherina returned from their flight it was our turn to defy death by flying around in what looked like a fairly lightweight man made machine for no reason other than to say ‘Hey, I’ve in a helicopter. Aren’t I brave?’.
If you want to know what happened next you can watch the video below to which I have added a poem because I thought it went quite well with the footage.
Lyrical Helicopter Ride Video