A Very Big Good Detective Man & The Sunbed Incident

Last Christmas we’d managed to rent one of Ahmed’s “friends” apartments for the duration but as in the case of many Turkish resort holiday rentals, they were not designed to cope with the colder winters. And even though we’d managed to borrow a portable heater, it could not combat the miserable wind and lashing rain. Whilst we succeeded in getting out sightseeing every day, we usually went to the Hotel first thing in the morning and at the end of the day to ensure that there were no security breaches as Ahmed had been appointed security manager during the shutdown. The owner of the hotel had not paid any utility bills or his seasonal staff that year and subsequently (and don’t ask me how), a cable was being run from the local shop to provide electricity to the hotel office. The office had a small television set and an old one bar electric fire, along with a computer; wireless internet again provided courtesy of one of the neighbours. Although, I wasn’t entirely sure that the neighbours providing both the internet access and electricity supply were altogether aware of their generosity.

Ahmed and a couple of his brothers took turns in sitting in the office in their capacities of security guards whilst a stream of locals called into the office to say that they were owed money by the hotel owner and where could they find him? I was beginning to think probably prison, had he’d lived in England! The other locals that filed into the office were all asking the lads to loan them money as either they or a member of their family were in need of hospital treatment. I have subsequently discovered this is a common occurrence and it is doubtful that any family member would be facing a hospital visit any time soon. Most accepted that they were unlikely to obtain money from the brothers but one or two of them were fairly insistent. Ahmed kept calling them “gypsies” which is about the worse insult that you can level at a Turk. It means that they are a low life criminal and thief who would steal from their best friend if the opportunity arose.

The brothers spent most of the day either skyping their various love interests and watching some really bad Turkish Television programmes. Ahmed and his brothers were mesmerised by the worst television soap imaginable and sat there for hours captivated by some fairly bad acting and the dodgiest sets. I may have also previously mentioned Ahmed’s obsession with the Turkish wedding channel; this is a channel dedicated to running home-made wedding videos twenty-four hours a day. Trust me when I say that for most of us the novelty soon wears off; but clearly not in Ahmed world.

One particularly bad weather day, after a visit to Kusadasi a beautiful Turkish town, if you ever get the chance to visit, Ahmed stopped off at the Hotel on the way home. I took this opportunity to warm myself in front of the one bar electric fire, whilst Ahmed and his brothers exchanged heated words. There was a lot of tutting and hand waving going on and whilst I could make out one or two words; it’s safe to say that they weren’t ones that would be approved of by the elders of the Mosque! They all stormed off in the direction of the pool before Ahmed returned to drive us both back to the apartment.

Whilst we sat down to enjoy the delicious Turkish dinner that Ahmed prepared for us, he informed me that some “gypsy” was routinely stealing the hotel sunbeds and that every day there appeared to be more missing. Not an easy feat for someone so it was safe to assume that the sunbed thief had some mode of transport. He then went onto to advise me that we were going to spend a “big romantic” evening sitting in the sub-zero temperatures at the hotel office in the dark waiting to catch the thieves; as he was a “very big good detective man”. I pointed out that was clearly not going to be happening as long as my backside pointed downwards but he was welcome to undertake this covert operation on his own; or as the man himself would say “only one”.

So I lovingly despatched my man to coincide with the screening of some English film I was wanting to watch on the television. As I cosied up on the sofa, my guilt was alleviated by the fact that I had insisted that Ahmed take a quilt and flask of çay with him to fight off the chill. Thirty minutes later, Ahmed returned to the apartment uttering Turkish curses of a questionable nature. It would appear that my beloved was a fair-weather man and not designed to fight crime in arctic conditions. One had to hope that the thieves were also discouraged by the cold; but I thought it unlikely and possible that the robbers were just contractors or ex-employees who had been short-changed by the hotel owner and were trying to recoup some of their financial loss.

The next morning, as we pulled up outside the hotel bright and early, an elderly Turk was strapping a sunbed to a cart attached to the back of his push-bike. I had to admire his sheer audacity and couldn’t help but laugh. Ahmed jumped out of the car but the Turk sensing his game was up, abandoned the sunbed and pedalled off at full speed. Ahmed jumped back in the car, but the old fella was too wily and turned into a small alley where it was impossible to follow him in a car. Ahmed was fairly less than impressed and vowed to launch a round the clock operation to catch this spritely old age pensioner.

The sunbed bandit was never caught and clearly lived to pilfer another day; I hear that this year the hotel parasols are mysteriously disappearing.

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69 thoughts on “A Very Big Good Detective Man & The Sunbed Incident

  1. What an amazing story … I have heard about places that anything that isn’t tied or locked up will disappear so soon they turn their back to it. In Sweden they nick bikes – a massive problem … especially in the town where I live. I suppose that it doesn’t really matter where you live – there will always be thieves around.
    On one of our ferries, somebody was nicking butter and sold it to kindergarten in Denmark. They nicked just after our Danish supplier had left car deck – in the end they caught the thieves, a married couple – crew members. They took them with the butter on them and where sent directly to the captains office. They took the butter of them and put it on the table and during the investigation some butter had disappeared again.

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  2. I can just see the whole thing happening. We stayed a couple of weeks in Turunk on the south coast and used the wonderful buses a great deal. One day we traveled very early into Mugla to look around (a great place to visit with wonderful market where we had breakfast with the stall holders). In Mugla we were advised to go along to watch the filming of a much loved soap – they were using some of the fantastic historic buildings there, and as soon as we saw the cast we realised it was the same soap that the hotel staff insisted on having on in the evenings when serving the meal. Really Victorian melodrama style acting which almost included moustache twiddling by the heavy. Yup, I’ve seen some of the Turkish soaps – oh, how styles are different around the world.

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  3. I loved Kusadasi! (Definitely so beautiful!!) And I love this story!! Good for the old man – sounds like the hotel owner deserved what came to him!! (Is that the job Ahmed took that he never got paid for either?)

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  4. Oho, more craziness ensues thanks to the intervention of one of Ahmed’s many “friends”!

    This story is hilarious and tragic at the same time. I made the mistake of reading this on my cell phone in the library of Instituto Cervantes in New York while I was waiting to do a Spanish language exam. I was trying so hard not to laugh, especially at the way you described Ahmed’s determination to catch a sunbed thief (I think we call those chaise longue in the US and we mangle the pronunciation) in the middle of winter. Also how the brothers skype their “various love interests.” Are they all talking to women living abroad?

    However this post reveals the stark contrasts between Turkey and where I live. Did people ask the hotel owner for money because he was the wealthiest person around? Spain also has problems with gypsies or what they call “gitanos” or “rumanos.” They try to give you flowers/herbs in the street and if you happen to take it in your hand “to be nice,” then the gypsies will harass you for money and chase you down the street because you just happened to touch it. Also the fact that Ahmed and his brothers never were paid for their jobs as security guards. In the US, that kind of person would be immediately arrested and prosecuted. However it is obvious the justice system works differently in Turkey.

    Also a 24 hour wedding channel? How horrible! I’m all for the reality shows “Say Yes to the Dress” where you see the brides trying on the dresses in the store and deciding which one to wear. However watching a wedding of someone you don’t even remotely care about… how boring!

    Never a dull day in Turkey…

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    • The library of Instituto Cervantes in New York sounds very grand! All of Ahmed’s brothers are in contact with a lot of English & Turkish girls, although I’m never quite sure which one is currently in favour! It’s a regular occurance for seasonal staff not to get paid by greedy bar and hotel owners and because winter can be a lean time for many, with no jobs, they will try asking anyone and everyone for a loan which will never be paid back.

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  5. After more than 20 years visiting Turkey, it’s still staggering to know that Turkish workers can sign up for a season’s employment only to find that come September they are told that despite all the customers no profit was made – so sorry no pay. Of course what actually happens is that all the profit is sucked out by the owner and the landlord and nothing is left in the business. The poor cook or waiter can whistle for any pay. Just think about that the next time you visit a spanking new restaurant in a Turkish resort, the staff around you may get nothing at the end of the season when the business folds. Is that a brand new Merc I see parked outside???

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  6. I have an image in my head of a very satisfied, wrinkled old Turkish man lying on a pilfered sun bed in a field filled with many other empty sun beds. (what else was he going to do with them?)

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  7. I think we should start a Please Remember To Tip The Staff When On Holiday In Turkey campaign – as it seems this is the only way they might be able to get paid.
    BTW Your writing has me laughing out loud and yet is still often very moving, love it!

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  8. “Although, I wasn’t entirely sure that the neighbours providing both the internet access and electricity supply were altogether aware of their generosity.” HAHAHAHA – great story!

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  9. Oh, if only you had your camera handy! A photo of the subbed and old man would have been something to behold!
    Those of us in the New Jersey/ New York area have been experiencing life without electricity. Tis a challenge during the colder months. Makes you empathetic for those that live that way all the time.

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  10. I am laughing hysterically. Wedding channel? Homemade at that, I would cut the connection and beat him about the head and shoulders after the first 24 hours.

    I am betting the sunbed thief sells them back to the hotel at the start of the season, smart!

    Wonderful story.

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  11. All seems fair in love & war to me, if you steal, you should expect to be stolen from, as you are setting the market conditions… and if you can get a ‘job’ as security, let the thief keep thieving, if not, you’d be out of a job… all Ahmed needed to do was steal the equivalent contra of his own wages 😉

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  12. Another mesmerizing and funny story about life in Turkey, and especially Ahmed because what he gets up to can be hilarious (wedding videos, indeed) (does he read what you have written about him?). I’m so glad you have come round to being able to write about Turkey again, and I really do think you ought to be querying some literary agents about that book. Just tell them how many followers you have who are clamoring for it.

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    • Always nice to hear from you Jennifer, fortunately Ahmed and all my neighbours in Turkey don’t read it but one of Ahmed’s friends reads and teases him about it! Wouldn’t that be something if a literary agent took me on – might even get to give up stacking shelves! Now how fab would that be!

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      • I tell you what—I have a book (mystery novel set in Hawaii) that needs shopping, too. I think it’s time we both started looking for an agent. Seriously. Agents have blogs that talk about what kinds of books they’re interested in and give tips for submitting. Let’s make a pact and do it. We’ll also need a one page query letter, too (what the book is about, who we are, and why we’re the only ones who can write this particular book. Plus don’t forget to mention your blog and multitude of followers. Leave the stacking shelves behind, girl. Your true calling is waiting impatiently.

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      • Right you are on! Will need to do some serious research as I’m not very clued up on this sort of thing! Maybe it’s the push I need particularly as I’m just writing yet another post about my rotten boss. And you must promise to keep me updated on your progress as hopefully that will inspire me! Mystery in Hawaii – sounds very glamorous too!!!!!

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      • Good. I needed the push, too, and if we both agree to keep each other updated, we will HAVE to do it. Yes, the research will take time, and that’s what’s been holding me back. You will ace that part, I think. Just Google something like “book agents humor” and I will do “book agents mystery/thriller” and let’s see what we come up with. Also we should agree to write a query letter and post it on our blog for comments. Agree?

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  13. Another hilarious story. That Ahmet is quite the character. And I can definitely see something like this happening in Turkey. By the way, I’ve been to Kusadasi; you’re right, it’s a lovely place. 🙂

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  14. So much of what you write hits the spot with me… Tho after twenty years of living here I am never taken back by anything I see or hear.

    I wrote a short story some while back called “The Five Year Plan.” I know for sure that you will know how it goes.

    Love this blog.

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