“Going Grandad House” Ahmed said to me the next morning so that was how I found myself in a Fiat Doblo with ten other people and a pygmy goat. We all excitedly crammed into the car, men, women and children for the two-hour journey to the remote village of Karatut to see Ahmed’s grandad. I sat alongside Ahmed in the front with two of the smaller children squeezed in next to me. Several bags of food together with some pots and pans were also packed in. As I’d already named the goat, Junie Little Legs (after my Mum), I was delighted to learn that fortunately, she wasn’t going to be on the menu anytime soon.
Thirty minutes into the journey and fruit and bread was being handed round to all passengers as the family happily chattered away to each other in rapid Turkish. Most vehicles travelling that day were all as overloaded as we were and the few Turkish policemen whom we passed seemed either unfazed or full of holiday spirit.
An hour later and we had a toilet break at a village petrol station and I was horrified to discover that the public toilets were the squatty potty variety. Now as I’m no contortionist and no Olympic gymnast either, I knew that in skinny jeans these facilities were going to be an issue for me. Returning the car, I explained to Ahmed “no nice toilet” so he and his elder brother kindly walked me around the village, asking at every shop and hotel, whether they had a suitable toilet. Fortunately, three gentlemen sat outside a hotel, playing cards, took pity on me and allowed me to use their facilities. They gave me a room key and Ahmed escorted me upstairs. I was surprised that the hotel was little more than a hostel but charmed that they had provided slippers outside each room for every guest to use. I was touched by their kindness and trusting manner and thought that there wouldn’t be many hoteliers back in the UK, that would hand over a room key to a complete stranger without any financial gain.
When I returned to the car, it was to rousing cheers and applause. At this point my face must have resembled the same colour as my fuchsia fleece. So I felt compelled to execute a bow to my appreciative audience. Although, I secretly hoped that Grandad’s house wasn’t that much further and also made a mental note to watch my liquid intake, as I might not find the next lot of facilities quite as convenient!