While sitting in our apartment reception in Kusadasi regaling our Sunworld rep with stories of our recent romantic trysts, Yvonne casually enquired how much it would be to stay an extra week. Cath made a phone call and returned with the price of €100 each and we both had credit cards in our hands within seconds.
We then tried to figure out what to do with the work situation. We both worked in a pyramid scheme style charity mugging office; you know the guys who attack you on the street to sign you up for monthly payments to different charities? Well I was admin and Yvonne was one of the bosses but there were bosses above her and owners etc, all very tenuous. Cath was still sitting there doing her paperwork (little did I know that I would be doing the exact same job in just a few years) and half listening to our ramblings when I asked her the following loaded question “what would happen if a person’s passport got stolen over here”. She put her work to one side and leaned forward conspiratorially and said “it’d take at least a week to replace”. We whooped and cheered and Yvonne was nominated to make the call (because I’m a complete chicken-shit and as a culchie she is obviously a born mammy who says greashhh (great) a lot and puts ketchup on stew).
The bosses were dubious at first but Yvonne created a great back-story involving the crowded markets and Oliver Twist style pick-pocketing children . I think she may have even squeezed out a few tears and said “do you think we want to be stuck in this bloody country for another week?”. That done, we ordered drinks and high-fived. We headed to bar street that night excited to tell our holiday romances the news that they were to be graced with our increasingly freckled company for another week.
Yvonne’s guy didn’t look so happy and confided in me when she went to the toilet that girls are supposed to come here for a good time and not a long time. I was shocked and fearful for my man’s reaction but he was thrilled and picked me up and spun me, like a movie… a bit cheesy but I was delighted with myself and tried to contain it for Yvonne who was seriously pissed off and angrily milling the rosé into her.
We had a few trips booked that week and one of them was a boat trip. I really didn’t want to go as i’d had only had an hours sleep but we had paid for it so Yvonne dragged my ass onto the bus. We picked the top deck of the boat and lay down thinking to get some sleep. I was just dozing when Yvonne seized my arm in a vice grip and started stage whispering something; I sat up and she mouthed what looked like shit shit shit frantically…I looked behind her and saw our boss’s husband and son. What the fuck! Were they there on a recon mission or was it simply a freaky coincidence? Possibly if we weren’t crippled with hangover fear we may have gone over to them to enquire but we spent the next 7 hours wearing sunglasses and swathed in sarongs and towels. Eventually the rep working the boat (Maggie) came over to see if were we ok (little did I know that I’d be doing her job by the following year) and possibly to check if it was a Weekend at Bernies situation. We explained our predicament and she sympathetically laughed her pants off. We escaped the boat but they had more then likely seen us and then we got a bit indignant… I mean even if our passports had actually been stolen we were still entitled to enjoy ourselves, right?
Our stolen week passed blissfully, I won’t bore you with details of sunsets, hand-holding and balmy summer nights. Yvonne meanwhile had shook off her romantic disappointment and was enjoying the balmy nights herself, but that’s her story to tell.
As the week was drawing to a close, I spotted Cath in reception and asked how much for another week. She said it was still €100 each and raised her eyebrows in disbelief that we were asking. Myself and Yvonne had a conference in our apartment and it took longer to agree this time, maybe a full 15 seconds but we needed to establish a watertight plan. We ran down and quizzed Cath on passport replacement protocol… “well it would have to be done through Ankara…” “but the paperwork could take more than a week, right??? ““Ye-ah it could definitely and our flights are only at weekends”. Brilliant, high 5s all around and this time it was only fair that I make the work call as Yvonne stood by chain-smoking and biting her nails. I won’t lie, it was a difficult call but oscar worthy…. I channelled Sally Field in Not Without My Daughter. I also had to call my Mam who at this stage thought I was living in a harem smoking opium, she was on the verge of sending my Dad after me in the style of Liam Neeson but there was a Dublin game on that weekend and he couldn’t miss it. The most difficult call I made however was to my cousin Jen to tell her I wouldn’t be making the Justin Timberlake concert, she still holds a grudge but in the pursuit of true love there will always be casualties.
Our last week was even better culminating in Turkey winning the eurovision and leaving was the hardest thing I ever had to do (I cried all the way home, a scene to be repeated many times in the future). Promises were exchanged and I resolved to be back in a few months; there was just the small matter of holding on to my job and rebuilding bridges with family and a cousin to attend to.
To be continued