Turkish Viagra

Who knows what kind of trouble I’m going to get in with a title like this. Let’s rewind a moment and review how I got here. It’s week three and I’m on my own. Hannah has left for home and up until a few days ago I had no idea how I’d be spending my solo week in Turkey. Sarah, my best friend from home had just returned from the V-Go boat cruise and we met up in Cappadocia where I waited for a full report so that I could then make my decision to book the same cruise or not. She and her man had a fabulous time, save for the drunk captain, the meals of bread and pasta, and the overbooking which had pushed the one solo traveler from his bunk to the upper deck to sleep under the stars and share a bathroom with the cabin crew. Maybe that’s what you get for $200. But they urged me to do it. Even I can stomach four days of white bread in return for four days of blue waters, gypsy dreams and misty Mediterranean mornings. My trusty friends at Tourdocia Travel in Goreme set the whole thing up for me and triple confirmed my vegetarian diet with the crew. This pisces was ready to set sail.

Captain Usef and I met before we even boarded the boat. He was seated in the main office in Fethiye, belly bulging a foot in front of him, chubby cheeks pushing his eyes into a squint even in the shade. A shiny bald head and burly mustache made for quite a caricature of a fat, middle-aged Turkish man- one who would hold my life in his hands for the next few days, the captain of “Little Mustafa.”  I tried to share simple pleasantries with him but he wasn’t having any of them. Nor did he speak any English. He just stared back at me like I was yet another needy white girl way too invested in the details of her own vacation.  Thank God I hadn’t told him I was vegan.

The belly was a clear clue into his world: this man loved to eat. Just a half day into our cruise, we’d docked at the St. Nicholas Island where we’d be spending the night. I’d heard about the ‘pancake lady’ who cruised around on a little dinghy and sold her treats to the big boats. Well hardly half way into our cruise she floated in, sweets in hand. Usef and his wife Fatma, our cook, were already starboard chatting  up these fellow cruisers. Years of sailing the Turkish Med meant they had friends in every bay. As they babbled way, I was still trying to digest the fact that a woman with a hot round griddle in between her legs had just sailed up in a boat and was offering us gözlemeTurkish pancake.

I cozied up to Fatma on the side of the boat trying to get a better look at what cooking. “Turkish viagra,” she said with a big smile. The lady was generously spooning Nutella all over the thin round of dough she had just rolled out onto the hot griddle.  She placed banana slices on top and in under five minutes, she had rolled the entire thing up into a thick triangle of sugary gooeyness and shoved it into a brown paper sleeve. Astonished and still marveling at this alternative water economy, I had hardly smiled back at Fatma in response to her comment before she had popped a piece of Turkish viagra directly into my mouth. Melted Nutella oozed out onto my lips and my smile spread wider, partly from the Turkish viagra, but more from the fact that Mama Fatma had just welcomed me into her clan. I knew I’d be in good hands from here on out. I proudly voiced ‘çok güzel ‘ (very good) during and after every single meal of her delectable cooking.  And of course I’d play with the Turkish viagra joke long after the viagra itself had run out.

Day 25 of 30; Postcards from Turkey

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~ by maureenmoore on August 2, 2013.

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