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Friday, 17 September 2004

Is there something in the water?

So let me see if I have this right...

-- In the past few weeks in Lancaster, almost every councillor (except the Greens and some Skerton reps) have voted in support of a bypass route they've all consistently rejected in the past...

-- Rather than spend money on toilets in Morecambe and Lancaster the latest idea sure to benefit public hygiene is to close them for all but limited times, so don't drink too much while you're out enjoying yourself (although pissing in back alleys, bus station walls and shop doorways are of course acceptable alternatives). It's also OK to sell off toilets -- Lancaster's Brock Street toilets went for £58,000 or thereabouts - after redevelopment the property now must be worth almost triple that. Meanwhile in other countries, even impoverished Turkey, public toilets remain open some even with attendants to stop the vandalism that has necessitated closing them here. Rather than improve the loo situation the 'Toilet Task Group' has left us with stinking sheds in car parks well away from town centres where they might be some use...

-- after protesting vociferously about the closure of local post offices (not that it did any good) the city council had no qualms about closing their offices in Ryelands where people from Halton and other outlying areas in North Lancaster were happily paying their council tax rather than add to the traffic numbers by driving to the town hall to pay there. Apparently this is due to some inter-department rivalry over budgets - a solution could have been found but it would have meant co-operation...

I was just wondering, when the "silly season" ended at the end of August, did anyone tell our Council?

Star Trekking...


After the weirdness of getting RAF Magazine off the ground (so to speak), I'm now preparing to step back in time (for me, anyway) to edit Star Trek Magazine again.

I was the launch editor on this way back in 1995, Titan Magazine's first regular magazine, so it feels weird going back to it. Currently working up ideas for 2005 in between playing catch up from the holiday.

Funny time for Trek, what with people saying it should be rested (unlikely to happen) and other really supporting the latest show, Enterprise.

Personally I'm looking forward to seeing what show runner Manny Coto does with what might be the series final fourth season, I was impressed with his previous show Odyssey 5.

Yalikavak, Turkey 2004


Just back from our first 'proper' holiday in five years -- Turkey again but this time it was Yalikavak on the Bodrum peninsula. Been to Cavus and Cappadocia in the past.

We went with Manos, enduring the torture of two night flights in a week and the most ludicrous system of transfers I have ever had to suffer. Fortunately I was not one of many who had to wait for over an hour in a car park in the middle of Bodrum, in the middle of the night, waiting for said transfer. There were a lot of disgruntled people about.
Yalikavak is advertised as a 'quiet' resort but it's nowhere near as quiet as Cavus.

That said it was not really noisy -- there are no discos in the town, although there were several bars. It's probably one of the best Turkish resorts I've ever been to in terms of range of restaurants available and as usual the Turkish hosts were very friendly.

Personally, of those we tried I would recommend the Half Ada, Mustis and a fish restaurant on the quay whose name sadly escapes me but served the best calamari I've ever had. It's right next to an excellent patisserie.

We stayed at the Hotel Ali Baba which is fairly big. If you ever go, I'd advise not staying in rooms overlooking the main street which despite offering a great view of the bay, can be very noisy. It also was far from the levels of cleanliness we've experienced in Cavus but staff were friendly enough when you could find them!

There are several trips offered by both local operators and Manos, including Dalyan (tremendous fun slapping mud everywhere), Ephesus and Pammukele. However, don't expect Manos to tell you anything about any more accessible antiquity sites, their rep was too busy trying to get us to go pub crawling in Bodrum. Not their finest moment!

We would definitely visit this resort again. There are many good hotels not listed by Manos such as the Windmill and the Hotel Miray which are both medium-sized hotels off the main street and pleasantly located. Because of rumours floating around that Manos and Air Tours are considering pulling out of the resort, we checked both of these out -- room prices at the Miray are 25 pounds per night. The hotel is of a comparable size with the Ford and the Atici in Cavus

Windy weather prevented boat trips, although plenty were on offer -- it was quite funny having Turks complain about the cold while we're still sitting supping an Efes in a t-shirt wondering what they're on about!

There are some souvenir shops in Yalikavak (one stocks glass goods from Dalyan that is simply stunning) but if you want a larger range then take the dolmus into Bodrum during the day (if you want the Turkish equivalent of Blackpool go in the evening!).

Stray cats and dogs were very apparent. I don't know if Cavus has the same problem it used to have with cats but we have come across this local charity -- http://www.bodrumhayvanhaklari.org/sahipsizeng.html -- (with links to others in Turkey) offering neutering services etc. It's one of the first such groups to get off the ground in Turkey but has been operating for about three years.

Personally, having experienced for the first time just how bad the end of season can be for both cats and dogs (dogs are culled in Yalikavak), with kittens aplenty in evidence that are unlikely to survive the winter, I think such campaigns deserve support.

Yalikavak was not Cavus but it is the kind of small size resort many in this group may find appealing.

Web Links:
• Yalikavak Hotels: http://www.allbodrumhotels.com/hotellist.php?locationid=78

2007 Update: Reading this again, all the restaurants have changed hands and modernised and the Ali Baba is no longer part of any UK tour operator's portfolio!

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