You’ll no doubt feel completely indifferent to the news that my pedalo blister has almost gone.
Its arrival was unexpected and quite painful. I was just getting over another injury (thrown by wave against coral-covered rock of St Nicholas Island causing v painful weals on thigh) when it I got the foot pain. I binned a pair of sandals thinking they were responsible, then discovered the cause was actually a squash ball-sized blister on the ball of one foot.
When you think about it, I suppose it was inevitable, really; two cyclists on holiday without bikes.
My tentative, soft-voiced and somewhat whimsical suggestion (think Maggie Thatcher after her human voice-coaching course crossed with Stewie from Family Guy) “Do we want to hire bikes at all?” was met with a robust “WHAT? Cycling in 35 degrees? NO!”
But where there are pedals, we shall find them.
When we find them, they must be pushed.
And because we were on holiday, they should be pushed in a leisurely fashion. We would remain calm, cordial and uncompetitive.
And so it was that we hired a pedalo for an hour. And then another one for two hours… and so on, and so on.
A pedalo was the perfect vehicle for a thorough snorkelling-depth investigation of the marine wildlife of the lagoon at Olu Deniz, a beautiful and particular place on the Aegean coast of Turkey. I could have swum the whole thing, but by then my facemask would have embedded permanently into my features. The Clinique counter hasn’t got anything to counter-act the pie-crust-foreheaded Klingon look.
Dropping off for further adventures in the not-very-deep and the actually-WOO-SHIT!-this-has-suddenly-got-very-deep-indeed left DT man to some well-deserved peace and quiet.
He could follow the movements of my snorkel and irrepressibly buoyant ass or the infinitely more interesting view of paragliders and their guests (who had paid £100-ish for the privilege) soaring in the sky overhead after being shoved off the naked rock and scree of 6,000′ Mount Babadag.
So everyone was happy. He took a turn snorkelling too. We compared notes.
“See anything good?” he’d ask.
“Yes, three different types of sponge, another four species of fish I’ve never seen before, extraordinarily beautiful anemonies and a superbly aggressive crab a good six inches wide. He got away. How about you?”
“I saw weird sticking-up things like green penises, some dark fish and some lighter fish. And I think I have sea urchin spikes in my knee.”
You could tell who had the advantage of prescription lenses in the facemask and who didn’t. Shame really. In spite of his reluctance, I felt it my duty to keep him fully appraised with enthusiastic descriptions, I took photos, I drew sketches. It was all quite educational until a sudden report from the rear.
At first I thought it was the repercussions of last night’s Turkish casserole but DT man denied it strenously. We looked round to see a car-shaped pedalo approaching at about two knots from the east. It contained a man and two women.
The bloke was shouting – we assumed Turkish – and waving something in the air in a jocular fashion.
The noise came again. Unmistakeable this time.
“I don’t believe it. That prat has a vuvuzela.” DT man simmered with moderate outrage.
The guy thought maybe we hadn’t heard it the first and second time, so he blew it another couple of times, each blast accompanied by hilarious laughter from his bikini-clad women. Where we had beach bag, snorkels and camera stashed in the centre of the pedalo, they seemed to have a couple of crates in theirs. They were having a very jolly afternoon.
Up until then, we had been drifting aimlessly near the shore but DT took their behaviour as some kind of challenge. You should know at this point that he was still stinging with humiliation suffered earlier. We were walking down to lagoon – him carrying the beach bag, me with my rucksack, when one of the restaurant guys shouted out “Hey! Your handbag is more pretty than your wife’s! A-hahahahaha!!”
The very core of his heterosexuality had been called into question and now this drunken oik had come along to annoy him with his vuvuzela. It was all too much.
With much pedalling and giggling, the vuvu-pedalo seemed to be on a collision course, so we moved too. DT man pedalled briskly. They seemed to be following us. I caught vuvu-man’s eye and pointed in the direction of the diving platform about 400 yards away – a clear invitation to an informal international competition. He was moved to toot his vuvuzela, further annoying DT man.
“Just let’s go easy at first,” I told DT man. “Let them just come alongside and then we’ll hit it.”
He said nothing but he was gritting his teeth in a decidedly macho heterosexual kind of way. He does the same look when he just forked someone’s Queen. That’s about as psycho as things get with a chess player.
As the merry little pedalo car with the merry Turks pedalling and the guy still tootling his vuvuzela got about three lengths ahead, Vuvu man turned and grinned. DT man stepped on it, pedalling blurry-fast. It was keep up or have your toes diced. I kept up. I was giggling for Wales and having trouble breathing while his facial expression was that of pure, forward-gazing, stiff-upper-lip English detachment.
I glanced behind. We were creating a considerable wake. The Turkish pretenders were bobbing some distance behind us. Still, no quarter was given.
When we reached the diving platform, we looked back and our adversaries had given up. They were some way back. He appeared to have forsaken the vuvuzela in favour of another beer.
DT man was satisfied with what he saw as the latest in a long line of famous British seafaring victories. I wasn’t totally convinced. After all, we had the victory; he had the beer.
Such a pity we didn’t have a Union Jack. I have rarely felt more like hoisting one.
This isn’t the actual vuvuzela crew, but you get the idea.