After weeks of rain we decided to spend the last part of the holiday at a resort in Belek on the Turkish coast. We had a good time, but as soon as we got home it was as if we had never been there, and I think that was the secret intent of the murderous monotony of eating, lounging, and swimming.
When I close my eyes I walk again through that endless corridor of faux marble. After the reception, golden vases with glass flowers, and hotel staff standing by a table with champagne glasses filled and plates full of chocolate-dipped strawberries ready to show you your prosperity. We warned our daughters (8, 6, 2) to think of others too, not to eat a full plate, but other guests – they came mainly from Russia, Azerbaijan, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and England, a geopolitical challenge – set a bad example.
We watched as a group of people – he could have been from the Wagner group, and somehow she had – ate them all in front of them. All of them, in front of them, I don’t even dare.
Fortunately, there was so much food, and so much choice, that you automatically started eating less of it.
The reservation included unlimited entry to “The Land of Legends”, an amusement park described to us by a travel agency in Arnhem as the “Turkish Efteling”. We were taken there in a blinded van, with a Saudi family, and the man was the leader, not only of his own group, but he was way above us. If looks could kill, we would have missed the unique experience of sailing in Masha and the Bear’s life in a boat with a temperature of about fifty degrees.
Turns out Masha and the Bear are “Land of Legends,” not necessarily my favorite duo from Netflix’s kids section.
And so, in a chilly fifty-degree wind, we sailed through a cardboard snow scene where we saw Masha hauling laundry and saw a sleigh hurtling down a slope, and that bear was just a little bit there. Because my daughters wanted it three times in a row, there was no queue anyway, so it was allowed, and we were addressed in Russian afterwards, which of course we didn’t understand.
“I am Russia!” said a man to Lucy van Roosmalen and got a tattoo above his heart.
She explained: “It is said that he is from Russia.” One of the youngest members of our group asked me in a whisper if he would like some chocolate-covered strawberries.
That war in the East has not yet been won.
Marcel van Roosmalen He writes an exchange column with Elaine Dikowitz here.
A version of this article also appeared in the Gazette on August 28, 2023.
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