Our hotel - the Alba Royal, Colakli - featured both evening and daytime entertainment of varying types and so I was able try my hand at .22 rifle shooting, archery and numerous games of French bowls or Petanque on the gloriously sandy private beach. The shooting was good fun - I finished 4th out of sixteen - as was the archery with both taking place at a range of 25 metres. I was rather better with a rifle than a bow and so can see why the impact of the firearm on military history was so considerable - either that or I am desperately unfit! The games of Petanque were great fun and my usual partner was a Swiss gentlemen and neither of us were particularly good the banter more than made up for the accuracy of our respective aims.
The evening entertainment was usually mimed versions of the highlights of a variety of West End shows including Dance of the Vampires, the Blues Brothers (complete with the audience hurling empty plastic bottles at the cast prior to the theme from 'Rawhide'!) Grease, Zorro (really enjoyed that one) and, inevitably, Mamma Mia (cheesy but very funny). These were all a good laugh and were very well put together and appeared quite professional. We also had a very good Turkish Folk evening.
I am a sucker for so-called 'folk' evenings and this was actually very good indeed. Their was a band of dancers/drummers that provided numerous examples of traditional dance and an excellent drumming display which reminded me of the fact that traditional Ottoman armies were usually accompanied by hordes of musicians - in fact I own a CD of Ottoman Janissary marching music - and so any such miniature version should reflect the same (difficult to do with a block army though....). The absolute highlight for me though (and no, it was not the obligatory belly dancers!) was a display by one of the famous 'whirling dervishes'.
A good potted history of the Mevlevi Order can be found here: Mevlevi Order
The lights were dimmed and a solitary flute commenced playing a slow and melodic tune. The exponent walked slowly to the centre of the stage with his arms crossed over his chest. He bowed to the audience and raised his arms in the appropriate position and then began to 'whirl'. It was not fast, just at a measured pace. The performance lasted for several minutes and the exponent did not move from the spot he started on, such was the degree of his control.
I was absolutely entranced by this performance and at the end he crossed his arms over his chest, bowed to the audience, took two steps back and left the stage. The audience was deathly silent for a couple of minutes, so mesmerised were they by what they had just seen and experienced. The applause was muted but sustained and I like to think this was out of respect of what had been witnessed. It was a profoundly moving experience and one that will stay with me for a long time.