Mirth and Woe: Turkish Delight
I had been granted an audience with the Turkish Prime Minister. Recep Tayyip Erdogan was to come to our luxuriously appointed hotel in the centre of Istanbul to make a speech and to answer journalists' questions on his country's national day.
The trouble was, as I sat on the throne in my 12th floor suite, I had a turd that wasn't going anywhere.
"BLUUUUUUMPH!" it had gone, and emerged - not word of a lie - a good eighteen inches long, a testament to the rich Turkish diet and the terrifying capacity of my bottom.
It sat there, scowling at me, in the toilet, refusing to disappear. Flush after flush - the thing was made of ferro-concrete and even defied a good thumping with the toilet brush, sitting there intact, refusing to move.
There are times in your life where you have to make a snap decision.
"Sod it", I said to myself, straightening my tie in front of the bathroom mirror, "I'll sort it out later", and left for my date with destiny.
In the end, I arrived - only seconds late - for the PM's arrival, with only one thing on my mind: The Black Sea Monster, which remained, unflushed somewhere on the hotel's top floor. My carefully-honed question, mixing congratulations on this key date in the Turkish calendar, a remembrance of the life of Kemal Mustafa Ataturk and a probing insight into the opening of state media to Kurdish and Armenian minority groups went unasked.
All I could think, as the interpreters rattled away in my headphones was "I wonder if it's still there?"
I got back to my room an hour later, and it had gone.
Instead, there was the toilet roll, diligently folded into a point in the manner taught to every hotel maid in the world, and a hastily-scrawled note on Conrad Hotel-headed notepaper.
It was in Turkish, so I showed to the waiter in the rooftop bar.
He showed it to some of his colleagues, who also laughed.
They pointed at me, as I clutched my hideously expensive bottle of Stella and laughed some more.
"What? What does it say?"
"It say… uh… how I put this?"
"You dirty, shitty bastard dog!"
There was no way on God's Earth I was leaving her a tip.