Your Holiday Disaster

At last they found somewhere in Turkey that had not been invaded by British tourists. But if the locals seemed pleased to see them, there was a cat there who, evidently, was not. By Keith Brindle

ON OUR first evening in Turkey, we ate lamb and savouries and drank wine and raki. There were very few British tourists in Datca, and we relished feeling so "abroad". We were dining in a restaurant, half way up the bustling, aromatic main street. When someone told a joke, my wife, Samantha, exploded with laughter. Unfortunately, she had not noticed that there was a cat beside her chair, next to her trailing arm. As she raised her hands to cover her mouth, the cat was startled and bit her, badly.

Next morning, her hand was swollen and painful. The local doctor pulled it about a bit, making Samantha cry. Then he sent us to the hospital. No one there spoke English or French or German. We felt very foreign and Samantha was terrified. Eventually, we were taken into a consulting room, which was full of flies. There were used syringes lying around; there was blood on the walls. Another doctor pulled and pressed Samantha's hand again, while speaking in Turkish to the nurse. The only word I could pick out was "rubies". "You mean rabies?" I asked, when the examination ended. He shrugged: "Rabies. Yes. Possible." He talked to me and ignored Samantha. He explained, somehow, that she must have five injections, one every two days. I shuddered. With no real hope, I pointed at my arm. "Here?" "No," he said, pointing at his own body, "umbilical".

I had to explain to Samantha that we must go to the chemist for syringes; that she could have rabies; that she must have injections in her stomach. Outside, she burst into tears. I had seen a television programme about the treatment; pathetically, I was the one who bent over to be sick.

We returned to the consulting room, because we had to. Samantha lay down. A male orderly stroked her hair while a nurse poked at her tummy button before plunging in the syringe. Apparently, the needle entering the stomach is painful, but the serum going in is worse. The bruises appeared later.

Every second morning, we had to go back again, and there had to be another injection in the same place. I could not imagine how Samantha coped; I could not even watch. But, each time, the orderly stroked the hair, the nurse was businesslike and Samantha never made a sound. Her stomach swelled. It was discoloured and she began to look pregnant. She just wanted to be home, away from the nightmare. Every night, we drank away our sorrows.

Finally, the course of treatment was over. It finished on a Sunday, when the hospital was quiet. Just a few more seconds of agony and we would be free at last. But then, the nurse and the orderly indicated we should follow them.

They took us into a back room, where food had been laid out. They motioned to us to sit down. "I can't do this," Samantha said. Manners, of course, made us stay, but the food was covered in flies so we had to turn it down. We gingerly sipped at some mint tea. The nurse was talking to us in Turkish, as though we were old friends, and then the orderly got out a guitar and started to sing for us. It was all totally surreal.

But even their friendliness could not make everything all right. Even the local doctor offering us a free holiday for the following year in his apartment was no consolation; even the waiters who, on hearing our story, boarded the coach to give Samantha flowers as we left could not change the memory.

We will not be returning to Turkey.

Share your holiday nightmares by sending a 600-word account to: Holiday Disasters, Independent on Sunday, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5DL. E-mail: sundaytravel@independent.co.uk

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Guru Careers: Dining Room Head Chef

    £32K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Dining Room Head Chef to work for one of ...

    Guru Careers: Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Chef

    £27K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Che...

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Supervisor

    £24800 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As one of London's leading Muse...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

    'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

    In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
    VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

    How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

    Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
    They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

    Typefaces still matter in the digital age

    A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
    Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

    'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

    New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
    The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

    Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

    Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

    Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
    Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

    Crisp sales are in decline

    As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
    Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

    Ronald McDonald the muse

    A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
    13 best picnic blankets

    13 best picnic blankets

    Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
    Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

    Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

    Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
    Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

    Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

    Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'