A couple of items on the radio about anti-social behaviour, which in politico-speak goes for any practices which the observer does not approve of, and has of course been around for a long time. When I was a young man, we did exactly the same, only we did it with beer and whisky, instead of the modern trends towards ready-mixed booze and lager, but it all boiled down to the same thing, we went out on the town, got smashed, tried to tap up a few birds, and when we got shot down, we went to a ‘Chinese’ and had a meal before heading back to the ship.
Fair enough! My mind is drawn inexorably to a single city, and two different men. One was Ian, an Engineer Officer, the other Gordon, a Deck Officer, and the city was Istanbul, which was one of the scheduled stops on our run through the Med. and up into the Black Sea. The engineer in question was, strangely for sea-going men, a deeply religious man, whose one purpose in life was to save up enough money to go to Missionary College, and join his mother and father, who were both in the same line, which of course made what happened all the better! He went ashore into Istanbul, armed with a camera, intent on getting to grips with this ancient city, but after about two hours, really felt the urge to find a toilet, or as the usage went, ‘find a bog’. In keeping with the fine old British tradition of not speaking anything but English, he asked a few people on the main drag where the public toilets were, emphasising this by pointing at his flies, and after a stunned pause, the locals obliged by pointing him towards this large gate set back into the sidewalk, he went through the small door inset into the gate, and found he had been directed straight towards the largest brothel area in the city! He described the area in detail when he returned to the ship,
Gordon was a man cast of different metal altogether, he had plenty of money in his pocket, keen to get a buzz on, and equally keen to make the acquaintance of one of the ladies which Ian had so conveniently found! We started off in the Bar London, sinking five or six bottles each; I remember this establishment because of the waiter’s insistent demand for a tip! “Tip, tip, tip!” he repeated! So I replied, “Plant your spring corn early, it’s gonna be cold this winter!” Funny, that! Didn’t seem to satisfy him at all! But I digress again! We made our way towards the newly-discovered red-light district, keen to view the local sights, and I can inform the readers that there were several sights around, but Gordon became enamoured of this little bird with dyed blonde hair, wearing, if that be the term, a very small bra and panties. Her room was in No. 29, (The Turks being well-organised at this sort of thing) He kept on saying, “Right, we’re gonna go up and have a few more ‘bevvies’ (Gordon was of Scottish roots), and when I come back, you an’ I will get stuck together (his words, true as I breathe!). So we wandered up the road, had the customary ten or so beers more, and by that time Gordon was on fire for the little bird in black! So we shoved off down towards the brothel area, with Gordon a little ahead of the rest, and as we rounded the second corner, here he saw, or thought he saw, the light of his drunken life, standing with her back to the street at the top of a short row of steps. So he shot up the steps, not hearing the calls from his friends, “Gordon, come back, that’s number 31!” He wrapped both his arms around her from behind, and squeezed her assets, and then the vision turned around, and it was a different woman, and very different, because this one had features which would have stopped a tank dead in it’s tracks! She was just plain ugly, but thought she had made an instant conquest! It took three policemen, and a great deal of talking, to explain to the locals that it was a case of mistaken identity. We made it back to the ship, but we had to take a taxi because we were laughing so much!