It was my last full day and night in Dalyan on Thursday 2nd June and I wasn’t at all ready to leave. I was obviously looking forward to seeing Captain Caveman again, after 257 days apart, and was keen to find out what he had planned for when I arrived. Captain Caveman is a good planner but a man of very few words so he was keeping anything he did have in mind to himself. He did send me a photo of the place we would be staying at when I landed in Ho Chi Minh City. I was pleased it looked like the monsoon rains there were subsiding a bit and it was mainly happening in the afternoons.
Here, in Dalyan, it was a lovely sunny day and definitely bikinis and pool weather. Our complex was full of holiday makers in or around the pool and it was the first time I’d seen it busy.
At lunch it was time for my next leaving ‘celebration’ as I’d been invited out to Hotel Dalyance. Angela had organised for us to have a little gathering with Nick, Maddie and Lyndsey as they were unable to make my party that evening. I met them at Casablanca hotel first and had a coke before we wandered round. I was tempted by the chicken and mushroom alfredo but was conscious I needed to not have a reaction to the creamy sauce so I ordered the beef wrap with chips. I was not disappointed as it was delicious and a very generous portion for a lunch time meal. Others did have the pasta dish, Lyndsey had an omelette and everything looked amazing too. I even had a glass of red wine with my food but found I couldn’t manage all of the beef wrap and took a doggy bag home. It was a lovely afternoon and I was going to miss my friends, we were already talking of reunions in September. Just before it was time to say bye, both Maddie and I had bad stomachs, as is often the case with the pair of us, so Nick had to drive Maddie home without me saying farewell. I cycled home but had to take some stomach medication to make sure I was ok for tonight’s excitement. Kate had certainly pulled out all the stops with what she’d organised for my party tonight and I was looking forward to seeing everyone! By 5pm I was not any closer to being packed for my departure to Vietnam. The apartment now looked like a bomb had hit it and there were various half filled boxes all over the place. It was hot and I had a dodgy stomach so I had a little rest and lots of water before setting off for my leaving celebrations. I still had all day tomorrow to sort everything out and get packed – loads of time, what could possibly go wrong!!?

I had to cycle Bluey2 to Kaan’s Tequila boat, the venue for my final leaving party at 6.30pm. Kaan helped me on board as the promenade had not been finished and it was a bit of a to do to access the boats. He was also a bit worried that we had too many people as I think Kate had almost 30 potential attendees at one point. As I got on, one of my friends was stressed and came straight over to me, he had to get off because his wife was at home, quite ill and they couldn’t make it, which was understandable. Sarah arrived and had her dog, Yaps, in tow. Kate is allergic to and not a fan of dogs so then I had to faff about several times taking Yaps off the boat, but she kept getting back on. Yaps didn’t understand when I told her she wasn’t invited, and the boat was already too full for her to come, she just wanted to stay with Sarah. Kate had made one of my favourites, lemon drizzle cake and buns, which she had put on the table for all to share. She had brought my delivery from Trendyol (an online shop) for something that had arrived just in time for Vietnam. Kate had also took the opportunity to invite Shiela to bring her accordion and guests had been encouraged to request some songs for her to play later. I was very happy, who gets a real life accordion player at their leaving do? It was certainly a new first for me and I was so pleased. Mark had kindly taken over dog watch at the back of the boat as he could see I was getting thirsty while we waited for some stragglers! We waited another 10 minutes after the departure time, until 6.40pm, as we were still missing a couple of people who had not shown up yet. As we had only booked Kaan and the Tequila boat for 2 hours, we wanted to make the most of our booze cruise. Kaan’s fridge was so fully stocked with everyone’s preferences that we were certainly on for a great trip.
Kaan was much happier that we had only 20 people on board; 4 had cancelled because it was a bit too busy for them, 2 no shows, 2 because of sickness, 1 had to work, and 1 decided to wait in Aşkın’s bar as we would be back by 8.30pm.

Kate and Kaan arranged for us to go to Jimmy’s island, I did a short speech to thank everyone for coming. I confessed I would miss everyone and that I was lucky to have had the chance to have spent so much time with such fantastic people. I was so surprised to see so many come to see me off (or make sure I left). I cut the cake and everyone had a slice or a bun, it was so delicious and perfectly moist. I played waitress for a few minutes, to help Kaan out and to make sure everyone had a full glass as we sailed along the river.  Mark told me he had a present for me but he hadn’t wanted to give it to me in front of everyone (oo-er, that would get the gossipers going)! Kate had even suggested it would be more convenient if I could get it tomorrow, at their place, instead and I wondered what it could be. They both signed a card with a cat on to give me and I would keep it in my diary, which Ann bought me (to remind me of Dalyan).
Kate had got her play list at the ready and had selected a relaxed stargazing selection which had worked well for her before.
Shiela got her accordion out and we went on to sing a variety of songs. It was mainly Kate and I who did the singing but it was good to see Nanny Kay joining in on the ones she knew from singing group. Ma & Pa joined in too and Adam was forced to get involved when it was time for his request. Shiela had been learning ‘Friggin’ in the Riggin” by the Sex Pistols all afternoon and did a pretty excellent job while Adam, some of the men and I gave it our best shot.
It was absolutely brilliant, Shiela played lots of great songs and we all loved it. When Mark questioned Kate’s choice of playlist, as Van Morrison crooned ‘Moondance’, she decided to turn it up a notch with her playlist, to party and dance mode.

The drinks flowed and we were positioned in a beautiful location at Jimmy’s island. Adam got off for a wander and found some donkeys and an English caravan club member to occupy him.
I’d asked Annie to take some photos which was fortuitous as I either forgot, or took terrible ones. As we danced well past 8.30pm I realised I had a party dress stuffed in my bag, as well as a bikini and a towel which didn’t get used. I managed to change without going to the toilet, not revealing anything inappropriate, and I tried to get as many drunken photos with everyone as I could. I missed a few people out though which was disappointing.
Kaan was amazing, and much to my astonishment, didn’t set off back to Dalyan until 10.30pm because no one had given him the instruction to. Of course, I’d had no WiFi while on the boat so the people who had gone to Aşkın’s for 8.30pm had either gone home without seeing me or were a bit peeved when I turned up a lot later than planned. In true leaving party fashion, I was hammered, so were most of us who made it out out! Matt, Mark and Kate were almost as plastered as me and were so funny at Aşkın’s. Adam and Kath were definitely merry on account of none of us having eaten a meal since lunch. Viv’s husband, Paul, was glad to see her and Nanny Kay were back safely and was happy we’d had an incredible time. Jamie was still there and I’m so glad I got to have a hug and a chat before I left, especially as I’d hardly seen him this visit. Even Gareth and Julie were still out with family so I got to say farewell to them too. Debbie (Darling) and Roy had waited as long as they could but I was very disappointed I wouldn’t get to see them one last time. When I went back to join Ma & Pa at the table, Matt was buying a T-shirt and was trying it on – he doesn’t usually do many boat trips so I was impressed and happy he had made it. I even said Vanessa should go away more often as Matt was on top form, being the life and soul of the party a few times.
We had more drinks at Aşkın’s then went on to Sofra bar, which I don’t remember an awful lot of. I do remember my parents, Matt and I thinking we were the lasts ones standing at Sofra bar and deciding to go to Sunset bar for a last drink. They set off walking and I went to get my bicycle to ride there. When I arrived they weren’t there and I suspected they had given me the slip, but I still rode back to Sofra to check. Luckily, Davut and Şükrü miss nothing and said they had walked down the left path towards home. Merrily I cycled back to Sunset bar where I had drinks with Annie. We finished the amazing night off with me playing gooseberry and drinking Amaretto until about 3.30am. Good old Bluey2 managed to get me home, somehow unscathed. I didn’t quite appreciate the fact that this would be my last chance to sleep in a bed, until Sunday night in Vietnam.

Photo credit – Annie Miller

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