Going ashore can get you much more than you bargained for

My 10 years in the navy took me to some exotic ports all over the world, but none more exotic than those along the coast of  the Mediterranean sea. And out of dozens of ports in that neck of the woods, Marseilles, France, won the prize for one of the wildest I had ever visited.

I had the good forte to go ashore in Marseilles four or five times, but one instance stands out in my mind. Actually, very little happened but what could’ve happened still makes my blood run cold.

One of my pals and I got off the ship around 4 p.m. since we were both cooks and had worked the morning shift. We had been on exercises with the dutch and american navies for two weeks, we were ready for some scruffy bars in a city famous for them.

Of course, we found one in short order and proceeded to guzzle a good number of glasses of the local brew.

At 2 a.m. when the local shore patrol arrived, we were too relaxed to move, so we wound up in the local jail.

When awoke in the morning I was in a tiny cell with nothing but a couple pots and a wooden bunk covered with a filthy blanket. The cell was underground and we could see a dozen kids playing in the street. By the stroke of incredible luck, we could see the American Embassy right across the street.

We bribed a kid to go to the Embassy and ask for help. In a matter of minutes four big US Marines showed up and took us into custody. They then drove to our ship and let us go, with a warning to stay out of waterfront bars. We did. Well, until that night.

One country in that part of the world I would like to visit again is Turkey. What a remarkable country. Very exciting for visitors and a country steeped in history.

Turkey is also famous for food and especially food cooked over open fires. But not all Turkish food is barbecued. Here is a good example; Middle East Lamb



2 cups cooked lamb cut ala julienne (in thin strips)

1/2 cup mayonnaise and vinegar (half and half)

2 tbsp. lemon juice

1 cup plan yogurt

Freshly ground white pepper to taste

1/3 cup fresh dill

1 small red onion, minced

1/2 cup green beans, sliced on the bias

1/4 cup tasted, slivered almonds

Romaine lettuce leaves

8 cherry tomatoes, halved


Mix everything except the tomatoes and romaine. Arrange the salad a bed of romaine leaves in a glass salad bowl and decorate with tomatoes and fresh parsley.


See Ya Next Week!