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Category Archives: Turkey

Aphrodisias

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Aphrodisias is an ancient city in Turkey located about an hour and a half from Pamukkale. It is bypassed by the hundreds of tour buses that offer a two day tour to Ephesus and Pamukkale. It is a hidden gem . They have found traces of civilization going back 2800-2200B.C.
It is one of my favourite ancient sites in Turkey. I’ll let the photos tell the story.

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Direct Speech- Saying it as you see it, Turkish style

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I have found Turkish  people to be amazingly direct and to jump in places even I wouldn’t dare to go! Within a short time of meeting them, you can be asked “How much do you earn?”  “How much have you in the bank?”. These questions often precede the more basic “How old are you?”

When we were first furnishing our house we went to Metro, a large store which sells wholesale but also gives a day pass to ordinary shoppers. If you do not hold a metro card, you get this day pass on entering the store. You need photo ID and a contact telephone number.

I gave them my phone number and produced my passport which was a number of years old. In my photo I had the end of a perm in my hair. The girl looked at my passport and then doubtfully at me. I now had a straight bob and was 6 years older. So my other half produced my driving licence. The photo was even older and I had a “chaps haircut”……or a “convicts haircut” some might say in it.

Once again, the girl looked at my photo IDs and then back at me. “Oh, you’re so much prettier now” she exclaimed!

A more recent incident, I was swimming in the pool and there was a lady, dressed in a bhurkini also in for a swim. She was full of admiration for my front crawl and wanted me to show her how to do it. It was so difficult for her to lift the arms far enough out of the water as she was weighed down by her swimming costume. She then decided to engage me in conversation and wanted to know if my friend’s 5 year old was my grandchild. I told her that I had no grandchildren as yet. This led to the inevitable question of my age.

When I told her I was 50 she appeared shocked! It was not my comparative youth that gave her pause. How did I have so many lines on my face if I was only 50. Answering with my own brand of humour I told her it was because I was married……to which she replied that she had lost her husband recently. He died of complications due to diabetes. Oops, that was my two feet well and truly in my mouth.

It got more difficult when I was asked to guess her age…..what a minefield. I went for being younger, at least that was more flattering (though in hindsight I should have gone for the late 60’s) It turns out she was 52. There are definitely advantages in being covered when living in hot climates!

All my friends have had similar experiences, we have put on weight, our Turkish is disimproving……..One friend was told by a neighbour, that the previous owner of her house kept the place spotless and washed the terrace several times a day. My friend was very quick however. She replied she was a conservationist and didn’t believe in wasting water!

So now, I tell people I’m half Turk and jump in where angels fear to tread.

The New Barbie!

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One day, early on in our friendship, I went to visit Gülsüm. We sat and chatted and then she invited me to come with her to visit her mother. Her mum lives less than 500m from her. So off we set. The first thi

ng I noticed when we arrived at the house was about 10 pairs of ladies shoes outside the door. Oh oh!. Sure enough when we went in there were eight women of varying ages, sitting and chatting. Not only were they chatting but everyone of them had some handwork, knitting, sewing crotchet. İt was like stepping back a couple of generations in İreland. Gülsüm told them I was a friend and immediately they

started to ask her about me. Where was I from, was İ married, where was my husband, did İ have children,were we renting a house……?????????? Much to their surprise, I answered the basic questions in Turkish. There was an immediate cry of….’Come to my house, come to my house, I live…….’ One lady wanted me to tell her why her husband who had died of cancer when working in a factory in Holland hadn’t received her pension form the EU and could I sort it out for her.

Later, I went back to Sean and told him that even though İ didn’t have the body for it, he was looking at the new Barbie. Everyone wanted to play with me!

Friends and Fishing Nets!

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I arrived in Türkbükü at approximately 9 o’clock on Monday morning. I no sooner had the car parked than Metin was out to carry my bags.  It was a beautiful sunny morning. I opened the door and reeled back in shock. The houses on our site were built as summer houses. Because of this, there are no south-facing windows. It was colder inside than out.

'home' again

I immediately opened all the shutters to let in the light and switched on the gas super ser. Opening the shutters was an immediate signal that I had arrived and shortly my phone gave a couple of quick beeps. Gulsum’s signal to ring her back. Gülsüm is my friend from across the road. She has taken me into her home and into her heart. She speaks no english and is very patient with my turkish. Instead of the rapid fire Turkish she usually speaks she has learned to simply everything so that İ can understand.

Gülsüm

Gülsüm married young, at the age of seventeen and now has two sons in their twenties. The youngest, Onur is engaged and impatient to marry but is in the middle of his military service. Military service in Turkey is unpaid and the loss of his income to the family is substantial. The family is all engaged in tourism, or seasonal work, the boys drive their own taxi and Olcay, Gülsüm’s husband drives his own water tanker. Off season life is difficult with little work to be had. Enter Gülsüm! She makes and repairs fishing nets. İt is amazing to see. She sits on her living room floor, from sunrise to way past sun set. Everywhere you look there are nets.  Her house has  wonderful views out over the bay and it is a joy to sit on her balcony in the summer enjoying the sea breeze that blows up the hill.

The view from Gülsüm's balcony

In winter time the same balcony is filled with nets. She has worked everyday, without fail, since İ was last out in October making the nets. There are different size nets depending on the fishing season. Sometimes, the mesh is large and she can complete a net in a day but when a fine mesh is required, it takes 2 days to finish. She receives 40 Turkish Lira (tl) for each finished net. In addition to all this, she looks after her family. does all the housework and is an amazing cook. I used to lose weight when İ went to Turkey first on holidays, and then İ met Gülsüm. Sure enough, shortly she appeared on my doorstep, with a plate in her hand. Roll on the week, I’m going to dine well. Below are some photos of Gülsüm and her friends at work. Thanks to my friend Rasa for the photos.

Ladies at work!