Thursday, 15 November 2012

All safely home from our first overnight stay


Pink fluffy clouds as the sun goes down over our friends roof terrace
Last weekend we visited friends in Kemer and stayed overnight so we could have a few bevvies with the barbecue. But first we had to ship out the dogs for the night - their first experience of a night away from the homestead and we wondered how they would get on.

 In England we were lucky that we had excellent boarding kennels in our village who understood Tyson (our Labrador) very well, and he was always very happy to go there and not particularly desperate to come home afterwards. Tyson was attacked by two Alsatians some years ago and since then immediately goes on the defencive with other dogs, meaning that if the other dog retaliates we have full scale war on our hands! Over time he has become OK with bitches and castrated dogs but is still a problem with entire dogs. So it was with some trepidation that we took him to Mad About Mutts the boarding kennels that had been recommended to us. Obviously we had told them how he was, and I can't praise them enough for the care they took to introduce him to their surroundings and the thought they put into where they placed him. I shan't hesitate to recommend them to anyone else.

Kizi and Little-ee never far apart

Kizi and the puppy 'Little-ee' went to stay with the lady in our village who originally took Kizi in when she was found wandering and abandoned, so it was nice for her to see how she was getting on. Kizzi has fostered Little-ee and turned into a really good mum and they are not normally far apart and play for hours, so it made sense for them to stay together.

Anyway, we had a wonderful evening, certainly did have some bevvies and I was very fragile for the next two days - obviously out of practise!

Reunited - the dogs were glad to be home

Previously on our blog we have mentioned finding three kittens and then fostering a fourth, all of which we thought we had re homed. Well this week two of these - Tom and Peggy have returned. They were collected by Animal Aid having been abandoned. Tom had an abscess on his neck and Peggy had colitis and swollen glands. Both have been treated and are back to normal, so now we are looking for a home for them again. So if anyone can offer these two beautiful kittens a forever home just let us know.

Peggy .................

....................... and Tom back again!

Friday, 9 November 2012

A day trip to the very beautiful harbour town of Kaş

Kaş - a beautiful harbour town full of history
 When we abandoned all sense of responsibility to the winds and became holiday makers for a short while during the summer, one of the finest days out we had was a trip to Kaş. Together with David's cousin and partner who were staying with us, we set off in our hire car to explore pastures new. This was the furthest I had driven in Turkey, and I must confess to being a little nervous but it turned out that the road from Fethiye to Kaş was a fantastic drive and I didn't have any problems at all.

It always surprises us that in various directions from Fethiye, within a very short distance are very different terrains and lifestyles. The area on the way to Kaş was rural and very agricultural, and it made a change to pass through an area not geared to tourists. At one point en route as you climb the brow of a hill you are met by an entire valley of glass greenhouses and plastic poly tunnels. I have never seen so many in one place - we are talking dozens of acres. I can see why tunnels are used to catch early crops - mainly tomatoes, but it surprises me to see tomato plants in these in the height of the summer. Perhaps someone wiser than me can answer that question.
 
 Stunning views of the Mediterranean all the way from Kalkan to Kaş  

 The drive from Fethiye to Kaş is around two hours and probably around the first two thirds of this drive is through this rural, agricultural landscape, but as you approach Kalkan you swing south onto the most spectacular coastal road with views to die for. As we were on a day trip we did not have the time to stop at Kalkan - that is for another time - but pressed on to Kaş.


A sarcophagus sits
 amongst the shops
Kaş is a natural harbour town sat at the foot of the Taurus mountains. In Turkish kaş means eyebrow and it is obvious to see why the town was named this due to the shape of the bay where it sits. Kaş developed over the ancient city of  Antiphellos which was the port of the nearby Lycian city of Phellos. There is a well preserved ancient theatre, a sarcophagus and rock tombs which are situated on the hillside to the north of Kaş which are illuminated at night. The numerous ancient Lycian and archaeological sites around Kaş make it an ideal base from which lovers of historical sites can explore.
 
Across the sea to the south of Kaş is the Greek Island of Meis (Kastellorizo) only 2 kilometres (a 20 minute boat ride) away, it is easily reached by regular boat trips from the harbour. There are other boat trips available from Kaş of which a popular one is to Kekova where you can see the half submerged ruins of a Byzantine sunken city. Or you can hire a boat privately to take you to secluded bays and small islands to swim, snorkel or just laze in the sun. The new marina recently opened will be bound to attract the yachting fraternity and it will also be deep enough to accommodate the large liners which are en route along the Mediterranean. Other pursuits available are scuba diving, paragliding and walking.

As lovers of slightly less strenuous pursuits we enjoyed just wandering around this lovely town with its many narrow cobbled streets. There are some lovely waterfront cafes and restaurants to sit and while away your time and we particularly liked the fact that there are so many of what we call 'poky shops' where you see those unusual and lovely things that you didn't know you wanted until you saw them. We noticed some fabulous throws, scatter cushions, Turkish rugs and other decorative items. We loved the Bohemian feel of the town and have definitely decided that next time we visit we will stay overnight to allow us more time to browse and enjoy, but first we need to save up to buy some of the beautiful items we saw.

On the way home - the most beautiful place to sit and have drink



Thursday, 8 November 2012

Thank You to all our readers

When we began our blog earlier this year we knew absolutely nothing about having a website or setting up a blog. Everything we have managed has been the results of hours of research and trial and error from our laptop in the kitchen. If  we could have back the hours we have spent just trying to get the header right, or how to get photos in the right place we would extend our lives considerably!

When we finally felt we had the site just about how we wanted it, we then took about two weeks to pluck up the courage to press the 'publish' button for the blog to go live. We wanted people to read it, but at the same time found it a bit embarrassing too, because we were such novices. Since then we have had some really nice comments from people who read the blog and I can't tell you how much incentive that gives us to continue to write about our life in Turkey.

We are therefore, very proud that our blog has been accepted by the Expats Blog who are compiling a list of what they consider to be the best expat blogs, and further that having reviewed our blog they believe it is worthy of nomination for the Expat Blog Awards 2012.

Obviously we don't expect to receive an award this time around but are delighted that we are at least included. Part of the judging takes into account any readers comments on our listing, so if any of our regular readers feel inclined to write something about our blog this is the link to our entry. http://www.expatsblog.com/blogs/874/fethiye-fogies

We would like to express our gratitude for those of you who take the time to read our blog regularly, without you all and your encouragement we would have given up long ago - so thank you all so very much.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

HOMEMADE JAMS & CHUTNEYS - YUMMY!

Whilst David is busy making his garden paths and alternating this task with re-varnishing the windows and doors which have become a bit tatty, I am busy in the kitchen. If we have a glut of anything I try to make something from it before it goes to waste.
Apricot jam and Plum jam - yummy!

In honesty some things turn out rather better than others! I made some cherry jam earlier in the year which tastes delicious but set like concrete and is more like toffee. I pickled some beetroot and in the absence of some of the pickling spices made my own concoction and I must admit it tastes disgusting. But practise makes perfect as they say, so I soldiered on with my efforts and at last I am turning out some very edible jars of  jams, marmalades and chutneys. This week I made some plum jam, apricot jam and a spicy green tomato chutney.

Yesterday we visited a friend's house and I noticed his orange trees were heaving with fruit, so I came away with a carrier bag full and today I'm making marmalade. I did make some marmalade earlier in the year and it turned out rather well, so lets hope this does too.

First try at olives - home grown
Two years ago we planted a very small olive tree in the garden and this year we actually had our first olives. OK only a small amount but enough to make one jar of olives. Obviously this is the first time we have done this, so I read up on the Internet, watched videos on You Tube and finally decided on the way I was going to prepare them. We only recently discovered that you can't eat olives straight from the tree! I know - I can hear you all groaning at our ignorance and stupidity. But this is all quite a learning curve for us. I have always worked full time so haven't had the time for anything other than essential day to day cooking, and I am loving this new experience. We can't wait until the olives are ready to taste. I decided to put a slice of lemon in the bottom of the jar and have put some garlic cloves and one of our 'little red devil' peppers in too. So time will tell if that combination worked!

We have just planted some broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and lettuce in the garden and we are still getting tomatoes and peppers from the plants we put in the garden in the spring which is amazing. We are going to put in some kind of irrigation system in during the winter because watering with a hose in the height of summer is time-consuming and wasteful, so hopefully next year the garden won't be quite such hard work. We are looking forward to that!








Saturday, 3 November 2012

FETHIYE FRIDAY MARKET - full of wonderful Turkish produce


Fethiye is famous the world over for it's Tuesday market and there can't be many holidaymakers visiting Turkey who haven't spent an hour or three ambling the numerous aisles. But Fethiye also has a Friday market on the same site - for produce alone, and we love going to this market to see the fabulous array of fresh fruit and vegetables.


The market is huge and attracts commercial traders as well as individuals who are selling the produce from their gardens. Often there are 3 or 4 ladies from our village who have collected together, plants, eggs, fruit and vegetables, milk and freshly made bread to sell. There is a large covered area and then the smaller traders tend to be outside under tarpaulin along the stretch of the canal. This where we have found incredibly cheap fruit, veg and plants as well as fantastic village bread freshly made that morning.



The majority of the produce on sale is fresh and naturally grown. Yes tomatoes may vary from massive to tiny and oranges may not be bright orange but the taste of this produce is suberb. Being our first year living here we are still spotting fruit and vegetables that we have never seen before, but we make sure we try them all.


 Often the stallholders speak no English at all but they are keen to chat and let you try their wares, and we find visiting the market an excellent opportunity to practise our Turkish speaking - limited as it is!
















 
One thing we really like about Turkey is that people actually cook here. You will see the Turkish people walking around the market, selecting the best produce and weighed down with their masses of bulging bags. There are very few convenience foods available and everyone cooks meals from fresh produce, something which I am a great advocate of doing. I hated it when I ate convenience foods in the UK due to lack of time when working full time and it is an absolute pleasure to be able to prepare fresh food again.

Inspired by the Turkish ladies, I am also trying to preserve fruit and vegetables for the winter with the help of good old Google and our Turkish friends' advice and we now have several jars of 'this and that' in the cupboard. Time will tell if they are going to be edible!






Friday, 2 November 2012

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A FOSTER PUP ...... in her own words

Yesterday a puppy came to join the family. We agreed to foster her until a forever home can be found. She was found in a wet and soggy cardboard box in a park in Ovacik. She has been seen by a veterinary surgeon and has been wormed and sprayed for pest infestation. The veterinary surgeon assessed her age as being about 8 weeks old. Here is how she found her first day with us - in her own words........

"I ARRIVED AT MY FOSTER HOME AND I WAS A BIT SCARED
SO I LAID STILL AND WATCHED FOR A WHILE"
"MY FOSTER MUM TOOK ME OUTSIDE TO MEET THE OTHER DOGS
BUT THEY WERE A BIT BIG SO I HUNG ON TO HER APRON STRINGS"


"TYSON WAS HUGE AND HE WANTED TO SMELL MY BOTTOM
I TRIED TO BE BRAVE!"


"I THOUGHT KIZI WOULD WANT TO SMELL ME TOO
SO I ROLLED OVER. I'M GETTING USED TO THIS NOW"


"KIZI TOLD ME SHE HAS HER OWN CAT - SHE SEEMS OK TOO"

"TYSON GAVE ME HIS FAVOURITE TOY - 'YELLOW BOBBLY BALL'. HE ASKED IF I COULD FETCH YET. I TRIED BUT I COULDN'T MAYBE I'M STILL TOO SMALL"

"BUT THEY SAID BECAUSE I HAD TRIED I COULD BE PART OF THEIR GANG
WAHAY! ..... I'M SO EXCITED!"
"WHEN WE WENT INDOORS MUM DIDN'T LIKE ME CHEWING THE EDGE OF THE RUG SO SHE GAVE ME AN OLD SHOE - I LOVE IT!"
"I HAD A GREAT GAME WITH A NEWSPAPER I FOUND ............
................. THEN TRIED TO LOOK MY MOST APPEALING
WHEN I THOUGHT MAYBE I SHOULDN'T HAVE"


"I SHOWED KIZI HOW TO CHEW A SHOE - SHE DIDN'T KNOW!!!"

"I LIKE KIZI .............

................. SHE'S NICE"

"I DINED WITH THE CAT .....................

........................ BUT THEN REALISED I WAS GETTING TIRED...............

................. SO I HAD A POO ON THE RUG ..............



.............. AND WENT TO SLEEP"
  

NEW PASSPORT RULES FOR ENTRY TO TURKEY

This ruling comes into force from 1st January 2013.

Entry Requirements - Passport validity & space for visa stamp

You must hold a valid passport to enter Turkey. Your passport must be valid for a minimum period of six months from the date of entry into Turkey and have at least three months validity from the date you are exiting Turkey.

You should ensure that your British passport has a blank page for a visa stamp. If it does not, the Turkish Authorities will issue a one-off “Entry-Exit form” and put your entry-exit stamp on there. You should carry this form with you in Turkey and present it to the border officers, when you leave Turkey.

After 31 December 2012 all foreign (including British) passport holders will be refused entry to Turkey if their passport does not have a blank page for the entry visa and entry/exit stamps.

The above is copied from the British Embassy website

Thursday, 1 November 2012

A SUMMER OF SUNSHINE, A NEW MEMBER OF THE FAMILY AND NOW BACK TO WORK

With the best of intentions but none of the will power, we have been easily diverted from both writing on our blog and improving the garden to thoroughly enjoy our first Turkish summer. We have preferred instead to bask in the sunshine and see some of the sights, and thoroughly enjoyable it has been too.

But now the clocks have gone back, rain is starting and storms are brewing so we are both back to work as it were. Since David returned to Turkey at the beginning of August we have had a wonderful time, we have had family and friends to stay, made many new friends and been to places we had never been to before.

I think it is fair to say that when we announced some time ago that it was our intention to move to Turkey full time, this was met with a certain amount of concern and even horror by some of our family and friends. That we could even consider upping sticks and moving to a Muslim country which previously we had only been to on holiday was beyond their comprehension. So it was particularly pleasing when David's cousin and his partner came to stay, that they enjoyed themselves so much. Neither of them had been to Turkey before, nor I might add, probably ever would have. But they really loved Turkey - they loved the beauty of the place, the food, the people, everything in fact and were both very sorry to leave. Both said it was their best holiday ever and that they understood now why we had chosen Turkey for our new life.

We have now passed the 6 month anniversary of our arrival here and so far neither of us have any regrets whatsoever. Of course one downside of moving abroad is missing friends and family and I recently had a very stressful time when my daughter went into hospital to give birth to my first grandchild. Four days later after a very difficult time Rosie Ellen entered the world weighing in at 8lb 10oz and nobody could be more proud than me! I am making a brief visit to the UK later this month just to meet her for the first time and I am so looking forward to that.
ROSIE ELLEN NEWLY BORN WHAT A PROUD GRANNIE AM I?
We have continued to grow our vegetables and we have a learnt a lot about vegetable growing in Turkey this year - mostly by doing it all the wrong way. So we can't wait to have another go next year, now we are a bit more experienced. This year we did not enjoy a beautiful lawn either because one of the first things Kizi did when she arrived was to eat the irrigation system, along with the sofa and our beautiful wooden seat on the terrace. At the moment David's project is laying paths around the vegetable plots and we are even building a water feature to sit and contemplate beside in a shady nook in the garden. I guess at the end of the day (if we live long enough) it will be lovely that we have planned, built and designed our own garden, but I must admit I am very envious when I see friends properties bought with already established, mature gardens. Ours just looks like a building site at the moment!

THIS LITTLE CHAP FREQUENTLY JOINED US IN THE GARDEN DURING THE SUMMER
I make no apologies that we are so interested in the animal welfare here, and we do all we can to help. As mentioned in previous blogs we took on a rescued German Shepherd - Kizi and a very sick cat - Çingene. A few weeks ago we were going out one night and found three kittens which had been abandoned near our house. As we live right out of the village and only have one neighbour, where they came from will remain a complete mystery. They had obviously been dumped either purposefully near our house, or on the mountain beside us and had found their own way down. They were hungry, and crying pitifully, so of course we took them in! Thankfully we had kept the flight crates our animals had flown from England in, so in they went. I took them to the vet where they were wormed, had their claws clipped and given a clean bill of health.

TOM THE ONLY MALE WHO WENT TO A HOME WITH HIS BEST FRIEND PEGGY
 
ONE OF THE TABBY FEMALE KITTENS FOUND ABANDONED BUT NOW REHOMED

THE OTHER TABBY FEMALE KITTEN REHOMED WITH HER SISTER TO A LOVELY HOME
Two weeks later I was one of five volunteers who went to the vets to learn about animals being stung, bitten or poisoned to enable us to administer what could be life saving injections if local animals suffered any of these. Unfortunately there is no local vet in Uzumlu, meaning that any sick animal needs to be taken to Calis or Fethiye. In the case of snake bites, insect stings and poisoning the distance is often too far and an immediate injection can buy the animal time to get there for further treatment. I took the kittens with me for their first injections and guess who were the guinea pigs for people to give their first injection to. I felt very guilty, particularly as they each had to have two injections in order for everyone to have a turn, but at the end of the day they probably would have died if we hadn't adopted them anyway.

I returned from the vets not with three kittens but with four! 'Peggy' was a kitten which Animal Aid Fethiye had taken to the vets with a broken leg. She had been there for a month and as she was the same age and size as our three it seemed very churlish not to take her too. As it happened the two tabbies we had were very close, so the third now had a partner as well. It was lovely therefore, that when the kittens found new homes they went in twos and were able to stay together, forever.

NEW ADDITION TO THE FAMILY - FOUND ABANDONED IN OVACIK IN A SOAKING WET BOX
 

Today we have adopted a puppy she is absolutely endearing so lets hope we can find her a loving, forever home too.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

KURBAN BAYRAMI - THE FESTIVAL OF SACRIFICE

Kurban Bayrami is the most important Religious Festival of the year and is a 4 and a half day holiday. This year the festival commenced on Wednesday 24th October with the half day 'Arife' which is a day of preparation for the festival ahead. 
MAY NOT BE SEEING THESE GUYS AROUND AFTER KURBAN BAYRAMI!

Kurban Bayrami which falls around 70 days after Ramazan, is the festival of sacrifice in memory of the ram sacrificed by Ibrahim in place of his son Ishmael. In Islamic rules every family who can afford to should sacrifice an animal, sharing the meat with family, friends, neighbours and the poor. One third of the animal being kept by the family, one third being given to friends and neighbours and one third being donated to the poor. Turkish law now makes it illegal to sacrifice animals in public places, however this law is not always enforced and it can be difficult to entirely avoid the sacrifices taking place, usually on the first day of the festival. I know of someone who was just taking a walk and saw goats, sheep and a camel being slaughtered, albeit behind some trees! The animals slaughtered have to be at least one year old (in the case of camels and cattle - two years) and must be healthy. Some families prefer to make charitable donations in lieu of a sacrifice.

As with the Şeker Bayramı during the festival people will travel to visit friends and family, strengthening family ties and giving the children an opportunity to bond with older members of the family. People will often buy their children new clothes to wear for the duration of the festival, in turn giving their old ones to poorer families.Kurban Bayrami is also the time of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. With so many people travelling it means that transport can be chaotic particularly on the first and last day of the festival. So unless you have to, you are probably better avoiding the roads on these days.

Banks, schools and Government offices will be closed for the duration of the festival and shops and supermarkets will be open for reduced hours, so it is best to stock up before. We went to Fethiye market on the Tuesday before the festival and it was absolutely heaving - I have never seen so many people there. I expected the supermarket to have empty shelves when we went late in the day, but in spite of the crowds there were no gaps on the shelves at all hardly - a lesson to be learnt there for English supermarkets!

This year's Kurban Bayrami concludes on the evening of Sunday 28th October, but is followed by another public holiday on Monday 29th - Republic Day which commemorates the proclamation of Turkey becoming a Republic on October 29th 1923 by Ataturk. On this day in 1923 the Turkish constitution was amended and Turkey became a Republic, formally declaring the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. Commemorative events and fireworks are held throughout Turkey, and people also commemorate Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

So this year banks, schools and official offices will be closed for a full week. Also be sure you have all the money you need as A.T.M.'s often also run out during the course of this week.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

RAMAZAN BAYRAMI - A TIME OF GREAT CELEBRATION IN TURKEY

Today is Ramadan Feast Eve which marks the last day of the month long Ramazan fasting and is a  day of preparation for the start of the three day festival Ramazan Bayrami also known as the Şeker Bayramı (sugar festival) since it is customary to offer sweets to family and friends who visit.

Many people will purchase new clothes to wear for the Festival, and will take time preparing traditional desserts such as Baklava to give to friends and neighbours. Today is also a day to remember and honour the dead and many people will be visiting the cemeteries to visit the graves of departed friends and family.

Eid ul-fitr (the festival of the breaking of the fast) is the end of the month of Ramazan and the commencement of a three day festival, during which all Government offices, schools, banks and many private businesses will be closed. A time of feasting and sharing, when friends, family and neighbours are visited, past grievances are cast aside and charity is foremost in people's minds. Children will visit relatives and friends and traditionally kiss the elders right hand and then place their hand on their forehead as a mark of respect to them. They will in turn give the children sweets and money.

Although not living here last year we happened to be here on holiday during the Ramazan Bayrami and it was a wonderful atmosphere here in the village. On the first day of celebrations we saw villagers setting off to visit neighbouring villages by any number of modes of transport. They went by mule, packed in cars, on trailers pulled by ancient tractors, entire families loaded on scooters and all dressed up as we had never seen them before.

Conspicuous in their absence was the herd of goats the first morning of Bayrami which normally browse around our house. However, the goatherd was there with his stock in the evening looking very dapper in his best clothes, allowing his goats to browse in the field opposite our house. A lady with them - Mother? - laid down in the field whilst they browsed and after an hour or more of  laying comatosed, during which time we watched her dog try several times to rouse her, we were just about to go across, as we were thinking she had suffered a heart attack and died, when she slowly got up and tottered off - a case of over indulgence at the family feast perhaps?!

During the three days of festivities, traffic increases considerably as people travel to visit friends and relatives. In fact statistics show a massive increase in credit card expenditure during this time, a lot of which is spent on petrol. It is also possible that ATMs may run out of money during the holiday period. But other than that most visitors to Turkey during the Festival period will thoroughly enjoy the fantastic atmosphere at this time.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

THE DOLMUŞ - SO MUCH MORE THAN A BUS IN RURAL TURKEY


We currently don't have a car in Turkey, the jury is still out as to whether we really need to have one here or not. Cars are very expensive to buy here - several thousand lira for what in England we would consider a £500 old banger, also petrol is extremely expensive here. So at the moment we rely on public transport, which in Turkey is the Dolmuş (mini-buses) for local routes or the Otobüs (coaches) for the longer journeys. It is very easy to get pretty well anywhere you want to in Turkey on one or the other. But for the moment I am concentrating on the Dolmuş, which we have now used several times and we feel each time we use one we are setting off on an unknown adventure.

Most visitors to Turkey will have used a dolmuş at one time or another to get from a to b, and they are a great experience. Although each dolmuş has a start and finish point, in between these there are no bus stops (apart from on some city/town routes), you basically get on and off wherever you like.

OUR VILLAGE DOLMUS FETHIYE TO UZUMLU WITH IT'S GREEN FRONT
 If you want to get on it's easy, you just stick out your arm like hailing a London cab, the driver stops as soon as he can and you climb on board. If you're lucky you get a seat, or you may have to stand. It is usual to pay when you board the dolmuş, by giving your money to the driver, obviously as they are driving at the time it is best if you can give the correct fare, but if not they are very adept at counting money whilst driving! They also talk on their mobile phones, catch sight of any prospective fares walking along the road - in which case they will pip their horn to see if they want to get on, listen for people wanting to get off at random places, carry on conversations with people on the bus and cope with the Turkish traffic which is another subject all on it's own. Being a dolmuş driver is clearly not for the person who cannot multitask!! If when you get on the dolmuş you are swept down the other end of the bus from the driver, it is quite normal to pass the money to the person in front of you who will in turn pass it on down the dolmuş, any change appearing back with you shortly as other passengers pass it back to you from the driver.

To make it even easier each dolmuş is colour coded according to it's route. Our local Fethiye to Uzumlu one is green, others have yellow, blue, red, black fronts so that you can see as they approach if it is yours or not, long before you can read the sign on the front. Also in general they run regularly and to time. The British transport system could certainly learn a lot from them.

The Ölüdeniz dolmuş is white with blue writing

Getting off for us non Turkish speaking people, is of course more of a problem and I think some of us are telling little porkies here if we say we have not on occasion got off later than we would have liked, because of the utter fear of making a spectacle of ourselves trying to attract the drivers attention from the back of the bus. I understand that it is usual to say one of the following:
"Inecek Var" (someones getting off)
"Musait bir yerde inebilir miyim?" (Can I get off at a convenient place?)
"Musait bir yerde!" (Somewhere suitable!)
Musait bir yerde indirir misiniz?" (Will you let me get off somewhere convenient?)
or just "Dur lutfen" (stop please).

But so far we just stand and dither and hope the driver catches sight of us. What a pair of wimps we are - but early days, I'm sure we will get braver.

Whilst all of the above is fairly standard for any dolmuş ride, the rural routes such as our dolmuş to Uzumlu is often a little different. For a start the drivers know everyone in the villages and exactly where they live, so they will automatically draw up right outside their house if it is en route, or as close as possible if they live up a side road.

A lot of villagers use the dolmuş to do their main shopping and will get on laden with bag after bag, particularly on market days, which are spread all along the aisles. Unlike in the UK where most people look the other way, the other passengers enthusiastically help with the loading and unloading of these goods. We have heard of someone who brought a washing machine home on the dolmuş with most of the people on the bus contributing to the heaving to get it on board!

As we have already mentioned in a previous blog, our milk is delivered by the driver twice a week, as is other people's who live out of the village. We have often seen unaccompanied 'objects' being put on the dolmuş for instance last time it was a motor off something, which when the driver drew up outside the service engineers in Fethiye a guy appeared on the pavement and took it into his shop. No doubt it travelled back the same way when it had been mended! It is quite normal for large bags of 'whatever' to be dropped off at the shops in the village.

We have sat on the bus in Uzumlu square and waited whilst the driver uses his mobile phone to check whether someone who is normally on that dolmuş is not coming or is just late. We have waited at points along the route for people to appear whose friends have asked the driver to wait for them. But one of the most bizarre was when we drew up outside a bakers shop in Fethiye and a youngster on the dolmuş was given some money by an elderly Turkish couple, he disappeared into the shop only to reappear a few moments later with their shopping and change and we all proceeded on our way again!

In our opinion these drivers are to be applauded for their service to the rural communities, we think they are absolutely brilliant!

So as well as providing us with the transport we need, we love the trips on the dolmuş when we are never quite sure how it is going to turn out and of course whether this is the trip where we dare to say in Turkish we would like to get off!



Monday, 13 August 2012

A CATCH UP ON OUR LIVES IN TURKEY

It's been so hectic lately that we have not been able to find time to add to our blog. So here goes with a catch up on our lives in Turkey.

Most important is that David has finally returned after several weeks in the UK. He has now disposed of all the furniture and other belongings that we still had in England so now all bridges are burnt, and we are more determined than ever to make our new life in Turkey work for us.

He arrived just in time for my birthday which was wonderful, he managed to take my breath away by asking me to marry him on the morning of my birthday. After several years of living together this was rather shocking! So now we are planning a wedding in Turkey next May, and have to start finding out how to do that. Any advise welcome!


Çingene thinks she is a dog

The new animals have now settled well and seem extremely happy here. Çingene has now been on her own with the dogs so long we think she thinks she is a dog. She is the Matriarch of the family, and in spite of her diminutive stature thinks nothing of slapping the dogs faces if she thinks they need pulling back in line! Horrace has finally decided he is fed up with living upstairs and has now rejoined the family without incident. Inca however, is still cutting her nose to spite her face and refusing to mix with the others yet. But we can tell shes getting fed up now and we don't think it will be long before she too joins the rest of the gang. When I think of the early days with the two new ones it goes to show how people should persevere when taking on another animal and not give up at the first problem, because it does take time for them to settle. Particularly rescued animals as they unfortunately, inevitably 'bring baggage' with them from their previous lives, where who knows what they suffered.

"I love you Tyson"

Two good mates having a snooze together

The garden has done well for our first year, our greatest achievements being the melons and aubergines which we could never grow in England. But we have learnt a lot about how different gardening is here and we have made a lot of mistakes along the way, by trying to garden the English way!

While David was away I started to go to the Quiz night at The Uzumlu Winehouse. A great evening where all are welcome and it is for a good cause to raise money for Animal Aid.

I also had a wonderful day at Nif visiting the donkeys which were transferred to a wonderful home there, having been found in a sorry state in Fethiye, but I will write more on that another time. I would like to thank the Animal Aid team who took me under their wing and took me to these two events. They are are a truly wonderful bunch of people who made me feel so welcome whilst I was in Turkey on my own, and I can't thank them enough for that.

Now life has settled back down again we look forward to days out exploring and look forward to writing about where we go, what we do and who we meet.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

IDLING ON FETHIYE HARBOUR AND APPLAUSE FOR FETHIYE BELEDIYE FOR INTRODUCING DRINKING STATIONS FOR THE STREET ANIMALS

On Saturday I arranged to buy a throw that someone was advertising on the Buy, Sell or Swap Fethiye Facebook page, so on Sunday I caught the dolmus down to Fethiye to meet the lady there to collect it.

Obviously it was too good an opportunity to miss for a wander around Fethiye, so I went in early to do just that. First stop an iced coffee at the Address Restaurant to sate my withdrawal from the beautiful Fethiye harbour and for a spot of people and boat watching. I arrived at the harbour around 10 am so was able to spend a very pleasant half an hour watching holiday makers clambering aboard the boats in anticipation of their day out at sea. One of the day trips is an absolute must for visitors to Fethiye - a most enjoyable way to spend a day, swimming in quiet bays, watching the stunning scenery, partaking of a lovely lunch washed down with an Efes or two and a very good way to top up the tan!

IDLING AWAY HALF AN HOUR WITH AN ICED COFFEE,
WATCHING THE BOATS SET OFF ON THEIR DAY TRIPS
PEOPLE AND BOAT WATCHING ON FETHIYE HARBOUR

Having quenched my thirst, and had my fill of the delights of the harbour, I set off to complete my next task. A few days ago I was delighted to report on our Facebook page that Fethiye Belediye (Council) have installed 30 drinking stations around Fethiye for the benefit of the street animals, and I wanted to see if I could find one.

I have mentioned in previous posts that street dogs and cats are a continuing problem in Turkey, but that great inroads are being made by the local Animal welfare charity - Animal Aid Fethiye, who work tirelessly to raise money for the neutering programme, support for the animal shelter and veterinary fees for injured or sick animals. Their work is really making a difference here. So it is a wonderful step forward for those animals who are on the street through no fault of their own, that Fethiye Belediye have now installed these for their benefit. They are connected to the mains water so fill automatically.

ONE OF THIRTY NEW DRINKING STATIONS PLACED AROUND FETHIYE
 FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE STREET ANIMALS
So WELL DONE Fethiye Belediye for that. Now perhaps they will follow some other districts in Turkey and think about feeding stations too.