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Old 21st May 2005, 01:39   #1 (permalink)
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Further Travels in South-West Türkiye Part 1

Those of you who have waited patiently for my next thrilling episode are sadly going to be disappointed. Unlike the previous installments, this is not going to be a kiss and tell because the light of my life has requested that we keep our lives private. I respect his wishes and shall endevour to keep any references of him out of my musings. If I do slip up, keep quiet and he won`t know.

May 31st 2004. The scene Gatwick Airport and yours truly waving goodbye to three tearful kids and a brother. I only have two children and the third is a friend of my eldest`s and thinks of me as a supplementary mother. Whereas most women of my age collect Royal Albert, figurines and even stuffed animals, I collect children.To date, I have five extra appendages, one who is a contributor to this site.

I was far from unhappy. Excitment ran through my body and I couldn`t wait to get on that plane and head for Türkiye. True, the flight landed at 6.30am local time and my transfer was arranged by he who cannot be named, but my feelings were `Waheey, life starts here`. It may seem rather cold, but I couldn't understand why they looked so miserable. Everything I had dreamt about, worked towards and planned for the past 12 years was now happening. Only one of my friends had bothered to come to my farewell party.It was neighbours and local people who gave me their good wishes and said how lucky I was? Even now, ten months on my so called best friend is not speaking. Luck did not come into the equation. I made a decision a long time ago that when the time was right, I was moving to Türkiye. It took me some fourteen years, but I got here.

The flight passed with nothing unusual happening and we landed at Dalaman at 6.30am. As I waited for my one suitcase, I reflected upon everything going far too smoothly. Somewhere, somehow following the rules of Sod's law there would be a major hiccup. Walking out of the terminal, two turkish men came towards me. I vaguely recognized one as he who cannot be named, friend Süleyman. The other was his friend who spoke better english. They slung my suitcase into the back of a pick-up truck and we drove off in the early morning sunshine. On reaching Ovacik the hiccup materialized. Here I discovered that the apartment I was expecting to move into, was locked up and the keyholder could not be found. After driving around for some two hours, I decided that I would stay in a hotel that I was familiar with, until something was sorted out.

Naturally, as he who cannot be named had given charge of my welfare and strict instructions on what was to be done with me to Süleyman, he had to be consulted by telephone. This done and everyone in agreement I was deposited at the hotel and left to my own devices. Now, the best laid plans etc, etc. As events had now deviated from the original game plan, I had to revert to base and start again.

I knew that I wouldn`t be able to afford to stay at the hotel for any length of time as my finances wouldn`t allow it. However, for two weeks I was a tourist, doing the local restaurants, bars, sunning my bum, letting my hair down and renewing old acquatances. Putting my feelers out, I was given the address of a hotel which had apartments and they were willing to rent one for a period of time. As it was a friend of a friend, I was able to negoiate a reasonable price and de-camped from Ölü, back up the mountain to Ovacik.

What was to be my home for the next seven weeks, was large and airy. Unfortunately, it was only temporary as my two dogs were following me out from England. Two weeks after I moved in, five of the kids descended upon me, minus two canines. I had spent an arm and a leg, well two dogs, so all my limbs on having them micro-chipped, full range of jabs, including Rabies and Turkish Airlines had agreed to fly them into Antalya.

Then disaster struck.The official body which covers Animal Health, import\export refused them permission to fly because their Rabies jabs, were one day too late. Flights were rearranged for the following month and I duly signed the lease for a much smaller, expensive apartment which were willing to have the dogs. It was agreed that Callum and his friend would escort the dogs out, stay for a week and then fly back to England.

One main job sorted, one to go. I had shipped out via izmir, all my wordly goods – some 140kg. A phone call from the shipping agent informed me that they needed to be collected. Once again, he who cannot be named (this is turning into a Harry Potter) came to the rescue and instructed his long suffering friend to escort me to izmir. This he did accompanied by his friend. I had heard horror stories about retreiving goods from Turkish customs and was prepared for any eventuality, including bribing them with my secret stash of Jelly babies.

We set off early, on a bright hot morning in June. izmir, is some five hours drive away on roads very similar to the Dalaman/Fethiye road. Stopping only to eat at a roadside Lokanta, we arrived in izmir at 2.30 pm.Süleyman, had some relation who was au fait with the complexity of the docks and customs and we drove down winding streets leading to the dock side to find him. We located him in a tea house and unwillingly dragged him away from his backgammon game.

izmir is a very nice place to explore on foot with many interesting things to see.Driving round a one- way system, attempting to locate the exit for the docks is a nightmare. After driving past the Luna Park twice, we eventually found the right turn off and headed for the Customs Office. Although it is located in the new shipping terminal which gleams with white marble and shiny glass, we were directed to a doorway at the far end.

Inside, a wooden counter ran as far as the eye could see and inital reactions were that scrooge wouldn`t have looked out of place with his quill pen. It was dirty, cluttered and everyone sat around desks smoking and drinking. Paperwork and files littered the floor and Turkish men obviously attempting to retrive goods were leaning over the counter gesticulating and speaking in raised voices.

Thanking my lucky stars that I had three able Turkish men with me I was led behind the counter and seated at a desk. A rapid Exchange of words took place and it was decided that we needed to visit the shipping agent and obtain the other copy of the shipping list. I was told that it needed to be translated into turkish and six photocopies of this, my passport and a copy of my rental agreement was required. As it was now 4pm and the Office was closing, it was agreed that we would return first thing in the morning.

Exiting the terminal, we once again entered the chaos of the one way system.Our destination now, was the shipping agent. Luckily the relation knew his streets and directed us to park alongside a disused warehouse. Leaving the friend in the pick-up truck we walked down various streets and alleyways until we located the address. A small lift took us up four floors to the agent`s Office.
Stepping inside,it was obvious that this guy made a lot of Money. A leather settee and two matching armchairs stood on a deep plush red carpet. A huge desk took up the remaining space and here and there a well placed ornament or plant added to the luxury setting. It soon became evident as to how this guy obtained his wealth. He demanded 100 tl before he would even look for the shipping list. Feeling rather annoyed, after all he had been paid already by my agent in England and the list was rightfully mine, I reluctantly gave him the Money. The list was produced in five seconds flat and I declined to shake his hand.

We now had all the neccessary papers apart from the translation which Süleyman assured me, they could do in customs. Back to the pick-up and the maze into izmir. The relation directed us to a lovely old hotel in the old town called Sultan Han. It was built around a courtyard complete with a tinkling fountain and the brochure informed me that it was built in 1850 something and had withstood the great fire, numerous invasions and apart from an additional modern wing, remained exactly the same. Here I booked two rooms, a single and a twin.

It was decided that we would go out to eat and then have an early night. After a quick shower with the customary inch bar of soap, we set off to find a restaurant. Why is it that men have no sense of direction? Ok guys, before you all start having a go at me, I shall rephrase that. Is it a male trait that men automatically assume that the direction they are heading in, is the correct one? Speedy has pure griffin blood, and the homing instincts of a welsh pit pony, so the statement does not apply to him. As we walked off the main street, I hinted that perhaps we were heading towards the water front and we needed to turn right. Giving me a look that said ‘we are men, we are turkish and you are a woman', the boys strode purposefully ahead.

One hour later and numerous offices, banks and the occasional shop and not a soul in sight, they swallowed their manly pride and admitted that they were lost. Despite the overwhelming urge to inflict serious bodily harm upon their persons, I smiled sweetly and told them to follow me. As we had walked a straight line from the main road, it didn't need a degree in orienteering to realise that if we turned right, we would arrive back where we started from, only further down. A sharp right turn a good walk and we were greeted by bright lights and civilization.

We found a restaurant, ordered the local kebabs and sat down to discuss the next day's agenda. It was only 9pm but we were all tired, worn out from pounding izmir's financial beat and Süleyman had driven for six hours in bright sunshine. Walking slowly back to the hotel, we agreed on a quick beer in the bar and then bed. Süleyman setting the alarm on my phone, to ensure that I didn't oversleep.

I was awake before the alarm and quickly dressed. I headed downstairs, knocking on the boys door as I passed. Breakfast was being served in the sunlit courtyard and I was led to a table alongside the fountain. I could see that breakfast was self-service and walked over to see what as available. No sooner had I moved, than the waiter was at my side insisting I sat down and he would serve me. Fine by me.Whilst waiting I took an interest in my fellow diners and came to the conclusion that they were travellers or reps. Each seemed to know each other and all carried a filo fax and mobile phone. As the only woman and english at that, they all furtively glanced in my direction but none spoke.

Fifteen minutes into my breakfast, I realized that the boys were stil snoring their heads off and phoned Süleyman. Another fifteen minutes and two dishevelled men appeared at my table, annoyed at being beaten by a woman no doubt. They sat for a while before I told them that they would have to serve themselves and came back with plates so full, I had serious worries that I was travelling with two gluttons. The next remark said everything.Breakfast was included in the price of the rooms, therefore it was free.

Dragging them away from their half eaten breakfast, I settled up the bill and marched them out. The pick-up had been parked in a multi storey carpark and whilst Süleyman attempted to locate it on the floor he thought he had left it, I went up to the next level and found it. Now, I know you are all thinking that I got landed with two idiots, but they are young, laid-back and students. Despite their carefree attitude, they were immensely helpful, entertaining, willing and funny.

We exited the car park and once again entered the labyrinth of izmir.We arrived early and the customs Office was deserted apart from one lone man. He told us that the shipping list had to be translated into turkish and that everything was to be photocopied. The manager arrived, took one look at my turkish tee-shirt, or rather what was inside and ushered us into his Office.Explaining that we needed to translate the shipping document, he waved his arm to dismiss that notion and called the man in from outside. He then told him to copy out in turkish the number of boxes, forty three of them with a short list of their contents. This done, he summoned çay and made small talk until it arrived.

When his deputy arrived for work, he insisted that he accompany us to the holding warehouse and check that the goods were there, in good condition and ready for collection. The deputy was far from happy but climbed into the pick-up and directed us to the warehouse. It was quite small and lorries were driving in and out collecting various packages and orders. We were shown into an Office where a man signed our peice of paper and waved us over to a shed. Inside were stacked pallets piled high and my shipment was number seven.

I inspected my belongings and apart from one box having a huge hole in the side and everything being covered in a layer of thick black dust, it was complete, still sealed and in good order. Confirming that I was statisfied, we then entered another Office to complete the paperwork. A sum of Money was extracted from my purse, I signed the papers and hey presto the goods were mine upon completation of the customs docket. We then returned to the customs Office, paid 56 million, walked next door to have the docket signed and we were home and dry.

Returning to the warehouse, we purchased a strong rope and with the help of seasoned hauliers, managed to stack and rope 140kg into the pick-up truck. I shared the rear seat with three huge cartons and Süleyman's friend sat with my sewing machine on his lap. By 11am we were ready to depart. Waving a fond farewell to everyone who helped we drove out of the Gates and onto the Fethiye road.

Apart from the expense of paying for the hotel, the whole escapade cost a lot less than I anticipated. Whilst paying rüşvet (a backhander) is against my principles, the old adage, when in Rome……..has to be considered. None of my belongings were opened or checked by customs and I illegally imported some three hundred CD's.Everything else was legal, although I should have paid duty on my Sarnie toaster and Blobby lamp.

Talking to English people here, they are amazed at how I managed to retreive my goods unchecked by customs. One woman I know, had everything opened and customs officers went through with a fine tooth comb. Despite not having anything untoward, she had to pay out some &900 in duty.

For those of you willing to be adventurous and even reckless, I recommend taking an attractive female along with you, wearing clothing which expresses your love of Türkiye, have a pocket full of the readies, a couple of Turks who know how to play the game and keep smiling. Good luck and who knows? It could be you.

Back in Ovacik, we dumped the boxes at the new apartment. My youngest AJ and his girlfriend were waiting and fortunately our arrival drew the attentions of the local children.
Little willing hands and AJ's muscle soon shifted the load. I had not yet moved into the apartment, but the lease had been signed and I planned on opening two or three boxes at a time and putting everything away in cupboards before I settled in.

Locking the door behind me, I walked back to my present residence. Here, I had my clothes and an assortment of household goods which I had bought in Fethiye. The place where I had spent seven weeks didn't want me to leave, but I needed my own space and certainly couldn't afford to rent there any longer.The following morning, I said my goodbyes and trundled my remaining goods and myself into a taksi.

Outside the new apartment, a reception commitee were waiting. The landlords wife with her children plus numerous other urchins, all willing and able to create chaos.Opening the door, they all filed in.For some strange reason, they failed to understand my attempts at telling them to bugger off! Eventually, Hava the landlords wife herded the stray children out,leaving myself,her and her two offspring.

Being a tidy soul, I thought to open one box at a time, remove the contents, clean them and store them away in an appropiate place. Yup and Allah moves in mysterious ways! I tried in vain to explain what I wanted done. Too late.Hava took it upon herself to wash every damm peice of glassware she could find (they had been washed before packing) the kids merrily ripped open every box they could find and scattered the contents everywhere. By now, I was a simmering, trying hard to keep my temper and appearing to be the laid-back,controlled creature that I am. I lost the fight.

One hour after my arrival, I phoned Taylan. His response was for me to tell them to do something, not very nice.Not wanting to appear ungrateful, I made an excuse that I had a prior arrangement and was going out. Looking quite put out,that they were being ejected the trio left me to my own devices. Breathing a sigh of relief and making a well earnt cuppa, I surveyed the packing boxes, shredded paper, packages scattered around my living room and swore.

Ah well they say the best laid plans of mice and men………….Eventually, after two days of hard graft from yours truly, I located everything that had been carefully packed away in England. Wondering what an earth had possesed me to bring half of the stuff I did and why I given some things away, I finaly had the apartment looking more like home.

Despite the state of the boxes, there were only two casulties.One a glass sugar bowl,which was old and had been smashed and my four ounce weight for my scales. I know it was there when I unpacked, because I saw it.With my wonderful helpers and the boxes,bubble wrap etc they were gaily throwing aside, I assume it was mixed up with the rubbish and discarded.

The whole episode was definately a learning curve.I would do it all again,exacty the same way, but with no other help.We are apparently going to be on the move again fairly shortly, only this time I have a dog, a cat and the boyfriend. Should be fun?
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Old 21st May 2005, 02:31   #2 (permalink)
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wow what an adventure and well done i would have no hair left after that
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Old 21st May 2005, 03:28   #3 (permalink)
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Brilliant as usual!
Waiting the next installment lol
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Old 21st May 2005, 05:59   #4 (permalink)
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sSSSShhhhhhhhhhhh Puma
Don't tell them all my secrets [}][8D]
Anne girl, I had planned to start it tonight, but Taylan (oops he who cannot be named) came home with three menus to be typed in Adobe photo shop for first thing in the morning I did one ok and he went to bed.The second the damm thing froze on me and I had no idea what to do.After a frantic phone call to sprog who knows all, I was advised to do it in word and Tay will have to cut and paste.The third one well.............................[}][8D]Ok, first thing in the morning after I've done the menu [:X]
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Old 21st May 2005, 06:12   #5 (permalink)
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Great.
You should have a few chapters finished by the time I get back from Calis next week lol
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Old 21st May 2005, 14:52   #6 (permalink)
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Wow Jen, thanks [:X] It was really interesting as usual, I can't believe how smoothly it went for you. Am now sat waiting patiently for number two

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Old 21st May 2005, 18:56   #7 (permalink)
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Hi we have never conversed but have read your adventure and the new one with delight & interest. keep up the good work.
Menus where the bane of my life when I first came to Turkey and husband discovered I wsa computer literate. I now can order a meal in 5 languages although I do not understand a word of anything else. I found ICQ invaluable - snet menus to be be sopell checked by people I found on there so had accurate spellings - hate wrong spelling in english so felt same ahould apply about other languages. My spelling is atroucious so used someone for english to. Many I am still in touch with. I could write a book about - well an episode about flaming menus... try typing in Russian[] Finnish is bad enough... well kolay gelsin as they say.. Look forward to getting to know you through the forum although I am down in Alanya I sometimes get up The Altinkum/Kuşadasi coastline.
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Old 21st May 2005, 21:02   #8 (permalink)
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Hi lynda
I gave uphave spent from 11am until now 18.00 trying to type more than one page of the damm thing.He who cannot be named wants it typed in adobe photo shop so he can manipulate,play with it (the menu girls).I can set up the damm thing then the system either crashes,freezes and now the scratch discs(whatever they are[?]) are full so I can't type.
Vordemont has already been home once to see how far I have got and cleared the discs(I thought)Im not going to phone him at work(god he is busy)so I shall wait for the fall out when he gets home.[:0]
Hey lets have some of your stories in Finnish,Russian even mis-spelt english
At least the menus are for customers who want them printed and I don't have to go to the restaurants and cook english dishes![:0]I can't understand why no-one wants my bacon and onion pudding
[}][8D]
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Old 21st May 2005, 21:33   #9 (permalink)
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Lynda, Jen is in Ovacik not Altinkum, so even closer to you What a fabulous idea Jen, come on Lynda get those fingers going lady, I think episode one should be how you and Kate met

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Old 21st May 2005, 23:02   #10 (permalink)
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Ooh just found the original costs of transporting my wordly goods
10YTL to da shipping agent
254YTL to customs
200YTL to the shipping/container storage.
Not bad for &207.48!![}][8D]
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