Saturday, February 05, 2011

Turkey September 2010


view top balcony

my favourite hill


day boat trip




Kas 13.9.10

Woken at 6.15am by call to prayer. So beautiful, so sublime. And close. Are we on God's own mountain? Surely this is Eden, or Nirvana or Paradise. Or whichever place you want to call it.

Ali's house is a masterpiece, a work of art constructed, realised (I see) through sheer incredible creativity and single-minded persistence.

It stands three storeys tall. Made out of wooden boards on the floors and ceiling, huge cut round logs from the forest, stained brown. Big chunks of sandstone, the boulders placed as a wall with cement in between to hold it all together. Tiles. Marble surfaces. Windows that are huge and breezy. One tower (the Resi Tower) has no internal staircase, it's like a crazy Aspen ski lodge with huge rooms on each level. There's a central external staircase, wrought iron with balastrades. The other tower (house) has kitchen on the ground floor, Ali's room on the top and a lounge in the middle. Huge open fireplaces.

Two kittens appeared out of the night when we went down there before bed. Princess was to dream of a name for the white one last night.

*

Now, later in the evening. Princess is across the way, falling asleep on the floor with her nene (Turkish grandmother), 'watching' the news. They had an election yesterday and Meyve (nene) was calling Erdogan a dog.

Today we went out on a boat. Princess had cake for her birthday. We swam, had a gorgeous lunch. It got windy, poor Meyve got sea-sick and had to lie down and couldn't eat anything. It's amazing how (Son #3) is like her personal attendant. Also Son #4 and Ali as well (Son #2). Princess said it has been strange to see her dad laughing with his brothers. I've always liked #3 - he's the most normal of them all perhaps.

Meyve is the same as always. It's like no time has passed. We have 'talked' about all the children and grandchildren, she gave Princess a lovely gold blue eye necklace for her birthday.

Ali is still at work (?). Not sure about dinner but he said we'd have another celebration tonight because his mum was so sick on the boat. She's 62 which means she was 42 when I first met her. Younger than I am now and already with married adult children.

*

Woken this morning by call to prayer, then I could hear roosters, dogs and some sort of bell (goats?) And a single, sudden loud moo.

*

There's a woman beating a tree with a stick to make the almonds fall. The goats came running from another area along the road and she talked to them.

*

Driving in the car last night from Antalya (airport) to Kas. Hurtling. Getting out of Antalya, Ali was driving CRAZY. Almost missed the turnoff, screeched the tyres as we made the corner.

*

Son #3's name translates to Sky King. I feel sorry for him, he has to spend all his time with her.

He's trapped. He's 35. He's nice but she treats him like a wife. We are eating, he's in the kitchen doing the dishes. Preparing the meal. My god.

*

Princess got sunburned today. She is regretful. Might teach her a lesson. Not that it's ok to let her burn but there was attitude when I tried to tell her to put cream on. She has picked up on how the family (ie Meyve) sound like they are angry and arguing even when they are just talking.

*

There's a sheep's head in the fridge. It's still got its teeth in.

*

Tues 14/8/10

What was going to be a quiet day, ie just hanging around the villa didn't happen. Maybe tomorrow? We got up early. I woke again before 6am for toilet, then mosque call to prayer. Then sunrise. Mum gave me her torch to read with. Princess woke, we read some Hercule...

Then down to breakfast. Made fruit salad, bread and honey (honeycomb the others bought from the side of the road while they were driving here). Coffee.

Had a swim. Moved mum into downstairs room. Looks great. Ali and Princess rigged up a reading light for mum out of an old wooden milk churn.

Went to town. Sat in the shop. Went to supermarket, bakery and fruit and veg shop. Went to lunch me, Ali, Princess and mum. Had manti (Turkish ravioli) and the best dessert - kadifye. So delicious.

Ali and #3 are making something (a table?). We have a mosquito net for tonight (not up yet). We are having kofte for dinner.

I want a few days of just being here - doing nothing, going nowhere. Just swimming, resting and enjoying this fantastic place. What a house, it is simply amazing

There's talk of Meyve and #3 going to #4's flat because she wants to watch tv and Ali's tv is on the 3rd floor. 'Hard for anyone to look after her there.' That is, I guess, carry food to her and cold water.

She does nothing. Hasn't yet. Sits at the table when ready to eat and people bring her things and wait on her. She cracked a few almonds today for mum and Princess. We are sitting with her, spending time with her but communication is hard so often it's just silence (and her Turkish is mixed with Arabic and with a heavy accent so it's hard for me to follow her.)

*

Thurs 16.9.10

8am. Rejigged mosquito net last night, it worked well but my old bites are re-itching. Princess still asleep, all is quiet outside except for the roosters and occasional dogs. No people bashing the almond trees like yesterday morning. At 7am yesterday there were loud voices and a woman was right in the middle of the tree just outside our front door. I could see her through the window near our bathroom.

We got up, had breakfast, Meyve already sitting in place downstairs. The night before there'd seemed to be an argument/fight between her and #3? Or a 'situation.' Loud talking (different to the usual loud talking). In the morning, he didn't appear until later and told me he was going into Kas and did I need anything. I asked for rice and bread. He said he wouldn't come back until the evening I said that was okay. Then after Meyve said she didn't know where #3 was, I said he'd gone to Kas. She spent some time on the outside platform and mum sat there too. I took mum a breakfast plate and they 'chatted.'

A bit later #3 and #4 turned up, sat a while. We took some photos then they all went out somewhere, to another village to visit #4's friends. Mum had commented on Meyve's headscarf - a pretty, handmade floral cotton scarf with edging in delicate lace flowers. Beautiful. Meyve gave it to her. Said she had many back home, mum was so thrilled, it was a gorgeous moment.

We swam and sunbaked. It's so beautiful in the pool. Ali came around 6pm bringing chicken and showed me how to start the BBQ with a gas flame thrower! We made salad, rice and had a nice meal just me, mum and Princess.

The white cat has a name now. First she was Pamuk (means 'cotton') then Eylul (September) and now Ayse. She has a little nazar boncuk (blue eye) collar and two bowls for water and food. P is feeding her, she's a sweet and very affectionate kittne. Some other cats hang araound but we only like Ayse.

*

Meyve and #3 kept saying they were scared in this house - it was too big and empty of people for them. I think mum's a bit nervous but we can lock our doors so it's fine. Not sure where the keys are for the front door though, I was unable to lock the middle section door to the stairs. I had a snooze yesterday afternoon which was nice, and P taught mum scopa (Italian card game.)

*

Fri 17.9.10

The worker from the shop just arrived and carried in a plate of rice pudding. We (me and P) are sitting downstairs outside at the table platform. The guy put the pudding down and is now leaving.

As P said, he drove all that way to deliver us rice pudding.

Yesterday at the shop we were ready to leave. Ali tried to push me into driving the Jeep. I said no and had to repeat it a few times. Finally #4 drove us but I don't think he was too happy about it.

*

Sunday 19.9.10

We went and had a late lunch with Ali at a kebab place. It was hot yesterday we just wanted to swim. Ali again was saying why don't I want to drive the jeep. I told him I'm scared of heights - it's not the Jeep it's the high road and I might not be able to drive even a normal car. He accepted it and understood. There is a history with this Jeep.

Weird how I am developing such a phobia. Long time coming I guess? So #4 drove us back up the mountain. It's so fucking high in parts and the road pretty narrow. Either way we go, it's full on in parts.

*

Ali told me and P that he was having people over for a BBQ today. He had mentioned a barbecue the day before but I'd thought that was jus tus. He hadn't said anything about customers. So P and I tidied up and cleaned everywhere because he said he wanted to show people the house. They arrived, lovely people. One though mum was Ali's mother because she was wearing Meyve's scarf. It was a nice day, beautiful food, the best thing was stir fry chicken, rice and peppers, and Adana kebabs. Salad. Bread. Wine. Swimming. Even singing and clapping care of #4's friend as they sat on the platform by the pool.

*

It really is beautiful countryside here. Biblical. Rocky and dry with the almond trees a particular shade of green. Soft, lilting breezes and the sound of tonking goat bells.

Have I mentioned the hill I'm going to climb? There is a hill. I'm hoping with no fences but as there is a cluster of houses on the side I'm thinnking maybe no fence. Mentioned it to mum this morning and she said she doesn't want me climbing the hill by myself. But I do want to go by myself. I want to walk up it and sit there and look down. It is a very attractive hill.

*

4.30pm Sat 25.9.10

Princess upset this morning re cat situation. (Last night we even had a puppy come to visit. Just appeared from nowhere...) She and Ali are having a few difficulties as well with him wanting her to go to the beach with him and her saying ok but wanting to meet him there later. H drove the Jeep up here last night so that it would be here this morning for me to practise. The 'make practice' consisted of me driving back to the main road and along further up the mountain to the petrol station. Then I drove back again and that was enough to get me back in the saddle.

Driving home this afternoon there were goats on either side of part of the cliff road. Mum did very well, kept relaxed. It's a shuddering jalopy of a car.

*

Next morning now, 6.45am Monday. Call to prayer was so beautiful today. I want to tape it before we go.

Then the roosters started. And someone is now doing something with wood (building?) in a house quite a way away but the sound is carrying so it sounds like it's in our back garden.

Couldn't sleep well, the thing with Ali bothered me. Couldn't fall asleep, then didn't sleep well.

*

Now it's Wed 29.9.10

Peaceful house - empty house. Need to update from Monday.

The others went kayaking. Mum and I stayed here. Quite windy and overcast but still warm. The wind increased until around 2.30 - 3.00pm I was thinking 'gale force.' Upstairs I lay and read and wrote and the wind was keening. Amazing sound, made me think of the Mistral in the south of France.

*

Now it's 40 minutes later we are at the beach. There are loaves of bread along the shoreline, and chunks adrift in the water. Just went for a quick swim with P. Nice and cool and refreshing. The pool back at the house is a murky olive green. Ali hasn't chlorinated since just before P came. H and I brushed the sides yesterday but it's revolting today. I must get Ali to show me how to chlorinate and how to do the vacuum. Then I can do it every 2 or 3 days.

The night they went kayaking, we were getting dinner ready. Ali arrived with two people who he introduced as his friends from Istanbul. (A man and a woman.) He took them upstairs. They were up there a little while and we were all thinking different things (he's showing them the house, he's giving them something?) Then he came down and said they were staying the night, in his room, and that he would stay at #4's.

Fine, I said. Would they like to join us for dinner?

No, he said. They are shy.

Ok. So we carried on. Ate, played a game of Boggle. Went to bed around 9.30 or 10pm. Next morning they came down, had some breakfast. Then Mustafa got in his van to go to Kas and there was the sound of tyres spinning and then he came back saying there was a problem with his car and he'd called Ali and #4 was coming to help. #4 came and drank some tea then they got a tractor from somewhere to pull the car out. Meanwhile, I had tried to engage the woman, Nadia. She was unresponsive, I'm thinking 'she's pissed off, she's been brought to a house in a village and didn't know we'd be here.' Anyway, later once the car was out, Mustafa left and Nadia and me and P were in the lounge. We put on the tv, chatted a little. She warmed up. Found out she's from Uzbekistan, has been in Istanbul 5 years. They have a carpet shop in Sultanahmet. And they were on a driving tour to buy stock (Konya, Gazientep, Urfa, Mersin etc.) and then to Marmaris from here.

So then I asked if she wanted to play Okey (tile rummy.) She didn't know how to play but wanted to learn. So I taught her and it broke the ice, made good practice for P's Turkish.

Later, Pablo and I went on our walk up The Hill. It was a great walk, I loved it. I knew I would. The landscape was beautiful. Harsh, rubbly, very rocky. All the fencing was of stone, high in some places but lower in others so you could climb across. Dry plants including some tall, vertical flowers that I'd noticed but not really looked at. Rabbit droppings, and larger spoor - goats?

One paddock we walked through was littered with lots of rocks that looked like small heads. Volcanic rock? With holes for eyes, they were amazing. Pablo and I spent a little time choosing a rock to keep. I chose two and later let Princess take one. They are cool and kind of chalky and orangey. The colour of the soil was very red-orange, like Central Australia. Interesting. Dramatic. We walked in the direction of The Hill. Climbed about 1/2 way up, didn't think we had enough time to do the whole thing. It started to get more difficult and scrubby bushes made it hard to walk. We made our way back okay via what might have been an old, now-dry river bed with terraced steps downwards. The whole way Pablo walked carrying a bit of PVC piping from Ali's house 'in case we met bad dogs.'

On the way home we passed a house and two cats joined us. They walked with us like dogs. Back on the main road, some goats, we saw a dilapidated jeep, the cats were still with us. We picked some of the vertical flowers to take back. And I found and carried a big egg-shaped rock which I have put in Ali's garden.

H, mum and I had planned to go to Kas for dinner after the walk BUT Mustafa had arrived while we were on our walk. He had heaps of food and was going to cook for us.

We still went into town, he needed some onions and eggplant, we got wine, beer, sutlac and dondurma. We raced home before the ice cream melted.

Mustafa worked like a madman in the kitchen, cigarette dangling, drinking tea manically. He made Adana kebabs, eggplant and mince kebabs, salsa bowls, salad, chicken drumettes and wings, pide. Cooked in a frenzy on the BBQ, the cats launching themselves at the skewers laid out across an old wooden wheelbarrow. We had to lock Efer (small fearless black kitten) in our bathroom until after we'd eaten.

When Mustafa served it all out - by hand - he plated up a piece of bread, a line of 4 chicken pieces, portion of Adana kebab, cooked tomato and some onion. Amazingly delicious, like restaurant fare.

He had his Adana and other sis (skewers) in this amazing, metal rounded 'quiver' with a cap, like a silver poster tube but made of metal. It was beautiful.

SO we ate and then they went to bed. We had planned some Sound of Music hijinks but didn't do it. Pablo and I sat up a while singing 'the worst songs in the world'.

*

Woke early this morning to see off the others. Pablo gave his last spoon of breakfast yoghurt to Efer. (Efer was hilarious yesterday - wanted to go in the pool, went on the lilo, I put a towel down for his claws, they are so sharp!) The others left and shortly after Mustafa and Nadia went to leave.

How is the car? I said. All okay?

I hope, Mustafa said. Inshallah.

We laughed.

He went out to the car and backed it over the edge of the ditch again and it got stuck. As soon as I saw where it had ended up, I knew he couldn't drive for shit! He called Ali and came into the house telling me Ali said for me to drive the Jeep and pull him out. We tried that (mum being Mrs Jessop and peeping through the gaps in the pool fence.) We broke the rope and then a strap thing no way was it going to work.

I looked under his car, it was totally fucked. Huge rocks that we couldn't hope to move by hand, and THE CHASSIS WAS RESTING ON THEM. FLUSH. At least one of his tyres was spinning in the air but still...

So he went and got the same farmer and tractor. Came back, hurtling along the road. And it eventually pulled the van out but not before several failed attempts and me thinking the fucking tractor was going to flip and kill the farmer. Then we had to get a spade and fill the 2 big holes made by the tractor tyres spinning in the rubble of Ali's driveway (unsealed.) Finally they went with me waving goodbye, but not before he had almost driven the van off the driveway edge again and I had to stand behind him and direct him

*

So we're at the shop. P and Ali sitting in the front section having mercimek soup together just like they did when she was one and two and three. I've just had some here in the back. DELISH.

*

3.12pm Same day. Back at the villa. It's really windy, the lilo has blown over the pool fence twice so I've put it in the downstairs room. Little Efer is complaining about the wind but he'll be on his own in less than 2 weeks and Ali really doesn't like him so he probably will be even more on his own.

Got the tick out. Yay. Used dishwashing liquid on a cotton ball and it backed out, then I picked it up with tweezers. Ayse then had a green, soapy head. She was very good while we did it, Princess held her and patted her and it was quick and easy. Texted Ali NOT to get the tablet from the vet.

Wonder if it will rain. Hope so, pretty cool. Then it might be swimming weather tomorrow. Pool is being treated anyway today and we'll vac and swim tomorrow I hope.

So I'm upstairs on the bed. If it rains I have to get Ali's mattress in. It's outside airing. I've already brought his clothes horse in, it had fallen over up on his balcony and stuff was on the ground. I'm glad we didn't drive up in this weather. Too, too, too windy. We have leftovers for dinner, I'll make koftes, rice, we have chicken etc. Salad, salsa.

*

Saturday 2.10.10

Down at the shop, fan on, a little humid/warm but windy, overcast, looks like rain.

Ali was showing the house to the Californian Meditationiste. We were told to be out by 2.30pm and we can go back at 5pm. P is checking email, we just had coffees and some food at the square. Really nice food but the service awful. Brothers, one set of twins and a younger bro I reckon. He went to pick basil for the dishes and gave me a sprig on the way back past our table. They were checking P out but I claim him as my beau!

Ayse (cat) we think was/is on heat. Hence the 'wound' and bleeding. As P said: 'I don't think it's a wound, it's her vagina. One, it's in the middle, two, Cem [a third cat] was trying to mount her.'

Yesterday we swam in the morning. The pool is beautiful and crystal clear now. Went to Friday Market. Bought some food, some dvds, and fake designer t-shirts for Clokes. Ate gozleme, then #4 picked us up which was nice. Ate sardines and pasta last night, almost finished Lord Edgware Dies.

*

10.20pm Same day. We ended up playing OKEY in the shop. Me, mum, Princess and the worker (Eyup.) I was playing pretty badly, Eyup was correcting us and helping us on a couple of things with the game.

*

Now it's Tuesday 5.10.10

It's about 8.50am we are leaving in 10 minutes to go to Meis. Have to put the passports in at 9.30am and the boat leaves at 10. It will cost 40TL to go and come.

Catch up Sunday - Ali didn't go into the shop as normal. Sunday afternoon he left when Eyup drove up and told him that customers were coming. Eyup had called Ali's phone but of course it was upstairs and he didn't hear it ringing. P and I went down with him in the Jeep. Customers didn't arrive, P and I sat in the shop.

Monday, we got up early again so P could go diving. We got to the shop just before 9am. Ali took us to the marina, we got on the boat and had a pleasant couple of hours, P did a 'discovery dive' - with an instructor got kitted up with wetsuit, weight vest, flippers, mask and oxygen tank. Went into the water, practised de-pressurising, hand signals, then went down for about 20 mins. She said it was really good and would like to do it again. She was pretty nervous beforehand.

*

So we went to Meis (Greek island about 20 mins away by ferry.) There was a big group of expats who weren't particularly friendly to us apart from a Norwegian woman. Meis was beautiful, we visited the ehtnographic museum, lots of people from Meis went to Melbourne after the second world war. At the museum there were great displays and a film about the history. Did some shopping. Caught the boat back, hilarious when the boat workers handed around a tray of white wine and kept giving refills out of the wine box bladder. We were knackered. Had to wait for our passports to be returned, they just kind of put them on a table in the cafe for people to rummage through.

*

Wednesday.

There was something wrong with Ayse this morning. Her jaw seemed to have disappeared. Was pulled back, there was a little bit of blood but I thought it can't be gone because there would be more blood. She was kind of sitting really weird and looked really Evil, and pulling at her tongue with her paws. P was so distressed, it was awful to watch. P was crying and I was saying I had to go to the shop to help Ali. We'd had a nice moment before he went to work on the platform. Peaceful and quiet with all the cats. Then whatever happened to Ayse happened really quickly. I told P she had to decide whether to stay (mum was staying) or come with me. We drove down the mountain, her crying most of the way. Asking if Ayse would die, asking what we should do, feeling really, really bad that she'd been unable to even look at her because she was so scary ('What kind of mother am I?' she said.)

As we were driving I had the thought maybe something had happened to her collar, maybe somehow it had hooked her jaw. We rang mum (after much fucking around with phones) and asked her if she could bear to try and look and see if the cat's jaw was hooked back.

IT WAS! So she said she'd try and cut it off.

Then we had a 3pm appointment with the Muhtar's office to get all sorts of things prepared and stamped. I had to provide a passport photos, so we got some done and I look really sad. It was pretty upsetting but the photos made me laugh and cheered me up. I drove home to get mum and brought her back down for dinner. Then drove home in full dark for the first time. It was ok. Also forgot to mention, after signing and lodging all the papers, I think for property settlement and also I have appointed a lawyer to act on my behalf here and also Ali and I have both appointed a friend of his to act on P's behalf to 'do something' which is make an offer to buy the house from #4 because it's in #4's name. So the idea is the house will be transferred into P's name. Strange but true. I hope it fixed the problem but I doubt it will.

*

The day before we leave. One final boat trip, P wanted me to go. I was happy to stay home but she pushed so I went for her. Mum stayed home. We got up early to be at the boat at 9.30 because Ali said the last two times we were late. But there was no sign of him. P went to ask Ali and he said the boat was leaving 10.30 but that we should go at 9.30.

Drove down. We went for a quick walk to get a new t-shirt for P because the one she had one was dirty. By the time we got back, Ali had customers. We walked to the boat. We got on.

We set off. Ali was already on board, I hadn't noticed him sneak on and take position on the front deck. And then entailed a weird day.

And so it went on. I had a good chat to the grandmother, and her husband. Enjoyed time with the two expat women. It got very rough going back, we have video. The grandmother's sunglasses went off the boat. So did the little boy's BenTen watch, Ali went back to found it. I was nervous going back, we had to motor fast over the waves.

Back at the shop it was hard to get away. Had a beer with the girls. Then others came back from the photo shoot (long story). We finally got away, said our goodbyes, to #4 and Eyup.

But no time to go and say goodbye to anyone else. P was unhappy but I knew it was getting to 7.30pmish and I knew mum would be worried, she didn't have a phone so we couldn't call her.

Drove up the mountain, mum annoyed/worried. Made me annoyed.

We had fish and calamari for dinner. I started throwing back the wine. P disappointed we hadn't said goodbye to other people.

I asked her if she'd said goodbye to her uncle #4 and Eyup. I told mum and her that Eyup hadn't let go of my hand and #4 pulled me in for a big bear hug.

P started crying again.

Okay, I said. I'll stop drinking. Let's have our dinner. Start packing. And we'll drive back down at 10pm and say our goodbyes properly.

P was happy. So we did that. Mum came too. One last time, down the mountain. Saw S at his shop. Said goodbye. Saw F at her shop. Said goodbye. Parked at Ali's shop. Mum went to the cafe for a coffee. P and I to the fabric shop to buy a couple more towels. The girls from the boat saw us in there and so we went to the restaurant they were having dinner at and saw them once more. Was nice. Said goodbye to Y at his shop. #4 was at the barber but P said goodbye to Eyup and then Ali drove us home.

We packed. Slept at 1.30am. Up at 3.30am, driver picked us up at 4am. We drove through a storm with lightning to get to Antalya airport. We caught all our planes and got back home, back to reality.

6 comments:

jo_blue said...

Great post, interesting reading and fab house.

Hugs.

jo_blue said...

PS. How frustrating that you still have to put up with his shit.

Hugs.

suze2000 said...

^^^ what she said.

I bet you are glad you went with her. It does paint an interesting picture of Ali's Turkish life.

Melba said...

I know Jo but we are eternally connected because of our daughter.

It's not so bad. I got a v nice holiday out of it; give and take and all that.

But I am definitely more relaxed when not around him and I am definitely pleased he hasn't come out this year. Oh yay. But P is disappointed and missing him of course.

Kalkan Villas said...

I am glad I stumbled on your blog and had the opportunity to read about your Turkish experience.

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