Sunday, June 30, 2013

Summer holiday.

We are home at last after a perfect holiday to visit my in laws. It was one of those holidays where everything goes well, everyone is relaxed, and to my very great relief there was enough of a breeze to allow us to leave the house almost anytime we wanted. Still very hot though - hot enough that I had my hair cut - 40 cms (18 inches) gone. I look somewhere in between princess Diana and a St Trinians girl.

My in laws summer in Sarimsakli, a beach side village near Ayvalik ( a beautiful old Greek town where you can catch a ferry to Lesbos,) about two hours up from Izmir. There is a fair amount to do there - during the season - a daily night market, an air field with tour aeroplanes (the sort you'd take panoramic photos from), water sports you-can-do-attached-to-a-speed-boat, horse and cart rides (we actually did this, I didn't take a photo, everyone knows what a horses ass looks like and if you don't you aren't missing out - but the actual experience was both fun and charming,) a trip up the hill to "the devils foot print" - a place where there is an indentation in a rock reportedly the devil setting foot on the land - people make wishes there: an idea I find most unappealing. One of our favourite things to do was to sit and eat ice cream at night on the prom - the people watching is a hilarious riot of Eastern European fashion mistakes. In Ayvalik you can just wander and look at the beautiful crumbly Greek houses, take a boat trip to the island or Cunda (best calamari ever at Nessos restaurant), or a longer boat trip to Lesbos (Greece.)

I am not much of a photographer (I am far to forgetful to actually get my camera out of my case until the last day) - I am really regretting not managing not to get some shots of the five stalls spaced at 10 meter intervals up a hill, selling lama toys (and honey) we passed on our road trip, but here are some of the highlights for us...

 The woman selling corn out of a giant corn on the cob.

 The kebapci with a fake sheep, I thought it was to remind people where their food came from, but H took it as a sign that anything you bought there would taste as fake as the sheep itself.

This beautiful truck that has been converted to a 24 hour diner.

This unique dummy advertising tattoos, the other side of his head has a felt tip tattoo. 

 The electricity station all being painted to look like houses.

And the magic of early morning haze making the boats fly.

Friday, June 7, 2013


It is hard to know what to write this week. If you aren't aware of what is happening in Turkey google it. It makes everything else seem less important. Fethiye remains peaceful and safe. You are as safe as you ever are to travel here.

We are starting to gear up for summer - the children finish school next Friday for three long months of holidays. I'm pretty happy about this. I genuinely like having the boys at home. Hero is heading off on this camp it looks like an amazing experience. And by amazing I mean he will enjoy the tree climbing and rafting no end, and I am so so glad I don't have to watch! We also have to make a decision on whether Rafey is ready to progress to the first class. He is not an academically minded kid, and proper school is really hard work. He has also had some speech difficulties. After one year in the pre-school he is much improved, but not perfect. It might be better to give him another year doing easy things than push him to go further when he is not really ready-ready. This summer I will be trying to help him learn to read, if he manages we will let him go into year one. If not we will have a big palaver on our hands trying to stop him.

This made me laugh a lot. Screen shots of amusing captions on TV

Sunday, June 2, 2013


Yesterday my brother-in-law had to close his shop doors and hide. He thought he was going to have to spend the night there on the shop floor. Instead he managed to make a run for it and got a lift with a passing stranger close-ish to his home. The riots have come to Ankara. Tear gas was fired, and protesters tried to run away through his shopping centre. There were no buses, no taxis - the downtown district was effectively in a bubble.

Here in Fethiye there have been peaceful protests, regularly scheduled, and only turned back by the police when they got to close to the AKP Party (the government) headquarters. But we will not be going into town today. The children are dissapointed. The circus is in town and we have tickets. However no matter how peaceful things may currently be, it takes one small spark of over-enthusiastic policing, or one tiny match of grieved protester for things to change.

I don't know what I feel about it all. The pictures of streets carpeted with tear-gas canisters are disturbing. But the fires and the rage of the people are disturbing too. I don't think Erdogan (the prime minister) is all bad - Turkey has a debt free, rapidly growing economy - but I am not so keen on his rather controlling attitude. I would prefer finances to be spent on alleviating inner-city school class sizes of 60+ rather than a new airport. But I don't actually know how government finances work.

I will not be joining in the protests. I am far too ill-informed. This is not my country - if I don't like how things are run I should get out. But I am glad the the Turkish people have found a voice, that they are standing up for what they believe. It is their country and my hopes are that they will be allowed  express their opinions.

We wait and see what Monday will bring.