Ruth, above the pleasure boat harbor at Kas, Turkey.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Kas, Turkey until December 8th.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Not sure yet.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Life in Turkey... we can understand the attraction!

We've only been in the country for two and a half weeks, but we wanted to go over with you some of the interesting things we have learned during that time.

Admittedly, we did not know very much about the country prior to our arrival. And really, we didn't even know we were coming here until three days before we arrived. So we didn't have much time to educate ourselves about our destination.

Turkey is a Muslim country, but a lot of the locals lead a totally un-Islamic life. Yes, you see some women wearing head scarves and dressing modestly even at the beach... but many are also wearing western clothes and it looks like they are free to make their own choices about that. It seems that anything goes, and you are accepted either way. At least that's our impression.

But, you also see mosques everywhere. Of course you see churches everywhere in Christian countries, so there's really no difference. I guess other than the loud broadcast of "call to prayer" a few times a day. Even at 6:20am (really??!) but, not every day. We haven't quite figured that out yet.

Regarding the language, Turkish is really difficult to learn, partly because the words as you see them written are usually not pronounced that way. It took us a few days just to get "hello" and "thank you" pronounced correctly. Here... you try. I would bet money you are not saying them right!

Merhaba - Hello. The "h" is silent and there is a soft accentuation at the beginning of the word. And it is said quickly without much force on the syllables. Mare-a-bah.

Teşekkür ederim or Teşekkürler - Thank you, or thanks. Good luck with that one. It took us three days to consistently get it right, and we still have to think about it before trying to say it!

However, a lot of people in the tourist areas speak at least a little English, and if they don't they are quick to get out their smart phone and go to Google Translate.

Regarding health care, Turkey has a very modern and relatively inexpensive system. As a quick example, if you have to pay for heart bypass surgery out of pocket, it would cost about $15,000. Dental work is about half what it would cost in Canada or the U.S. or the U.K.. Emergency medical care is available free of cost to anybody and all people are treated the same whether or not they are a Turkish citizen. From what we have read, you would still be charged if you need to be admitted to hospital, but the medical part of it is free. 

Turks are very patriotic! While they are quick to criticize their governments (what people in what country do not??) they seem to love their country. There are Turkish flags everywhere.

Lots of Turkish flags.

Life in Turkey... we can understand the attraction. But it is an attraction that is getting better for expats and tourists than it is for the locals. The Turkish Lira is essentially in free fall. There are lots of reasons for that which I won't get into here. And even taking into consideration the current 11% inflation rate here, things get cheaper for visitors almost every day because of the regular drop in the value of the lira.

The Turkish lira has lost 32% of it's value vs the $USD over the past year.

On Thursday, it was supposed to rain on and off all day, which it did. The high is about 23C (73F) and lows around 12C (55F). Today is more showers in the morning, and clearing late afternoon. Sunshine and occasional cloudiness for the foreseeable future. When we move inland next week it will be a little cooler with highs of 19C (66F) and lows around 7C (45F), but with with the forecast sunshine it should be absolutely perfect hiking weather.

We still managed to get out for a power walk. We found a nice circular route from the cottage that goes around the outskirts of town on a forest road. It's almost perfect for a power walk with a few hills. Although at 4.2 kms (2.6 miles) it is a little short of our 5 km (3 mile) power walk goal. Next time we do it, we will reverse direction on one of the hills and climb it again!

Things look to be clearing... we are off for another power walk this morning!

We walked 4.2 kms (2.6 miles) yesterday.

Total distance walked in Turkey 113.2 kms (69.6 miles).

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18 comments:

  1. My experience when stationed in Turkey 50 years ago was that western Turkey is more westernized than eastern Turkey. That's why you will find the mixture of traditional Muslim clothing and western clothing. I can recall seeing Muslin women covering their heads and faces with long dresses walking the same street with Turkish women in mini skirts. I also saw horse drawn carts beside cars. I think the call to worship is done 5 times a day.

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    1. That was when I was there and I obsevered the same. It was much more primitve. I do remember the hangout for travelers was the pudding shop in Istanbul. That was in the days before email, and you could pick up mail there and find others to travel with.

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    2. Yes, I believe you are right Gene and it would make sense seeing that the eastern Turkey is closer to the more traditional Muslim countries and western Turkey is closer to the European countries.

      Yes, call to prayer is five times a day, it just seemed odd that it doesn't always seem to happen at the same time every day.

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  2. Hope yall are safe & sound. I've been seeing wild pictures on twitter this morning about the earthquake there. (Stay away from the coast!)
    Please check in here soon!

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    1. Yes, we are totally fine and have had no issues in our area due to the earthquake. We felt some minor shaking and swaying but that was it. We feel really bad about Izmir though, they really got the brunt of it. A number of buildings were toppled and they were mainly residential and people would not have had time to get out. :-(

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  3. The earth quake is in the news. Hope you are safe.

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    1. Yes, we are totally fine and life here goes on as normal. Izmir not so much! :-(

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  4. Just heard on the radio that an earthquake just shook the Western part of Turkey. Hope you are safe and everything is OK for you and in the area where you are.

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    1. As Kevin mentioned below, we are both fine We felt a little rocking and swaying but nothing more than that.

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  5. Hi everybody... thanks for your concern. The epicenter was about 150 kms (90 miles) from us. We definitely felt it, but we are fine. More tomorrow!

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  6. Glad to hear it. Just read the news as well.

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    1. We are happy to say that all is well with us. We really feel bad for the people in the city of Izmir though, they got the worst of it. :-(

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  7. Replies
    1. Nope, Kevin's repair job on the glasses back when they broke seems to be holding up well. We are actually going to look at getting Lasik eye surgery done if the price is right and our eye problem can be corrected by doing this procedure.

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  8. Wow you 2 know how to shake it up, with a earthquake! I saw that you both ok, but felt it. We have had a couple of earthquakes in Oregon and those shook us up! Take care, Rawn

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    1. Yeah, we sure know how to cause a bit of drama don't we?!

      When we lived in the Ottawa area (Ontario, Canada) we would sometimes get earthquakes/tremors there and what we felt yesterday was really no different from those that we felt there. I can't even begin to imagine what it would feel like to have one of those big ones out on the west coast of the USA.

      Unfortunately the city of Izmir didn't fair so well and really they aren't too far away from us. They had toppled buildings and the last time we checked 19 people had died, we expect that the numbers will go higher yet. :-(

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    2. Better hope that you can outrun those quakes! Actually, it's better if you 2 can get to a door jam.
      Or even better, no more quakes! Really enjoying your trip, take care, Rawn Stone

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    3. With any luck that will be it for earthquakes during our time here in Turkey!

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