Here is Installment #2 of Vicky and Mr P’s move to Turkey from France–a move that was meant to see their dreams come true…
Finally we arrive in our village where our good friend Mehmet has his hotel and where we now have our new home. It is dark, we are tired, sweaty and irritable. We arrive and see all the lights lit up in the hotel; Mehmet and his friends are waiting for us, big hugs and tears shed on both sides. We have brought presents and they have too. Candles are out on the terrace and the mangal (barbeque) is ready. They are all excited about our new house which we must visit the next day. Mr P who is normally all French and stand-offish lets himself be kissed and hugged and looked happy for the last time in ages. He starts on his story about the A/C and they cut through his story – who cares, you are here now, you are our family.
We were home!
We had our honeymoon time like the love rats victims and like them we should have looked closer at the niggling things and don’t anybody say that we were stupid because we know we were.
So the days passed, raki (Turkey’s national alcoholic drink) and balik (fish) and evenings up on the mountains to watch the sun set over our valley and watch our good friend Mehmet and his friends smoke funny cigarettes (been there, done that, doesn’t interest me any more). We meet our neighbours Fatmta Teyze and Ibrahim Amca. With our phrasebook Turkish we don’t understand much especially as they speak village talk. We later found out that “daas” is actually “tas” : stone.
Our wonderful good friend Mehmet (now you’ve guessed he is the rip-off man) has already started work on our house for us, he’s found the right usta and already given him some money and wants to be refunded. “And a little bit money for me”. For his commission. Mr P is radiant and euphoric and says OK: I sound like the old shrew – I write his emails for him in English, we work in his hotel wecoming French and Belgian guests and although Mr P is ecstatic about “Mehmet told me I am his brother, the brother I never had,” I am a little more wary. Why doesn’t Mehmet go to the notary to get the whole thing written down and sorted out. Whay does Mehmet privilege Mr P – there is no room in the car for me?
But we keep blinding our eyes to this and Mehmet is an amazing actor – he nearly sold the house next door to the Belgian people (we now know he sold the same house 3 times).
But this is Mr Ps bestest friend and I can’t say anything against him.
Anyway we have a wonderful cave house with tandirs, fireplaces, winepress, dovecotes etc. And we even discovered we have 2 rooms more underground that the workers found as they cleared away the rubbish. Life in Cappadocia is wonderful, the people in the village are lovely and welcoming and I’m imagining how it will look when everything is restored and the beautiful travertine flooring put in, the onyx covers put over the tandirs with underground lighting etc.
However this is costing a lot more than what we’ve reckoned on and I am beginning to have the sneaking suspicion that our godd friend Mehmet is not negotiating deals for us in our best interest. We are starting to make new friends now and finding better prices (like half price) for materials and workers than what Mehmet is getting for us. The honeymoon is coming to an end. One day we are all supposed to go to the mountain to buy a sheep. Suddenly there is no room in the car for me and Mehmet tells me that I can use my time usefully by beating the carpets, cleaning the kitchen and cleaning the windows. I am boiling with fury as I watch them all drive off.
In fact Mr P hadn’t heard this and thought I just didn’t want to come and we had our first clash the next day when he told Mehmet I was not cheap labour for his hotel. Mehmet sulked and Mr P was unhappy about upsetting him!
(to be continued)