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Barry's Blog #214 - Affordable Turkey

Updated: Jan 29, 2022

It's the 20th of January 2022 as I write this blog and the winter has finally arrived in Finike. Last night the outside temperature was -1C (30.2F). Fortunately because we have unlimited electricity usage in the marina we've been able to run both of our heat sources 24 hours a day so inside the boat it's a comfortable 15C (59F).

Across a lot of Turkey, snow is falling. Stepping off the stern of A B Sea and looking across the marina our gaze is met with the stunning view of the snow capped Taurus mountains glowing brightly in the winter sunshine. Some people in the marina are taking advantage of the snow and driving to the town of Davraz, 4 hours north from Finike. There they are enjoying fresh powder, lots of runs, no crowds, views to die for and cheap all inclusive accommodation right on the slopes. A skier's paradise.

Market day in Finike

Saturday is the farmer's market day in Finike and although we were now into our third week in the marina we'd so far not made it to the market. Saturday 16th October we set out to find the market.

It was a beautiful autumn day. The warm sunshine even allowed me to walk around in shorts and a t-shirt. We got rough directions from other yachties and were told that the once 'outdoor market' was now weather protected inside a purpose built shed. On hearing that, my Aussie mentality reared its head and asked the question "How big is this shed?" It's an Aussie cultural joke about the size of one's shed.

As we walked along the main coast road we spotted the last remaining summer fairground ride waiting to be transported to its winter home. Sitting on a trailer was a scaled down version of a US space shuttle. It was one of those rides that you sit inside and watch movies on a screen whilst the whole thing is bounced around on hydraulic pistons for a few minutes.

As we filmed it and joked about Jeff Bezos and his cock rocket we were approached by a Turkish guy who asked where we were from. Australia we replied. He then began to reel off his favourite Australian films and actors. The conversation continued for a couple of minutes and then he invited us to his shop for some Turkish tea. That's when I knew that we'd been caught in his web.

His modus operandi is to linger at the main road looking for foreigners to engage with. His movies and actors tactic is clever because he only needs to remember a couple of each for a handful of countries and he's instantly got you into a friendly conversation.

Once at his shop, which is a trinkets and souvenir shop, he makes you tea and proceeds to tell you about the items on display, some of which he makes himself. He picks up some pieces so that you can hold them and check them out closely. Then suggests that you try on the necklace or bracelet. Then he asks "How much would you pay for that?" Now you suddenly find yourself negotiating a price for something that you never set out to buy in the first place. All very friendly and slick. I actually applaud him for his innovative plan.

Once we'd paid the price to be released we continued our walk to the market, only now we were on a completely different street and following his directions for how to get there.

Eventually we spotted a couple from the marina heading back loaded with fresh produce. They told us that we were close and if we continued for another 5 minutes we'd easily see the huge shed.

We did see it and it was obvious we were approaching from the rear not the front. A final right turn got us there and I can say that any Aussie would be impressed by the shed. It is humongous.

The market itself is the biggest we've seen in Turkey (excepting the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul). Many of the stalls spilled out around the perimeter of the shed. We had a shopping list but didn't have a clue where to start, so we just wandered around. There are a lot of stalls that are obviously commercial growers but around the outside edge there are a handful of people selling what they can from their garden or at a push a small holding.

Life in Turkey is tough for some people so we decided to tick off what we could from our shopping list from the sellers on the outside edge before we completed our list from the commercial growers.

The market has everything you want and it's all so fresh. With fruits, veg and meat bought we headed back to A B Sea to work out what the total cost was and convert it to Aussie dollars.

With enough fresh vegies for a week including strawberries and four avocados, two big sea bream, one kilo of minced lamb and a half a kilo of lamb cutlets. The whole lot cost 520 TL (AU$47.26). This is one of the reasons we chose to winter in Turkey rather than an EU country.

Residency renewal

The first week in November we had an appointment to attend in the town of Kemer for the 'interview' portion of our 12 month temporary Turkish residency renewal.

A couple of weeks earlier Samet, who owns Finike Yachting Agency, had helped us out by organising our 12 month health insurance and filling in the online portion of our residency renewal.

He then introduced us to Tarık, who owns Tarık Turizm. Tarık proceeded to get our paperwork in order for presentation. This is a key factor in making the residency application process go smoothly. Both businesses are located just outside the marina gate.

On the morning of Thursday 4th of November Tarık drove us in a super deluxe 9 passenger Mercedes to Kemer and we went to the office to present our application papers. They saw us 15 minutes before our scheduled appointment and told us to come back in 45 minutes. As it was late morning and we hadn't had breakfast we wandered over the road from the Kemer council building and sat down at a restaurant that had caught our eye.

Service was quick and friendly and the tasty, well presented food was once again inexpensive. I had adana kebap and ayran to drink, Aannsha had a cheese omelette and two Turkish coffees and the whole lot came to 73 TL (AU$10).

Returning to the residency application office the nice young guy issued us with our paperwork, informed us that our residency cards would be mailed to the marina in a couple of weeks and wished us a good day.

Tarık drove us back to Finike and an hour and five minutes later we were back on board A B Sea. To find out what the residency process cost us I have done a complete cost breakdown in this week's video #204.

Until next week stay safe and healthy.

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