Tag Archives: Language

The sanayi … Haven or hell on earth?

Mention the sanayi to an expat in Fethiye and it’s likely you’ll get one of two reactions.

Either you’ll find a kindred spirit who shares your fascination for the labyrinthine hive comprised mostly of workshops which occupies a half-mile square of the town centre.

The alternative is someone who warns you to enter only at your peril.

I’ll admit I have been both.

No niceties

The first time I ventured into the zone – which roughly translates as the “industrial estate” – it was hugely intimidating. The inhabitants seemed at best dour and, at worst, hostile. There are no receptionists, no niceties; it’s just business in the raw and mostly done on a nod and a handshake.

But, having had so many Turkish friends assure me it’s a place where you usually pay a fraction of what you might expect for anything from metalwork to a tyre repair, I found myself there for the first time on my own buying oil for our truck.

Driving though the chaotic streets was a test in itself. There are no rules – or at least none that are readily apparent. There’s no right of way, you can drive in any direction you please and park wherever you need to be.

Additional obstacles include kids on mopeds and ubiquitous men carrying trays of tea, either of which can appear from behind any one of the various vehicles stripped of major organs, left to await repair.

It’s a bit like one of those special ops training zones where potential threats can appear from any direction at any time – and sometimes all at once.

Diversity in action

But I’ll admit our friends were right; I paid almost a third less for a gallon of engine oil than I’d paid at a roadside garage – and that was enough to tempt me back for other odds and ends.

It meant some Turkish homework in advance; English is a rare commodity and used sparingly. But, the more I explored, the more I discovered about the incredible diversity of the place.

2019-04-04 13.01.18

Just a thorough clean this time – but you can’t really argue with an hour-long valet for less than a fiver …

As an example, if you take a car in for a repair, there’s a good chance it won’t all be done in the same place. Everyone seems to focus on a speciality.

There’s a workshop which does wheel-alignment and balancing; another which focuses on valve grinding; another just for electrics and another for tyres and exhausts.

None seem to understand the concept of a booking; you just turn up, explain what you need, ask a price and – if you’re happy with it – wait your turn. No one seems to mind as there’s always plenty of tea served from silver trays and you can pass the time chatting with the mechanics.

The whole area also seems to be divided into loose zones; all the boat repair shops, marine maintenance workshops and suppliers are all pretty much in the same place. It’s the same with the furniture workshops, the metalworkers, the scooter and motorcycle garages.

On first sight, the sanayi seems a seething mass – an uncoordinated and untidy blot on the townscape, and a huge contrast to Fethiye’s newest and most modern shopping precinct just across the road at Erasta.

But, when you get to know it, there’s an intriguing synergy there – almost as though it’s a living entity in its own right still thriving now on the way business was done generations ago.

True, after just an hour or so in the narrow alleys, a health and safety practitioner would either have a field day or a heart attack. It’s also true that the sanayi seems to be very much a male preserve.

But, over the years, I’ve come to love it – admittedly for its prices but also because, for me, it represents a place where some old-fashioned values still survive.

It’s no utopia – no doubt there are a few bandits around too and it’s probably never going to find its way onto the tourist trails.

But, for me, it’s quintessential Turkey in the buff – all its contradictions and baffling inconsistencies rolled into one – but most definitely worth a try.

Advertisements

We Need to Talk…

Ok, this is stating the obvious – but if we’re going to live in Turkey, we need to make an effort to get to grips with the language.

Actually, I say it’s obvious, but you’d be amazed at how many ex-pats go overseas and think they can stick with the usual Brit approach of speaking very slowly, in English, and simply repeating themselves at an ever-increasing volume when they’re not understood.

Because we’re going to a tourist area and one which does have a lot of English people living there, the move to Fethiye might not be as difficult as it could be, Most of the locals seem to have a pretty good grasp of our language (and certainly much better than ours on Turkish).

But there’s a difference between being somewhere as a temporary visitor and living there permanently. Not only that, but we want to be part of the community. It’s not a case of simply transporting our life in the UK to somewhere warmer and staying in our ivory tower – we want the culture, the way of life. We want to integrate. There’s a chance we could end up living in one of the villages or outlying areas, in which case just knowing a few key phrases – “Where is the toilet?” “May I have two beers?” – won’t cut it.

So, with this in mind, we got together with two dear friends who are also making the move. Yes, we began with the basics – greetings, numbers, that kind of thing. And we had a fun evening – some food, some wine, lots of laughs – and did learn a few words. But we also realised how much we don’t know, and that we probably need some expert – native – help if we’re to really progress.

I’ve always liked languages and been quite good at them, but it’s true what they say – it’s a lot harder when you’re older. We’ve got a couple of ideas to find someone who can help, and in the meantime I guess I’ll revert to my school days and try and learn a few words and phrases parrot-fashion.

The next time I get the opportunity, I also need to make sure I actually use what I’ve learned. It’s like anything – you can study it, understand the principles and, in theory, be quite good. But if you don’t put it into practice you’ll never improve and never really get to grips with it.

Some of that will come once we’re our there and speaking Turkish on a daily basis, I’m sure. For now, it’s back to the phrase book.

Wish us luck. Until next time – güle güle!

RP