I just wrote Fred another letter, he is going to get really angry if I do not leave him to his tequila and lime I fear…
I just read your “Mexico Fades” article and in regard to your last paragraph, “People email me, asking where I would go if I were trying to get out of the crumbling US before the roof falls in“, tell ’em to come to Turkey, the people do not dance like Latins but they dance what looks like Greek dancing (the Turks say it is Turkish dancing) every time someone pops a lively Turkish song into a boom box.
Turks are friendly to a fault; although most of the Turks I know seldom go to a mosque (if at all), and many of them believe in nothing but a good time, they have a Muslim history which says treat your guests well and with respect; I have heard Turks say that expats are guests in our country just as if they are guests in our house.
We own our own house so we do not pay rent. We live ONLY on my Social Security and my 30% VA pay. My wife has a small Turkish pension. We can afford to hire a house cleaning lady two or three times a month, a gardener a couple of times a month (I am really lazy), we eat fresh veggies daily, we can drink the water, I have ADSL in a small village of about 200 people, we have over 300 days of sunshine yearly, and the nights are cool enough to sleep with a sheet (except August) or a blanket. I use a wood stove for heat for about two months a year and our electricity bill averages less than 200 Turkish Lira a month.
Oh, and if you live outside a municipality as we do NO PROPERTY TAXES!!! If you do live in a town, the taxes are a pittance, 0.01% of appraised value which is usually around 20% of what the place cost you in the first place.
I can also afford to pay for private health insurance but am considering dropping it because I am retired and my wife is retired and because I am married to a Turkish citizen, I am entitled to FREE medical care, hospitalisation, severely reduced cost or free meds, and doctor visits. (No dental :-(, but first rate quality and not expensive)
AND, doctors still do house calls, they freely give out their mobile phone numbers; usually because no one in their right mind would call their doctor unless they needed medical advice. No answering service, no fucking nurse to tell you to take two aspirins, throw up in the commode and go to the emergency room if you get worse.
The military are no longer coup minded it seems although they have taken too many lessons from their former big brother the Pentagon regarding the PKK on the eastern borders and their ability to justify a bloated budget.
The police can be mean bastards in a riot and they usually show up in sufficient force to announced demonstrations; usually cooler heads prevail; if not it can be Chicago ’68. Other than that the police have been unstintingly friendly willing to go out of their way to give advice or directions to a stupid and confused foreigner, even though they are carrying an automatic rifle and wearing a flak jacket.
A murder anywhere in the country is BIG news unless it is an “honour killing” in some backwater village in the east where a father gets a son to shoot his sister because she snuggled too close to the neighbour boy. Even that shit is finally getting women pissed off and the police no longer seem to laugh. Recently a guy was convicted of beating his wife to death and the judge gave him life without parole. (No death penalty in Turkey!) A very unusual sentence for this climate and a major change in a judge’s attitude.
The day after 9/11, we had neighbours come sit with us late into the night, as if I was in mourning for a dearly loved one. They brought food and condolences as if it were after a funeral. All my sister in Iowa could say was that I should “come home.” I told her that flying into NYC or Boston did not do the crew and passengers on September 11 much good.
I could go on and on but I have yakked fur enuff. Tell ’em Hobbit’Sez to come to Middle Earth or Anatolia which is what the Asian side of Turkey is called and what I learned in some high school text book as Asia Minor.
If they need a map show ’em this one of Kaş on the Mediterranean Coast of Turkey.
“Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give the appearance of solidity to pure wind.”–George Orwell