Retired Expat Network member Colin Guest recalls his time living and working in Turkey
After working on single status contracts in several countries, in 1988 I finally obtained a married status deal in Turkey. The contract was a large hotel complex, and I was employed as a finishing adviser.
As I had served a five year apprenticeship as a joiner-shopfitter before working my way up the ladder in various positions in interior finishing, my CV looked pretty good. It must have been, as the company that employed me told my recruitment company they would take me on without interview.
On my arrival at the construction site down on the Mediterranean coast, I found it in a fantastic location. It was perched on the edge of a long sandy beach, with the complex going around a small headland and two beautiful sheltered bays. The whole site was backed by pine trees that swept down from the high cliffs behind some of the accommodation blocks, making it a picture postcard setting.
At that time it was practically deserted, apart from a small pension (hotel) a bit further along the beach, with no other buildings in sight.
At first I lived in a pension in the nearby seaside village of Kemer, but when my wife arrived a month later, we were put into a hotel. About a month or so later, we moved into a company apartment in Kemer.
Living in Kemer for us was like a dream come true. Although there were only a few English speakers there, we found Turkish people to be both friendly and helpful, and we soon made a number of good friends.
Before going to Turkey, we had been planning on moving to Spain, so I was taken by surprise one day when my wife said, “After you finish this contract, why don’t we buy a plot of land and have a house built?”
Although this came as quite a shock, I thought it a great idea, so agreed. As a result, with the help of some Turkish friends, we started to look for a suitable plot of land.
After looking at a few without success, Ahmed, a Turkish friend a work colleague had introduced me to who was also looking to buy some land to build on, called saying he had found the perfect place.
After driving out of Kemer and into a village on the other side of the main highway linking Antalya (home to the nearest airport) and Mugla further down the coast we entered a small village.
Despite being out in the country and around four miles from Kemer, one look was enough to convince me this was the right place. It was ideal. The plot was surrounded by a variety of fruit trees, with orange trees growing on it, and had beautiful open views of the nearby Tarus Mountains.
We agreed there and then to buy the land between us. This turned out to be a life changer for my wife and I and our two daughters.
To be continued…
Colin Guest’s book, An Expat’s Experiences of Living in Turkey, is published on Amazon Kindle.