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We will send regular newsletters to our members who have signed up for receiving it during the registration. In 'mymerhaba' newsletter, our editorial staff provides updates, with regard to any information related to places worth visiting, viewing, or otherwise worth knowing, for those who care to know more....

Pat from Göreme

 Untitled Document

Thanks to Pat Yale/Travel Writer for sharing her experiences in Turkey with us.

Tell us about yourself.
My name is Pat Yale. I am English but live in Göreme in Cappadocia in a restored cave-house with (at the last count) 10 cats. I first came to Turkey in 1974 and returned virtually every year during the 1990s. Then in 1998 I decided to come and live in the village for a year. Six months into that stay my current house came on the market. The rest is really history.

I am a travel writer and for more years than I care to remember worked on Lonely Planet Turkey. I have just started work for The Little Hotel Book but nowadays I am at least as interested in the yabancıs who live here full-time. So I have just written A Handbook for Living in Turkey which should be published by Citlembik in Istanbul any day soon.

What made you come to Turkey?
My first trip to Turkey was on the coat-tails of the hippy movement. Unfortunately my Road to Kathmandu ended in Cappadocia. I was young and impressionable and Turkey left a lasting memory with me, so perhaps it wasn't so surprising when I started to come back to the country to write about it in the 1990s, kicking off with a half-share in the writing of The Good Tourist in Turkey.

What do you do in your daily life?
Well, of course, in Turkey there is no such thing as a typical day. But perhaps my days are even less predictable than most people's since it entirely depends on work where I will be and what I will be doing. If I have a job on I will usually spend my days visiting hotels and inspecting rooms. If I have no job I sleep late, then potter around the village visiting friends and catching up on the gossip.

Family?
Mine is all in the UK and the USA, although I have a fine adopted family in Göreme.

Can you compare your first days here with today?
Back in 1974 Turkey was virtually another world. I can remember wandering up and down Divan Yolu (sans tram), looking, like everyone else, for somewhere that would give us Turkish lira in exchange for our traveller's cheques. In those days Topkapı otogar was a thing to behold - I had to ask for help just to find my way out from among the buses to the main road. The country was altogether a rougher and wilder place - I was held up at gunpoint twice in two weeks. Of course now that is all ancient history. And the changes that have taken place even in the eight years I have been living here are quite astounding. The tramway extension in Istanbul, for example. The new tram in Eskişehir. The myriad new hotels. The vast shopping malls. Even here in Göreme much has changed as women have started to go out to work and old traditions steadily disappear.

Has living in Turkey influenced your attitude to life?
Absolutely. In the first place it has probably made me more relaxed about time and what will happen when. But more importantly it has given me a real insight into how people from another culture look at and deal with things - an invaluable lesson for which I will always be grateful.

Turkish language?
Well, it's difficult, isn't it? I do my best and can cope quite adequately for all day-to-day purposes. But can I understand a political programme on the television or even read the heavier articles in the newspapers? Sadly, the answer is still no despite the best efforts of the teachers at Dilmer in Istanbul.

Let's talk about the region you are living in.
I don't think Cappadocia needs much introduction these days. Göreme is very much the hub of things and perhaps people think of it as very touristy. The part of the village that I live in, however, still clings onto the old Anatolian lifestyle - the making of pekmez and yufka for the winter, for example, plus the wedding parties that go on for days. Most of my immediate neighbours are still traditional villagers who eat at tables on the floor and speak only Turkish. But there is a lively expat community for those days when I yearn for something more familiar. Plus there are the turizmcis who straddle the line between the yabancıs and the foreigners. Of course we also have the steady throughput of tourists - so although we appear to be living in a tiny place in the middle of nowhere in fact we tend to have a lively and varied social life (without the cinemas and theatres, of course).

Have you traveled in Turkey? Tell us your discoveries.
As a result of my work for Lonely Planet I have been fortunate enough to be able to travel all round Turkey many times which means that I have even been to such offbeat places as Tunceli and Hakkari. My favourite discovery in recent years? Probably the Phrygian Valley between Seyitgazi and Afyon in poppy season.

What is your preferred characteristic trait of Turks?
Has to be their friendliness, doesn't it? Although I also love the entrepreneurial, can-do attitude - so different from the UK.

What was the annoying one?
Hassle on the street in tourist areas. Oh, and mindless nationalism.

Turkish cuisine?
I'm not really a foodie but I do love a good İskender kebap. And I can't think of a better cheap and filling breakfast than a steaming bowl of lentil soup - unless, perhaps, it's the Van/Kars-style bread, butter and honey breakfast.

Any suggestion to newcomers to Turkey?
Probably my advice would be to tread a little carefully at first. There are so many wonderful people here but sometimes newcomers get so carried away by the hospitality that they forget that true friendship takes some time to cultivate even in Turkey. Then they trust the wrong people and come unstuck. Treading carefully is especially advisable when thinking about parting with large sums of money, whether for a new house or before entering into a business partnership.




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Latest comments about this article

 By delikatie  21.11.2006

Hi Pat, Thanks for your profile. I just happened to read your story in ”Tales from the Expat Harem” and loved it. I´ve spent some time in Goreme - it´s beautiful.

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