Expats: January, Sick And Tired

Alex Smith writes about the expats of Kaş, Turkey

Alex Smith

Every month Alex Smith shares his perspective on the expats of Kaş. You can also take a look at some other expats of Turkey...

“January, sick and tired, you’ve been hanging on me
You make me sad with your eyes
You’re telling me lies”

Hark the words from the pen of the immortal band Pilot in their song January. Given that they were writing in the mid ’70s I reckon it’s probably fair to say that they were writing about the month itself and not the actress January Jones who has excelled in her cold fish persona in the TV drama Mad Men. Like Pilot I have heard it said that January is the longest and most depressing month and I’m sure that in some situations there is a case to be made for this. Let’s face it the Christmas and New Year festivities are over (although many will be grateful for this) the holidays have finished, the days are short and the weather is at best grey. Add to that the fact that a good many people have over indulged and over spent during the Christmas spell and have to face the consequences of that. There you have a recipe for the month that ushers in depression and seems to drag on forever.

Sun filled valley

Sun filled valley

Well, only some of that applies living here in Kaş. For a start the weather is at its worst grey and on quite a few days is an absolute delight with beautiful clear sunny skies and cold crisp nights. You are much less likely to have over indulged and over spent here too because, as I mentioned in my previous article, the festive period is nowhere near as protracted as most of us expats are used to. Yes the days are short but we still have light until getting on for 5.30 p.m. and somehow that doesn’t seem quite so bad as the 4.15 blackout that I once had to tolerate for months on end. I’m not going to over romanticise the winters here, there are some pretty lousy days, and I for one look forward to the advent of spring, but; there are days in January and February when it really feels like it is already here. Take the last ten days or so (I write this on the 24th January) we have experienced extremely violent thunderstorms which rattle the buildings and jolt us out of our slumbers and which are accompanied by torrential, and I mean torrential, rains, the kind of which can partially explain the plethora of cats and dogs on the streets of Kaş. We have also, by contrast, had a good number of days during which the sun has shone without interruption, the temperature has risen, and the feel good factor has been high. We have two people coming to stay with us in early February with the intention of taking a walking break; it’s highly likely that they will experience a combination of the conditions that I have described. At this time of year it can be a gamble but I would say definitely worth the risk, it can pay off big time.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

Snow capped mountains

Snow capped mountains

The other factor here is coping with the conditions. Kaş is not really built to withstand extreme weather conditions and torrential rain, in particular, seems to catch the town on the hop every year. It’s only a matter of minutes before the streets become raging torrents and what drainage there is (usually none) fails abysmally to cope. The buildings too are no strangers to leaks and there seems to be a general attitude amongst the populace which goes something like “Oh well it’ll be over soon and the sun will quickly dry everything out”. That is all true but it can still be a little miserable to be rained on in your home. Where I live in Gökseki there are a number of school buildings of various descriptions on the hill leading up to the village and two of these are separated from the road by a large stone built wall which was erected this summer. About three weeks ago I drove into Kaş in extremely heavy rain during the middle of the afternoon and on my return found the road impassable as a 15 metre stretch of the 10 metre high wall had simply collapsed due to the conditions. Had any school kids, or cars for that matter, been in its vicinity as it went, there would surely have been casualties. All of this appeared to be accepted with stoicism in contrast to the public enquiry that I am pretty sure would have taken place had this occurred outside a Manchester school.

One thing that has happened every evening without exception in the Smith household though is that the trusty old wood burning stove has been lit. I wouldn’t want to be without that essential item during the winter months, it makes our living room a cosy place to be where we can while away the winter nights watching far too many episodes of Mad Men (hence my knowledge of January Jones), Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire or their equivalent. There is much less of a draw to the centre of Kaş on a winter’s eve, only a few bars are open and they are seriously under populated. We still have our quiz nights and our book club meetings but these are pre-planned events and I will rarely wander into the centre of Kaş on a whim at this time of year.

Alex and Barbara at Kyaneai

Alex and Barbara at Kyaneai

What I will often do though is take off for a day’s walking or cycling if the conditions suit. Lately we have been able to enjoy walks which have taken in Bezirgan, Patara and Kyaneai and I have been off cycling all around Kaş itself and as far away as the Kasaba region. This can be so rewarding! Despite the fact that I have lived here for around four years now, I am still impressed by being able to enjoy such delights in the depths of our least favourite month. I hope that the pictures which I have provided the editor can do this justice. Don’t worry it’ll soon be February!

BOUGAINVILLE TRAVEL The Original Kaş Adventure Company, since 1994

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