In September I met up with Ken Jennings, one half of the Gülsüm Balcony Project. He handed me a small piece recent history; a Christmas Greeting letter I'd sent out in 1997. I hadn't kept a copy and could hardy remember writing it, but it makes interesting reading now.
"Inflation isn't showing any signs of slowing down. £1 = 323,000TL. Bread =35,000TL, 1lt petrol = 135,00 TL. "
Taking devaluation into account that means in 1997 one UK pound in today's money was worth 0.323TL. Today it is 4.3TL. Somebody brighter than me please work out the real devaluation.
"The ever increasing foreign community organises a carol concert on the Friday before Christmas and this year there will be a Christmas Fair with tombola, wine tasting, children's plays, local crafts and a visit from Santa Claus."
I do remember the hours of meetings I sat through helping to organise the first ever Christmas Fair in Bodrum with funds raised going towards the first children's library. That library didn't survive but now there is a Festive Fair almost every day of the week in the run up to the New Year.
"A private hospital has just opened 100m from our office and another is opening in '98"
This doesn't seem groundbreaking news but for us it was momentous. The local state hospital was scary so most Bodrumites traveled either to Muğla or Izmir for treatment - 2 to 4 hours on the road. The Özel Hospital is still going strong, the second opened, changed names a couple or more times and is now no more.
'First Choice, Airtours, Sunworld and Inspirations are selling flights to Milas-Bodrum airport"
"The international arrivals-departures building is due to be completed by January 98."
That building is now the domestic terminal and we have a much shinier International terminal.
"The town council now has a refuge for stray dogs and are collecting, sterilising, vaccinating and trying to find homes for strays"
I'd forgotten the refuge opened so long ago.
"The keel was laid for Bodrum's first sail training ship"
It took a while and a lot of fund raising but it was built and is a fine sight in full sail.
"I'm sure that you will all be happy to hear that Mustafa has got married...I'm sure you will join us in wishing him and his wife Tülin a happy life together"
Mustafa and Tülin are coming up to their 20th wedding anniversary in 2017, with daughter Aytaç at university and son Erdoğan a star pupil at secondary school and to round off - here is a photo of the happy couple at my daughter's wedding this year.
|Erdoğan, Celal, Esi, Mustafa, Tülin and your truly.|