Tuesday, 25 September 2018

The good and the bad - and the ugly!!!!!

Hi to all,
We are so indebted to Janet and her husband, Hugo, for allowing us to stay in their apartment which is in the same apartment  building as ours - Edificio Jardines de la Maria 1.  Most of the time we are with Janet as Hugo works in New York and it has been such a welcome relief after the events of the last 4 months or so. Janet is very kind and treats us like parents, solicitous of the oldies' on-going well being. She is studying finger nail art and nail care which has a huge following here in Medellin. Some designs are outlandish - others very elegant. 
She has just performed some of her nail art on Jean's toenails ahead of her departure for Miami. Los nietos will be impressed!!
Hugo came back to Colombia on a flying visit at the end of August and it was great to see him again. It was a long weekend in the US (Labour Day) and so it gave him marginally more time here. He hired a car while here and one day we all went to Guatape - our 3rd. visit there to date. But it was good to wander the narrow streets again with their Colombian decoration - very traditional. The lake front is a bit of a mess because evidently there is a new beach being created along the lake front of the town. But it will be an asset once completed. On the way there we stopped for lunch at a traditional Colombian country restaurant at the turn-off to Guatape. With Hugo's encouragement Jean discovered the delights of Colombian tripe soup - Mondongo - which she enjoyed very much. Jim declined because he has an aversion to tripe dating way back to childhood in NZ! But maybe in time he could be persuaded. It seemed very different from the horrible stuff of memory. Jim had Chicharones which is pork crackling - delicious!!
However, since then we were invited to lunch at the apartment of other acquaintances (Edgar and Patricia), and 2 friends of theirs from one of the 3 small cities (Pereira) that make up the coffee triangle were also there. Patricia had made Mondongo soup and with it we had a very delicious Chilean rose. The soup was tasty and nutritious and Jim is now converted!! We had great conversations about Colombia and its recent history and we are now much better informed as regards the land grab scandals of the past which also involved many thousands of people being killed over many years of bloody conflict. We can only hope that since the FARC peace accords, some justice is gradually returned to the descendants of those displaced people. Long way to go, but after 50 odd years of civil war, one cannot expect a quick fix overnight. Recently however, there is disquieting news with recent statistics indicating that Coca production for the manufacture of Cocaine is now at an all-time high and a large number of people pressing for land justice have been murdered. Some 300+ this year!! One young woman in her 20's was tortured and then bludgeoned to death. No worries in cities, or as long as you stay on the straight and narrow out of the cities, but there's no doubt that there are certain areas that are definitely "no-go" zones. The new government says it is committed to stopping Coca production (by aerial spraying of herbicides!) and righting the land injustices, but so many of them have connections with the land thieves and so much corrupt baggage from the past, that one wonders just how committed and determined they are.  
Now it is being said that the original estimate of some 40 odd billion USD to fund the peace process is way underestimated and in fact they need another 25 billion USD to complete the process. And that there is no hope that the Colombian Judicial System can come anywhere near being able to cope with the volume of land theft claims and associated crimes.
On top of all that with the financial and humanitarian crisis that has resulted from Venezuela's crackpot socialist government and its destructive policies, it has been reported that Colombia and Guyana (Venezuela's other neighbour to the east) have quietly withdrawn their earlier general opposition to any plan to invade Venezuela to topple the Maduro dictatorship. So it could well be that in the near future there could be a US led invasion to get rid of the current barbaric Venezuelan government which is systematically starving its own population in the name of Socialism. Not the sort of outcome anyone wants to see, but maybe it just needs to happen. In the meantime there is an immigration crisis engulfing Colombia and other S American countries. At least it's not quite as bad as the situation in Europe because the forced migrants at least have a similar culture and speak the same language.
A side effect of all this is that we have noticed many more poor people begging on Medellin's streets. It is very noticeable after just 2 years since we bought our apartment.   
On a happier note, we must make mention of the 2018 Medellin Flower Festival. We again went to the Botanical Gardens but were a little disappointed with the standard of displays compared with last year. And then the classic car parade which Jim had been looking forward to with enthusiasm, also did not have the pizzaz that attended last year's event, although there was the usual carnival atmosphere. But there were no young chicas dancing on the backs of trucks and throwing flowers to besotted old grey haired whatsits! Still, a great collection of mainly American cars from the 50's which is an interest of Jim's - very nostalgic remembering his father's American/Canadian cars in NZ - which started with a 1956 Chev Bel Air. He had had a much earlier 1946 - 1947 Nash, a Dodge, a few Renaults, and in between a succession of British Armstrong Siddeley Sapphires - and an AS Whitley. Jim's family's business had the NZ agency for Armstrong Siddeley until 1960 when they ceased manufacture. The first car Jim "drove" was a '56 Sapphire sitting on Dad's lap when he was 9!! Great memories including in 1959 (59 years ago) driving over the newly opened Auckland Harbour Bridge (2 lanes in each direction) in the '59 Canadian RHD Pontiac Laurentian when this young lad was just 12!! Jean remembers a similar experience at the same time in her family's Humber Super Snipe! Good heavens - what if we'd met then? Only speculation of course as far too young at 12 (!), but there would have been some totally different nietos y nietas! How destiny can change on the spin of a coin. 
If we had the money we'd love to import a classic American car from the States. You can do this duty free into Colombia as long as it's more than 35 years old and has some classic and original status.. Something like a '59 Pontiac Bonneville convertible or a 1953 Buick Skylark, but you need megabucks to buy those these days.   
Jean had a particularly nasty accident a few weeks ago. She was returning from an early morning walk and chatting to some neighbours while still walking fairly fast - as she does! - when she tripped on a raised bit of marble floor in the covered carpark and crashed headlong on her right side. Lucky she has bionic hips. She hurt her arm badly but fortunately didn't break anything, but her arm was black and blue for days and she still has trouble lifting it above shoulder level. She had an Ultrasound scan which didn't reveal anything too bad but she has a ruptured lower bicep muscle and has damaged some ligaments. It's just a matter of time for healing but many of you will know that she is not renowned for her patience!! She has been sleeping with the affected arm up on a pillow which has been helping. 
We have also been fairly engrossed in obtaining our residency. This has entailed a few visits to Astrid (our lawyer), and Migracion Colombia, both here in Medellin and Bogota where we had to go to actually get the visas inserted in our passports. The visas themselves are the main thing, but the final act is receiving the Cedulars which are similar to an identity card. Previously we had been using laminated photocopies of our passports (which we'd had done in Langkawi) which you need to show in most retail shops when making a purchase by credit card. 
Update - on the 12th. we visited Migracion Colombia in Medellin again and now have our Cedulars which means that we are Colombian residents and can operate phone, TV, water, power and gas accounts in our own name as well as owning a car, health insurance,  bank account etc. A milestone indeed.
The hotel in Bogota was very modern and new and less than NZD100 per night. And only 150 metres from the Migracion Colombia office. We flew with Viva Air which was only mediocre and they charged us an extra COP93,000 because our carry on bag was one inch over length. And we only had the one bag between us. Never Viva Air again. We have been interested in buying a car here sometime in the future and to that end we visited the Skoda dealership in Bogota as there isn't one in Medellin. Saw a 2017 Yeti 4 x 4 with only 40,000 kms which appeals as a very practical and down to earth vehicle. There was also a 38 year old Mercedes-Benz 280SLC as a private sale (about the same price) but reluctantly Jim has decided that his ancient and classic Mercedes owning days must of necessity be over!  However, any decision about a car will wait until we're more settled and hopefully have received at least something for our old girl in Turkey. More about that soon.
We had also contacted NZ's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and NZTE about our Bogota visit because back in February, NZ opened its first embassy in Bogota. We wanted an appointment at the embassy because we thought it would be a good idea to introduce ourselves and also have a brief discussion about trade between NZ and Colombia and whether we might be able to be of assistance. However, in spite of contacting them more than once a good 3 weeks before our trip, all we ever received were 2 brief computer generated acknowledgements and no appointment. If that's NZ's attitude towards developing new markets, it makes one wonder why they're spending all this taxpayers' money on opening embassies.. However, we must add that finally, as a result of yet another email from us, MFAT did finally reply in a substantive way and gave us the embassy's email address. So, we have at least now initiated some contact. But that was after our visit to Bogota had come and gone.
Other than that, we have been getting out and about to the farmers market at Parque Presidentia in Poblado on Sundays and various exploratory shopping expeditions - all by the very cheap and efficient Medellin taxis. Although we have to say that in a number of cases the drivers do not know where they are going and we have to use the GPS on our phones to direct them!! We met a young lady at the market one day (Monica) who spoke excellent English as she had lived in the US for a number of years. She has been very helpful to us and now has gone back to Florida, where she has an apartment in Orlando,  for a few weeks and taken her aging father who is in his eighties with her. She had returned to Medellin to be a carer for him. One Sunday we met Monica and her father at the Otraparte Museum restaurant not far from our apartment and she also brought some friends, Edgar and his wife, Patricia. We mentioned then earlier in this blog. Edgar has also lived in the States for years and so also speaks excellent English. Since then we have met them a couple of times, the most recent on a visit to the Los Molinos Mall where there was a shop selling large size shoes. Both of us tend to tower over the locals and have a job finding shoes that will fit. Jim found a pair of closed in sandals which are excellent and may be able to get another pair of open sandals as all he has had so far, apart from shoes which need to be worn with socks which we bought in Germany, is a well worn pair of sandals from Thailand. Jean found a very reasonably priced pair of red sandals, Colombian made, which she says are the most comfortable shoes she has owned. So, life in Medellin is proceeding apace and we feel very settled, and grateful to Janet and Hugo. although it will be good to get into our apartment in about 5 weeks. 
On the 24th. Jean is flying to Miami (hurricanes permitting!!) to see her family, and in particular for Carter's 5th. birthday. Jim just wants some R & R after the last 4 months and so is going to Santa Marta on the Colombian Caribbean coast where we have booked an Airbnb studio apartment. After 2 weeks Jean returns to Santa Marta (via Bogota!) and then 2 weeks later we both return to Medellin. So, that should all be good and will be the subject of a later blog.
The boat saga is still running. We initially left Turkey 14 weeks ago because we felt at the end of our tethers in dealing with the crook who owns and runs the boatyard. We initially hauled out on April 25th. - ANZAC Day, and maybe that was a bad omen because of course that marks the anniversary of the invasion of Turkey by Britain and the Anzac forces in the 1st. WW at Gallipoli - and we all know what happened there! We are both 71 and were no longer prepared to risk our health or possible physical harm and certainly more cost by staying on indefinitely awaiting the pleasure of the above person. Good taste and decorum prevents us right now from giving true vent to our feelings about him but that will certainly be forthcoming in the future. And now from  a purely financial point of view, with the amounts that have been informally offered to us, it frankly is not worth the cost of returning from Colombia, the yard costs, the subsequent marina costs or on-going sailing and maintenance costs. It all needs to be undertaken by a younger and more energetic person than us and whoever that is will have a very cheap and well built boat which will be capable of much more world cruising. 
We had her listed with Classic Yacht Brokerage of Worcester in the UK and they had a buyer who was prepared to travel to Turkey to investigate the pros and cons. Unfortunately he was not able to travel until the end of August by which time she had sat out of the water for 4 months - the last 2 in punishing Turkish summer heat. Possibly the hottest summer on record. So, being Kauri of course she had opened up a little, but he was spooked - mainly we think by the yard owner - and started saying that she would have to be shipped to the UK and be splined - all at great cost which meant nothing financial for us. Splining involves inserting strips of timber along seams but is definitely NOT recommended for traditional carvel planked wooden boats. All sorts of complications can result. Almost certainly all she needed was to be soaked in salt water by holding her in the travel lift straps for up to 48 hours, then hauling out and new red leaded putty applied where necessary. Then of course antifouling and re-launching. But they appear to have done some cowboy work to some seams (we think) and then launched her without our permission and put her into the close by ECE Saray Marina. Apparently she was taking about a bucket of water a day (which she has never done before), but without knowing exactly what was done, we worried about something catastrophic happening with sinking at the berth with over 400 litres of diesel on board!! The Turks would love that with their draconian attitudes towards pollution from boats! We were being told that if anything happened, we would be liable as owners still, but we've told them to stop dreaming. She was dealt with entirely against our recommendations and instructions, so we would  have had no liability whatsoever. Anyway, we'd like to see them try and sue us in Colombia!! We have been so incensed and worried at this turn of events that we have initiated enquiries with our NZ insurance broker to see whether we might have an insurance claim for theft and possibly willful damage. Those enquiries have yet to be answered.
Now we have been told that the original UK buyer may possibly still be interested, but he's yet to make a proper offer! There has been so much waffle and disinformation that it puts us in mind of Brexit. What a shambles that is. They need Boris Johnson, and so do we!!!
In the meantime we have another interested party who is knowledgeable about traditionally built boats like TT3. So, we have hopes still. But it's out of the question for us to return for all the reasons already stated. All we can say at this point is watch this space. But TT3 deserves better than all this nonsense and we hope that for her sake as much as anything else that the present very difficult situation can finally have a good outcome.
Well, our second possible buyer has just been  in Turkey (Fethiye) and we have negotiated an agreement, which he still hasn't signed. Quite complicated because it encompassed a 50/50 share of costs including the earlier yard costs plus the Turkish broker's costs. No commission because the enquiry came from a blog post that Jim had written on a yachting forum, so that's something. But the overall amount of money is very little and nowhere near what she should be worth, but we certainly don't blame the buyer for that because he has taken on quite a bit with eventually getting her out of the yard's clutches (where she has now been returned against our advice) and on-going costs. However, we have to remember the good times - the adventures from NZ to Thailand which we would never otherwise have had and the fact that we lived on her for 9 years. A lot of that is not quantifiable in financial terms of course. But it is nevertheless disappointing that unique and classic boats like her are not worth much more. We can only be glad that a younger and more energetic person is going to be her next guardian. He has had wooden boats before and is an experienced yachtsman, so we can be confident she is in good hands.There were only 2 Gauntlets built in NZ and many of them (including British built boats) are still sailing - some are now over 80 years old!!  However, the 2 NZ boats are the best in terms of build quality - mainly on account of the quality of native timber used and the universal use of copper and bronze fastenings. There's a provocative assertion for you!!
The only qualification to the above is that the agreement is yet to be fully consummated in the sense of money changing hands, and being signed by the buyer. Everything has been agreed - just a matter of the slow wheels of commerce grinding on!! But nothing is finished until money is in the bank.
However, we now have another interested party - a Turk who runs a sailing school in Istanbul. If the aforementioned deal fails then there is another possibility. But all of this interest only comes to the fore when the price is so low that it's a no-brainer.
We must also make mention of our indefatigable Turkish agent, Murat Toprak, who is based in Bodrum. Without him and his ability to deal with the yard owner, and marina manager and Turkish officialdom we would almost certainly not have come so far. We first met Murat before we left Turkey and he has been wonderful in gradually getting us to the present position. He has infinite patience! 
The whole business with the yacht has been an emotional rollercoaster. After 9 years of living on board and 16 years of ownership, to leave her as we did in Turkey was especially hard for Jim - and indeed for both of us. And at that stage we had no idea what was likely to happen, but at least we seem to be some way down the road towards selling her to someone who will be a caring owner. She has been a big part of our lives with Jim having owned her for 16 years. The money spent, the physical work sanding and painting, the discussions with our shipwright re such diverse things as mast fittings, the new bowsprit, the new deck layout and so much more. Then the voyaging - NZ to New Caledonia to Bundaberg in Queensland, then to Cairns via Townsville and many other places, up around the "top" at Seisia, Cape York, then across the Gulf of Carpentaria (3 days), Gove and then across the Northern Territory to Darwin and its 7 metre tides!. Then Indonesia, the highlight of which was Medana Bay at Lombok where we spent 3 weeks, and on across the Java Sea where just south of Singapore we learned by Sailmail of the birth of Jean's first grandson, Carter. Then about 4 months later the voyage resumed up the west coast of peninsular Malaysia to Langkawi and on to Thailand. Many great times there and in Langkawi and in 2014 we flew to Chennai in India where Jean had double hip replacements. Then finally the fateful decision to ship the old girl to Turkey and the total mess we completely unwittingly landed ourselves in. It's been a saga indeed over the last 9 years - now we wonder what we'll do for similar excitement!!
But we are philosophical and have accepted that, even though the situation has been forced upon us, at our age we are better to just accept things as they are, remember all the good times and the whole achievement, and get on with the rest of our lives.
We mentioned Boris Johnson just above. We would also like to again express our support for Donald Trump who in recent weeks has been the subject of the most vicious, lying and defamatory campaign in memory. All aimed at the mid term elections for Congress and the Senate of course. It is vital for the well-being of the free world (and that includes all of us) that the lying socialist Dems who continually defame Trump do not gain a majority in either Congress or the Senate and preferably that the Republicans increase their present paper thin majorities. The Dem's vile and illegal antics over the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Kavanaugh defy belief, and we can only hope that it all comes back to bite them in a very nasty and painful place! If, God forbid, the Dems prevail in the midterms for the Senate and the House, the consequences for all of us will be far reaching and destructive. These are one of the most important elections in US history. America MUST return Republican majorities in both houses otherwise we will see Iran and N Korea thumb their noses at the world once more and the spectre of world war will once again become real. The vile lying anti democracy Dems must be kept out of power. They are horrible, horrible people. 
We have reservations about Trump like most people, but he is like a shining beacon right now in a very murky and stormy night (bit like night sailing across oceans!!), and the alternative doesn't bear thinking about. We can only have faith that the American voters have enough sense to see beyond the defamatory fake news to the real truth, and ensure that the GOP and this President can continue to carry out Trump's overall policy of "making America great again". Which in the end and by extension, and whether we like it or not, means us, wherever we are in this so-called "free world". It also means without a doubt - DRAINING THE SWAMP!!!!!!! Hopefully the crocodiles will permanently vitiate all the former swamp denizens' future careers - apologies to Rudyard Kipling!!
Finally we must make mention of little old Godzone. The Kiwi dollar has declined around 10% against the Colombian Peso since we were here last year, but the USD is strong and so it's swings and roundabouts. New Zealand's relationship with Australia has deteriorated largely due to their draconian policy of deporting anyone deemed to be "not of good character". No need for any criminal conviction - just some arbitrary opinion. So far, over 1300 Kiwis have been sent home to nothing as a result of this criteria, as usually all their families remain in Oz. Even those with criminal records have no doubt learnt how to be bad during their time in Oz and in most cases they went there with their families when very young children. No mention of Aussies who might not be "of good character" and still residing in NZ!!  Australia's attitude in all of this is inhumane and it is doubly sad, given our 2 countries' shared histories.
On those controversial notes we will finish this blog - more to come from Santa Marta and Jean's time in Miami.
Hoping this finds everyone in the pink as always........................
With lotsaluv from us.............................
Jim and Jean
P.S. Jim is now finishing his 2nd day in Santa Marta and, although it's been better than the first, it still isn't great by any means. It's expensive, hot and dusty and as a city doesn't appear to have any redeeming features. The Airbnb accommodation is OK but very basic. But what one supposes can one expect for less than NZD30 per day? Compared to Bogota and Medellin, this an expensive place for no apparent good reason.
Jim might be a bit biased right now because of the usual run-around by Viva Air. The flight took off more or less on time but apparently due to some minor mechanical fault which could not be fixed in Santa Marta returned to Medellin. Only Jim, due to all announcements being made in indecipherable Spanish, wasn't aware of this and thought we'd actually landed in SM! It was only when he went outside to get a taxi that the situation dawned on a mind that had been up since 3 am and was a bit addled by lack of food and water. Makes one feel an absolute fool and the anger builds from there!! Anyway, we finally took off again 2 hours later and made it to SM. Thoroughly bad tempered and out of sorts and in no mood to appreciate anything that may have been good! It was HOT, Jim was tired and hungry and there was absolutely NOTHING in the apartment such as even water. So, had to sally forth again feeling like S..T and deal with the necessities of life and not knowing where to go. So, being a creature of habit, he went to a restaurant at the yacht marina which was CRAP! Even rivalled Charlies at the RLYC for that distinction. Now feeling a bit better, but SM is overall a disappointment. We'd advise anyone thinking of coming here to give it a big swerve. Cartagena may be better, but in all likelihood is just a bigger version of the same. More to come no doubt in an upcoming blog.  

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Medellin 4 - 5 weeks on

Hi to all,
As usual we hope that this finds everyone in the pink.
First we must bring you up to date with the latest developments with our old girl "Tiare Taporo III". We hated having to virtually abandon her on the hard in Fethiye in the hands of a very volatile and unpredictable boatyard owner, but in our own personal interests we had no choice.  We had worked like dogs for the first days after the haulout in late April and all the sanding, painting and varnishing above deck had been re-done - some not done since NZ 7 years ago!! Lots of kneeling on deck with the faithful kneepads! We then left Turkey on June 4th. after the inexplicable deterioration in our relationship with the yard, more or less emotional wrecks, but the sojourn in Germany with Josie and Reinhard did bring us somewhat back to near normal - whatever that is! 
However, we are now pleased to advise that since those sad days back in Turkey, we have received an offer from a UK wooden boat enthusiast via a UK classic yacht broker that we had had her listed with for some 2 years now. But no doubt because she was now in the Mediterranean area, the proposition was more attractive together with the fact that the price had been reduced massively.The price we will not mention because it will probably make you cry, but at least the deal is clean from our point of view as the buyer will pay all the yard costs which have now been quantified and our Turkish agent's costs. He will also need to keep her in the ECE Saray Marina in Fethiye until about March next year when the northern spring starts and he can commence the sailing to Britain - her spiritual home. At least the ECE's costs long term are very reasonable - less than half what we were paying in Langkawi.
As a footnote, we have become aware through our purchaser that we are not the only boatowners to have run foul of this particular yard owner, so we can stop thinking that there's something wrong with us!!
It is sad that we have missed sailing in the Med but we have also missed the attendant costs and we are now free to properly get on with our new lives in our 72nd. years. And we also need to look at the fact that she has provided us with accommodation and some unforgettable experiences over the last 9 years or so and those are things that are not really totally quantifiable in financial terms.
The main thing for us in all of this saga is that she will be going to a good home in Falmouth, Cornwall and will continue to be be properly cherished as a very special yacht. The buyer has paid a deposit but the agreement is so far verbal, although a written offer has been made with the proviso that a few details need modifying. However, after phone calls and emails we are sure that the sale will proceed and a very special and almost unique yacht from NZ will find a proper home. Only 2 Gauntlets were ever built in NZ and our old girl is one of them. Both were built in Wellington and the other ("Ruawaka") has now been in the UK for some years. "Ruawaka" is of Kauri diagonal construction and is a 14 tonner. Our old girl is straight NZ Kauri planked (carvel) construction and copper and bronze fastened and displaces 12 tons. "Ruawaka"was built up on the side of a hill more or less above Evans Bay where TT3 was built in a shed on the shore.  Maybe they will meet again but they are both now lost to NZ for ever due to the world-wide lack of appreciation of these unique and very special vessels. And that sadly includes NZ.
We have been getting on with life in Medellin. We stayed initially in a 15th. floor studio apartment in the Suramericana district of Medellin and it suited our needs very well. It was only a 5 minute walk to a major supermarket and was just what we needed after the tumultuous events of the last 7 weeks or so. It has seemed like 7 years. We had a number of appointments with our lawyer, Dr. Astrid Melendez, who has started the process of applying for permanent residency. Astrid has been a great help to us and has become a good friend. We had to get apostilled (annotated) documents sent from NZ by courier and they have just arrived. They now need to be translated into Spanish and that could not be done by anyone except a properly accredited local interpreter, so that's the next step.
The last 3 nights in the Suramericana apartment were marred by the fact that there was a major roof replacement project going on which would have covered at least a couple of acres of buildings. Good to see and during the first part of our stay was interesting to watch as the work was all being done during the day, but for some inexplicable reason on the 3rd to last night they started working at night beginning at 10pm and finishing at daylight - hammers, power tools and floodlights! Not good for sleep. 
However, we are now happily ensconced with our neighbour, Janet Giraldo, on the 5th. floor of "our" builldng at Jardines de la Maria in Envigado. Janet and Hugo have very generously offered us a room in their apartment and it feels like coming home. We cannot move into our 8th. floor apartment until the 1st. of November when the lease expires. Janet's English is not much better than our Spanish so we are communicating by a translation app on our smartphones mostly. A little laborious but works tolerably well and good for the learning process. Note that Jim has been dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st. century with the recent purchase of a smartphone! But even he can see at least some of the benefits! 
We will see what happens with the residency applications but, apart from the necessity for a visit to Colombian Immigration in Bogota,there should be no problem. We have an intention to later spend some time at Santa Marta on the Carribbean coast from where Jean will pay a visit to Miami for Carter's 5th. birthday on October 5th.The thought of that takes us back because 5 years ago we were floating around in the Java Sea south of Singapore when we learnt of Carter's birth, then in NZ. So much water has passed under the keel since then.  
We have been doing a bit of walking around Suramericana and Laureles and finding some good restaurants and health shops. The phone translation app is invaluable. One restaurant in particular, a pizza joint, had excellent thin based and crisp pizzas. But it's been great to be back in Envigado - much leafier and cooler. It is a fact that Poblado and Envigado are cooler than the lower flat areas of Laureles etc. Not that Envigado is hilly exactly - just a bit more elevated and many more trees. If you look at Medellinliving, it does make reference to the different temperatures in various areas of the city.
It has been fascinating to be in Medellin for the Soccer World Cup. We were in Poblado when Colombia beat Senegal and the excitement was infectious - people all over the streets yahooing in their yellow shirts and red, blue and yellow balloons everywhere - including armed police but no issues. Then we were in a restaurant where there were several large TV screens a few days later when Colombia was playing England. Huge excitement whenever Colombia even looked like scoring - and then a 1-1 draw which caused a sudden death goal kicking play-off. Such disappointment when England eventually won the play-off 4-3. The dejection was palpable. The atmosphere was redolent of the Sunday morning in Auckland when France beat the All Blacks for the Rugby World Cup. Not sure of the year now, but at least 18 years ago and Jim can still recall that you could hear a pin drop!
We've had a couple of visits to the Clinica Las Vegas Hospital (Dr. Mauricio Arias-Alzate) who speaks excellent English and had various tests which have come back satisfactory. Jim's blood sugar is still slightly elevated at 8.0 but Jean had an ECG and that was fine. We just need to address her on-going bouts of indigestion which are a bit of a concern. Have just written to the Island Hospital in Penang to get her test results sent here. Hopefully they can do that.
Well, that's about it for now - we'll let you know the final outcome for the old girl. Fingers crossed that all will be OK and that she will continue to be cherished by a new owner as she deserves.
Finally some political comments (again!!) - 
We continue to have great admiration for President Donald Trump. One might feel disquieted from time to time at his methods and seeming blundering at times, but the recent news of the trade deal with the EU is the best news in a long while. It will sideline Russia's deal with Europe via the natural gas pipeline which would have only been used as a blackmail instrument in the future, and it will also sideline China to where they belong due to predatory trade practices including outright theft of intellectual property. It seems quite obvious that diplomatic niceties do NOT work when dealing with gangster nations like these who have no intention of observing any so-called agreements that might have been made in good faith.There is no good faith where either Russia or China are concerned and Donald Trump's methods are the only ones ever likely to succeed in ultimately persuading these rogue nations (including North Korea and Iran by the way) to act reasonably and fairly in international relations. Winston Churchill's comment during the darkest days of WW2 when the British Army was trapped on the beaches of Dunkirk and some senior members of the Conservative Party wanted to capitulate to Hitler, comes to mind. He famously said - "how can you negotiate with a tiger when your head is in its mouth?". A little bit extreme perhaps as the current situation isn't quite the same, but the comment bears remembering nonetheless. 
Another comment which we feel we must make. We have just read in the NZ Herald a report that the Kiwi dollar had strengthened slightly against the USD. All due to the US/EU trade deal apparently, but NO acknowledgement that Trump's trade policies might have had something to do with it. So hypocritical, sycophantic and sickening that a major influence on NZ public attitudes could behave in this pathetic way. One hopes that a significant and more intelligent part of the population can see through this appalling charade.
We feel somewhat despairing of Britain's efforts to exit the EU with a modicum of a "soft" Brexit. Such is the disgraceful continual infighting between MP's whose sole objective should be to respect the British people's decision to leave and ensure that the best exit deal possible could be negotiated, that we can have no confidence that the eventual outcome will be satisfactory. There is no doubt that the USA stands ready to negotiate a Free Trade Agreement with the UK, but even that could be in jeopardy if the final outcome is less than satisfactory and possibly prevents such an agreement.
Some of you no doubt will not agree with these comments. That's perfectly fine with us, but history as always will ultimately show whether the correct path has now been taken.
Lotsaluv from us in Medellin............
Jim and Jean



Friday, 29 June 2018

Fwd: Medellin and coming to terms with our new life


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: James Donald <tiare.taporo3@gmail.com>
Date: 28 June 2018 at 19:37
Subject: Medellin and coming to terms with our new life
To: Alex Donald <adonald@abdonaldltd.co.nz>


Hi to all,
Firstly some possibly positive news re TT3. We have been contacted by a classic yacht broker in the UK who has a client quite interested in flying to Turkey to inspect the old girl. This may come to nothing, but there seems little doubt that having her on the market at a very cheap price in the Med is the way to go. And it's not expensive to fly to Turkey from the UK.
With the benefit of time for deep reflection, we've changed our thinking inasmuch as the decision to ship her to the Med was correct, as even at a cheap price, it was unlikely that any sale would be forthcoming in Asia. At least now we have some hope. And our decision to leave Turkey was also correct for a variety of reasons. With a seeming inability to get replies from the yard regarding a finishing work schedule and financial information - much less a launching date - we were bleeding cash with accommodation and car hire and being slowly driven mad. We must add that we have no idea even now how this state of affairs came to pass. Add to that the physical effects at our age of all the work we had done when we first hauled out plus the emotional trauma of trying to deal with the yard, and we had only one alternative - which we took. It is disappointing that all this means that we would miss sailing through Greece and then Malta before Sicily, but again we had to have regard to the wider picture, and the priority of our health and well-being.
We continued to enjoy being with Josie and Reinhard in Werneck. Reinhard took us to an adjacent village to buy direct from the farm some asparagus but alas the season was over. So we continued to another village where there was a car ferry (miniature version of Opua) across the River Main. We sat in the sun watching the little ferry coming and going and also visited a campsite on the river where there were some motorhomes. While were there at least 2 very large motorized fully laden barges passed by. Complete with owners spacious accommodation and a crane for lifting the owner's car on and off at various places. It seemed like a very pleasant way of life. The barges were massive - we estimated at least 200' long.
All too soon though, it became time for us to take a sad goodbye to Werneck and Josie and Reinhard. They drove us to the Wurzburg Bahnhof and there was a sad farewell on the station platform. The train arrived more or less on time and we boarded with our 2 x 23kg cases plus our smaller carry on luggage. Only problem was we were at the wrong end of the train, having earlier perused a diagram earlier on the platform. But it didn't matter and we were soon at Frankfurt Airport. Once again a wonderful quiet ride in one of these beautiful trains. Makes you not want to really get off!
We recall the many fascinating conversations that we had with Reinhard, covering family history and history generally including that of the Nazi era. Reinhard has written books about his family with photos of long ago ancestors and historical and biographical notes. Very very impressive. One thing that irrationally stands out - we told Reinhard and Josie about the classic "Grand Prix of Gibraltar" by that great British actor and comedian, Peter Ustinov. We mentioned the interview with the French team manager, Monsieur Orgini, when he was asked about all the beautiful girls in the French pits. He said "well, they are friends of the drivers (!), and as our pits are next to the Germans, perhaps they may cause the Germans to be a little less efficient!!". Reinhard enjoyed that.
The only regret about the German visit was that we didn't go to Stuttgart (Sindelfingen) to visit the Daimler-Benz Museum there. But we really didn't have the energy for another train ride and back. Maybe some time in the future we will return to do that.
Frankfurt Airport is very time consuming to process oneselves through and an alternative (where possible) should be found as it takes an inordinate amount of time just to get to the gate on time. Nothing worked efficiently and this combined with the German predilection for correct procedure made for a long process indeed. You need to allow LOTS of time. However, after about 3 hours we did finally get to the gate and then the fun really began. We boarded our LATAM Dreamliner with Rolls Royce engines for the flight to Madrid, and half an hour late after leaving the gate, started the long taxi to the runway. However, when we were almost there we inexplicably stopped and after a time became aware that the reason was that smoke had been observed coming from both engines. Of course we immediately thought about what we'd read about Air NZ with 2 engine failures in flight and having to have most of their RR powered Dreamliners grounded for some time while the engines were modified in Singapore. This process may still be continuing. Did nothing for our confidence. To further upset our equilibrium, several excitable Latin passengers were demanding to be allowed to leave the aircraft. So the aircraft was parked a short distance away and a gangway was brought alongside whereupon thankfully they left. Then of course all the hold baggage had to be sorted so that theirs could be removed as well. In the meantime some Lufthansa engineers began examining the aircraft and some 2 hours later they said there was no problem and that the small amount of smoke was "normal". Once they had signed the aircraft off we proceeded once more and took off with yours truly keeping an anxious eye on the port engine!! The flight was uneventful and we landed at Madrid some 4 hours late around 0200. We had met a very pleasant Spanish lady who was sitting next to us in our bulkhead seats and she very kindly guided us through the airport. There was a 15 minute train ride (standing up) before we could get our bags and fall into a taxi - knackered again! We were staying at a budget but very new hotel roughly half way between the airport and the city. We were pleased to finally fall into bed and sleep. Fortunately there was no time difference to cope with.
We had 2 nights and one full day so, in spite of feeling like staying in bed, we had a sparse 2 x 4.50 Euro breakfast and headed for the metro station to go to town. Again we were helped by a very pleasant young Spanish couple to extract our tickets from the automatic machine. The train was only about 30 minutes into the city. Off we got at the main Estacion Sol and then about 6 levels up and back into the sunshine. Lots of attractive and well maintained old buildings - some quite spectacular. Then we wandered the back streets where we came upon a very enticing restaurant where we had a great lunch and 2 glasses each of an excellent Spanish rose. Then more wandering and we found another restaurant offering Calamari at a good price so we filled our faces again. By this time we were well and truly past it so headed underground once more to get the train back. However, inadvertently we caught an express which did not stop at our station and so we had to go to the end of the line from where we caught another train back to our stop. After about an hour's sleep, we staggered downstairs for a very indifferent meal in the hotel cafeteria - then back to bed again.   
Our flight to Medellin the next day had a 1600 departure time but with Frankfurt fresh in our minds, we decided to leave the hotel at 1000 to ensure that we had plenty of time. By a great coincidence our taxi driver was a Colombian who had lived in Spain for a number of years. He spoke good English too so we had a good ride to the airport. However, Madrid was a totally different situation and everything operated seamlessly. So much so that we had time on our hands so found another good restaurant where we spent the best part of 2 hours with 2 more glasses of Spanish rose. We were flying Iberia (the Spanish national airline) and had 2 exit row seats on their own so there was plenty of legroom.  These seats had cost us another 58 Euros each over the ticket cost but worth it for the 10 hour flight. We left the Portuguese coast between Lisbon and Porto and then slept as there wasn't anything to see. Crossed the Venezuelan coast just east of Lake Maracaibo and ran into heavy high level cloud which persisted most of the way to Medellin. However, landed without incident at Medellin Airport which is 6,000' above sea level at 1930 local time and Noelia (our property agent) had arranged for us to be met. Soon we were on our way into the city, although not to our apartment as it was let. So we had arranged through another real estate acquaintance to lease a smaller apartment in the Suramericana district - not as salubrious as Envigado but quite OK and right next door to the Exito Colombia supermarket. No food, tea, coffee or anything in the apartment and the supermarket was closed, so we staggered along the road with David Garcia who had arranged our apartment to a small local restaurant where we had some Colombian food which kept the wolf from the door!
Next day (23/06) we spent up large in Exito and felt a little more "at home".
However, the events of the past 3 weeks or so were catching up on both of us with a vengeance and we spent a fairly miserable weekend not feeling well, quite emotional at times and generally out of sorts. But we are slowly coming to terms with everything that has happened. At least we have only pre-empted our arrival in Medellin by around 12 months from our original plan!
On Monday we contacted our lawyer, Astrid, and arranged an appointment to catch up and start our permanent residency applications. One amusing note - we had inadvertently made another unintended phone call to Astrid and she rang back not knowing who had rung. Jim answered the phone and neither Astrid nor Jim realized who we were talking to. Astrid said "do you need a lawyer?" and Jim replied "no, we already had one!!!" We had a bit of a laugh over that.  Also we talked again to Noelia, and Jean has also been in contact with 2 of our neighbours in our Envigado Jardines de la Maria building. We will catch up with everyone over the next few days.
Tuesday we went to Astrid's apartment opposite the Vizcaya Mall in Poblado where we regaled her with our Turkish experiences, and discussed our upcoming residency applications. Then we repaired across the road with Astrid to a restaurant where we had been before for lunch. Jim had a "sin alcohol" beer with lemon juice and a salt caked rim which was an interesting taste experience!! Then we took our leave of Astrid and went to meet Noelia and her liitle daughter, Luna, in her apartment not far away. Jean had been following Luna's progress since she was born 11 months ago so lots of catching up again and then back to our place. Much to do now with dealing with our apartment and the residency applications. We hope to be able to move into our apartment in the Jardines de la Maria building in early September.
We've had another visit to Astrid (our lawyer) today to further discuss our residency applications and also visited a Notary again! Prior to that we were in Poblado and witnessed the great jubilation of many Colombians at the Colombian Soccer Team's victory in the World Cup against Senegal. Many people wearing yellow shirts yahooing in the streets, loud music and yellow, red and blue balloons everywhere.  The exuberance was infectious.
More news soon - we are attaching some relevant  photos
Cheers and lotsaluv from us in Medellin.............
Jim and Jean
P.S. If you go to our blogsite (www.tiaretaporo3.blogspot.com) there will be some further photos
Photos as below:
015 - TT3 on the ship the day of unloading
034 - TT3 on the homemade "travelift" at the Hakan Yatcilik Boatyard, Fethiye
036 - Levent - the owner of the yard - our nemesis
045 - Jean in Reinhard's and Josie's front garden with the roses
046 - the old Bishop's Palace in Werneck
052 - ditto from the park side
054 - Jean and Josie in front of an unusual flowering tree

Fwd: Medellin and coming to terms with our new life


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: James Donald <tiare.taporo3@gmail.com>
Date: 28 June 2018 at 19:37
Subject: Medellin and coming to terms with our new life
To: Alex Donald <adonald@abdonaldltd.co.nz>


Hi to all,
Firstly some possibly positive news re TT3. We have been contacted by a classic yacht broker in the UK who has a client quite interested in flying to Turkey to inspect the old girl. This may come to nothing, but there seems little doubt that having her on the market at a very cheap price in the Med is the way to go. And it's not expensive to fly to Turkey from the UK.
With the benefit of time for deep reflection, we've changed our thinking inasmuch as the decision to ship her to the Med was correct, as even at a cheap price, it was unlikely that any sale would be forthcoming in Asia. At least now we have some hope. And our decision to leave Turkey was also correct for a variety of reasons. With a seeming inability to get replies from the yard regarding a finishing work schedule and financial information - much less a launching date - we were bleeding cash with accommodation and car hire and being slowly driven mad. We must add that we have no idea even now how this state of affairs came to pass. Add to that the physical effects at our age of all the work we had done when we first hauled out plus the emotional trauma of trying to deal with the yard, and we had only one alternative - which we took. It is disappointing that all this means that we would miss sailing through Greece and then Malta before Sicily, but again we had to have regard to the wider picture, and the priority of our health and well-being.
We continued to enjoy being with Josie and Reinhard in Werneck. Reinhard took us to an adjacent village to buy direct from the farm some asparagus but alas the season was over. So we continued to another village where there was a car ferry (miniature version of Opua) across the River Main. We sat in the sun watching the little ferry coming and going and also visited a campsite on the river where there were some motorhomes. While were there at least 2 very large motorized fully laden barges passed by. Complete with owners spacious accommodation and a crane for lifting the owner's car on and off at various places. It seemed like a very pleasant way of life. The barges were massive - we estimated at least 200' long.
All too soon though, it became time for us to take a sad goodbye to Werneck and Josie and Reinhard. They drove us to the Wurzburg Bahnhof and there was a sad farewell on the station platform. The train arrived more or less on time and we boarded with our 2 x 23kg cases plus our smaller carry on luggage. Only problem was we were at the wrong end of the train, having earlier perused a diagram earlier on the platform. But it didn't matter and we were soon at Frankfurt Airport. Once again a wonderful quiet ride in one of these beautiful trains. Makes you not want to really get off!
We recall the many fascinating conversations that we had with Reinhard, covering family history and history generally including that of the Nazi era. Reinhard has written books about his family with photos of long ago ancestors and historical and biographical notes. Very very impressive. One thing that irrationally stands out - we told Reinhard and Josie about the classic "Grand Prix of Gibraltar" by that great British actor and comedian, Peter Ustinov. We mentioned the interview with the French team manager, Monsieur Orgini, when he was asked about all the beautiful girls in the French pits. He said "well, they are friends of the drivers (!), and as our pits are next to the Germans, perhaps they may cause the Germans to be a little less efficient!!". Reinhard enjoyed that.
The only regret about the German visit was that we didn't go to Stuttgart (Sindelfingen) to visit the Daimler-Benz Museum there. But we really didn't have the energy for another train ride and back. Maybe some time in the future we will return to do that.
Frankfurt Airport is very time consuming to process oneselves through and an alternative (where possible) should be found as it takes an inordinate amount of time just to get to the gate on time. Nothing worked efficiently and this combined with the German predilection for correct procedure made for a long process indeed. You need to allow LOTS of time. However, after about 3 hours we did finally get to the gate and then the fun really began. We boarded our LATAM Dreamliner with Rolls Royce engines for the flight to Madrid, and half an hour late after leaving the gate, started the long taxi to the runway. However, when we were almost there we inexplicably stopped and after a time became aware that the reason was that smoke had been observed coming from both engines. Of course we immediately thought about what we'd read about Air NZ with 2 engine failures in flight and having to have most of their RR powered Dreamliners grounded for some time while the engines were modified in Singapore. This process may still be continuing. Did nothing for our confidence. To further upset our equilibrium, several excitable Latin passengers were demanding to be allowed to leave the aircraft. So the aircraft was parked a short distance away and a gangway was brought alongside whereupon thankfully they left. Then of course all the hold baggage had to be sorted so that theirs could be removed as well. In the meantime some Lufthansa engineers began examining the aircraft and some 2 hours later they said there was no problem and that the small amount of smoke was "normal". Once they had signed the aircraft off we proceeded once more and took off with yours truly keeping an anxious eye on the port engine!! The flight was uneventful and we landed at Madrid some 4 hours late around 0200. We had met a very pleasant Spanish lady who was sitting next to us in our bulkhead seats and she very kindly guided us through the airport. There was a 15 minute train ride (standing up) before we could get our bags and fall into a taxi - knackered again! We were staying at a budget but very new hotel roughly half way between the airport and the city. We were pleased to finally fall into bed and sleep. Fortunately there was no time difference to cope with.
We had 2 nights and one full day so, in spite of feeling like staying in bed, we had a sparse 2 x 4.50 Euro breakfast and headed for the metro station to go to town. Again we were helped by a very pleasant young Spanish couple to extract our tickets from the automatic machine. The train was only about 30 minutes into the city. Off we got at the main Estacion Sol and then about 6 levels up and back into the sunshine. Lots of attractive and well maintained old buildings - some quite spectacular. Then we wandered the back streets where we came upon a very enticing restaurant where we had a great lunch and 2 glasses each of an excellent Spanish rose. Then more wandering and we found another restaurant offering Calamari at a good price so we filled our faces again. By this time we were well and truly past it so headed underground once more to get the train back. However, inadvertently we caught an express which did not stop at our station and so we had to go to the end of the line from where we caught another train back to our stop. After about an hour's sleep, we staggered downstairs for a very indifferent meal in the hotel cafeteria - then back to bed again.   
Our flight to Medellin the next day had a 1600 departure time but with Frankfurt fresh in our minds, we decided to leave the hotel at 1000 to ensure that we had plenty of time. By a great coincidence our taxi driver was a Colombian who had lived in Spain for a number of years. He spoke good English too so we had a good ride to the airport. However, Madrid was a totally different situation and everything operated seamlessly. So much so that we had time on our hands so found another good restaurant where we spent the best part of 2 hours with 2 more glasses of Spanish rose. We were flying Iberia (the Spanish national airline) and had 2 exit row seats on their own so there was plenty of legroom.  These seats had cost us another 58 Euros each over the ticket cost but worth it for the 10 hour flight. We left the Portuguese coast between Lisbon and Porto and then slept as there wasn't anything to see. Crossed the Venezuelan coast just east of Lake Maracaibo and ran into heavy high level cloud which persisted most of the way to Medellin. However, landed without incident at Medellin Airport which is 6,000' above sea level at 1930 local time and Noelia (our property agent) had arranged for us to be met. Soon we were on our way into the city, although not to our apartment as it was let. So we had arranged through another real estate acquaintance to lease a smaller apartment in the Suramericana district - not as salubrious as Envigado but quite OK and right next door to the Exito Colombia supermarket. No food, tea, coffee or anything in the apartment and the supermarket was closed, so we staggered along the road with David Garcia who had arranged our apartment to a small local restaurant where we had some Colombian food which kept the wolf from the door!
Next day (23/06) we spent up large in Exito and felt a little more "at home".
However, the events of the past 3 weeks or so were catching up on both of us with a vengeance and we spent a fairly miserable weekend not feeling well, quite emotional at times and generally out of sorts. But we are slowly coming to terms with everything that has happened. At least we have only pre-empted our arrival in Medellin by around 12 months from our original plan!
On Monday we contacted our lawyer, Astrid, and arranged an appointment to catch up and start our permanent residency applications. One amusing note - we had inadvertently made another unintended phone call to Astrid and she rang back not knowing who had rung. Jim answered the phone and neither Astrid nor Jim realized who we were talking to. Astrid said "do you need a lawyer?" and Jim replied "no, we already had one!!!" We had a bit of a laugh over that.  Also we talked again to Noelia, and Jean has also been in contact with 2 of our neighbours in our Envigado Jardines de la Maria building. We will catch up with everyone over the next few days.
Tuesday we went to Astrid's apartment opposite the Vizcaya Mall in Poblado where we regaled her with our Turkish experiences, and discussed our upcoming residency applications. Then we repaired across the road with Astrid to a restaurant where we had been before for lunch. Jim had a "sin alcohol" beer with lemon juice and a salt caked rim which was an interesting taste experience!! Then we took our leave of Astrid and went to meet Noelia and her liitle daughter, Luna, in her apartment not far away. Jean had been following Luna's progress since she was born 11 months ago so lots of catching up again and then back to our place. Much to do now with dealing with our apartment and the residency applications. We hope to be able to move into our apartment in the Jardines de la Maria building in early September.
We've had another visit to Astrid (our lawyer) today to further discuss our residency applications and also visited a Notary again! Prior to that we were in Poblado and witnessed the great jubilation of many Colombians at the Colombian Soccer Team's victory in the World Cup against Senegal. Many people wearing yellow shirts yahooing in the streets, loud music and yellow, red and blue balloons everywhere.  The exuberance was infectious.
More news soon - we are attaching some relevant  photos
Cheers and lotsaluv from us in Medellin.............
Jim and Jean
P.S. If you go to our blogsite (www.tiaretaporo3.blogspot.com) there will be some further photos
Photos as below:
003 - A Turkish Gulet on the hard - they pull them on skids across a public road
015 - TT3 on the ship the day of unloading
034 - TT3 on the homemade "travelift" at the Hakan Yatcilik Boatyard, Fethiye
036 - Levent - the owner of the yard - our nemesis
043 - Jean and Reinhard outside a church in Hassburg
045 - Jean in Reinhard's and Josie's front garden with the roses
046 - the old Bishop's Palace in Werneck
052 - ditto from the park side
054 - Jean and Josie in front of an unusual flowering tree
061 - Palace gardens

Fwd: NZ registered Gauntlet yacht "Tiare Taporo III" (NZ1572)

We attach an email we sent to the NZ Embassy on June 24th. regarding the inexplicable events that surrounded our haulout at the Hakan Yatcilik Boatyard in Fethiye, Turkey. We received a reply which was sympathetic to our problem but as expected offered very little in the way of assistance beyond providing a list of lawyers! We are certainly not taking that route for all sorts of reasons. A quick way to bankruptcy.
Cheers from us.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: James Donald <tiare.taporo3@gmail.com>
Date: 24 June 2018 at 15:58
Subject: NZ registered Gauntlet yacht "Tiare Taporo III" (NZ1572)
To: newzealandembassyankara@gmail.com


Hi,
We are writing to you to recount a very sad experience that we have had with our yacht at the Hakan Yatcilik Boatyard, Karagozler, Fethiye.
We sailed our Gauntlet yacht from NZ in 2011 and eventually arrived in SE Asia (Johore, Malaysia) in late 2013. Since then we have been trying to sell her, but the market for classic wooden yachts in SE Asia is just about non-existent, unless you were to give it away. Our reason for selling is that we are both now 71 and cannot keep sailing forever. She is an iconic and well known Wellington yacht as she was launched at Evans Bay in 1978 after 31 years of building since 1947!!. She was originally launched as "Reflections of Wellington". We undertook a very extensive refit and re-equipment in Whangarei in 2008/09 before leaving NZ in 2011. Because of the poor market in SE Asia we decided to ship her to the Med. early this year as there is much more interest in classic wooden yachts there.
The yacht arrived at Fethiye by Sevenstar Yacht Transport on April 7th. It was our intention to haul out and we were recommended to this particular yard by the Port Captain, Fethiye as they were reputed to know something about wooden boats. We needed to anti-foul, fix a weeping leak from the top rudder gland and paint the topsides. We personally sanded and painted everything above deck level. We hauled out on April 25th. and at first all went well. The rudder was removed but then a projected haulout of 2 weeks turned into 5 weeks plus. Eventually the rudder was re-installed and the yard painted the topsides with us supplying the paint. However, their earlier efforts were substandard and we insisted that it be done again.
Not long after, relations between us and the yard broke down to such an extent that the yard owner (a Mr. Levent) one day screamed at us to get the boat out of his yard! Just how we would do that with no rudder and needing him to actually supervise the re-launching remains a mystery. Jean has had experience in nursing mental health patients many years ago, and her opinion is that he is definitely suffering from a serious mental disorder. We have certainly never been rude or objectionable.
In addition he insisted on payments being made to him in CASH in Euros and Turkish Lira for reasons we can only speculate about! This is in spite of our never having received any official invoice from the yard at any stage, in spite of numerous requests from us. We also told him through his partner (an Englishwoman called Claire Jones) that we could not get Euros as our bank accounts were in NZ and all we could get from Turkish ATM's were Turkish Lira. We did at one stage offer a bank to bank transfer which could have been done in Euros, but never had a reply to that offer. In the meantime we met Claire and she presented us with some figures written out on a scrappy piece of paper. We estimate that at this stage the total amount owing to the yard would not be in excess of USD4,000 (approx. TRY19,000). Following this we then made another arrangement to meet Claire to give them TRY5,000 as an interim payment but she had told us that they would not give receipts. We were not prepared to accept this non commercial arrangement. In the event she rang us within 15 minutes of the agreed meeting time and cancelled the meeting due to some alleged personal emergency. This was on a Saturday and by this time we had booked to fly out of Turkey on the following Monday (04/06) to stay with friends in Germany for our sanity and health. We were also beginning to fear for our personal safety.
We also have to say that we have started to wonder whether this bizarre series of events is in fact a ploy aimed at eventually seizing ownership of our boat. As the yard costs are at a maximum 10% of the value of the boat this may seem improbable, but we don't know Turkish law and frankly have no desire to continue pouring good money after bad to find out. We had been staying in accommodation and renting a car way beyond the budgeted period and simply could not afford to keep doing this.
So we left our beloved home of the past 9 years in a bad emotional state as she has looked after us through thick and thin from New Caledonia, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and now Turkey. It was not easy to simply abandon her.
However, we had met a Bodrum based broker with whom we have listed her at a ridiculously low price in order that she might find a younger owner who can deal with Levent and get sailing again. 
We will not be returning to Turkey and it is our hope that something can eventually be salvaged from this debacle through the broker. His name is Murat Toplak and his phone number is +90 5336527767. About 2 years ago we purchased an apartment in Medellin, Colombia where we had planned to finally retire, and we are now in Colombia having arrived here prematurely 2 nights ago.
We don't know whether you are able to offer any practical assistance in this very difficult situation but we wanted to report the matter to you in the hope that at least you may be able to offer some advice.
We'll await your reply.
James Bell Donald (NZ passport no. LL497021) and Dorothy Jean Tallentire (NZ passport no. LL490677)



Virus-free. www.avg.com

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Medellin and coming to terms with our new life

Hi to all,
Firstly some possibly positive news re TT3. We have been contacted by a classic yacht broker in the UK who has a client quite interested in flying to Turkey to inspect the old girl. This may come to nothing, but there seems little doubt that having her on the market at a very cheap price in the Med is the way to go. And it's not expensive to fly to Turkey from the UK.
With the benefit of time for deep reflection, we've changed our thinking inasmuch as the decision to ship her to the Med was correct, as even at a cheap price, it was unlikely that any sale would be forthcoming in Asia. At least now we have some hope. And our decision to leave Turkey was also correct for a variety of reasons. With a seeming inability to get replies from the yard regarding a finishing work schedule and financial information - much less a launching date - we were bleeding cash with accommodation and car hire and being slowly driven mad. We must add that we have no idea even now how this state of affairs came to pass. Add to that the physical effects at our age of all the work we had done when we first hauled out plus the emotional trauma of trying to deal with the yard, and we had only one alternative - which we took. It is disappointing that all this means that we would miss sailing through Greece and then Malta before Sicily, but again we had to have regard to the wider picture, and the priority of our health and well-being.
We continued to enjoy being with Josie and Reinhard in Werneck. Reinhard took us to an adjacent village to buy direct from the farm some asparagus but alas the season was over. So we continued to another village where there was a car ferry (miniature version of Opua) across the River Main. We sat in the sun watching the little ferry coming and going and also visited a campsite on the river where there were some motorhomes. While were there at least 2 very large motorized fully laden barges passed by. Complete with owners spacious accommodation and a crane for lifting the owner's car on and off at various places. It seemed like a very pleasant way of life. The barges were massive - we estimated at least 200' long.
All too soon though, it became time for us to take a sad goodbye to Werneck and Josie and Reinhard. They drove us to the Wurzburg Bahnhof and there was a sad farewell on the station platform. The train arrived more or less on time and we boarded with our 2 x 23kg cases plus our smaller carry on luggage. Only problem was we were at the wrong end of the train, having earlier perused a diagram earlier on the platform. But it didn't matter and we were soon at Frankfurt Airport. Once again a wonderful quiet ride in one of these beautiful trains. Makes you not want to really get off!
We recall the many fascinating conversations that we had with Reinhard, covering family history and history generally including that of the Nazi era. Reinhard has written books about his family with photos of long ago ancestors and historical and biographical notes. Very very impressive. One thing that irrationally stands out - we told Reinhard and Josie about the classic "Grand Prix of Gibraltar" by that great British actor and comedian, Peter Ustinov. We mentioned the interview with the French team manager, Monsieur Orgini, when he was asked about all the beautiful girls in the French pits. He said "well, they are friends of the drivers (!), and as our pits are next to the Germans, perhaps they may cause the Germans to be a little less efficient!!". Reinhard enjoyed that.
The only regret about the German visit was that we didn't go to Stuttgart (Sindelfingen) to visit the Daimler-Benz Museum there. But we really didn't have the energy for another train ride and back. Maybe some time in the future we will return to do that.
Frankfurt Airport is very time consuming to process oneselves through and an alternative (where possible) should be found as it takes an inordinate amount of time just to get to the gate on time. Nothing worked efficiently and this combined with the German predilection for correct procedure made for a long process indeed. You need to allow LOTS of time. However, after about 3 hours we did finally get to the gate and then the fun really began. We boarded our LATAM Dreamliner with Rolls Royce engines for the flight to Madrid, and half an hour late after leaving the gate, started the long taxi to the runway. However, when we were almost there we inexplicably stopped and after a time became aware that the reason was that smoke had been observed coming from both engines. Of course we immediately thought about what we'd read about Air NZ with 2 engine failures in flight and having to have most of their RR powered Dreamliners grounded for some time while the engines were modified in Singapore. This process may still be continuing. Did nothing for our confidence. To further upset our equilibrium, several excitable Latin passengers were demanding to be allowed to leave the aircraft. So the aircraft was parked a short distance away and a gangway was brought alongside whereupon thankfully they left. Then of course all the hold baggage had to be sorted so that theirs could be removed as well. In the meantime some Lufthansa engineers began examining the aircraft and some 2 hours later they said there was no problem and that the small amount of smoke was "normal". Once they had signed the aircraft off we proceeded once more and took off with yours truly keeping an anxious eye on the port engine!! The flight was uneventful and we landed at Madrid some 4 hours late around 0200. We had met a very pleasant Spanish lady who was sitting next to us in our bulkhead seats and she very kindly guided us through the airport. There was a 15 minute train ride (standing up) before we could get our bags and fall into a taxi - knackered again! We were staying at a budget but very new hotel roughly half way between the airport and the city. We were pleased to finally fall into bed and sleep. Fortunately there was no time difference to cope with.
We had 2 nights and one full day so, in spite of feeling like staying in bed, we had a sparse 2 x 4.50 Euro breakfast and headed for the metro station to go to town. Again we were helped by a very pleasant young Spanish couple to extract our tickets from the automatic machine. The train was only about 30 minutes into the city. Off we got at the main Estacion Sol and then about 6 levels up and back into the sunshine. Lots of attractive and well maintained old buildings - some quite spectacular. Then we wandered the back streets where we came upon a very enticing restaurant where we had a great lunch and 2 glasses each of an excellent Spanish rose. Then more wandering and we found another restaurant offering Calamari at a good price so we filled our faces again. By this time we were well and truly past it so headed underground once more to get the train back. However, inadvertently we caught an express which did not stop at our station and so we had to go to the end of the line from where we caught another train back to our stop. After about an hour's sleep, we staggered downstairs for a very indifferent meal in the hotel cafeteria - then back to bed again.   
Our flight to Medellin the next day had a 1600 departure time but with Frankfurt fresh in our minds, we decided to leave the hotel at 1000 to ensure that we had plenty of time. By a great coincidence our taxi driver was a Colombian who had lived in Spain for a number of years. He spoke good English too so we had a good ride to the airport. However, Madrid was a totally different situation and everything operated seamlessly. So much so that we had time on our hands so found another good restaurant where we spent the best part of 2 hours with 2 more glasses of Spanish rose. We were flying Iberia (the Spanish national airline) and had 2 exit row seats on their own so there was plenty of legroom.  These seats had cost us another 58 Euros each over the ticket cost but worth it for the 10 hour flight. We left the Portuguese coast between Lisbon and Porto and then slept as there wasn't anything to see. Crossed the Venezuelan coast just east of Lake Maracaibo and ran into heavy high level cloud which persisted most of the way to Medellin. However, landed without incident at Medellin Airport which is 6,000' above sea level at 1930 local time and Noelia (our property agent) had arranged for us to be met. Soon we were on our way into the city, although not to our apartment as it was let. So we had arranged through another real estate acquaintance to lease a smaller apartment in the Suramericana district - not as salubrious as Envigado but quite OK and right next door to the Exito Colombia supermarket. No food, tea, coffee or anything in the apartment and the supermarket was closed, so we staggered along the road with David Garcia who had arranged our apartment to a small local restaurant where we had some Colombian food which kept the wolf from the door!
Next day (23/06) we spent up large in Exito and felt a little more "at home".
However, the events of the past 3 weeks or so were catching up on both of us with a vengeance and we spent a fairly miserable weekend not feeling well, quite emotional at times and generally out of sorts. But we are slowly coming to terms with everything that has happened. At least we have only pre-empted our arrival in Medellin by around 12 months from our original plan!
On Monday we contacted our lawyer, Astrid, and arranged an appointment to catch up and start our permanent residency applications. One amusing note - we had inadvertently made another unintended phone call to Astrid and she rang back not knowing who had rung. Jim answered the phone and neither Astrid nor Jim realized who we were talking to. Astrid said "do you need a lawyer?" and Jim replied "no, we already had one!!!" We had a bit of a laugh over that.  Also we talked again to Noelia, and Jean has also been in contact with 2 of our neighbours in our Envigado Jardines de la Maria building. We will catch up with everyone over the next few days.
Tuesday we went to Astrid's apartment opposite the Vizcaya Mall in Poblado where we regaled her with our Turkish experiences, and discussed our upcoming residency applications. Then we repaired across the road with Astrid to a restaurant where we had been before for lunch. Jim had a "sin alcohol" beer with lemon juice and a salt caked rim which was an interesting taste experience!! Then we took our leave of Astrid and went to meet Noelia and her liitle daughter, Luna, in her apartment not far away. Jean had been following Luna's progress since she was born 11 months ago so lots of catching up again and then back to our place. Much to do now with dealing with our apartment and the residency applications. We hope to be able to move into our apartment in the Jardines de la Maria building in early September.
We've had another visit to Astrid (our lawyer) today to further discuss our residency applications and also visited a Notary again! Prior to that we were in Poblado and witnessed the great jubilation of many Colombians at the Colombian Soccer Team's victory in the World Cup against Senegal. Many people wearing yellow shirts yahooing in the streets, loud music and yellow, red and blue balloons everywhere.  The exuberance was infectious.
More news soon - we are attaching some relevant  photos
Cheers and lotsaluv from us in Medellin.............
Jim and Jean
P.S. If you go to our blogsite (www.tiaretaporo3.blogspot.com) there will be some further photos
Photos as below:
003 - A Turkish Gulet on the hard - they pull them on skids across a public road
015 - TT3 on the ship the day of unloading
034 - TT3 on the homemade "travelift" at the Hakan Yatcilik Boatyard, Fethiye
036 - Levent - the owner of the yard - our nemesis
043 - Jean and Reinhard outside a church in Hassburg
045 - Jean in Reinhard's and Josie's front garden with the roses
046 - the old Bishop's Palace in Werneck
052 - ditto from the park side
054 - Jean and Josie in front of an unusual flowering tree
061 - Palace gardens

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Great sadness and yet looking forward

Hi to all,
We hope that this finds you all in the pink as always, but we don't exactly match that description right now. We have been very blessed with being able to stay with Josie and Reinhard in Werneck, Germany. Both of us, but Jean in particular, have been greatly traumatized by the treatment we received at the hands of the Hakan Yatcilik Boatyard and even now the thought of returning brings her out in a cold sweat - and more. So, that is definitely not an option. Being in Werneck and with Josie and Reinhard has been a godsend and has returned us to a semblance of normality.
The decision to have the yacht shipped to Turkey (Fethiye) has been an unmitigated disaster, but in no way is this intended as a criticism of Sevenstar Yacht Transport whose service and care of TT3 was exemplary.
We have given extensive detailed information about the yacht to brokers in NZ, the UK and in Turkey and reduced the indicated price massively. It's a dose of reality for us and probably just reflects the state of the yacht market generally. It's amazing how actual events act as a motivational force. We can only hope now that she will sell to someone who will act as her next caretaker. This is definitely NOT how we ever envisaged our sailing careers ending.
We have been having some doubts as to the security of our on-going ownership of the boat, given that so far we have been unable to pay the yard because it was only 2 days before we departed that we received any idea of the amount owing with itemized amounts written on  a scrap of paper. Never have we been given an invoice, or any bank details for the yard. Furthermore we were told that they did not issue receipts! Who in their right mind would hand over large amounts of cash without a proper receipt? Then all meetings with us were abruptly cancelled and as we were already booked, we flew out without making the payment we thought had been arranged.
However, the Bodrum based broker has already been in touch with the yard and we feel reasonably confident that we can attract a buyer soon and firm arrangements made for payment and subsequent launching. We know that if we went back things would just drag on as before with us incurring more and more cost.
Dealing through a local broker/agent seems our only alternative.   
Meanwhile we have been reveling in being in Werneck which is a very quiet peaceful small town SE of Frankfurt. There is a supermarket and a few small cafes within walking distance. Everything is very neat and many houses have extensive vegetable gardens. Difficult to compare with NZ - Werneck would be about 50% bigger than Wellsford at a rough estimation. All around is farmland, but all cropped. Just rolling country. Haven't seen any animals. Also many wind generators on massive towers turning so slowly that you imagine they would not be capable of any significant power generation but all done through turbines and apparently very effective. Also a great many houses have large arrays of solar panels. You would think that here where winter temperatures can drop to -10C, these also would be not so effective. Especially as with the past few days with heavy overcast and occasional rain, but no doubt the sums have been done.
The weather started off being very warm when we arrived but the last 3-4 days have been unseasonably cold. We've been wearing windbreaker jackets when going outside but now it is warming up again.
Josie and Reinhard have a cherry tree in their back garden and we have been eating great quantities of those beautiful fruits. Also roses galore and many plants we are familiar with in NZ. We eat much wonderful German bread which we are trying to cut down on having regard to our waistlines. Much ham and Bratwurst sausages! And Schwein (pork). Beautiful food.
We have been for extensive walks around old historic buildings here and in Wurzburg - a city on the River Main where last weekend by accident we witnessed a parade associated with the consecration of the new Bishop. We don't share the religious beliefs but could not help but be impressed with the colourfulness and majesty of the procession. Also the obvious devotion of many spectators. Josie works part time as a caregiver for elderly people and we recently met a 90 yr old woman (Gertrude) when we all took her for a walk in her wheelchair to a local park - very beautiful with lovely old trees and a very big pond. Probably half the size of the Auckland Domain - wonderful for a relatively small place like Werneck. There is also a very large old building overlooking the park which is currently used as an orthopaedic hospital. Used to be the bishop's residence back about 300 years ago! There is a cafĂ© in front of the old palace and we spent a very pleasant time with coffee and homemade German cake!!! Gertrude spoke minimal English but Reinhard was an enthusiastic translator and filled us in on much of the history. 
Today (17/06) there was a street party in our street but not as we understand the term in NZ. So organized. Firstly a portable set of toilets marked "Damen und Herren" was parked almost in front of the house. The street was closed and tents were set up on the road with long tables and chairs inside. Just adjacent was a portable kitchen with bratwurst sausages, rotkraut, and beef rolls and potato dumplings. Plus much more. No-one brought their own a la NZ - just purchased from the kitchen. Not cheap - 11 Euros for 1 beef roll, 2 bratwurst sausages, 2 dumplings and 2 servings of rotkraut. Jim didn't expect to like the rotkraut, but it is quite delicious. Cooked with vinegar and apples. Then a couple of hours later Josie suddenly produced some pieces of Apple Strudel together with vanilla custard. Goodness me!!! Absolutely wundebar. 
Then this afternoon Reinhard and Jim walked in one direction through the park and Jean in another and we were all supposed to meet in front of the Orthopaedic Hospital. When we arrived there was music from a live band and a female vocalist. Great music and we lingered but Jean didn't show! Among the numbers were "The Girl from Ipanema" and "Putting on the Ritz". Later back home she said she arrived before us, waited about 10 minutes and then left. A likely story! Anyway, it was all very pleasant.  
Yesterday Josie, Jean and Jim went into Schweinfurt again on the bus. This time, being a Saturday they only had a small 20 seater bus on and halfway into Schweinfurt it filled up with some very black immigrants who are living in a transit camp between Werneck and Schweinfurt. Used to be a USAF base apparently. Now the Americans are gone and the country has filled up with Turks, Somalis, Syrians, Libyans etc. Germany and the rest of western Europe have bought themselves a huge problem because of course these people don't assimilate, don't work and are in receipt of large amounts of welfare from the government. In Germany alone the immigrant population is about half of the total of New Zealand. This issue will only get worse as these immigrant populations have children and increase in numbers relative to the Germans. Chancellor Merkel is solely to blame and as she comes from the former DDR (East Germany), we can only wonder whether she's an extreme Socialist in sheep's clothing and/or there's a latent feeling of guilt with WW2 and all the consequences. Whatever the reason, it is a disaster and is turning into an even bigger disaster for Germany.
In Schweinfurt Jim bought some pieces of Schwein with crackling (!) and Jean found some clothing. Had a great lunch in the Schwein shop which has some tables where one can eat Bratwurst and sauerkraut, rotkraut, and of course Schwein! Beautiful but probably just as well we're leaving on Wednesday. 
We fly out to Madrid this coming Wednesday and after 2 nights there, we fly direct to Medellin. Our apartment in Jardines de la Maria is let until the end of September and possibly until the end of March 2019 so we cannot go there but we have taken a 3 month lease at this stage on a 1 bedroom apartment in the Laureles-Estadio district of Medellin. The rent is about half of that which we are receiving for our apartment so we will have a surplus which God knows we can do with.
More news again soon after we have arrived in the City of Eternal Spring - Medellin.
Cheers and lotsaluv from us in Werneck..............
Jim and Jean 

 

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