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)



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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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Saturday, 9 June 2018

Fwd: Germany and the on-going Turkish tribulations


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: James Donald <tiare.taporo3@gmail.com>
Date: 9 June 2018 at 20:03
Subject: Germany and the on-going Turkish tribulations
To: Alex Donald <adonald@abdonaldltd.co.nz>


Hi to all,
You will have gathered from our previous blog that we have been having serious problems in our relationship with the Hakan Yatcilik Boatyard in Fethiye. Things have not improved but in the meantime we felt personally threatened and we were also mentally and physically exhausted with trying to nail jelly to the wall! If we'd stayed, not only would we have incurred more and more cost, but we would have joined the lunatics we were trying to reason and deal with.
So we packed 37 kgs of personal stuff from our nautical home of the last 9 years and said a tearful goodbye. We flew out of Dalaman (Fethiye) to Istanbul and then on to Frankfurt in Germany on June 4th. with Pegasus Airlines. However, we have a few irons in the fire as regards a possible sale of the boat. We've reduced the price massively as anyone buying her would have a bit to deal with to get her in the water. We had a price indicated by a U.K. classic yacht broker (Barney Sandeman) for a quick sale around GBP60,000 (NZD115,000), but we consider that to be too high to get things moving quickly. So, we have indicated to our Turkish broker who is a good guy that we'd accept around 50% of that figure - possibly even less if a quick sale was in the offing.
In the meantime emails have been flying back and forth and we've laid a formal complaint with the Turkish Chamber of Shipping. At long last we seem to be achieving some results. The madman we have been trying to deal with who is also the owner of the boatyard, needs some extreme pressure to be brought to bear. At least all that TT3 needs now (apart from some minor details) is to be anti-fouled and re-launched. The rudder is re-installed. We can only keep our fingers crossed that it has been done properly and that a sale and re-launch can be accomplished without either or both of us returning to Turkey. If you go to the website (www.tiaretaporo3.blogspot.com) you will see our emails firstly to the Chamber of Shipping and also to the port agent who acted for us when we arrived ex Sevenstar.
And Jean's intuition is usually accurate and she feels strongly that we will be at risk if we return. On top of that there are concerns about the recently announced Turkish presidential elections. It has been said that if the incumbent loses (and that's entirely possible) he won't go quietly and that could be enough to provoke severe civil unrest at best and straight out civil war at worst. We don't want to be part of that. The government is desperately trying to bolster the value of the currency by increasing interest rates which are approaching 20%! And largely it's not working because the currency remains depressed.    
Anyway, we arrived at Frankfurt am Main early afternoon on the 4th. physically and emotionally absolutely drained. Not good to be like this at the ages of 71. We were greatly delayed before we could collect our 37 kgs of luggage because it appeared that there had been some sort of baggage handling breakdown - not at all what one would expect in efficient Germany!! We had 2 bags because the Pegasus website neglected to mention that 32 kgs was the limit for any one item. So, we had to purchase another smaller bag at Dalaman for TRY100 and we re-packed around 9 kgs into it so that we were legal. We eventually recovered the baggage from the carousel at Frankfurt and proceeded to the train station - klug bahnhoff! That process took a while but we eventually purchased our tickets and waited for the train to Wurzburg which was late! What is happening to Germany? We were going to change trains at Wurzburg to go on to Werneck but because of the delays we were going to miss the connection. So we waited a short time at Wurzburg Station where Josie and Reinhard collected us. We had managed to ring them on Skype from the train which has wifi  Wonderful train - so smooth and quiet. Pleasant rural scenery and we ordered a beer and a glass of wine. 12 Euros which wasn't exactly cheap but then there was a complication because we had changed our Turkish Lira (which we had been going to give to the boatyard) into Euros at the airport and we'd been given 2 x 500 Euro notes! Too big to handle on the train so we offered our credit card! That day the card system had broken down as well so all we could do was offer the coins we had (4.50 Euros) and they wrote off the other 7.5 Euros!! 
Such a pity that our state of mind was not completely attuned to the joyous occasion of Jean seeing Josie again after the Hong Kong years 20 years ago. But nonetheless it was great to see them and be driven to their house in Werneck. It is a typical German house for these parts - 2 stories plus an attic and a cellar below ground. The garden is lovely and full of roses which are Josie's pride and joy. Since coming originally from the Philippines, we suppose that they are partially still a novelty in the sense that they don't grow there in the tropics. One day last week we spent all morning in the garden deadheading the roses which had got a bit out of hand! Still plenty of blooms though.
Another day Reinhard took us to a regular re-union that he has with fellow retired teachers (he is a retired school principal). This involved lunch at Schloss Konigsburg which was wonderful. Jean had Bratwurst sausages with Sauerkraut and yours truly roasted pork (schwein) with great veges and potato croquettes (kroketten). All with Bier Alkohol Frei! It was a fairly steep climb up to the schloss but another member of the party offered a lift in her car which was gratefully accepted due to the knees! And down again afterwards. Then in the historic town where there are various buildings - churches and other public buildings - which date from as early as the 13th. century. We had a coffee in a coffee house and a cake so the day was complete.
By then we were starting to feel that we were regaining some sort of normality after the craziness of Fethiye!
Josie and Reinhart have been absolutely great and just what we needed after the nonsense in Fethiye. They have even given up their bedroom and moved into the spare bedroom over and above our loud protestations! The house is so peaceful and quiet, being in a country town in the middle of a large agricultural area. reminiscent of the Franklin district of south Auckland but much more orderly and dare we say it, more picturesque. Much of the building is post war as the area for the most part was not affected directly by war damage, except for ball bearing factories in Schweinfurt and also the various villages have expanded much since the 1940's.
We have been having some fascinating discussions with Reinhard about the war and recent history generally. He had an uncle Hermann who was captured late in the war in Norway and then sent as a prisoner of war to France where he took part in building a hydro dam just near Marseilles. This was known as the Barrage de Castillon which is still there today. They weren't released until 1948 - 3 years after the war ended. Possibly it was illegal to keep POW's after a state of war ended, but it seems that no-one worried much about those finer points. Of course there was also a degree of revenge involved. Anyway, 2 years ago they all went on a pilgrimage there with Hermann and re-visited places he was familiar with. Last night German TV was showing footage of the Nazi times including the 1936 Olympics where the black American, Jesse Owens, won 4 gold metals for the USA including in the long jump in which he defeated the German Luz Long. Hitler was so enraged by the success of a black American and in particular by defeating Long, that he later sent Long to the Russian front where he was killed. A severe blow for Nazi white supremacy. 
Another day we visited Hassburg a little to the east and had a walk around this very picturesque town.
Reinhard is great and a mine of historic information. His English is also excellent so we have had very insightful discussions about the war, the Nazis and what happened generally. We are very fortunate to be here and to be treated as well as we have been. Josie is a good cook and always cooks far too much so we certainly are not lacking for anything. Went to the local supermarket this morning (09/06) and bought quite a bit but only 94 Euros (NZD159). This included a comprehensive visit to the butchery and 3 bottles of wine the day before. Far cheaper than NZ which must be one of the dearest countries in the world in which to buy food.
But for now it's a waiting game. Our options appear to be: 
1) Both fly to Medellin
2) Jean goes to Medellin and Jim back to Turkey, or
3) both go back to Turkey
Hopefully we'll be in a position to make a decision early this coming week. But if we did get a buyer we might need to go back to assist in getting the old girl back in the water or maybe the broker can organize that. She cannot stay out of the water indefinitely in 40C heat so we would need to re-launch her regardless of the buyer situation. Then the question arises as to where she is berthed. This of course costs money and, as our apartment in Medellin remains let for the meantime, we would incur rent ourselves in Medellin plus berthage fees. And rent in Medellin is expensive. So, it's a conundrum - so many ifs and buts.
We so heartily wish we had never left Asia. Certainly nothing like this even came close to being envisaged. We seem to have landed into something resembling quicksand.
Watch this space.
Cheers and lots of love from us in Werneck, Germany.................
Jim and Jean