Ex-Pat Glossary

Expatriates, like everyone else, come in all shapes and sizes – the mean and the mannered, the classless and the classy, the awful and the joyful. The abbreviated epithet ‘expat’ simply doesn’t adequately express the myriad folk who have chosen to live here In Turkey. To add a little descriptive colour to my posts, I’ve devised some new words to depict the numerous variants of the species.

  • Emigreys: retirees serving out their twilight years in the sun, most of whom seem to be just a little to the right of Genghis Khan and who bought a jerry built white box in Turkey because it was cheaper than Spain (well, it was at the time). Everyday emigrey life operates within a parallel universe of neo colonial separateness preoccupied with visa hops to the Isles of Greece, pork sausages, property prices and Blighty bashing.
  • VOMITs (Victims of Men in Turkey): vintage desperate ex-housewives with a few lira to spare who shamelessly chase younger Turkish men. Predictably, such relationships rarely last once the money runs out. Thank you to Sara for this one.
  • Semigreys: those too young to retire in the conventional sense, who are living the vida loca on the proceeds of property sales. Plunging interest rates present quite a fiscal test to those trying to maintain a hedonistic lifestyle on dwindling assets while waiting for the pensions to kick in, assuming there will be a pension to kick in given the parlous position of the public purse.
  • Vetpats: veterans who have been living in Turkey for many years. Usually better informed than their peers with a less asinine view of the world, vetpats have taken the trouble to learn Turkish and are better integrated into the wider community. Some have even acquired Turkish citizenship and are fortunate to have found gainful employment on the right side of the Law.
  • Sexpats: discrete grey men of means who are serviced by young Turkish men in return for a stipend.
  • Hedonistas: Those who enjoy a carefree existence of total self indulgence liberated from the binding ties of responsibility or the worries of tomorrow.
  • The Ignorati: A collective term for those who live in utter ignorance of the history and culture of their foster land, shout loudly in English and see the world at large through the pages of the Daily Mail (or The Daily Bigot as I like to call it).

These terms are not mutually exclusive. It’s perfectly possible for an emigrey to also be a vetpat VOMIT and a fully paid up member of the ignoble ignorati.

I have received several suggestions from readers to add to the ex-pat lexicon. Thank you to Greg for ‘emigays‘ to describe well to do old queens spending up their savings because you can’t take it with you. Thank you also to Tom for the deliciously naughty ‘cowpats‘ to describe those I really can’t abide and would flee to the next town to avoid.

More please…

Las Vegas-on-Sea

Vinnie in the Foliage

After a hearty brunch, Nick decided to initiate us into the ancient Ionian ritual of bush bashing to bring down the olive crop, a technique that has remained unaltered for countless millennia. Liam took to thrashing  a cane with great gusto donning a fetching floral headscarf for the occasion. I withdrew to the foliage to keep Vinnie company. Vinnie was distinctly nonplussed by all the fuss and took refuge in a sunny spot.

Next on the packed agenda was a whistle-stop tour of the dubious daytime delights of Kuşadası, the Aegean gateway to the splendours of some of Asia Minor’s best preserved historical sites. Having read the ‘Rough Guide’ which uncompromisingly describes the resort as “a brash, mercenary and unpleasant Las Vegas-on-Sea…” my expectations were rock bottom. In fact, I thought the epitaph more than a little harsh. The town is a touch rough around some of its sprawling edges and not as classically attractive as Bodrum, but it does convey a vital urban buzz which I found appealing. I was unpredictably impressed by the busy throng of real people, the boulevards of real shops and the sprinkling of smart bistros. And Kuşadası does provide one important facility that sets it above the rest – a proper, bone fide gay bar that entices an eclectic mix of trannies, dancing queens, sugar daddies, gays for pay, hairy marys and the odd bemused bi-curious northerner in search of furtive titillation.

Sunset Behind the Marina

We stopped off for coffee at a trendy café along the neat promenade and watched the sun set over the marina. We contemplated the stark contrast to our cute but comatosed little town of Yalıkavak where nights are spent holding hands and contacting the living. Where’s Doris Stokes when you need her?

Karyn dished up a gastronomic triumph for the evening’s victuals, serving duck terrine which she fretted over all week according to ‘The Competitive World of Expat Cooking‘. She needn’t have worried. The reclaimed brick had done the trick, and the terrine was superb. Karyn invited a few old fairy friends along for the slicing ceremony. We were particularly amused by senior citizen, Peter, a dedicated Friend of Dorothy and philanderer extraordinaire who is an accomplished, competitive cook and keeps a Turk in the basement for afters.

The next day we took homespun kahvaltı in the local soba-warmed lokanta, escaping the crisp mountain air. Popular with both the Chelsea tractor brigade and villagers alike, the rustic eatery served up a plentiful plate of traditional fare. We hit the road after breakfast, waving farewell to our generous comperes and their tender menagerie. I had utterly enjoyed sparring with an intellectual thoroughbred. We shall return.

Pimp and Circumstance

Splash it all over

I received an exploratory email from an old work colleague in London whom I affectionately call Vera. Clearly contemplating the changing circumstances of his looming dotage and having stumbled across my sexpat post, he asked me about the going rate for securing the regular services of a young Turk. ‘Why do you want to know?’ I quizzed. He replied bluntly, ‘Fat, 55, single and desperate.’ What am I now, a pimp?

The Emigreys

The ex-pats we’ve met are a select collection of friendlies and freaks. I have christened them the emigreys, retirees serving out their twilight years in the sun, most of whom seem to be just a little to the right of Genghis Khan and who bought a jerry built white box in Turkey because it was cheaper than Spain (well, it was at the time). Everyday emigrey life operates within a parallel universe of neo colonial separateness preoccupied with visa hops to Kos, pork sausages, property prices and Blighty bashing.

Cream of the emigrey crop are the vetpats, veterans who have been living in Turkey for many years. Usually better informed than their peers with a less asinine view of the world, vetpats have taken the trouble to learn Turkish and are better integrated into the wider community.

A little noticed and discrete group of emigreys is the sexpats, grey men of means who are serviced by young Turkish men in return for a stipend. The contract suits both parties well and the trade is conducted in secrecy far removed from prying eyes and tittle-tattlers.

We are trying hard not to get too involved and cultivate a mysterious aloofness – courteous but distant – spectators rather than participants. We prefer to amuse ourselves with the obsequious wintering waiters, most of whom seem both repelled and fascinated by our obvious union.