Friday, 11 October 2013

Kalkan, Turkey October 2013 - discovering KAPSA

Our arrival in Turkey seemed to sum up my year.  Just as you think you are home safe and secure, seatbelts on, lights off, coming in to land, the engines roar and the plane goes up vertical, all lights flickering on.  It is obvious something is very wrong.  In true Brit style no screaming or panic but stoic silence.  Alex clasps my hand and I hold the strangers to my right.  We smile at each other quickly - then I stare at my knees.
After an eternity of silence we hear 'Flight aborted' and that they are taking us to, what sounds like Hodos.  In our bleary state Alex and I try and work out on the map if we can get a bus or taxi from Hodos to Kalkan... then my brain kicks in and I realise Hodos is RHODES, a Greek island off Turkey.  
We  land and the Pilot, who by now we all love, says to land at Dalaman the winds must be 16mph MAX - at the moment they are 55mph.
I was glad to sit still for a while as I seemed to be the only person on the plane who heaved up during the teeny flight to Rhodes.
I won't bore you with details but about 4 hours later, after a smoothish landing, a Frankenstein electrical storm taxi drive we arrived, in a powercut at an old pals Summer Breeze apartments. 

 And the FUN began!
We had come to Kalkan for 3(ish) reasons.
  1. 'Cos I had realised I had reached burn out stage...
  2. To celebrate Alex 23rd Birthday
  3. To spend a bit of time with my wonderful friend, Laura, who I have known since the 80's.  
She had fallen in love with a handsome Turk over a decade ago on a holiday.  She was working in a high pressured job in Soho as a Post Production Producer.  She thought it through and sold up, shipped out and married her man.  They now have two lovely children.  They did some research and decided on Kalkan and built the Summer Breeze apartments.  Just the way we would all want a holiday apartment to be, a little rustic, but spacious and deliciously white and blue.  And all have DVDS and kitchens and washing machines - Heaven!  Plus the joy of the lovely Laura to give us tips and ideas about where to go.
The Summer Breeze Apartments in Kalkan
I am sure our holiday is of little interest to you all and really we just slept and shopped and eat as much yummy food as we could.

'I care not for a man’s religion whose dog and cat are not better for it' Abraham Lincoln

However what I did want to share with you was what Laura had told me and showed me of the link of KAPSA the Kalkan charity that is changing the lives of dogs and cats in the most positive way. 
I am sure most animal lovers on holidays spot the local dogs and cats straight away.  We have all felt the impotence and sadness some of these meetings can bring.  We feel impotent to help and even worry that the brief time we spend throwing down the odd scrap of cuddling the odd stray leaves them sad and struggling when we go?
Our experience in Kalkan however makes one feel that a change can come and that the Turkish and ex-Pat residents are working together to make a change. Laura for example feeds many cats daily and helps them through the cold winter months.  The cats live on the streets and are HUGELY intuitive and polite.  Avoiding visitors who are not keen on them ... or giving lots of cuddles to those of us who adore them!!
The only way to sunbathe!
Laura and her family also have their own wonderful dog Luna - a Dogue de Argentino.  Such a beauty and there for strokes and tail wags

Alex and I saw street dogs lolling happily all over the place and we noticed that many had ear tags.  Laura explained that this showed they had been caught by KAPSA and neutered/sterilised by the local vet that works and is funded by KAPSA.  They have to return them to the streets but at least they only have to fend for themselves not constantly breeding or fighting.  Many of the cats (ALL of Laura's) have a small clip on their ear - showing they too have been sorted out.
The cats were a dream to spend our holiday with, though we did respect Laura's wishes and not feed them or let them in.  As we may love them but the next guest may not.  Though we did have huge 'trouble' with the adorable Coco Chanel who could magically find her way in no matter what we did.
Laura feeds them outside her walls everyday and some of them are big fat cats.  I worried what happens in the winter when most of the tourists go.  But KAPSA run a winter feeding programme for all the dogs and cats.  Laura herself makes sure her gang all have some shelter and protection.  And she said the winter is not that harsh.   And certainly dogs like street dog Dolly (below) seem to have stocked up on fat stores to see them through.
Dolly would win the fattest street dog competition if there was one.
In time the street population will decrease with the KAPSA neutering programme.  Plus it is now much cheaper and easier to bring the animals back to the UK.  Several have gone to new homes this year.  Kapsa help organise it all. I do, of course, have my rescue boy Augustus and would not swop him for the world... but some of the street angles there are just heaven.
Kalkan is working hard to make the animals lives better.  The only 'fly' in the ointment is that others are hearing of their scheme and dumping dogs and cats in Kalkan in the hope they will be sorted and helped.  It could overload the system and resources.  Ideally other towns will take on the scheme and run it as successfully.
Anyway for more info on Kapsa please see their website - fascinating!

Kalkan Association for the Protection of Street Animals

I cannot recommend Laura and Ersin's Summer Breeze Apartments enough.  Alex and I have already booked for next year as some months are already full!  Do tell Laura you know us.

Summer Breeze on Facebook


1 comment:

Maggi said...

Lovely blog, thank you. So glad you enjoyed your stay in Kalkan and will be coming back again soon.