Saturday, 24 July 2010

One week to go...

...before the rent on the Hamam premises has to be paid.

We have just over half the money, but I think we may need a miracle to raise the rest before the 31st July.

The hotel is full...of people who don't appear to want to spend any money.  They've paid for their all-inclusive holiday and are very reluctant to put their hands in their pockets for anything else.

It's not just our business that has been affected.  I've been over there twice this week, and the local businesses are all suffering.  Shops, restaurants and bars are empty.  They all have large signs up offering cut price drinks and meals, and all kinds of incentives to attract customers, but it's just not happening.

This is...or should be...the busiest time of the season.   It's the time when anyone involved in the tourist industry HAS to earn money to survive through the long winter months.   There are going to be a lot of hungry and homeless people towards the end of the year.  Thank goodness we have a house to live in.  Those people who are renting are going to find it extremely difficult.

Mr Ayak has made a supreme effort to remain on good terms with the General Manager, in the hope that he will accept whatever we can manage to pay on the 31st, and perhaps wait a bit longer for the rest.  But there are no guarantees.  Even if he does can we possibly know if business will pick up next month?

The two young men Sinan and Davut were laid off just over a week ago.  They were not pulling their weight...they were more interested in pulling girls!  They should have been out with the leaflets promoting the business, but each time I arrived I discovered them lurking in corners where they couldn't be seen by Mr A or Mehmet, or chatting to girls.

A new boy, Erhan, started last week and he is very enthusiastic.  On his first day he cleaned the hamam from top to bottom, and it was spotless.  He doesn't waste time either..he's out and about with leaflets chatting to guests...he's doing his best.  A couple of days ago a girl arrived who is the daughter of a friend of Mr A's from Izmir.  She does massage, but also offers pedicure, manicure and eyebrow shaping using the cottoning method.  It's early days for her, but maybe these additional services will help to bring in more customers.

Mr Ayak is very stressed at the moment.  I'm finding it difficult to have a conversation with him about anything.  He's at the hamam from dawn till way past midnight, and he's not sleeping.

I'm trying to be optimistic but it's not easy.  I think the business may fail....but I'm not giving up hope completely until the end of the week.  I don't regret Mr A's attempts at getting this business off the ground.  I've worried about it from the outset, because I know how difficult it is to make a success of anything in this country. 

But I'm not one for "if onlys"...If you don't try things then you'll never know if they will work.  Life's all about taking risks isn't it?



  1. Perhaps with the help of the lawyer cousin Mr. Ayak could rearrange the terms of the contract...after all, there was interference with his running of the business - the bar closure - not to speak of the 'understanding' as to the nationality of the guests expected...

    Of course he was right to could he predict the blasted volcanic cloud fiasco so mismanaged by the European authorities, and why should he have expected to be shafted by the General Manager?

    He must be so worried...and that can't be easy for you.
    Fingers and everything crossed...I just wish I could do something practical to help.

  2. Always worth a go Ayak. Very best wishes for you. And love the new blog layout.

  3. Fly: You are helping by reading and commenting. I don't really have anyone else to talk it over with..and blogging about it really helps. Mr A is a typical man..he won't talk about problems, keeps everything inside, which is much worse I think. He also has too much Turkish pride...I wish he would ask his family for help, including the lawyer cousin...but I doubt if he will.

    Rosie: have to try don't you? for the blog layout...very much trial and error on my other words I haven't a clue how I managed to change it and probably couldn't do it again!

  4. Like Rosie, I loved the new lay out..but forgot to say so!

    I know what you mean about having no idea how to do it again, too!

    Mr. Ayak really needs to talk to his lawyer...because with weeding out the useless staff and taking on new brooms it looks a success could be made of the business....if only there isn't an overhang of debt.

    You'll know the buttons to push better than anyone...though I agree it is a very delicate operation, coming between a man and his pride.

    The very best of luck.

  5. Fly: You are right and I have been trying to tie him down this past week to talk about what should be done. I've been over there a couple of times and can never find the opportunity to get him on his own. He seems to do anything he can to avoid talking about it...and he's not coming home at the moment. I do know which buttons to push..and how to manipulate him into thinking that any ideas I have are actually his! It's just finding the right opportunity to do it that's the problem. I'm not giving up though..not yet!

  6. This is very depressing and I do hope that there will be some way round this.
    Maybe the cousin lawyer COULD turn things round.
    Everything seems primed with uncertainty.

    I don't think things are going too well in this country either. All sorts of shops are closing down where I live.
    People haven't the money to spend or to pay the high rent with.
    I think your positive nature will help you through this.
    Blogging definitely is the best way to relieve tension and to get other people's views on anything.
    Fingers crossed for you.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  7. Am thinking of you and Mr A .. hope all turns out well in the end.... better to have tried than not tried at all ... life is all about taking risks ... sometimes u just have to do it.
    Love your new blog layout, am having zillions of problems with mine at the moment. xx

  8. Maggie: It's the uncertainty that gets to me most...and it seems to be a way of life here.
    You're right...people just don't have spare money these's not just this country, but everywhere.
    Blogging does help..I know you found it so..I value others' opinions. It helps us to put things into perspective doesn't it?
    Thanks Maggie xx

    Bomb: I try not to have regrets about any decisions made in life, or you can end up very bitter about things.
    I'm amazed that you and others have made such nice comments about my blog layout, when I really didn't know what I was doing!!

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  10. I am pulling out all stops with the "positive energy fairies" to bring you two some good news. Let's see what happens. You know they can be so fickle sometimes.

    It really (REALLY) sounds like Mr. Ayak is doing everything right. Cutting back on the staff not helping, keeping the place looking clean (a major concern for tourists) There are just things that are difficult to control. Weather could be a factor too. I mean, with this heat, it already feels like a hamam.

    Next time you go over there, would it be possible to take snaps of the interior and the general area? Pics of staff and whatever you think would look interesting or artsy. I'd be glad to do a write up on hamams and use your photos (with all the proper links and credits.) I was thinking of doing a story on hamams and my experiences. (Wow, that sounds much more lurid than I meant it too.)

  11. Nomad: Thanks..can't wait to hear about your experiences!

    I've emailed you xx

  12. I really do wish you well, Ayak...

  13. it is very true that tourism agencies mostly sel all-included package, and tourist don't want to spend any more. i believe this is a very wrong tourism strategy which has been going on for a very long time and it really doesn't help the economy in general. what is more, i sincerely believe that most of the all-included packages are ridicolously cheap.

    but having said that, perhaps you can try to contact with these tourism agencies either international or local, and try to be a part of their packages?

  14. jedilost: If only it were that simple. If it had been possible for the hamam to be part of the package, the hotel would have included it in THEIR package. The only way Mr A could do this would be if the business wasn't in the hotel complex.


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