I talked a bit about tourism in my last post. It's really not as lucrative for the average seasonal worker as it once was. Gone are the days when you could earn enough on commission only throughout the season, to survive during the winter months with no work.
All-inclusive holidays encourage people with little money to spend. They save all year, pay their all inclusive price, and then don't have to worry too much about spending money. You can't blame them. They are just not earning enough these days to justify spending more than the bare minimum on their two weeks in the sun.
Mr A's REAL job in tourism is selling carpets. Apart from the odd few days in Kusadasi when he was offered some work demonstrating and selling to large groups from the cruise ships, for the last two or three years he has had to find other work. People can't afford carpets. To be honest there is such a huge amount of commission loaded onto the prices in the carpet centres, you would be better off buying a Turkish carpet from a shop in your own country.
So Mr A has been selling the hamam experience. The problem here is that these hamams are situated in all-inclusive hotels, and people won't or can't pay extra for a Turkish bath and massage. And it's commission only, which is really difficult. This has meant that he really has to be there at the hamam all of the time, or he is worried he will miss a customer. He is working 16 to 18 hours a day, 7 days a week. He doesn't come home very often. It's not far...less than an hour away...but he has to consider the cost of petrol for the round trip, and the fact that if he's not there, he'll miss an opportunity to sell. Occasionally he comes home..... brings his washing for me to do, and then returns a maximum of two hours later, with his clean clothes (usually still damp).
We don't have much of a conversation because frankly he is too exhausted to talk, so I just leave him to relax. He'll stretch out on the sofa and within minutes he will be asleep.
I can't wait until the season finishes. Mr A's contract ends at the end of September. We talked earlier this year about this being his last season, and that from this year on he would start to work on the land in the village. We have walnut trees which will give the most profit, olives and fruit. There won't be much to be made from it this year because it has been neglected a bit. Father-in-law no longer comes to stay (one thing to be grateful for!)to work on the land, so there is much to be done.
We'll never make a great deal of money from the land, but hopefully enough to survive without all the stress of ridiculously long hours...and at least I will actually see my husband!
When we actually have chance to talk, I will know whether Mr A is serious about this. Unfortunately, he finishes on 30th September, and the following day I will be off to England for two weeks. I think though that the two weeks on his own, may well be the time for him to think long and hard and make a decision. Fingers crossed it's the right one.