How to Barbeque like a Turk

I know how to barbeque.  I am a good Aussie girl and was taught the art of barbeque by the Zen Master of Barbeques – my Dad.  His barbeque boot camps were the stuff legends were made of and anything he put on his barbeque would be cooked to perfection every single time without a drop of beer ever being spilt.  Yep I was taught by the Master and have crazy barbequing skills but here, in Turkiye, all my rad skills taught to me by my Dad are thrown out the window.  The reason?  In Turkiye a barbeque just isn’t a barbeque – its Mangal!

Mangal means to barbeque but it also is the name of the itsy, bitsy, teeny, weeny apparatus that the Turks use to cook their barbeque on and let me tell you a mangal is, in fact, an event.  To mangal takes time.  Preparation of the food and preparation of the barbeque itself – it is a commitment but the end results are always a party for your tastebuds.

Adana mangal

Like households all over the world a caveman-like primeval instinct will take over a Turkish male and it is for him to prepare fire while the females slice and dice in the kitchen preparing the meats and salads.

Watching Turkish men prepare the mangal is an experience in itself.  First they disappear into the nearest forest hunting firewood returning with, in their expert opinion, what is the best firewood ever collected.  If there is more than one Turkish man then they will need to be fierce debate over the quality of their firewood because, of course, it’s all about the size of the wood isn’t it ladies?  Once half a forest has been accumulated by our men it is time to stack the mangal.

Stacking an art form and has been known to cause WWIII on more than one occasion (in our family at least).  Like that age old question of “what came first the chicken or the egg” with mangal it is all about how you prepare the fire to get the ultimate heat.  The correct mix of charcoal briquettes and firewood set in the correct manner should ensure the perfect mangal which should, in theory, ignite with ease and, after its initial blazing inferno, should burn down to a grey ash – the perfect heat for cooking.

BBQ 1

While all this is going on I can usually be found in the kitchen helping (or hindering) my sister in law who is frantically prepare enough food for an army.  Tavuk (chicken) is usually coated with salcha (biber paste), kimyon (cumin) and kırmızı biber (paprika) while the balik (fish) will be marinated in a little zeytin yağı (olive oil) and limon (lemon).  My favourite, and usually my job when and if I ever put down my glass of wine, is to prepare the mincemeat kebabs.  These are so simple that my sister in law knows I won’t stuff them up.  Ready?  It’s as easy as mixing the kıyma (mincemeat), karabiber (black pepper), toz biber (red chilli powder), kimyon (cumin), onion (soğan) and kırmızı biber (red capsicum/pepper).  I use as much or as little as I like as there is no exact recipe so basically I can’t fail.

BBQ 3

Returning with the meats to the mangal which should by now be the hot coals and ash (remember grey ash is the best ash) the men come into play again where they stand over the food and discuss everything from politika to futbol.  One of us ladies have to appear and warn them that the meat is going to be overdone to which we will receive a hearty tamam or tessekuler and a request for another bira.  I usually laugh about now because it doesn’t matter where you are beer is always a pre-requisite for a barbeque.  A final argument about too much tuz (salt) or perhaps how many times the meat has been turned ensues before finally a mountain of meat is hauled off the mangal and to your table which is now full with numerous salads and ekmek (bread).

BBQ 2 (2)

Don’t forget you also need plates of meze to finish off your barbeque.  A quick and easy one and a favourite of mine is Biber Ezmesi.  Cook your biber (no not Justin but probably justifiable) on the mangal as soon as the initial inferno has died down.  Once cool quickly peel them and cut them finely as well as a couple of domates (tomatoes).  You can cheat and use a blender on low but my sister in law swears that cutting by hand makes all the difference.  Mix them with zeytin yağı, nar şurubu (pomegranate juice), two cloves of sarımsak (garlic) and maydanoz (flat leaf parsley) and you have a wonderful meze or relish to add to your table.

biber-ezmasi

If you are travelling to Turkiye this summer make sure you find a restaurant that serves mangal or, even better, buy your own mangal (they are incredibly cheap) and go to your closest piknik spot and prepare your own.  Most butchers sell the mincemeat already prepared with spices for kebabs and even the chicken coated in salcha.  Grab some lamb ribs and marinate them in olive oil and lemon – amazing – or maybe head to the fish market and haggle with the fish mongers for the best fish the Adriatic has to offer.

BBQ 5

If you are unsure what to buy ask your closest Turk and he will give you his expert mangal advice.

_________________________________________________________________________

Loving this blog? Please help me build my audience and share with like minded people who, like me, lurve to barbeque and love Turkey. You can also subscribe or like me on Facebook for all updates.

CSI Cyber – Turkish Edition

I have now watched a couple of episodes of this new CSI show and I think I am more than qualified to investigate “the Great Turkish Blackout of 2015”.

After lengthy investigation I have 3 main suspects:

  1. A terrorist plot. Who could it be?  Bilmiyorum.
  2. A pimply faced 12 year old boy trying to obtain the schematics of NASA’s space station for his bedroom wall … oh wait wrong program.
  3. Türkiye forgot to pay the electric bill – most likely.

collage 1

Here’s what I know.

I went into the city yesterday to meet some friends for lunch.  There was no electricity in the village.  I shrug my shoulders (there is never any electricity in the village).  As I reached Çarşı there is no electricity there either.  Oh well.  I catch my next dolmuş and continue through Mersin.  Pozcu – no electricity.   At this point I am like “Woah all of Mersin!  Sucked in!”.  As I reached Mezitli and my destination and there was still no electricity I realised “damn lunch is going to be cancelled” but no – bless Mersin Marina for their own electricity supply!

Lunch was lovely.  I drank too much and got too much sun.  I suffer for that now.

One friend from Adana told me her electricity was out too.  “How funny is that?  Two cities, no electricity”.

I finally got home completely sloshed and feeling no pain but there was still no bloody electricity.  The Turk informed me that the electricity was, in fact, out all over Turkey including Istanbul and Ankara and that it was a terrorist plot or a military coup.  My first thought was “Yikes”.  My second thought “that movie War Games”.  Do you know the one?  Matthew Broderick starred in it, like, 50 years ago or something, and he nearly started WWIII with the click of a mouse button.  Someone should check the whereabouts of Matthew Broderick.

Officially Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said all possible causes were under investigation “including terrorism”.  Conveniently enough President Erdogan was out of the country as was the Electricity Minister.

It has suggested to me that it was an April Fools joke.  That’s seems to be a pretty elaborate joke, well done to you, however check your calendar before you pull a prank you goose!

We finally got our electric back but not before The Turk suggested we make our own – bada bing bada boom.  Daughter said that the electrical outage was “a current event”.  You see we are all fecking comedians in this household!

My CSI investigation is still underway so keep checking back for when I finally arrest my suspect.  It will be exciting.  Seriously though, if Turkiye did forget to pay the electric bill someone should diarise this shit because it was bloody inconvenient yesterday.

_________________________________________________________________________

Loving this blog? Please help me build my audience and share with like minded people who, like me, sometimes forget to pay their electric bill and love Turkey. You can also subscribe or like me on Facebook for all updates.

What’s in a name?

Another quick one.

My friend took this photo and posted it in the “Expats in Mersin” Facebook page recently.  It speaks for itself.

kunt

So when Shakespeare asks, “What’s in a name?” the answer is a lot if your name is Mustafa Kunt.

His name is whaaattt????

“Must have a Kunt”.

Oh yeah I went there!

_________________________________________________________________________

Loving this blog? Please help me build my audience and share with like minded people who, like you, always asks that fateful question of “What’s in a name” and love Turkey. You can also subscribe or like me on Facebook for all updates.

 

“They’re called boobs Ed”

No I have not flashed my boobs at some unsuspecting Turk here in Mersin instead I am going to get on my Erin Brockovich styled high horse and talk about something serious.  Boring!  Close the page and go back to your cat videos or photos of naked Kim Kardashian or whatever quickly because Janey is off on another tangent!

Starting off small I hate the fact that The Turk says all the fruit and vegetables are “organic” but I watch sprays and poisons being used by my neighbours on a daily basis.  The smell will waft up to our terrace and I know I am breathing in God only knows what type of cancer causing toxins.  Hate it!

Environment

What is worse is that I live quite near a chemical factory.  According to their website the factory manufactures “calcium ammonium nitrate and diammonium phosphate as well as fertilizer as nitric acid, sulfuric acid and phosphoric acid production”.  What are these things?  Who the feck knows as I failed 8th grade science but I am pretty damn sure that the yellow smoke that spews out of the factory at 3 in the morning isn’t good for your health and it is probably spilling its overflow into our waterways causing Blinky to mutate.  Perhaps if I serve Blinky up as Marge did then people will start to realise just how dangerous these chemicals are to our environment.

To go a little further on the subject of our water here in Mersin recently we had a water filtration system installed in our kitchen which, although incredibly expensive to install, in the long run will ultimately save us money.  It also means we are not lugging huge bottles of water up stairs twice a week.  While the system was being installed they tested our tap water for contamination and pathogens and I am calling it – it was putrid!  Interestingly they also tested a sample of our well water and I was surprised to learn that the well water is so dirty that it would be dangerous to even bathe in it which leads me back to the three eyed fish comment above.

What else?  Oh, yes, I know I have questioned this before but why are they building a nuclear power plant in a country where earthquakes are regular occurrences?  Did they not learn anything from Japan?  There has been a lot of interest in the legality of the approval to build this environmental disaster in the making and there are many current court cases on the dock regarding the legality of the Environmental Impact Statement.  Turkey’s Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) have replaced the judges overseeing the cases filed against the power plant although as the HSKY is frequently criticised for interfering in high profile cases I cannot see a fair trial any time in the near future after all money talks.  Should I point out that this power plant will be operated by a Russian company.  Hello?  Chernobyl anyone?

While I am finally climbing down off my high horse and adjusting my pants I just want to give you all a final example of stupidity – the proposed development at Gallipoli/Gelibolu.  I am appalled at the possibility of any development on this peninsular.  This should be a World Heritage site protected so future generations have the opportunity to visit, to learn and to pay their respects.  To my Aussie friends and followers spread the word and let your local representative know about this ridiculous approval.  The money that Turkey gains from Australian tourism would have to have some bearing on any potential development surely?  (See story here).

Ugh I have brought you all down haven’t I?  Sorry guys but I just shake my head at the ridiculousness of the situation here sometimes.  Everything is just so fecking difficult and it just shouldn’t be!

On a bright note a friend has just returned from Bodrum with bacon.  BACON!  Imma gonna eat bacon for breakfast on Saturday morning!  If life is bringing you down … well get a friend to bring you bacon and everything will be alright!

BACON!

_________________________________________________________________________

Loving this blog? Please help me build my audience and share with like minded people who, like you, are actually concerned at Turkey’s environmental impact on the world but still love Turkey anyway. You can also subscribe or like me on Facebook for all updates.

Oops I did it again

It has been brought to my attention by you lovely people that I have not burdened you with my most recent exploits here in Mersin.  Honestly life has been busy and between the illegal building work, the constant rain, Daughter morphing into an obstinate teenager and The Turk driving me nuts I haven’t had a moment to sit down and write plus I am trying to concentrate on my novel – yes I am a frustrated (unpublished) author – perhaps the next J.K. Rowling – perhaps not.

In order to give you a quick Janey fix I will tell you about how I ended up (yet again) covered in shit after a night out in Karaduvar.  This time it was cow shit not human shit but shit is shit and I am starting to question how these things happen to me – over and over again.

Last weekend the expats here in Mersin decided a get together was in order and a fish restaurant was chosen here in Karaduvar as the venue.  I was ecstatic.  Not only did this mean that I was a hop, skip and jump from home it meant that I didn’t need to catch a dolmuş or two dolmuş or even three dolmuş (would that translate to dolmuşlar?) to get where I needed to go.  I merely had to walk less than 1 kilometre to the beachfront.  1 kilometre.  That’s all I had to do.  1 kilometre to the lokanta and 1 kilometre to get home.  I mean how hard could it be?

I guess it starts, as all good stories do, with alcohol.  Yes an expat night out means I go all out, so excited to be speaking English to a whole table of English speakers that I let my hair down and am out for a big night.  I was sensible though (in my own way) after all there was Raki (ick) as well as vodka jelly shots (and a vodka desert) but I stuck with my bottle of şarap (wine) that I brought with me.  Sadly though the first bottle was drained as was another … and another … and so by the end of the evening I was feeling very jolly indeed.

Walking home was very pleasant and one of the reasons why I love living here is walking through the village at night.  It is starting to warm up now, the stars were shining brightly and the smells through the village are just so delicious whether it be walking through a farm of freshly cut maydanoz or nane or passing a home where a family are listening to Turkish music as they enjoy the last of their mangal (bar-be-que).  The Turk decided to cut through one of the bahçeler (gardens) to speed up my drunken dawdling (and yes singing) and so we turned into a garden where they had recently tilled the soil for the next crop.

I have cut through this garden many times with My Hurley Dog and I am well aware of the cow shit that is piled high on the side of the grassy track.  In fact I have spent many an hour standing by the pile of cow shit as My Hurley Dog throws himself head first into it every. single. time.  What I did not know or perhaps had plum forgotten that the owners have dug a rather large hole in the grass immediately beside the poop.  On reflection I was bloody lucky I didn’t break my leg to be honest.  Anyway I turned to Daughter (who was feeling very jolly herself as she had enjoyed a sneaky vodka jelly) to watch out for the poop when all of a sudden the entire ground disappeared from under me.  It was as though I was being sucked into the vortex of a demon netherworld (which would make sense) but my fall was a slow one, slow enough for me to call out, “I think I’m falling” and for The Turk and Daughter to watch the collapse with glee.

As I fell I watched the pile of poop moving slowly towards me.  All I could say is, “Oh shit!”.  Yep it happened again although thankfully I am happy it was a dry poopy-poop not the human waste that chased me out of the long drop last time. Someone asked on FB whether Daughter captured this embarrassment on film and I am again happy to say no she did not for she is well aware of the unfortunate events that would occur if she ever crossed me publicly!  She and The Turk merely stood there laughing as I tried to roll out of the poop and the mud and pull myself back up.

hole 3

It took me 24 hours to recover from my night now and today I can examine my bruises that are forming a little more closely.  I am taking My Hurley Dog for a walk to the beach this morning however, honestly, I will not cut through the bahçe as a shortcut home.

Next time on Janey … in Mersin – my appointment with the Governor for my kimlik.  Stayed tuned.

_________________________________________________________________________

Loving this blog? Please help me build my audience and share with like minded people who, like you, always embarrasses themselves whilst on the piss and love Turkey. You can also subscribe or like me on Facebook for all updates.

Enough is enough

I feel like I have fallen down the rabbit hole here.  Writing this post took time but it also took a hell of a lot of research on my part and at each breath I found another shocking revelation regarding women’s rights here in Turkey.  I had no idea of the shocking statistics – 300 women were killed by men here in Turkey in 2014, an additional 100 more were raped.  Enough is enough.

skirts

My recent post drew such an amazing response from you but more importantly it has helped get the message out, not just here in Turkey, but all over the world.

With the hashtag #sendeanlat (tell me your story) trending on social media,  with over 800,000 hits, the message is simple – Turkish women have had enough. Enough of the innuendo by the young men who trail you home.  Enough of the man rubbing himself against you on the train (which happened to me recently in Istanbul).  Enough of the suggestion that you may have asked for it by your choice of dress.  Enough of an employer using his power to gain your favour and enough of your husband, your father, or even a complete stranger raising their hand for the slightest infraction.  Add to this the hashtag #ozgecanicinminietekgiy (wear a miniskirt for Özgecan) and you can see that Turkish people really do want their country to change.

With the heightened media attention spurring Turkish politicians into action with promises of harsher punishment against perpetrators here in Mersin billboards have begun to appear with Özgecan’s image asking the question ““Have you heard the screams of Özgecan?” This refers to the recent suggestion by Government officials that women should scream loudly if assaulted.  I just want to point out that Özgecan did shout, the authorities confirmed this.  She screamed.  She scratched.  She used pepper spray against her attacker but no one could help her.  The fact is that women should not need to scream.  Women should be safe to walk down the street, or catch a bus.  Rather than teaching women to scream or to protect themselves perhaps it would be better for men to be taught to respect women.

I have to ask myself if teaching respect is enough though as there has also been instances of shaming women in recent days.  The most public example was the host of Survivor All Stars Nihat Dogan who, rather than showing sympathy towards what happened to Özgecan he chose to make inappropriate remarks about her attire at the time of her death.  This eşek was put in his place pretty swiftly though and was fired from his hosting gig.  Good work Channel 8.

Change begins with the current Government.  With a little adjustment to their current attitude (do you remember when I wrote this President Erdogan’s recent perception on women’s equality back in November – yikes!) and with an acknowledgement of equality between women and men then lives will really change here for the better.  The next step is education which is crucial in the prevention of violence against women and that education needs to start in the schools.  Specialised training should be given to teachers to help them identify children at risk and also to teach awareness and behaviour towards not just women but to each other as a whole.  Teach children that raising your hand is not the answer and within one generation – only one generation – this antiquated behaviour will be wiped out.

Did you know that in January of this year 27 women were murdered by men here in Turkey.  Stop making excuses Turkey. There was no excuse for what happened to Özgecan.  There is nothing that can give back that young woman her life, to return her to her family and her friends.  Enough is enough.

_________________________________________________________________________

Normally here I would ask you to like my blog for all updates.  Today I am asking you to share this post.  The more people who spread the word the better.  x

My Letter to Özgecan

I never had the pleasure of meeting you Özgecan.  I never had the chance to hear you laugh with your friends or sing along to your favorite tune.  No I did not know you at all but I know you now.  Your name will forever be etched into my heart and into the hearts of millions of others here in Turkey and around the world who woke on Valentine’s Day, the day of romance, to the sickening news of your death at the hands of a monster.  We are shocked beyond words hearing of your suffering and of knowing that the simple task of stepping on a bus is no longer safe here in Mersin.

Aslan

What happened to you happens to other women every day, all over the world.  Whether it is in New Delhi or Melbourne monsters can be found everywhere.  But with your death comes the news that tens of thousands of people are marching in cities all over Turkey angry for your pain and suffering.  They are angry that this has happened to you.  For too long women have not felt safe as they stand in their kitchen, walk down the street or even step onto a bus.  For too long society has looked the other way at certain behaviour but today it is time for Turkey to change and you are an important part of that change.  What happened to you Özgecan and the reactions of people here in Mersin and all around your beautiful country prove that they too want things to change.

I watched with tears of pride as your friends and family defied the imam as he told them to “let the men” carry your body.  Hayir.  They stood by you and helped you to your final resting place.  These women will never forget you Özgecan and they will stand up for you and yell your name with honour.

People no longer want to hear that women are secondary to men.  We no longer want to listen to politicians who outlandishly state that “violence against women is just about selective perception (thank you Fatma Şahin, AKP Family Minister)” or “equality between men and women is against nature” (thank you Recep Tayip Erdogan, President). No Özgecan we will no longer allow politicians to sprout nonsense that should be basic human rights.

Today people are calling for much needed change and, although you had to lose your life, I hope that the powers that be will realise that changes must be made to ensure that no one else must spend their last moments in fear at the hands of another.

Özgecan your soul is now soaring in the sunlight.  You have no more pain.  We will remember your name and we will remember you.

I am reminded of something Maya Angelou said, “History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”

Rest in peace Özgecan.

The Turk in Oz

I think being a yabanci, an expat or an immigrant (call it what you will) is extremely bloody hard.  I am not going to whinge and carry on today but rather tell the tale of when The Turk first arrived in Australia all those years ago.  Let me turn the table on my usual yabanci whinge-fest and tell you all about how The Turk coped when he was the yabanci arriving on foreign soil, a stranger in a hostile land, so to speak.

Life in Australia was good for me in 2002.  Daughter was a damn good baby.  I had a job that I loved and I lived in an apartment that was all mine.  I was content and having The Turk arrive should have made my life pretty much perfect.  Shouldn’t it?

57

Post 9/11 the Australian visa process was daunting but with perseverance and his sponsorship being guaranteed by an amazingly supportive friend, The Turk arrived in Sydney one sunny morning in December 2002.  Not wasting a moment The Turk hit the ground running and by the first week of January 2003 he had procured gainful employment as a storeman and packer.  He was good at his job because he wanted this job.  He didn’t love the work but he wanted this life in this strange new world to be a success.

My friends and family were welcoming and The Turk soon turned my friends into his friends although, as hard as he tried, he just wasn’t fitting in.  I knew it and he knew it.  No one spoke Turkish and Turkish people were as scarce as hen’s teeth where we lived (read that as non-existent).  No one understood what he was going through or where he was from and perhaps I was not as helpful as I could have been.  During those early years Australia was not an easy place for a Muslim and The Turk was racially discriminated against by strangers and even the police on more than one occasion.

The Turk began to drink and gamble.  I knew he liked a drink – still does – but the gambling was a problem as we did not have that much money to start with.  Was I as supportive as I could have been or help him deal with his obvious addictions?  No.  I turned on him and badmouthed him to whoever would listen.  The bright new world was slowly becoming jaded and life was becoming more difficult.

By 2006 The Turk had had enough.  This new home had beaten him and, while Turkey may not have all the bells and whistles that Australia has, he gave me an ultimatum.  Return to Turkey with him and forge a new life there.  I refused to leave and finally he packed his bags and returned to Turkey without us.

After six months in his homeland The Turk returned a new man.  Still gave me a migraine daily but at least he had fresh vigour about his life and what he hoped to achieve in Australia.  He got not just one new job but two, landscaping by day and a sous chef by night.  He was happy.  He was working his ass off, providing for his family and could hold his head up high.

He still had not made any friends however and we really had no family other than my father who had remarried.  The Turk brooded a lot and we fought a lot, until finally, after one particularly explosive argument, he broke down and told me the truth.  The real truth.

He had never really adjusted to his life in Sydney.  To Australia.  As much as he loves Australia and he loves his family and friends living in such a foreign environment was just too damn difficult.  He had no support.  He had no one who understood how he felt and Australia had slowly broken him.  Into tiny, little pieces.

Obviously we got past that dark time in our life and we stayed together.  Sure he drives me crazy but he is my Turk and I do love him.  Sometimes.

The point to my reminiscing is this – moving to a new country has so many hurdles to overcome.  There is a drama at every turn.  Renting an apartment, finding a job, obtaining your visa.  Bloody hell it is hard work.  Doesn’t matter who you are or where you are from this is a fact.

When I first arrived here in Mersin it was difficult and there were a lot of tears.  Two years later it is still difficult (and there are still tears).  So what do I do?  Do I give up?  Run home?

I can now honestly say I understand why The Turk left back in 2006.  I really do.  Mersin is no Sydney and life for me back in Australia would be so much easier.  I would have my friends.  I would return to my fantastic job working with people I adore.  Life would be grand.  So why don’t I run home?  Why is it that I am coping in this chaotic country while The Turk collapsed in the reasonable sanity that is Australia?  Simply put I have met a great group of people who I can truly call friends.  They understand just how crappy a crappy day can be here in Mersin and will laugh right along with me (or pull me back from the abyss if necessary).  This was what The Turk was missing in Australia.

To anyone who is taking the plunge in a foreign land or to those of you who have their partner moving to yours know this one thing.  Find a support system that works for you and surround yourself with people who will lift you up when needs be.  Of course social media makes finding these like-minded people that much easier (man how I wish there was FB back in 2001).  I can thank social media (and this blog) for finding my support network – they are my rock.  Yes!  You guys truly rock!

Let’s Pretend that Today Never Happened

Everything I type in today’s post can be filed under the heading “Shit Happens”.  It does you know.  Shit really does happen. All the time.   To good people and to not so good people.  To people who, you might say, deserve a karmatic (this is a real word) explosion of diarrhetic (alright this may not be a real word) deuce and it also happens to people who are as heroic as Ghandi or as pious as the Pope.  But today I feel like I was handed a bucket load of bok and I am hovering pretty close to the edge right now.

Shit Happens

Let me set the scene.  Candles?  Romantic music?  No people, this scene requires more dark clouds and depressing music.  Possibly elevator muzak playing Depeche Mode.  Is it muzak or music?

Wait!

I was on the dolmuş yesterday when a tiny Turkish man with a rather hairy moustache sat down beside me … and sneezed.  All over me.  I felt his germ-filled gust of Turkish breath whoosh over me and I could feel his festering microbes invade my throat, my eyes and my nose.  Ick!  I wiped my face as he apologised but it was too late.  The damage was done and within 8 hours I was coughing and sneezing.  I was a Codral tablet away from death.  Bastard!  So now I have the dreaded grip.  Again.

Now you can imagine my state of mind when I woke this morning after a night of snot and phlegm.  Adding to the joy of the grip I awoke to the bonus of no electricity.  “Shit happens” I hear you cry.  Yes, too true but I won’t be beaten by the lack of electricity.  This is just a blip on my day.  Soldier on.

I made myself a cup of tea and opened the refrigerator to grab the milk.  No milk.  “Shit happens” the Gods from above declare.  Maybe, but maybe Daughter could have left me a mere drip for my tea this morning.  I made a mental note to pull out my voodoo doll with her name on it and I left the house to go to the market.

Of course it is pouring with rain and I cannot find my umbrella so I ran through the rain dodging the puddles only to find that … the market wasn’t open yet.  Yep, “Shit happens”.

My next “Shit happens” moment needs a little background – The Turk has arranged to build yet another apartment above ours (because you can never have too many apartments) however as one of our lovely neighbours complained about the building work the belediye (Council) recently handed us a stop work order.  We now have a partially built apartment above us but this isn’t the “Shit happens” moment, not for me anyway.  My “Shit happens” moment is the fact that because the building work has been cut short by this jealous, asshole neighbour today’s downpour is allowing a stream of water to pour into every room in the house through the partially built walls and holes in our ceiling.  As I run around placing buckets and pots to collect the rainwater I can be heard yelling, “Shit happens!”

So here I am, suffering from the grip with no electricity, no hope of a cup of tea and water pouring through the roof.  It’s not even 9am.  At that point I contemplated purchasing a hallucinogen, maybe I could find a Turkish equivalent to LSD or some mushrooms, to take me away from myself.  I could float off to my very own magical Willy Wonka-esque world filled with unicorns and fairy floss.  No, I cry, soldier on … plus the electricity came back on.  Bonus!

And can I just amend the above statement, thankfully the electricity came back on as Daughter came rushing down the hallway yelling that she needed to straighten her hair before school.  Oh the horror, the trauma, of leaving the house with frizzy hair!  It shall not be!

I finally got my cup of tea (with milk) when my father in law arrived at the door.  He arrives on my doorstep every – single – day.  Without fail.  From breakfast to dinner he is here.  Except Sundays.  On Sundays he can be found at my sister in law’s (SIL) home, after all her food is better than mine and she puts up with his crap.  Plus she bathes him.  I would rather eat my own toenails than bathe him.  Anyway my father in law arrives complaining.  Yagmur!  Really?  It’s raining?  I look out the window in feigned wonder.  Oh?!  It is raining?  Thank you for stating the obvious.  He then proceeds to tell me it is cold and that he needs a blanket.  And a cup of cay.  Drop everything folks.   Get Dede a blanket!  Get Dede cay!  Go on, say it – “You wanted this life.  Shit happens!”

Finally it is noon and Daughter leaves for school, with perfectly straight hair, but still complaining and my father in law is quietly snoring on the couch.  Finally.  Peace.

I grab the television remote and started flicking through the channels.  The telephone rings.  Oh no.  Please.  God no.  I looked at the ID on the telephone.  SIL’s work.  I contemplated not answering it.  I knew what would happen if I did.  I sighed as I reached for the telephone.  It seems that the Cabbage Patch Kid is crying – again – and her older sister has had enough of her whining.  Oh wonderful, so now I get to enjoy the whining!  “Shit happens”.

I am now sitting at my desk with my earphones on.  They are blasting Beyonce (don’t judge me) to drown out the crap going down behind me.  The Cabbage Patch Kid has thrown herself on the floor and is sulking – loudly.  Her sister Tatli is ignoring her and yelling down the telephone at her mother.  My father in law is asleep on my couch with Planet Turk blasting away and the bucket in the middle of the salon catching the dripping water is nearly full.

Yep.  It really is true – shit happens!

Addendum – I actually wrote this yesterday but after I finished tapping out the last exclamation point my SIL arrived on my doorstep.  She too had had a terrible day and she sat at my kitchen bench and cried.  She is tired.  Tired of working hard for little thanks, tired of her family (which probably includes me), of her children (which I for one totally understand) and definitely tired of her shitty life.  As I handed her a glass of cay I realised just how lucky I am.

_________________________________________________________________________

Loving this blog? Please help me build my audience and share with like minded people who, like you, have had enough of this crappy winter weather – oh and you love Turkey. You can also subscribe or like me on Facebook for all updates.

The Loco Lodos

It was a Lodos weekend in Istanbul, with the strong, dusty winds from Africa howling up the Bosphorus, sending waves crashing over the shore and forcing the locals indoors to save themselves almost certain doom.

istanbul winds 3

Like the better known Sirocco or Mistral winds when the Lodos hits with its 90+ kilometre gusts it causes chaos with flights and ferries cancelled as well as numerous car accidents and untold damage to homes and businesses.  Despite the Lodos coming to ruin our fun Daughter and I are hardened Aussies used to some tough weather and really a little breeze wasn’t going to stop us from heading to our first stop, Galata Tower, for the best view over Istanbul.

After climbing one of the seven hills of Istanbul (warn me next time) we then had the pleasure of climbing another two flights of stairs (after catching a lift the first 5 flights) before arriving at the conical cap of Galata Tower.  At the top is a café which was packed with tourists milling about waiting for someone to take the plunge and step out into the lodos.  Daughter didn’t hestitate and threw open the door letting the howling wind into the café and sending shrieks from the café workers to “kapıyı kapattı!” (shut the door!).

I can see why this building served as a watchtower as you really did have an amazing 360 degree view of Istanbul.  No one was going to take Constantinople with this bad boy watching over it (well not until the Ottomans finally did in 1453 anyway).

Daughter and I held onto the fence as we made our way around the tower.  It really was a crazy wind – a loco lodos if you will.  Soon we were followed by others braving the loco lodos all of us laughing and yelling into the wind, daring it if you will to push us around.

istanbul winds

After surviving our first stop it was clear that the lodos was not going to beat us and so, soldiering on we made our way down to the Bosphorus and jumped on what seemed to be the only ferry prepared to leave Kadıköy dock for a three hour cruise.  Well let me tell you Gilligan had it easy compared to what we went through over the next couple of hours.  The boat was really rocking and I now understand why all the sensible captains stayed safely on shore.

istanbul winds 2

The Turkish poet, Ümit Yaşar Oğuzcan, opens his poem “Istanbul Light” with the verses:

Istanbul, the wind

The wind, my love

Sometimes lodos blows from the seas

Oh so warm

Sometimes poyraz blows like a crazed razor

Let your hair down for the windows of Istanbul

You can’t be without love or the wind in this city.

Well I may have survived a Loco Lodos but I’m not sure if I want to meet the “crazed razor” of a Poyraz wind.  Until next time.

_________________________________________________________________________

Loving this blog? Please help me build my audience and share with like minded people who, like you, love Istanbul – oh and you love Turkey. You can also subscribe or like me on Facebook for all updates.