Starry, Starry Night

Anyone who has driven down into Mersin on Akbelen Boulevard has no doubt seen Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” or Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring” painted onto one of the old buildings along the street.  If like me, you wondered who did these paintings, I can now give you the answer as I recently had a chance to connect with the artist Ertuğrul Çavuşoğlu.

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Originally from Van, Ertuğrul is a self-taught artist that has been employed by the Toroslar municipality, along with Nazife Bilgin Hazar, to beautify the area and I think they are doing a splendid job, don’t you?

They have completed ten buildings but they are hopeful that their work will continue well into 2018.  They have chosen a range of famous works by Turkish and Arabic artists as well as the European masters mentioned above.

Toroslar 3

Ertuğrul is hoping that his work will inspire younger people into wanting to learn more about the famous paintings that he has replicated and the artists behind the work.  He wants his adopted city to know that art is important.  Art makes you feel and art can take you places you have never imagined.  Art is fundamentally the same all over the world and is a common language which (for me at least) still allows us to all enjoy the work together.

I love this last photo.

Toroslar photos

All photos are courtesy of Milliyet with Ertuğrul’s full approval.

You can follow Ertuğrul’s progress on his Instagram – ertugrul1828 – here.

 

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This Post Will Self-Destruct in 5, 4, 3, …

The year is almost over, and this funk I’ve been in, this fog, is finally lifting.  It’s almost incomprehensible that 2017 is taking its final breath and tomorrow will be the first day of another new year.  I guess I will wake tomorrow with the usual worries that affect us all – family, health, love, money, yada yada – but I am going to try to not let those little things send me spiralling into a depression abyss of no return.

fireworks

I think for the whole 2017 has been a bit of a shit-storm but I’ve already lost friends this year for voicing my opinion over various subjects so instead, I shall reflect on the year of that was and its effect on me personally.

I have met some wonderful new people (and a few nutters) this past year and, thanks to my high school reunion (which I did not attend as I happen to live 14,351km away, although was Facetimed into – and yet somehow still found myself spending an extraordinary amount of time gossiping about so and so in the toilets!), I also got to reconnect with people that I hadn’t spoken to since I unceremoniously left those not so hallowed halls many moons ago.

January was spent with Daughter in London where along with a butt-load of bacon being consumed I got to catch up with one of my dearest friends (I have been told I can no longer say ‘oldest friend’).  A special shout out to her for putting up with me through my tears (I was still recuperating from my knee surgery and a bit of a Negative Nelly during my visit), but it was wonderful to spend time with her and her family again.  I also travelled to my happy place, aka Australia, in June and spent desperately needed time with my family and friends there.  There was another quick trip to Bali where a lot of silliness ensued and I finished off my travels this year with a thumping good concert in Germany.

Bali

On the writing front, I know I have been slack with my blogging and thank you all for regularly reminding me to get back to work but my general slackness was for a very good reason and that reason is *drumroll* I have finally completed the first draft of my novel (truth be told its probably my 20th draft but it is done either way).  I have sent it off to a few publishers but all that rejection is quite disheartening and it certainly taps into my already dark funk, however, I did get a little realistic feedback from a few of them which has bolstered my resolve to see my book one day get published.  Right now, it is being Beta-read (a new concept to me) for detailed feedback on plot, characters, clarity and pacing.  Shall I tell you the name?  Okay.  Here goes.  “Salep and Ginger”.  Yes, it is set in Turkey.  Yes, it is a romance and yes, it is kind of sexy, in fact, one editor suggested to me that perhaps there was a little too much sex (although no neckties were injured in the writing of this novel).  Anyway, that’s all I can say for now.  The whole thing is nerve-wracking, but the end result means I might get to publish my book.  Imagine that?  Me?  A published author!  But I don’t want to get ahead of myself just yet.  Chill Janey!

This year also gave me the opportunity to visit places in Mersin that I hadn’t visited before.  A few highlights were visiting tiny villages in the Toros Mountains, exploring the monastery in Müt, peeing my pants in Kozan (maybe that wasn’t such a highlight) and even a visit to the ruins in Uzuncaburç (which I will get around to writing) as well as repeated trips to Kiz Kalesi and lazing the extended summer on practically deserted beaches.  I had become a lazy expat, not exploring the beauty that surrounds me.  I promise that 2018 will bring a lot more adventures in my adopted country.

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On the home front, The Turk and I still quarrel constantly.  We slam doors on each other and vow to divorce at the earliest opportunity, but we soldier on – because that’s just how we are.  Daughter is over both of us and it is clear that I have lost whatever parenting mojo I actually once had.   She no longer buys into any of my shite and is way too busy socialising to remember that The Turk and I actually exist (other than to open our wallets or to drive her to some very important event).  I guess I was the same at her age (and again I should be very thankful that she is growing up here where morals are imbued into these kids at a very young age) but I am hoping that 2018 will bring her a little more confidence in herself and help her strive to reach her goals (whatever they may be).

I won’t be making any New Year’s resolutions again this year, and I’m good with that.  I will try and be a little healthier, but I don’t really need resolve to do it.  I did buy a treadmill and I used it for a good few weeks before it started to collect dust (not true).  I am, however, putting My Evil Cat on a diet.  She is a binge-eater and, despite the fact that she now has only 3 teeth, she still has managed to put on weight.  Now that I think about it My Evil Cat and I are very similar ladies (although I do still have all my teeth) so perhaps we shall become diet buddies in 2018 (that won’t happen either).

evil

For those of you who read my very first post knows that I don’t love New Year’s Eve (in fact I also talk about it in my novel – Salep and Ginger – hopefully to be found in good bookstores just in time for summer – hello free advertising on my blog page) and the probability is very high that I won’t be going anywhere tonight.  I am good with that, but I do want to thank all of you for hanging around and reading JaneyinMersin.  It really does mean the world to me and to all of you I say this – no matter how shitty 2017 may have been, you survived it. Internet fist bump for you.

That’s me done for the year… there’s a glass of red calling my name soo Happy New Year and to 2018 I say this – bring it!

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Sorry, Not Sorry

I have tried not to post any political opinions on my blog, and I think I have been somewhat successful at keeping my blowhard points of view to myself BUT here I am today being all political yet again.  I am sure I will offend some of you, but *sigh* I don’t care to be honest.

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My very first post on this blog explained how I came to be living here in Türkiye.  I won’t bore you with the details (you can read about them here) but in short, I had an epiphany that would lead me to travel to the Middle East and Türkiye and to that fateful evening when I met The Turk.

I wanted to travel to Jerusalem.  I wanted to learn about this city that is home to major Muslim and Christian shrines, as well as Judaism’s holiest site.  I wanted to float in the Dead Sea, and I wanted to hit all those nightclubs in Tel Aviv.  Finally, I felt a need to understand why there is such animosity about this fascinating part of the world.

DOTR

In preparation for my travel, I took a couple of theology classes to learn about the long, and, at times, painful, history of the area.

I learned that the Temple Mount in the Old City is the most sacred place in Judaism.  It is the site of Solomon’s Temple which is said to have housed the Ark of the Covenant.

I also learned that it is the third holiest shrine in Islam, known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif. It was the scene of Prophet Muhammad’s ‘Night Journey’ ascension from Earth to Heaven, and the compound incorporates the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The city is also sacred to Christians and Catholics with millions visiting Jerusalem to undertake the Stations of the Cross which follows Jesus’s last day as a man before being crucified on a hill outside its walls.

Finally, I learned that I would never truly understand the complexities of the area.

But Jerusalem also has hugely important implications for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the United States of America have completely derailed any chance of peace in the foreseeable future with Trump’s recent declaration that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital city.  This has just added to the instability of the region.

I mean he is totally giving the Palestinian people the finger.  Ugh!  The man is a complete moron.

Moving on.

Those that know me personally know that I am no fan of Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his push for power in my adopted homeland however his speech given yesterday regarding Trump’s threats to cut funding if countries didn’t vote alongside the US was, in my opinion, fecking fabulous!

erdogan

By way of context and for those of you living under a rock the US President Donald Trump, being the very embodiment of a bully, threatened to cut funding to countries that would vote against them on the UN motion condemning the US’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Some of Erdoğan’s comments include:

“They call the U.S. the cradle of democracy. The cradle of democracy is seeking to buy a nation’s will with dollars.”

“Mr Trump, you cannot buy our will. I am calling on the whole world: Do not sell your struggle for democracy for a few dollars. Your stance is important.”

“I hope that the U.S. will not get the result it expects today and the world will give the U.S. a very good lesson.”

Yesterday President Erdoğan made the US aware that they are no longer the powerhouse that they once were and that no country should accede to their whims and flights of fancy.  They have dragged themselves down with their ridiculous agendas, casually forgetting about those who have been, up until now, their friends and allies.  The US has swiftly moved from being a joke to being the most hated nation on earth.

Thank you, President Erdoğan for saying what the rest of us are thinking.

And to you Mr Trump – make your fecking list.  Feel free to bluster and blow wind up your own ass because clearly, no one else is interested in your opinions anymore.

Incidentally, the UN General Assembly voted 128-9 declaring Trump’s announcement of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital “null and void”.

Merry Christmas.

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Mayday Parade

This is not a post about Turkey, I repeat, this is NOT a post about Turkey.  Instead, this is a post about the emo pop/punk band Mayday Parade that I had the very real pleasure of meeting recently in Cologne.

Mayday_Parade_Press_JW_131

It’s no real surprise to anyone that I tend to spoil Daughter and this birthday was no exception.  Daughter loves music and concerts so when one of her favourite bands, Mayday Parade, recently came to Cologne, I purchased her tickets to go and see them in concert.

I am probably pretty lucky in that Daughter and I have similar tastes in music.  Sure, when I was young I might have loved a bit of Wham but as my music tastes matured I became a real lover of rock music, and the louder the better.  There is nothing better than blasting my rock music when no one is at home.  It’s just me and my music. Similarly, Daughter loves a bit of rock and I might even go to say she goes a little farther than me and loves a little metal and punk as well (God help the neighbours when she blasts My Chemical Romance or Sleeping With Sirens) which can get a little exhausting to the brain.

So Daughter and I found ourselves at Essigfabrik in Cologne on 3 October at the Mayday Parade “10 Year Anniversary” tour.  First up Essigfabrik.  Holy crap I thought we were going into a condemned building.  A friend of mine from Cologne tells me that Essigfabrik is, in fact, a very famous hall for concerts; yes, I know, don’t judge a book by its cover and all that but jeeze!

Putting that very real trauma aside Daughter and I had the opportunity of meeting the members of Mayday Parade and followed security down some rather unsafe and possibly unapproved stairs into a basement area where we stood around with maybe 30 other fans waiting patiently for the band to appear.

And they did.  And they were totally chill.

I guess I expected screams and squeals from the predominantly female teenagers but instead the band just milled with the fans, getting around and meeting them all, having a bit of a chat and allowing photos.

I was impressed.

photovisi-download (2)

I got to have a chat with the lead singer Derek Sanders and asked him why they have never visited Turkey.  He said that it is mostly up to his representation as to where they travel to and they have never had any requests for a gig in Turkey.  Daughter said she was going to change that.  He then said that they were off to Australia for some concerts Down Under and asked if we’d see them there.  I laughed and explained that we actually lived in Turkey.  His eyebrows shot up.  Wow!  You guys are so lucky.

Yes we are!

The concert itself was pretty awesome as well.  Since it was their 10-year anniversary tour, they played their entire first album, “A Lesson in Romantics” blasting off with “Jamie All Over” before moving into a few of their newer stuff including “Stay” and “Terrible Things”.  Their encore was the fan favourite (and you can include me in that statement because I am now officially a fan), “Oh Well, Oh Well”.

Daughter had the barrier so when she finally found me at the end of the concert she was looking a little worse for wear but with a grin that just wouldn’t quit.  Supporting acts were Waterpark and With Confidence.

Sidenote: Whilst in Cologne Daughter got attacked by a dog which resulted in us visiting a German hospital as well as being in Cologne on Unity Day, celebrated on 3 October as a public holiday commemorating the anniversary of German reunification which meant that everything was shut so no shopping.  But we did eat bacon.  A lot of bacon.

So just to re-iterate I am the BEST MUM IN THE WORLD!  For this week at least!

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Dognapped!

The neighbour’s Rottweiler is chained up all day.  His owner (Vito) never let’s this beautiful and gentle boy off its chain and he spends its day sitting staring morosely at the passer by.  I know its normal in Turkey but it’s still heartbreaking all the same.  The Turk pities Hercules and takes him for a long walk every morning and afternoon as well as ensuring that he gets a decent feed every day.  The dog does have his quirks though.  He will not go on a lead and I don’t really blame him because he is chained up all day so he will carry his lead in his mouth and walk alongside The Turk (which is ridiculously cute).  Of course this causes drama in the village as they all assume Hercules is some crazed man eater and will rip them apart as he wanders by.  He won’t ’cause he’s a big baby (I mean look at him with Stanley) BUT if he sees a soccer ball (or a dirty nappy) he will lose his fecking mind.  The Turk has been forced to carry 10TL every time he takes Hercules anywhere to hand over to crying children when Hercules steals yet another ball.

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Anyway The Turk took Hercules for a walk this morning and everything was going along swimmingly until the dopey dog spotted a stray off in the distance.  As Hercules is a dopey dog he took off leaving The Turk to chase after him like a Looney Tunes cartoon.  After 20 minutes of searching The Turk gave up and started home.  As he reached our local market he spotted Hercules sitting happily outside lapping water from the bowl that is left by the shopowner.  The Turk stormed over and started yelling at Hercules who seemed pretty perturbed by all the yelling.  The Turk pointed Hercules home and he meekly followed The Turk at a safe distance.

An hour or so later there was an almighty kerfuffle outside!  Now it is not unusual for yelling in these parts or for the polis to arrive to be honest so when I hear some crazy Turk yelling for some reason or another I usually ignore it however as it was ruining my morning serenity I hung over the terrace to watch the show.

Outside Vito’s door was an itsy, bitsy Turkish man seriously foaming at the mouth with aggression, two bored polis smoking cigarettes and chatting on their phones, one dishevelled Vito (who had clearly just been woken by said itsy, bitsy Turkish man and two bored polis), Hercules sunning himself on the concrete … and Hercules miserably sulking on his chain in the corner.  Wait!  What?

Yep we seemed to have acquired a spare Rottweiler leaving Vito scratching his head, The Turk realising his error and the itsy, bitsy Turkish man now believing that his dog was being despoiled by Hercules (who I admit did seem up for the task).  It was a clear case of dognapping and it certainly didn’t take the two Pet Detectives long to crack this case wide open.  The Turk was extremely apologetic and laughed it off with the polis however the itsy, bitsy Turkish man continued to foam at the mouth (no doubt in need of a quick trip to the hastanesi) and insisted that Vito or The Turk or both of them be thrown in gaol.  Vito continued to be confused as he wiped the sleep from his eyes and Hercules continued to lie in the sunshine lapping up all the attention.  In the end common sense prevailed and the original Hercules was reinstated to his chain, the reasonable facsimile along with the tiny little Turkish man left carrying a big bag of maydanoz and the polis sat in the sunshine enjoying another cigarette and some fresh Türk kahvesi.

On closer inspection it should have been clear that it wasn’t Hercules … the reasonable facsimile had a tail (Hercules does not), the reasonable facsimile had a different collar but the clearest indication that it was not Hercules was … she was female!

Duh!

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F*ck Terrorism

Update:  There was little information in relation to the attack in Mersin as authorities had issued a media ban.

Further 11 suspects have been detained in connection with the attack. It was also revealed that it was suspected that the PKK, a terrorist group active in the country since 1980s, is the likely culprit.

The PKK resumed its armed campaign against the Turkish state in July 2015, unilaterally violating a cease-fire agreement. The organisation rose to prominence in the early 1980s in southeastern Turkey, which has a large Kurdish population.

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Yesterday afternoon a bomb exploded as a service bus carrying polis passed by here in Mersin.  Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ said 17 police officers and one local were wounded in the attack. He also added that it was a “terror attack”.

bomb 1

The blast occurred on the main road which was full of commuters on their way home from work and children on their way home from school. It took place in the densely populated area of Yenisehir. I had friends on that road. I myself was with Daughter only a block away.

Of course, Daughter and I had no idea. I mean mysterious explosions happen in Mersin all the time anyway. The other night I was on my terrace and the loudest bang I had ever heard nearly blasted me out of my seat. No idea where it came from. No idea what it was. No one seemed perturbed and went about their business in the Village so ‘whatev’s’.

Whatev’s has been fine up until now. Now, for the first time, a terrorist attack has come within spitting distance of me, my family and my friends.

I have always felt safe here in Mersin.  There has always a very large polis presence on the streets and security at government buildings, shopping centres and community gatherings.   Roadblocks and licence checks are common (hell it happens to me all the time). In fact, you can rarely drive through the city without passing polis on main corners carrying big-ass guns and checking cars as they pass. On the news, we get regular updates on terrorism threats and the polis efforts in thwarting these attempts. Arrests. Crackdowns. And with Mersin’s polis force on the hunt, we have not suffered from any significant attacks. Until now.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing although the initial word is that it is Kurdish militants who frequently target police vehicles and transports vans. I expect the polis investigators will be all over this and arrests will be made very soon.

My heart goes out to the 17 polis officers and one civilian that were injured in this attack.

This shit has got to stop.

To those of us living in Mersin and Türkiye – be vigilant guys.  Be aware of your surroundings.  If shit looks iffy its probably for good reason but my hope is that this was an isolated incident.  I also believe that security in Mersin will be even more heightened in response to the attack.

And my response to terrorism, we owe it to those injured in this attack and to all the other victims terrorism attacks around Türkiye and the world to not let the terrorist win by being terrorised.  That’s exactly the response they want.

Feck Terrorism!

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Ugly Expat 911

Expats are few and far between in Mersin, and over the years I have met some very *ahem* exciting characters.  Some I see once and then block them from my mind and social media in the hope of never passing paths again, and others are my closest friends and allies here in this crazy city hahaha.

new expat

The thing with having such a small group is that when you do meet that character that you just don’t gel with it can be nearly impossible to escape from them.  You see them at the same events, hanging out at the same restaurants and you bump into them at your local pazar/beautician/dentist – but of course you introduced them to said pazar/beautician/dentist!  You dumb ass!!

This happened to me recently, and I found the whole experience quite exhausting.  I was my usual friendly persona, welcoming said expat with open arms and introducing said expat to other members of the group and beforementioned pazar/beautician/dentist; however, I realised pretty early on that I had nothing in common with said expat.  I found said expat’s behaviour towards others in the group appalling and said expats behaviour to the locals ludicrous at times.  Oh, and I also realised pretty early on that said expat was batshit crazy!

Said expat found themselves in a bit of a jam as well while here in Mersin and when the situation imploded (which of course it did) it was all hands on deck.  However, despite other members of the group giving sound advice and being a listening board said expat decided to do the absolute opposite to the advice that was given and found themselves in an even more precarious position.  I don’t know everything, in fact, I don’t know a lot, but I do know that when a situation is shitty, it’s time to leave.  It’s not the time to include as many people as possible in your personal drama.

I think the thing that frustrated me the most about said expat was the fact that she felt she was so entitled to her opinion and expectations and also expected all of us to drop everything to deal her every problem.  Oh, and said expat never said thank you.  Not even once.  Rudeness!

Said expat has gone now thankfully.  I hope said expat never comes back to Mersin or if she does come back then hopefully she doesn’t contact me again – of course she probably won’t because I have already blocked her on my social media and she was banished from the expat group due to her nastiness.

Ugh, I’m getting too old for this shit.

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What Time is it? It’s Salça Time!

I used to say that making salça (paste) with my SIL was the most fun you could have in the Village with your clothes on.  In fact, I even complained a few years back about my SIL’s family taking over my salça making duties and ruining my fun.  I take it back now.  All of it.  Salça making ain’t fun.  In fact, now I think that making salca is the equivalent of giving birth.  It’s long, painful, incredibly messy, it can take weeks of recuperation afterwards before you feel yourself again but, surprisingly, in the end, you’re prepared to go through it all that pain again next year.  And of course you’ve got all that fabulous salça at the end of it all.

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Well that day is here again and I was chomping at the bit to make our kırmızı biber salça.  200kg of kırmızı biber (red capsicum) ready to be transformed into salça by me, my SIL and her mother.  Oh, and My Hurley Dog who assisted by chasing kediler (cats) and rolling in the mess until he was stained red.  He is not happy right now and is well aware that a bath is in his immediate future.

Back to my story.  200kg of kırmızı biber is a lot of biber.  My SIL called me down at 5 am, not to start work but to help make the ekmek (bread) for kahlvatı (breakfast).  To me making the ekmek is more work than its actually worth.  I’m happy to nick to the market and grab a couple of loafs of bread for 1TL each!  After the ekmek we started on the salca and it was just freaking exhausting.  Toiling away (before the real heat of mid-morning hits) with the cutting, cleaning, mulching (is it called mulching) before lugging buckets of biber salca up three flights of stairs and spreading it out in huge bowls to spend the next ten days in the sunshine (I swear if it rains!).  Nine trips up those stairs today with two buckets each trip!  FML!

The stairs are now stained red.  My feet are stained red (blending nicely with my orange nail polish) and my hands are as red as my eyes.  I’m exhausted.  Time for a shower, a glass of red (same colour as my hands, my eyes, my dog and my stairs) and an early night (just like after I had a baby – well I didn’t have the glass of red but the rest stands true).

Quote of the day by my 7-year-old niece – “cok tatl” (“so cute”) upon finding a worm (or maybe a maggot) in one of the biber.  Don’t be horrified by the idea of a worm/maggot in the biber.  Anyone who has ever made salça is well aware that its luck of the draw with those massive bags of biber.  Some are good, some are bad and sadly, some are rotten.  Adds to the taste according to The Turk (although the worm/maggot in question did not form part of my salça I swear to you).

So, when I say next year that I am making salça someone point me to this post – and to the looney bin.

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What Have You Done For Me Lately?

Hello, it’s me, Janey … in Mersin (in case you forgot).  I know I’ve said this in the past but my life has definitely been really busy over these few months.  Some days are out of my control and by the time that I get home I’m usually exhausted.  It takes all my effort to pour that first glass of wine.  The second and third glasses do come a lot easier.

In all honesty, I haven’t felt particularly motivated to write.  Mersin has its moments but they are nothing new.  I’ve written about them before.  Roosters crowing?  Wrote it.  The Turk fighting?  Done it.  Random family members doing random crazy shit?  All over it!  I have done a little more travelling, went to a wedding or nine and maybe I will post a few blogs in the coming weeks but unless aliens land here in the village there won’t be an awful lot to write.

Australia 2017

Daughter and I were away for two months, spending quality time in Australia and a naughty side trip to Bali.  It was definitely good to get back to Australia and spend time with our Aussie family and friends.  I even had the opportunity to catch up with some school friends which was fabulous.  I will miss my 30 year high school reunion later this year (although do I really want to catch up with most of them?  Nope.  I had my core group and I loved them.  The rest can go and jump in the lake).  And it was definitely great to eat bacon.  Man, I love me some bacon.  Yes, I know you know that but I just needed to reiterate it one final time – I love bacon.

Even though I was away I had some pretty remarkable hits on the page mind you.  It looks like Mersin is slowly being considered a tourist destination in its own right (I know I’m as shocked as you are).  The Turk suggested to me that perhaps I was being stalked but I’m not sure why anyone would want to stalk me, because as fascinating as I believe I am my life here in the Village is truly dull and exceedingly uninteresting.  And before you laugh it has happened before people turning up on our doorstep having tracked me down.  No!  I swear it’s true!  But that’s okay, as long as they’re not Ted Bundy or that Manson fellow … or maybe IS.

Summer is definitely here and Mersin is feeling like Satan’s asshole right now.  Coming from a very pleasant Sydney winter (with its average temperatures of 22-24) I’m a little jealous of my friends up in the mountains with their mountain breezes although the two times I have been up to visit since my return it’s been 30 degrees both days.  Not so cool (although it was probably mid-40’s back in the village).

Socially here in Mersin, many of the expats and locals disappear for summer.  Like me, the expats go and visit their homeland and the locals get the hell out of Dodge because it’s just so freaking steamy as feck.  A few of the expats have moved on to new cities and countries but when one goes another usually arrives although sometimes this can be more drama than it’s worth.

Oh, and I’ve finished the first draft of my novel (which takes up an extraordinary amount of time).   It’s currently being read by a few trusted friends and I got some pretty realistic feedback so on their recommendation I’ve sent it off for an edit.  We’ll see where this goes.  And it’s only the first draft so I expect there will be another 100 drafts before I am finally satisfied with it.  Give me the strength!

So, keep an eye out for some new material in the coming weeks.  I will be in touch and remember to message me on my FB page (here) if you want or need to make contact.

 

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Squatty Potty Disaster

A public toilet in Türkiye can be one of the most feral places on earth. I guess I could say that about any public toilet around the world but as I live in Türkiye and this is a story about Türkiye then I’m going to say Türkiye.  Anyway, you would think that in the thousands of years that public toilets have existed, someone would have thought to modernise the ancient art of sıçmak (shitting) amongst strangers. What makes it all the more worse is if you really luck out and find yourself desperate to use the facilities, you follow your helpful host down a funky smelling corridor, praying that you are not about to be sold into slavery, and into a damp, dark room (why is there never any electric?) only to find … a squat toilet in the corner.   FML!

sunflowers 1

Long term readers are already aware that over the years I have had a bit of a love/hate relationship with the squat toilet and, despite a few near misses, I actually consider myself as a pretty knowledgable squatter.  I can usually be called on to give helpful advice to any virgin squatter setting them on the righteous path of dryness and some fabulous thigh muscles.  I mean in all these years I’ve never had spillage or splash back.  I totally have the angle sorted.  Yes, of course I bring my own paper and I always have 1TL in my pocket to pay at the door.  I can dodge a puddle and unknown entities do not phase me.  I have even mastered the skill of blocking out that smell – you know the smell –  but since my knee reconstruction it has become abundantly clear that all my past successes adds up to exactly squat (no pun intended).

While visiting Kozan recently to photograph the sunflowers (thus the photo above) I found myself needing to visit the little girls room and I was relatively happy to find a clean-ish public toilet.  Yes it was a squat toilet which could’ve potentially caused heart palipations for any lesser yabancı but for me I was happy to see it was a 6.5 on the squatty potty scale of cleanliness.  I went in for I am the Squatting Master.  I have the skills of an Olympic gymnast and the little matter of a still troublesome knee reconstruction wasn’t going to stop me from my goal.  What was going to stop my from my goal was my skin tight jeans on a fecking hot day!  Do any of you remember that episode of Friends with Ross and the leather pants?  That was me.  I was Ross and I was fecked!

ross1I don’t think I actually have to go any further.  You all know what happened next.  *Sigh*  Yes, I had a squatty potty disaster – and it wasnt a little splash back situation, no ma’am, this was a fully fledged guidance system failure thanks to my sweaty skin tight jeans that I could only drag half way down my legs and fecked up knee bent into an unholy angle leaving me in a position that I couldn’t recover from.   And as soon as I realised what had happening it was too late and I literally peed all over myself!  To add insult to injury and to drag others into my mess a friend came running to my aid only to bend over and rip her own pants!  So there we were, two yabancılar in a little town a couple of hours from home, me covered in pee and my friend showing off her blue Primark knickers (I’m not sure if they actually were blue Primark knickers).  I am sure the locals had a good old laugh after we left.  The words salak yabancılar come to my mind and I’m sure it came to many of theirs as well!

What to do?  What to do?

I guess I should say I was lucky it was so fecking hot so I dried out pretty quickly and a few squirts of deodorant returned me to my pre-pee fresh scent but after this little disaster I have made an executive decision.  There shall be no more pee stories from this little yabancı. I am now on the hunt for one of those P-EZ pee-cups stat.  In future I shall stand tall and pee freely!

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