Roux

Finding the perfect burger in Mersin can be a little tricky.  I mean unless you yourself have ever had the perfect burger replicating it can be a little tricky and, let’s be honest, a lot of the chefs here in Mersin are chefs … here in Mersin … so may not have had the good fortune of having enjoyed the perfect burger elsewhere.

burger 1

And we all know that joy of the perfect burger.  It’s a thing of beauty.  A satisfying mess of all things delicious.  Beef (good).  Cheese (good).  Grilled onion (good).  For an Aussie nothing says a good burger like beetroot (not so easy to get here in Mersin unless you grow it yourself) and delicious, fresh avocado smeared onto that bun (goooodddd).  Honestly there are few things culinary that can be relied upon to do their job as effectively as the perfect burger.

Of course I can try and replicate the perfect burger here at home.  In the Village the local butcher makes a pretty mean patty with a delicious mix of herbs and a pretty decent ratio of meat to fat but as close as I can come it just doesn’t cross the line as a winner.

I recently visited the newly rebranded Roux Restaurant in Mezitli.  I originally went there last year, in fact the expats had their Christmas party there, but with the change of ownership it was time to re-visit and check out their new menu.  It always has been a burger restaurant but with the addition of chef Gamze Sener who had previously worked at Movenpick Hotel in Istanbul the menu is a punchy, modern version to drool over.

So you are wondering ‘how was the burger’?

Pretty damn good.  I had the Hot Tamale burger which was a definite two-hander consisting of thick beef patty cooked to perfection with gooey cheddar cheese oozing over the meat, a mountain of fresh avocado and oodles of chilli and pickles to top it off.  It came with home-made chips (crisps) and a little side salad.  It was totally more-ish.  Don’t fret if you are not a fan of the burger (I know right??) the menu also has vegetarian choices, pasta dishes, fish and chicken to tempt your taste buds.

burger 4

My only complaint was that my glass of wine was not full enough but after discussion with the waiter he saw the error of his ways and the glass of wine was filled to a more ‘Janey appropriate’ level.

I know that many of you will visit family in Mersin over the next few months so do yourself a flavour favour and visit Roux.  You will not be disappointed and you might just find me sitting there in a corner, cheese dripping down my fingers as I make my way through the menu (I will definitely need to purchase some larger pants).  Next time I’m having the Jack Burger.  I’ll let you know how it is.

Roux

All photos courtesy of Roux Restaurant, Adnan Menderes Bulvari, Fatih Mahallesi, 30012, Mezitli, Mersin

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I am Ankara

On Sunday night a car bomb exploded in Turkey’s capital city of Ankara, killing 32 people and injuring more than 100.

Ankara 1

In February a car bomb exploded in Turkey’s capital city of Ankara, killing 28 and injuring more than 61.

Sound familiar?  Let’s keep going.

January 2016 – Istanbul 12 killed and 14 injured.

October 2015 – again in Ankara 102 killed and over 500 injured.

July 2015 – Suruç with 22 killed and 104 injured.

Enough yet?  Are you surprised by the numbers?

Maybe we should put a few faces to those that have lost their lives.

On the right is Deniz.  Deniz lost his life in the bombing in Ankara last October.  On the left is Ozancan who lost his life in the bombing on Sunday night.  Did they deserve to die at the hands of terrorists?

Ankara bombing

This is Elif.  She was 19 years old and going to University.  Why must her family suffer for the belief of another?

Ankara bombing 2

This is Mehmet Emre.  He was 16 when he died on Sunday night.  Why must his family shed tears for their son who was merely waiting for a bus?

Ankara bombing 3

Sunday night’s attack was on a busy street, at a metro hub filled with people young and old enjoying the springtime evening weather.

I will not point fingers or give opinions on what is right and what is wrong with the world.  I will say merely this – no political, cultural, or religious belief is worth the lives of these kids.  Kids with dreams.  Lives with real meaning to those around them.  Families shattered.  Devastation.

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Wise Words

Sometimes The Turk surprises me and the other morning was one of those days where his genius, usually well hidden, comes shining through.

We have been building an apartment upstairs, which may or may not have approval – and let’s just leave it at that shall we?

light fitting

I have a very clear idea of how I want the apartment to look.  My style is simple, lots of crème and coffee colours complimented with lots of wood.  Simple, modern fixtures and fittings.  Nothing ostentatious.  Dare I say it?  Nothing too Turkish.  On the other hand my builder’s style is literally the opposite of mine.  His idea of style and class is to vomit as many colours as possible into a palate and compliment them with swirls and geometric shapes into every type of putrid combination possible.  He has said to me on more than one occasion that my style is old fashioned and I need to follow his esteemed advice.

Needless to say the builder and I have come to loggerheads more times than I would like to admit to.  The Turk has given up now.  When the doorbell goes he disappears into the bathroom and won’t come out until he is sure that either I have left or the builder has left … taking me with him.

Last week I went into Adana for the day where I enjoyed a few bevvies with friends and came home to pass out on the couch.  A very successful day.  The next morning I went upstairs to check on progress of the apartment and I nearly vomited (and not from the hangover).  The builder, obviously beside himself with glee with the knowledge that Janey was not only out of the Village but out of the damn city, and went ahead to install the ugliest the light fittings I had ever seen.

I said to The Turk, “have you seen what they have done upstairs?” and he, realising that a fight was imminent, denied any knowledge of it.

The next morning he sat me down in front of a can of opened tuna and this happened:

The Turk:  Let me tell you something.  You don’t eat fish right?

Me:            Right.

The Turk: It will kill you right?

Me:            Right.

The Turk: But you should eat fish.  It’s good for you.

Me:            But I’m allergic.

The Turk: No.  Fish is good for you.  You cannot be allergic to fish.

Me:            But I am.

The Turk: You do not know what you are talking about.  You are wrong.  Fish is very healthy.  Good for your heart.  You will eat the fish now.

Me:            I don’t want any fecking fish you fecker!

The Turk: And that is the story of the light fittings!

Me:            Oh an analogy.  Very nice (wait two beats) Get rid of the fecking light fittings for feck’s sake!  And the ceiling rose.  I’m going to vomit all over it!

The Turk: OK darling.

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My Precious, My Kimlik

Nerd Alert – I find myself constantly referring to Lord of The Rings in this post.  My apologies.

I wanted to do a post about obtaining my Turkish citizenship but as it would no doubt be longer than my collector’s edition of Lord of The Rings (a total of 1,215 pages for those interested) I kept putting it off in lieu of, oh I don’t know, having a colonoscopy or maybe root canal surgery or even spending an evening having my finger nails pulled out by the likes of Sauron, Osama Bin Laden or Donald Trump.

The ringAnyway, so I kept putting it off waiting for hell to freeze over but as we are now in spring and we have already hit the 30’s a few times here in Mersin it is clear that the second coming isn’t going to be knocking on my door any time soon and so … I give you … the story of my citizenship.

Before I go any further let me get the important stuff out of the way before I start banging on with my unnecessarily long diatribe.

You will need:
• Passport
• Birth certificate
• If you are married to a Turkish national, official documents confirming the identities and family ties of the spouse and all underage children (can be obtained from Nufus ofis)
• Marriage Certificate (in my case)
• Certificate of your ability to speak Turkish (well I think we all know that I did not have that document)
• A medical certificate confirming that you are of good health (obtained at any hastane)
• Four passport sized photographs (bollocks!  Get 10 and then get another 10)
• Completed application forms (we obtained from Emniyet but as mentioned now issued by Nufus ofis)

All documents issued overseas must be translated and notarized.

There will also be unannounced polis checks made to your home, polis reports made back in your home country and fingerprinting done.  It is very thorough.

My one piece of advice to each of you currently thinking about or obtaining citizenship here in Turkey is perseverance is the key.  Be prepared to chase up the documents.  Be prepared to make a nuisance of yourself.  Be prepared to smile despite the fact that you want to rip off someone’s head and be prepared to be in their face as often as you can to ensure that they won’t forget about your application or put it to the side while they watch YouTube on their computer.

Timing wise Mersin seems to be dragging its heels with other cities churning out an approval at a much, MUCH, faster pace.  For me citizenship took nearly 3 years but I understand that some cities can knock over a citizenship application in only 6 months.  Lucky bastards!

Alright.  Pull up a chair, pour yourself a glass of whatever makes you feel good and … let’s go!

When I first applied for citizenship here in Mersin, nearly 156 weeks ago, I applied at the Emniyet.  Since my application the system has been streamlined *cough cough* and now you apply directly to the İl Nüfus ve Vatandaşlık Müdürlüğü (City Population and Citizenship Directorate).

After six months we chased up the application and I have previously written about that incident here.  Another couple of months passed and I was called in to the karakol (police station) for what an interview that will forevermore be called as “The Inquisition”.  In the meantime I had polis attend at our house twice to ensure that The Turk and I were in fact in a real relationship.  All seemed in order.

Right now my application seemed to be coming along nicely however not fast enough and I had to apply for an extension to my Residence Permit (one more year I swear).

Coming into my second year my frustration levels were rising and The Turk was not interested in chasing up the application anymore.  I was at the end of my tether when we got the call from the Nufus ofis.  An interview date with the Vali (Governor) had been set for six weeks’ time however as I had already arranged a trip during that period we were pushed back for the next possible date … a further 8 weeks down the track.  I was happy with that because it gave me time to throw myself into learning the language and so I spent the next 14 weeks having Turkish lessons so I could wow the Vali with my excellent language skills.

Of course on the day I was crapping myself because my language skills sucked and by the time I went to meet the Governator (typo but I’m keeping it) I was so nervous I nearly vomited.  It was crystal clear that I was going to fail the Turkish component of the interview (particularly after the earlier mentioned Inquisition) and they wouldn’t sign off on my application.  Instead they would hate me on sight and immediately throw me out of the country!  Well.  Seriously.  No issue.  Other than a hearty merhaba the panel of professionals that held the interview (there were 3 at my interview plus the Governator) didn’t even look in my direction.  The entire conversation was held in Turkish and was entirely held with The Turk.  Everyone shook hands and we left.  All the paperwork was now to on its way to Ankara for a final decision.  (I will say that I understand this is not a normal interview.  I will say that everyone that I have spoken to has had extremely different experiences when they have had this final interview.  I feel that perhaps the sun was shining down on me that day.)

Woo hoo!!!  Any day now peeps!

NOT!

Time passed and again I needed to renew my Resident’s Permit … again.  So frustrating!  It was then that I put The Turk on notice.  I’m not going through the rigmarole of renewing my RP a fourth time.  If I do not have citizenship by the expiration of this current RP I was moving back to Australia.

And that brings us to December last year when I returned from a girlie weekend in Germany and was asked at the airport to provide my kimlik (Identity Card).  Ummm?  Huh???  WTF???

That Monday we attended at the Nufus ofis with a spring in our step and requested an update.  There was much excitement when we walked in and they congratulated The Turk on his perseverance (hello what about congratulating me for putting up with all this shite?) and they handed to us an envelope.  I felt like a presenter at the Academy Awards … “and the winner is …”  Inside was the Onay Duyu Belgesi (Certificate of Approval).  Wow.  Thank you.  Only 1095 days after my original application peeps!

And this is when it all goes south …

We were told that the polis would attend at our home again in the next few days and once that was done the kimlik will be issued.  Hold on a minute!  I was told at the airport that the kimlik had already issued and this document that I am holding in my hot little hands is a Certificate of Approval.  Are we in the Twilight Zone?  No, you are Turkish now but we just need to follow procedure.  Of course.  We waited four weeks but the polis did not appear.  The Turk started returning to the Nufus each week to try and move the matter forward but to no avail.

In the meantime an expat friend here in Mersin who had lodged her citizenship application approximately the same time as me (did I mention it was nearly 3 years ago) also received her Onay Duyu Belgesi in her precious envelope and within a week she had received her kimlik!  What the holy hell?

Another couple of weeks went by.  Anything?  Nope.  Nothing.

So we went back.  And this is what happened:

Go to the Nufus.  Sorry.  Polis check needed.

Nope.  On the advice of my kimlik holding expat friend I confirmed online that the law has now changed and a further Polis check is not necessary.

Back to the Nufus.  Dude the law has changed.  Check it!  No, he tells us.  It has now changed again.  Seriously?  In the space of 3 days?  Sorry.  Wait for Polis check.  Dude I’m telling ya check it again!

OK yes you are right.  Go to Emniyet.

Went to Emniyet.  Sorry.  Go to the Nufus.

Back to the Nufus.  Waiting on Polis check.

Are you fecking serious?  The stupid is so stupid that it actually crushes you until you become as stupid as the stupid!

 

The finger

We began to experience life at the rate of several WTF’s per hour and The Turk just couldn’t take anymore.  His sanity was being held together by duct tape and chewing gum.  I wasn’t sure if he would go postal or would have a heart attack and drop dead on the spot (which would no doubt delay the issue of the kimlik yet again) but instead he sensibly went to see our local Belediye Başkanı (mayor) here in the Village for a little advice.  The mayor rang the patron at the Nufus who confirmed that the kimlik should have already issued.  Feck my life!

The next day we again attended at the Nufus where we by-passed all the plebs and went straight to the patron.  He took us over to the appropriate desk jockey and instructed him to issue the kimlik immediately.  Five minutes later … Sorry.  No polis check.  Come back after polis check.

Now being a patient, gentle sort of girl I generally don’t worry about the little things but when the imaginary people in my head start shouting, “no fecking no you feckity feck!” I know things aren’t really going the way they ought!

I looked around for a nice strong looking pillar so I could smash my head into it but instead we went back to see the patron, who took us back to see the pencil pusher, who grumbled under his breath like a petulant toddler until … finally … it happened … nearly three years but … I got my KIMLIK!!!!

Yes peeps to quote the fabled Mr Frodo Baggins, “It’s done, it’s finished”.  No more do I have to enter the gates of Modor.  I had returned the ring to its rightful place and I can now rest easy.  I wanted to high five the pleb/desk jockey/pencil pusher/sulky child but thought better of it.  I walked out of the Nufus ofis with my head held high and a great big smile on my dial.

Its done

I am a Turkish citizen.  The short line at the airport is now MY line!  Oh and I am no longer a yabancı and woe be it to anyone who dares call me one!

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