Squirt, squirt

Heads up readers. This will be a post about going potty, not crazy, but the other potty, you know, in the bathroom… anyway, you have been warned.

When the world went crazy for toilet paper during COVID-19, most of us in Turkey were pretty chill about the need to stock up because we have a taharet musluğu on our toilet. Taharet is Arabic for cleanliness and musluk means tap, so I’m sure you work out what it does.

I admit that I don’t often use the taharet musluğu because, well, I prefer tissue, however, on occasion it can get a little iffy “back there” and I need to give my bot-bot an extra squirt for good measure. 

I recently had the need to use the taharet musluğu thanks to a particularly spicy Adana Kebab that was made by my BIL (who doesn’t really like me and possibly made it a little spicier than usual). I can handle it (and the aftermath), but still, I turned on the taharet musluğu to, well, I don’t need to explain what happens next… plus it’s pretty dang hot here right now, so my bottom was enjoying the refreshing spray. But then something happened, something completely unexpected – boiling hot water suddenly shot up my bum hole. I screamed in pain, it was like someone had poured a kettle on me. I jumped up and watched the steam rising from the water, not from my poopy mind you, the water! Yep, boiling water was shooting out of my taharet musluğu! I could have been maimed! My bot-bot could have sustained third-degree burns! Shit just got real… really, real!

Now I haven’t had much luck with my water recently. You might recall this post about our hot water system exploding late last year, since then we’ve had numerous “village” plumbers visit on multiple occasions to try and fix the numerous problems to no avail. Of course, it’s to no avail because these salaklar aren’t actually trained plumbers! 

We finally arranged for a plumber from the city, a REAL, honest to God, plumber! I felt like I’d won the lottery. Anyway, the plumber fixed the problem, but he also pointed out that our pipes were wrongly connected. He said that our hot is cold and our cold is hot. I’d never noticed that and it really didn’t affect me … until now!

So if you see me wandering around the village this week and I’m walking a little *cough, cough* delicately, well, now you know why!

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Mersin In The Time Of Covid-19

I had a dream last night.

There I was, waiting to pass through immigration at Istanbul New Airport. I watch, at a socially-acceptable distance, of course, as the person in front of me has his passport stamped and I step up to the counter, smiling widely as I hand over my passport and kimlik.

“Where are you going?”

“Sydney, Australia.”

Ah, yes, Australia with its 352 covid-19 cases. Australia who, along with its forward-thinking neighbor to the east, New Zealand, seem to have its shit together, despite their half-assed lockdown (Australia, not New Zealand because Jacinta Ahern is a Goddess who locked that country down faster than you could say ‘feesh and cheeps’!).

“Is it essential travel?”

“Definitely essential.”

Long pause while he stares at his computer doing secret stuff.

“What will you be doing in Sydney?”

What will I be doing in Sydney?

“First stop? I am buying clothes. T-shirts without awful prints. Blouses without ugly flowers or wildly inappropriate slogans. Bras with underwires! UNDERWIRES!!! Undies that aren’t white cotton or completely trampy (for there is no in between). Once I have filled my empty suitcase with clothes I will hit the supermarket and I will stockup on essentials like Dairy Milk chocolate and Tim Tams.

I will then eat my weight in bacon, ham and salami while washing it down with a good Australian wine (which means I’ll single-handedly be keeping the Australian wine industry afloat).”

Sensing I’m losing the agent I continue. “VEGEMITE!”

“Vegemite is a prohibited item.”

“NO IT’S NOT!!! YOU’RE NOT TAKING MY VEGEMITE AWAY FROM ME!”

I try to make a run for it but don’t get far and am tackled by two guards carrying semi-automatic weapons. They drag me away kicking and screaming while taunting me with a very Seinfeldian, “NO VEGEMITE FOR YOU!”

I wake in a pool of sweat and realizing that I am NOT actually travelling anywhere anytime soon, burst into very real tears and go make myself a cup of çay … with milk (because I’m a rebel).

All bok aside though it’s Daughter’s 18th birthday and we’re supposed to be in Sydney now celebrating with family and friends. Instead we are here in our little home on the outskirts of Mersin and wondering when the second wave will hit (and don’t kid yourself people… it WILL hit!).

Turkey had it all under control. I was incredibly impressed with how the Government handled itself when the first case was reported on 10 March 2020. And then it hit the fan. Intermittent lockdowns were put in place which still enabled much of the economy to splutter along somewhat but slowed the numbers considerably. School was cancelled for the remainder of the school year and, after a rather rocky start, online classes began. Under 19’s and over 65’s were not allowed to leave their homes but here in the Village that didn’t mean an awful lot. With no school, kids were running around like headless chooks and don’t think you can tell any of the over 65’s here what to do. Hell to the no! They’ll give you a tongue lashing that will send you scurrying under the covers (not me though because most of the time they yell in Arabic and I have enough trouble understanding them in Turkish). Edit: Before the keyboard warriors come at me AGAIN… Mersin has a large population of Arabic decent… no they are not migrants or refugees and just because “your wide circle of friends and their grandparents” can’t speak Arabic it doesn’t mean a good god-damn to me or to anyone else frankly. The Turk’s family do speak Arabic. Why? Because they can. Why do I speak Italian? Because I can. Why do you speak whatever language you speak? Because you can… so shut your pie-hole, Karen?

All right, all right, I will admit that many people did do the right thing but if you were ever out wandering around the Village at 5AM (which I often was with My Hurley Dog and a mask… me not the dog) it was like Times Square on NYE out there. Sticking it to the man! Our neighbour’s even had an elaborate birthday party for their one-year-old twins. Half the village was there, for feck’s sake. There was music and dancing and a jolly good time was had by all. I thankfully wasn’t invited and wouldn’t have gone because, you know, there’s a pretty dangerous virus out there, but that’s another very dramatic story for another time — and trust me it’ll be totally worth it.

Us yabancılar (aka Daughter and I) have been taking this shit seriously though. Daughter hasn’t been allowed out AT ALL! I am, of course, the worst mother in the whole, wide world but I’m good with that if it means she’s safe. All her friends have been out. All her friends have been doing exactly what they always do, ignore the rules and do whatever the feck they want, because they’re all spoilt, self-indulgent, brats (because that’s what they are, Karen). Daughter and I have gone weeks at a time without leaving the house relying on The Turk to do our shopping or to ensure we weren’t dead and being eaten by our numerous kediler. For those concerned we did have enough toilet paper, in fact we still have enough toilet paper. Phew!

But then the restrictions were lifted and the new cases have doubled in a week. Here in Mersin there have been clusters which is rather worrying as Mersin had relatively low numbers.

Masks are mandatory in shops and you need to get your temperature checked before entering many places now. There is hand sanitizer or kolonya available for everyone and God help you if you cough. Allergy season has taken on a whole new meaning for The Turk and Daughter, that’s for sure.

Today Turkey stands at a total of just under 180,000 cases with 22,000 currently active and nearly 5,000 deaths. And just to reiterate, mostly because too many people here don’t seem to grasp the severity of covid-19, in the past week new cases have doubled in Turkey. DOUBLED! Clearly something’s not working.

Wear a mask, wash your hands and stay safe my fram.

And one final little tidbit, Karen, Vegemite is NOT “black salt spread”. Wars have broken out over less!! (FYI this is also humor not a declaration of war).

Final edit: Yes I had a Karen come at me. It was fun. I enjoyed it immensely.

NEXT!

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Cover Of The Month

I know I have been totally AWOL recently but there’s good reason. I have been hunkered down throughout this current world crisis completing book number 2 “Pomegranates And Olive”.

I’ve now started the editing process and hope to have the first edit done in the next few weeks.

But I’m now asking if you could send a little love my way.

They say not to judge a book by its cover but I need you to do just that. If you liked the cover of my book, Salep and Ginger, please vote for it for the Cover of the Month contest on AllAuthor.com – link right here:

https://allauthor.com/cover-of-the-month/8130/

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Vroom! Vroom!

This post is a public service announcement for all the Aussies out there living in Turkey but still fecking around with their Australian driver’s licences. 

Now anyone who has been reading my blog for a while now knows I’ve had my fair share of issues driving in this great country. There was, of course, the great One Finger Salute of 2018, a tale so infamous that the story is still whispered in certain circles both here in Mersin AND in Adana, as well as copious near-misses, traumatic incidents and, well, just general bok involving shitty Turkish drivers!

But that’s not the point of this post.

Let me start again before I get completely off the track.

I love Australia. It’s the lucky country. It’s the land of sweeping plains (and a summer of fecking awful bushfires). And sure, everything might be trying to kill you, but its still a tremendous fecking country. But— 

“OMG! Is Janey actually going to bag out Australia?” 

Nah, never! 

Okay… maybe a little bit. 

Here’s the thing, I’ve held a valid NSW driver’s licence and have been driving for a little over 33 years now (guess my age!). 

Anyone who lives in Turkey knows that waayyyy back in 2016 all foreign driver’s licences had to be exchanged to a Turkish driver’s licence or you had to leave the country every six months to get a new incoming stamp in your passport. I told The Turk back when we needed to transfer our driver’s licences before the cut-off date, and he did transfer HIS driver’s licence. Mine? Hmmm. Nope. We’ll do yours later. But the cut-off! No, it’s fine. Well, it wasn’t “fine”, but you just can’t teach a moron new tricks, can you?

To be honest, I loved the idea of leaving the country every six months, after all coming from a country where it would typically take you a day of travel (and most of your sanity) to arrive in Europe, I thought, yeah, I’m going to hop on planes every chance I get! 

Real-life isn’t like that, though, is it?

It was long past time for me to transfer my NSW driver’s licence for a sürücü belgesi (Turkish driver’s licence). 

Oh, wait!

I can’t transfer it?

Why the feck not?

Because fecking Australia is not a signatory to the UN Treaty Convention of Road Traffic Act, that’s why.  

It seems that instead of Australia joining pretty much the rest of the world and having an across the board set of driving laws, each State has their own no doubt unique laws. I understand why. I mean Australia is freaking huge so it needs different laws for different states but, let’s be honest, if we can’t get our shit together back in Oz, then we’re not going to be invited to any of the cool parties like those keggers at the UN! Bullies!

So way to go guys! Ninety-one other countries have managed to get their bok together but us Aussies are standing at the front door without an invite? I also noticed that New Zealand isn’t on that list. Can’t imagine why unless they have different laws for North and South. Jacinta needs to get onto that pronto (and maybe she can fix Australia up while she’s getting shit done).

Anyway, it was time.

It had to be done. 

I was going to apply for a Turkish Driver’s licence. 

Off I went to a company here in Mersin who undertook driving courses. A Turkish driver’s licence requires the learner to take weekly classes and pass a written test. Bollocking bok

The Company also provided me with a learner’s manual in English. Not the Queen’s English, mind you. More like Drunk Google English. Have a go at this:

METALLICA!!! At least it didn’t say Bon Jovi because that really wouldn’t have made any sense, would it?

I also was given a link for practice exam questions. Again I started to wonder if Google wasn’t just drunk but quite possibly on crack! 

I pray that if I’m ever in a coma my saviour doesn’t refer to this page for their medical advice. Seriously. I’d be screwed.

Anyway, all joking aside, I took the exam and passed like a total boss! Google had definitely sobered up by the time I took the exam as the questions were easy to comprehend. Thank goodness!

After a few mandatory driving lessons (by a teacher who was 31 so wasn’t even an itch in his dad’s balls when I got my valid licence back in Oz) I took my driving exam (which, in my case, was a set course on the wild streets of Mersin) and guess what???

I now hold a valid Turkish driver’s licence! Another feather in my Turkish cap.

For those of you who are looking at obtaining their Turkish driver’s licence, all bok aside it’s a pretty easy undertaking. Check out Doc Marten’s page for the most up to date information. 

The only very real glitch was that you need your school certificate, leaving certificate or even your TAFE or university degree. I know it’s a pain but the documents can be obtained even if you are older than Methuselah, like me (this is the link for the NSW replacement but all the Aussie states have something similar). I also took my test in an automatic car so don’t let anyone tell you it can’t be done because it bloody well can!

Oh, and the price? I’m told it varies greatly from city to city but the full course, classes, written exam and driver’s exam usually costs 1500TL. There is also a payment to have the licence issued which is approximately 920TL.

Watch out, Mersin! Now I really can drive like a local, which means while I promise never to give anyone the one finger salute again what I CAN do is eat sarma  while yelling on my mobile, with five goats on my backseat, an angry teyze beside me, while blasting Takan at a bazillion decibels as I drive down the otoban in my 1994 unregistered rust-bucket Tofaş Doğan doing 180kph! 

I actually have another driving story to tell you as well, but I’ll save that for another day because I’ve got real-life shit to get on with. 

Important: If you are driving on a foreign licence and do not obtain an incoming passport stamp every six months it is not only illegal but in the case of an accident, Turkish insurance companies will require a copy of your passport and last entry stamp page be included with the claim documents. If the passport stamp is out of date, then the insurance policy is invalidated, and you will personally be held responsible for the accident. In the case of a fatality, you can be sued for future financial loss by the deceased person’s family.

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Wikipedia Baby!!!

Yep everyone in Turkey from Adana (01) to Düzce (81) is rejoicing. How do I know the city numbers? WIKIPEDIA TOLD ME!!

For those of you not aware back in April 2017 the Turkish Government suddenly banned my beloved Wikipedia when it refused to take down specific content (as you can see I am being rather vague but that’s because I don’t want to be unceremoniously banned either but if you’re interested in what the content actually was you can see them here). On the 15th January 2020 the ban was quietly overturned by the Turkish Courts and today (or last night more specifically) Wikipedia began to open again.

For someone like me Wikipedia isn’t just at the forefront of people-powered information it is also a haven of useless information. It is Wikipedia that introduced me to Le Pétomane (a performer who could fart at will) and it made me knowledgable on the very real medical disorder called Koro (which is the overpowering belief that your genitals will shrink and disappear). Thank you Wikipedia. Wikipedia also introduced me to the Great Molasses Flood of 1919 that actually killed 21 people and of course it today re-introduced me to the Emu War (which I originally was taught about back in primary school… I know… Australia, right?!). None of this prime information would’ve been available to me yesterday but today…. IT IS!!!

For those of you who want to fall deep into the hole that is Wikipedia or just desperate to wiki Baby Yoda… you could also try Wikipedia’s Silly Things, notable “Did You Know?” entries, and lists of hoaxes. Or move over to TV Tropes where you can get lost in the Fridge logic of precisely why Chandler hates Thanksgiving. Or do anything you want, because Wikipedia is back. IT’S BACK!!!

PS To my local peeps, Trivial Pursuit will now be my personal bitch again!!! Come at me!!!

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Calm Is The New Black

I was chilling in bed a few weeks back, enjoying what could only be described as a fantastic dream that involved a naked Keanu Reeves, when I was woken by the sound of a distinct… drip… drip… drip. I looked up and stared at the ceiling. It wasn’t raining, so the only other explanation is that the dripping was coming from one of the three solar hot water systems (you know the kind, they’ve been installed by your cousin’s next-door neighbour’s uncle), that was directly above my head.

Ah, bok!

I lay there for a while listening to the drip… drip… drip… and wondering whether it was going to stop. Nope, it wasn’t; instead, the drip became what sounded like a bit of a gush. Not a waterfall, mind you, just a steady flow.

FML!

I ran down to The Turk’s to warn him of the aforementioned leak.

“Okay, okay. I know a guy.”

Sure, I might have rolled my eyes, but that’s only because its The Turk and he always knows a guy.

Fast forward a few weeks.

I was chilling in bed last night, enjoying what could only be described as a fantastic dream that involved a naked Brad Pitt (I like to mix it up), when suddenly I heard a… drip… drip… drip. I looked up and stared at the ceiling. As I stared I felt something land on my face.

Wait. What?

And then again…

FEECCCCKKKKK!!!!!

The fecking roof was fecking leaking!

I jumped out of bed and yelled every swear word that I had at my disposal. That means English, Turkish and Italian. I am a total linguist when it comes to swear words!

Lights went on. Buckets were retrieved. Threats to murder The Turk were thrown around. And then it happened!

BOOM!

Wait, that’s doesn’t quite give it the momentum it deserves.

Yep that better.

An explosion from above. I nearly dropped dead on the spot. My Hurley Dog nearly shat himself (okay he did shit himself) and Daughter woke up dazed and confused. Yes, it was that loud!

Suddenly the drip became a gush, nay a waterfall, nay it was a fecking tsunami, and it was happening inside my bedroom. A moment later and there were sparks and a zap. “Bzzzt”! And it was pitch black.

Feck.My.Fecking.Feck.Life!

Yes, I knew full well that The Turk had forgotten to get his “guy”. I guess I should have chased him up, but like most things, I put it on the back-burner. We’ve just got so much going on right now so I have tried to minimise any unnecessary arguments with him. I know. Pathetic excuse.

Anyhow… picture this; me in my pink leopard print pyjamas doing a Baywatch-inspired run down the stairs in the dark (I couldn’t find my mobile so had to slow-mo it down the stairs in case I tripped over a cat or a shoe or some other ill-placed hazard). I yelled at The Turk, who was passed out on his couch. Nada. Nothing. He snored in reply. 

I was back out the door and down the stairs to my BIL’s. They already knew there was some kind of commotion (after all it is 3:00AM, and unless it’s my nemesis cock-a-doodle-do’ ing it’s usually dead quiet in the Village at this hour) and were already running up to meet me. After a lot of pathetic Turk-lish being tossed around on my part, we all ran up to the roof.

Ugh!

As already guessed, one of the hot water heaters had exploded, and there was an Olympic sized swimming pool on our roof but what was all the more worrisome was that the other two heaters were also leaking. We were about to have a flood of Noah’s Ark proportions. My BIL quickly disconnected the water. Still, there wasn’t a lot we could really do at three in the morning, so we all went back downstairs to survey the damage to my apartment.

My BIL re-set the electric and I prayed to all the deities that my surge protectors had done their job. 

I ran to my computer (to hell with everything else… this had 50,000 words of my next novel on it!). Working! Thank goodness. 

Refrigerator? Check. 

Television? Check. 

Oven? Cooktop? Check. Check.

Surge protectors for the win!

And then we went back to my bedroom. 

False ceiling? A write-off (it was now partly on my bed). 

Mattress? Also, a write-off.

Duvet, pillows, bedding, summer clothes, and all the rest of my crap stored under my bed? WRITE THE FECK OFF!

When the sun finally came up, The Turk appeared at my door. 

“Okay, okay. I’ve got a guy.”

Douchebag.

I married a douchebag. 

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Janey! Vicious! Circle!

Disclaimer: Yes, I am a whinger. Yes, I tend to bitch first and apologise later. These statements are made by me and are, to the best of my knowledge, absolutely true!

If you had asked me two months ago just how hard it would be to get book sales, I would have said “Nah! It’ll be a piece of cake”.


Yeah. I’m clearly an idiot. I had no clue just how much work was involved. I whacked Salep And Ginger up on Amazon and sat back waiting on the money to roll in. It turns out I was wrong. Really, really wrong.

FYI getting sales is harder than being hit with a bucket of dried concrete.

Firstly, you need a great book. Now I think Salep And Ginger is freaking excellent, so that’s one tick in my favour.

Then you need customers to buy it. They’re a little harder to come by. It seems it all comes down to reviews… and lots of them… which is where I’ve come a little unstuck.

We all know that most people choose their books based on recommendations so leaving a review on Amazon is helping boost the book in Amazon’s magical algorithm. A book needs 25 reviews before it gets included in Amazon’s “Also Brought” and “You Might Like” lists and it takes approximately 70 reviews before the book really becomes visible to potential readers.

But leaving a review isn’t simple.

Amazon has this totally extreme requirement for adding a review. To do a review, you need to have spent a minimum of US$50 on the Amazon site.

Now I don’t want to sound like a Negative Nelly, but for those of us outside of the US, that’s kind of difficult to do. Yes, there is Amazon in the UK and Australia as well (where most of my sales originated); still, they too have the requirement of a minimum purchase (and Amazon really isn’t a thing, especially Down Under). Which sucks! So, despite the surprising number of sales over the past two months, it hasn’t equated to many reviews.

So for those of you who have purchased the book can you please try to leave a review. If you can’t can you please head over to my brand new Facebook page Jane Gundogan Author and leave a review there. Maybe pop by GoodReads as well. Loved it or hated it, every review helps.

And for those of you who have yet to purchase Salep And Ginger? Get cracking! Christmas is coming, and this book will make a great little stocking stuffer for those of you who love Istanbul and Turkey.

Oh, and to my Amazonian master. I serve no other God and am forever your humble servant. I swear!

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Cat Benatar

Last month one of our bahçe kedileri (garden cats) passed over the rainbow bridge. His name was Deli which meant crazy, and yes he was just a little bit that way. We think he was Stanley’s boy because he had the same markings. He was also as friendly as Stanley, which was somewhat detrimental to his health (again just like dear old dad, may he also rest in peace). I’ve tried to find a photo of Deli but sadly haven’t been able to.

Anyway, The Turk was pretty broken up about losing Deli and was down in the çay evi (local tea house) smoking his cigarettes and playing pishti (Turkish card game) with his mates when he started tearing up.

“Why are you sad?”

“My best friend died.”

“Oh, no! Who was it?”

“My cat. Deli.”

Dead silence in the çay evi.

Clearly, The Turk is a little deli as well, don’t you think? 

Fast forward to a few days later and yavru kediler (kittens) started arriving on our doorstep. Big or small, they were deposited in boxes, or just dropped in the garden, all in the misguided attempt to make The Turk smile. Some disappeared pretty much straight away, but one of them realised what a good thing she was on at ours. 

Introducing Cat of the House Benatar (get it? Cat Benatar = Pat Benatar. Phew!).

I’ll start again.

Introducing Cat of the House Benatar. First of her name, Queen of Meows, Watcher of television, Breaker of Wine Glasses and Mother of all hair elastics.

Cat Benatar does not consider herself stray for that is truly beneath her standing. She took immediate possession of the whole building. No house is off limits (including my SIL who doesn’t quite have the same affection for animals as we do). Cat Benatar is great friends with our Aussie cat Kedi and loves chasing My Hurley Dog’s tail (he does not like it so much). She and Evil are yet to bond (I think it’s a chick thing), but once the colder weather sets in there will be an uneasy pause in hostilities. 

The Turk is happy. Daughter is happy. And although I put on a front about all these bloody animals, I’m somewhat happy as well. Cat Benatar sits by me as I work on manuscript number two. She also has gainful employment as a part-time paper shredder (so is paying her own way) and helps me procrastinate long into the night. 

My house is becoming a zoo!

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Turkish Housewife For The Win!

We’ve had no electric for the last ten out of fourteen days. It’s practically medieval times here in the Village so with no electric and in an effort to save myself from going bat-shit crazy out of boredom, I’ve slapped on my şalvar, wrapped my hair (to hide the grey no less) and reverted to my less than enthusiastic Turkish Housewife mode. 

First job tackled was the salca.

All of you already know that one of my highlights since I moved to Mersin is to make the salca. It reminds me of my wonderful mother-in-law and how she welcomed this somewhat reluctant yabancı gelin into the family and started me on my Turkish life. She taught me that sometimes the old ways are better and if you’re expecting several consecutive days (try several consecutive months) of 38ºC (100ºF) Mediterranean sunshine, then your salca will be much more successful if sun-dried rather than making it in the oven/cooktop.

This year’s salca experience could have ended up being a disaster, but thanks to my sister-in-law, who is nothing if not enterprising, her quick thinking saved the day (and the salca).

My salca story started just fine. I had a shopping list: 

250 kilograms kırmızı biber (red capsicum)

100 kg domates (tomatoes)

100 kg acı biber (hot chilli)

That might seem like a lot of capsicum but it never really is.

Excited, I hit the pazar and negotiated in my best Turklish to get a reasonable price, and when that didn’t work The Turk stepped in and got me the best price. 

I got cracking-a-lacking on the domates and had them chopped up and blitzed early on Saturday morning so by the time my SIL got home that afternoon I had already carried buckets of mulched domates up to the roof and had poured them into my rather dodgy (but does the job) plastic sheeting/slab. SIL did bring reinforcements for the kırmızı biber (her mother and sister), and thank goodness because without them we could have been there all night. The 100kg of acı biber are a little dicier (no pun intended). We split them into two – 50kg cleaned for salca and 50kg cleaned and cut for drying.

By 8:00 PM everything was sliced, diced, blitzed and shattered (and that was just us).

And then, and to quote the great Annie Lennox, here comes the rain again.

First rain of the season. Yah! NOT!!!

FARK!

3:00 AM and SIL banged on my door sending My Hurley Dog and me into hysterics. Once I realised we weren’t under attack, I followed her up to the rooftop. There we were in our pyjamas (or in my case my undies and a singlet because it’s still stinking hot here in Mersin) running around in the bucketing rain, trying to save our kırmızı biber from washing away. We MacGyver’ed the shit out of my sun-lounger and some plastic to fashion a make-shift tent and even though the roof resembled a crime scene with the overflow of sauce mixed with rainwater on Sunday morning, our salca and sliced acı biber were saved and able to be returned to their rightful place in the sunshine.

It might have taken a little longer this year to dry out (thanks to said bucketing) but we now have enough tomato paste and capsicum paste to feed an army, or at least feed the family through until next September. I might sound like a typical Türk but I could never go back to store-brought salca now. I mean just look at that kırmızı biber salca (capsicum paste) beautiful dark red colour. Trust me when I say it tastes amazing!

And because I never want to find myself with a pickling emergency I also perfected my pickling this past week. After a few trips to the supermarket and buying out every single bottle of üzüm sirkesi (grape vinegar) they had in stock I pickled the hell out of any vegetable that was lying around including salatakık (cucumber), soğan (onion), havuç (carrot), lahana (cabbage) and yet another 5kg of acı biber. I’m pretty sure we’re sorted for hot chillies to keep us warm on cold winter nights.

And just because I’m Aussie I got a fabulous recipe from a local chef who makes the most amazing pickled beetroot so I was back to the Mezitli pazar last weekend to pick up pancar and yet more vinegar for testing out his recipe. Finally I can get some decent beetroot for my burgers.

Thankfully the electric is now back (and hopefully will stay again for at least a few days).

Finger’s crossed because seriously if I lose my electric again today, I can’t be held responsible for my actions. Seriously! Watch this space!

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Find Me A Seat

Some people come into your life for a reason, and my friend Nancy is one of them.

She and her husband moved to Mersin a few years ago, with no real plans other than to explore a part of Turkey that they had never visited before. She would often invite a few friends to explore with her, and it soon became a highlight when we would day-trip somewhere new. During her time in Mersin, we went far up and down the Mediterranean coast, as well as inland to Mut, Kahramanmaraş and Cappadocia. I would never have made the trek to these places by myself so always appreciated the invite.

Nancy is a very skilled photographer and would always arrive with her camera in hand, ready to photograph our adventures. She is completely fearless and while I would wait safely back on terra firma Nancy would more often than not be found climbing to the top of mountains or traversing cliff faces to get that perfect shot.

She recently had an exhibition of her photographs in Istanbul, which was a great success, and right now her photographs can be seen at another show in Bursa.

These two exhibitions came into being after Nancy undertook a photo essay with an Istanbul-based photography group did called “Disconnected”. Her idea was that long-abandoned sofas, found on mountaintops or by the beach were disconnected from their “natural” habitats, and yet are fulfilling their destiny by providing comfort in unexpected places.

We were all on the hunt for sofas for Nancy to photograph. I can’t tell you how many times I would pull over on the side of a road, and message her with a stealthy “red sofa on D400 near Kipa” or sent her a whatsapp location pin of a sofa on the side of the road.

I spotted these beauties near Susanoğlu. Nancy was in Istanbul at the time, but luckily they were still there a week later so she could take the shot.

I also spotted this one on the train line. Nancy had been looking for a sofa near train tracks that had that “trainspotting” feel. This guy was just outside Pozanti, and I think Nancy’s shot eludes to the dark, shabby-comedic movie, don’t you?

Following on from the success of her exhibitions, Nancy’s photos have now been made into a coffee table book. If you are interested in purchasing a book or want further information, send me your email address below, and I will pass it onto her. You can also peruse a great selection of her work here.

Us Mersin ladies are a very creative and successful bunch, aren’t we?

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