Taksim Metro Cat

Over the past few days a video has gone viral (link to the video at the end of this story), showing up on newsfeed on my various social media more than a few times.  That video is the latest kitty internet sensation – Taksim Metro Cat.  A cat that gives no shits about you… or you… or even you!

Taksim kedi

Anyone who has ever visited Istanbul (or Turkey for that matter) knows how much Turkish people just love their kediler.  They are everywhere and they are treated with a lot of love and respect despite the fact that they can go from zero to grade A jerks in a heartbeat.  One of the most famous Türk kedileri is the Hagia Sophia Kedi, a little cross-eyed tabby who is so beloved that he has fan sites where people can upload photos of him.  Now there is another famous kedi here in Turkey.  Introducing Taksim Metro Cat and I had the great pleasure of bumping into her a few times during my week in Istanbul.

She favours two spots.  Both of them extremely inconvenient for the commuter as they are both on upward riding escalators.  Our first encounter was as we stopped to visit the Republic Monument at Taksim Square. There she was, this pretty little calico chilling by the Metro exit, just as she was in that video.  People dodged her as she lay stretched out giving silent, judgmental stares to those who nearly tripped over her. At first, I was worried that she would be trampled but, again as you see in the video, she is totally relaxed and loving the chaos she was causing.

The next time we crossed paths she was inside, again chilling on the upward riding escalator but at least indoors (it was the one day it snowed for a full minute while we were there).  Taksim Metro Cat knew the weather outside was frightful and was very content to sit and be petted as we passed.

The final time we saw Taksim Metro Cat she was doing the lazy cat equivalent of hunting.  You know how they go.  They make a little effort, they do the crazy cry, and then they roll over and let the pigeon continue on its way, oblivious to its close demise.

For those of you who are concerned about her welfare, she is one very happy little cat. A stray animal here in Turkey is not the same as a stray anywhere else.  Here they are loved.  Taksim Metro Cat is very well looked after. Her fur is soft and clean.  Her eyes are bright.  She is quite a tubby girl and I’m pretty sure she has been desexed as her ear was clipped.  On researching Taksim Metro Cat I found there are lots of people who feed her and many photos of her chilling out welcoming the commuters and tourists each day and even you guys are adding photos of her on my FB page.  Okay, maybe she’s not welcoming, rather she is just making a kitty nuisance of herself and having kitty fun tripping unsuspecting people up as they pass. Why does she love the escalator so much?  I’m guessing that grate is warm from the engine underneath. She is quite content.

This is one cool cat people and if any of you happen to be visiting Istanbul go up and introduce yourself.  She might ignore you but at least you can say you had a brush with fame while on your travels!

And today Taksim Metro Cat got her very own report on Anadolu Kedisi.  Click on the link and see all the fabulous photos and the actual video at the bottom.  Like me you will no doubt laugh at the reaction of the woman in the pink joggers “Bu kadar?” Hahaha!

Have you seen the Turkish documentary “Kedi”?  If not, you should grab a copy today –

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Museum of Innocence

“It was the happiest moment of my life, though I didn’t know it.”

I first read the Orhan Pamuk’s novel the Museum of Innocence in 2011.  It is the tale of Kemal, the son of one of Istanbul’s richest families and his bordering on creepy love of Furun, who is, of course, from the wrong side of the tracks.  I admit it’s not my favourite Pamuk novel, I mean Kemal is nothing short of a stalker (and a thief) as pathetically mopes around collecting (thieving) Furun’s used cigarette butts but Furun is no better with her desperation and sulking throughout most of the novel but regardless Pamuk’s writing is still a poetic, hypnotic story which draws you in (even if, like me, you had to put the book aside for a while).  I’m moving on for those who have not yet read it so no spoilers here people.

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While I was recently in Istanbul I wandered into the antique district of Çukurcuma where I inadvertently happened onto the actual “Museum of Innocence”.  This interesting museum was conceived by Pamuk who collected items over the period of writing his novel to go hand in hand with his story.

Entering the three-storey building is like seeing fiction turned into reality.  From the mesmerising installation of Furun’s cigarette butts to clothes and pieces of daily life from the 1950’s through to modern Istanbul it was an interesting reminder of a period that has been left behind.

Museum of Innocence 4

It was a fascinating stop on my meandering through Çukurcuma but it was also a stop that made me feel infinitely sad.  Sad for Kemal and I guess in some way sad for myself as well.  We all have that lost love (well maybe not everyone) but for many of us, we had a Mr (or Miss) Big.  I called mine Mr Mediocre (it took me years to realise that he wasn’t all that) and somewhere in the back of my wardrobe I do in fact still have a movie ticket from the first movie we went to (Dirty Dancing) and hidden in a book somewhere on my bookshelf (and no I don’t remember which book) is my only photo of him and I, circa 1993.  A total of 12 years of my life for a love that is only a memory now.  I don’t regret the way my life turned out but I do in some small way understand how the pathetic Kemal became so infatuated and destroyed his life over his love for Furun.

To anyone who is a fan of Orhun Pamuk and gets the opportunity to visit his museum, do yourself a favour.  It is only small but it is truly charming and well worth getting lost in Çukurcuma with the intention of finding yourself here.

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Çukurcuma also has so many tiny antique shops which, although out of my price range, were still fascinating to rummage through (and the Turkish tea that is offered as soon as you walk through the door was a blessing on that freezing January morning that I visited the area).

The future of museums is inside our own houses.

And if you haven’t read The Museum of Innocence grab a copy now from Amazon

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Istanbul or Bust

Like most of us, I have a love affair with Istanbul, and I try and visit this beautiful city at least once a year.  I always take a list of things I want to see and when in the city, I walk around and tick off the tasks that I’ve completed.  Daughter can’t cope with my method and now that she is a little older (but perhaps not any wiser) I let her go off and do her own thing (which usually involves around sitting in coffee shops with her friends, flirting with boys and melting my credit card with her spending).

istanbul 10

I’m just now back from a week in this gorgeous city, staying in a fab apartment on Istiklal Caddesi.  I racked up over 100,000 steps (or 82 km), predominantly getting my tourist on, but also spending time meandering through tiny alleyways and cobbled backstreets looking for that hidden gem that I hadn’t found before.  One of my friends gave me a pretty thorough list of places I should visit but with my god-awful sense of direction, I got lost every single time although having gotten lost, I often found somewhere new that I wouldn’t have come across otherwise.

Istanbul 8

Walking through Istanbul’s busy streets is a visual feast, with so much life going on around every corner that you never know what you will find from an overflowing mosque filling onto the street on a Friday afternoon, ladies gossiping to their neighbours (probably about other neighbours) or a street party to welcome a young man home from his army conscription, life is everywhere.  Istanbul is also made for those of us who are cat-obsessed and as a self-proclaimed cat-whisperer I  always kept an eye out for my four-legged furry friends as I go.   Did they follow me back to my apartment?  I’m not saying yes and I’m not saying no but I will say that when we left there was a little calico kitty sitting on the step next to our doorman when we left for the airport.

Istanbul 5

The thing with Istanbul is that it really is a city that you can just walk around in.  No need to do tours or pay exorbitant fees (150TL for 1 day or 180TL for two days) to bus companies.  Instead, you grab an Istanbulkart and hop on the trams and buses that are so easily accessible and just as easy to use.  I also downloaded a couple of apps including Voice Map and Street Art Istanbul which gave me the opportunity of also seeing things from a different perspective.

Istanbul 7

Of course, I ate way too much during my week in Istanbul which negates all those kilometres walked. I pretty much indulged in everything I saw with tempting stacks of baklava, simits and lokma on every street corner and juicy kebabs, overloaded kumpir and thanks to Macro Centre (why oh why won’t they open one in Mersin) even a little bacon thrown in to enjoy.  Yes I know I can eat all of this just as easily in Mersin (well maybe not the bacon) but when in Rome (or Istanbul).

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On a serious note, I will mention how safe I felt during my time in Istanbul.  There was a significant security presence with police and soldiers patrolling at tourist attractions as well as security guards doing bag checks and security gates to pass through before entering shopping centres or bazaars.  At no time did I feel nervous or intimidated.  I was not harassed while out by myself and Daughter, who travelled on the metro by herself to Kadikoy and back, did so without incident.  Yes, you should be vigilant and follow the advice of local security authorities as well as monitor media reports and keep up to date with the travel advice issued by your own Government, but I personally felt very comfortable visiting this beautiful city, and I hope to come and visit again very soon.

Istanbul 1

I will do a few posts over the coming weeks about our time in Istanbul, but I just thought for now I would put up a few photos.  They are, of course, not great as I am no photographer, but they are little memories for me to keep.

If you are thinking of visiting Istanbul why not grab one of these books –

 

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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”.

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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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Work at ANZAC Cove

For many of us Aussies a pilgrimage to Gelibolu (Gallipoli) is a must do in our lifetime.  The area is steeped in history, an ancient history, a pained history and a history of heroism by the boys and men who left home yearning for adventure, ready to fight for their King and country only to lose their lives and lay buried far from home.

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We visit the memorials at Çanakkale Şehitleri Anıtı (Çanakkale Martyrs Memorial), the Nek or Kanlisirt Anıtı (known to us as ANZAC Cove), and these memorials are a reminder that war is full of unsung heroes and, whether they were part of the Allied forces or a Turkish soldier, we remember the sacrifices that they made so we could live today in freedom.  This bond between the Johnnies and the Mehmets was well expressed by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, President of Turkiye, who in 1934 made this uplifting and consoling comment to an official, Australian, New Zealand and British party visiting ANZAC Cove:

Those heroes that shed their blood, and lost their lives …
You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country.
Therefore, rest in peace.
There is no difference between the Johnnies
And the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side,
Here in this country of ours.
You, the mothers, who sent their sons from far away countries …
Wipe away your tears.
Your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace.
After having lost their lives on this land, they have
Become our sons as well.

Those words make hearts swell around the world in pride and are now an integral part of the Gallipoli story.   I remember standing at the memorial at Kanlisirt Anıtı  and I openly wept as I read those immortal words.

Tonight this news item passed my desk –

gelibolu-yarimadasindaki-kitabeler-onariliyor-89763

I felt sick to my stomach.

There were more photos but these appear to have been deleted.

Before we all jump the gun and turn into keyboard warriors (and believe me I was screaming blue murder and ready to call Karl Stefanovic who would fly over and single-handedly sort it out with The Powers That Be) the report attached to this photo states that the Canakkale Savaslari Tarihi group are undertaking maintenance and repair to the memorial due to natural erosion to the inscriptions and repair work and this work is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.  Although I understand that the work may have needed to have been undertaken this memorial is held in extremely high regard by Australians and New Zealanders.  I think that perhaps some discretion should have been taken by the officials undertaking this work to minimise the shock to visitors who have come to pay their respects.

I hope that the work is completed quickly and this site which is so important to all of us is returned to its former glory – for all our sakes.

(If anyone has any further information regarding this work please send me a link).

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120 Thoughts I had while watching Ay Lav Yu

A reader recently brought the movie “Ay Lav Yu” to my attention and I cannot believe that I hadn’t seen this Oscar worthy movie before.  It is my everything!  I laughed.  I cried.  I related.  I had a lot of thoughts — 120 thoughts to be exact.

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So here’s what I want you to do.  Grab some ayçiçeği çekirdeği and some çay and sit down to experience this piece of cinematic masterpiece while reading my commentary.  It will be like we are in the room together.

I watched it in Turkish but I have found this link on YouTube with English subtitles so a few of my thoughts may not make absolute sense because of my rubbish Türkçe.

Ready …

Let’s go …

  1. Is there a place called Tinne? *Google’s Tinne*  Bilmiyorum.
  2. I’ve jumped ahead of the story.  The village doesn’t exist to the Powers That Be or to Google apparently.
  3. Okay.  It is east of Mardin (probably not the best place to be right now).
  4. Our first glimpse of Romeo.   Excellent moustache.  Thick and well combed.  It is Sermiyan Midyat.  Not loving him here but like a fine wine he has aged well.
  5. Even better we meet Büyük baba. I already anticipate that he will be the real star of this movie.
  6. Are there two mothers?
  7. Ibrahim will be their saviour.
  8. I’m getting real strong Lion King vibes.
  9. That realisation that you live in a shithole.
  10. Ibrahim is in love and she is from Colarado. Colarado?  Colarado?  Yes fecking Colarado!
  11. Büyük babalar are the same everywhere in Turkiye. The exact same!
  12. Steve Guttenberg.
  13. The theme song seems to be the whole story to music. This will save time.
  14. It’s a love triangle and she is devo.  I will call her Bunny boiler.
  15. Her father might be an asshole.
  16. AND there’s a spinster.
  17. I’m ignoring the sheep jokes.
  18. Everyone is ripping everyone else off. Burası Türkiye!
  19. Gossiping villagers. This is my life.
  20. What’s with the crazy kid with glasses?
  21. He just smacked himself in the face!
  22. And again!iloveyou-kid
  23. I’d throw a rock at him too Baba.
  24. The lovebirds met in Adana. At the otobus terminal.  I’ve been to that terminal.  No way anyone would fall in love there.
  25. Cue flashback music.
  26. The Bunny Boiler is his cousin!  Yikes!
  27. Ibrahim’s like “you tripping girl”.
  28. I’m getting very thug.
  29. Here she is.   Of course she is blonde.  All yabancı are blonde.
  30. Her Turkish is worse than mine.  I bet she’s a teacher at the Incirlik base.
  31. Ooh ha! $120US!
  32. Fight! Fight!  Fight!
  33. True love right there folks.
  34. Meanwhile Spinster is clearly desperate to bang the yabancı brother.
  35. Good luck with that visa (especially in today’s political climate).
  36. Bath scene. That’s hot.
  37. “Cesika” LMAO! I so relate.  They call me “Yane”.
  38. The musicians are back giving us an update just in case we stopped to make çay or something.
  39. Büyük baba puts on his good silver teeth for company.
  40. Has Steve Guttenberg done anything since 3 Men and a Baby?
  41. The mother is clearly a Stepford Wife.  Diet Coke  pfftt!
  42. Steve Guttenberg’s acting skills are totes unappreciated. He’s channelling Brando right there!
  43. The priest is Ibrahim’s father? They must have some crazy key parties in Tinne.
  44. Wait!   Oh I see.
  45. I’m pretty sure that The Turk wasn’t that excited when I first came to visit his family.
  46. Did they sacrifice that sheep?
  47. The halı isn’t big enough. Is anyone else laughing at that?
  48. Phew the sheep is still kicking.
  49. Actually no one in The Turk’s family was this excited when I arrived.
  50. Control yourself girlfriend.  The whole village is watching.
  51. Let’s all make you feel welcome by shooting guns in the air.
  52. Two things – the sheep is dead and the yabancı brother is a pussy.
  53. Feck Steve Guttenberg. Büyük baba is the real star of this film.
  54. “Türkçe konuşamıyorlar”.  Clearly.
  55. Where the hell are the lovebirds? Are they off having a quickie?
  56. Yes love is love but watching this is like passing a kidney stone.
  57. Ibrahim speaks even less English than The Turk did when I met him.
  58. He won’t kiss her! Such a gentleman.
  59. Wait he kissed her. She must be a yabancı slut.
  60. The Bunny boiler is scoping them out.
  61. Time for some çekirdeği.
  62. They’re all going to end up with haemorrhoids.iloveyou-steve
  63. Aviator sunglasses makes Büyük baba look cool as feck.
  64. Yes it’s funny, the futbol topu is irregular.
  65. What’s with this crazy kid with the glasses? What metaphor am I missing?
  66. Baba just told the kid to “Siktir git!”. Well done Baba.
  67. Now he called the kid the “child of a prostitute.” Did he?  Feck me!
  68. Ibrahim and Cesika have finally graced us with their presence.
  69. Oh man I’m laughing. The Turk is the same, never explaining the long diatribes and simplifying everything with “good” or “no problem”.
  70. Küçük piç! Steve Guttenberg said a funny.
  71. The sleeping arrangements! I’m dying!
  72. She’s converted.
  73. Steve Guttenberg is truly a master.  How has he been ignored by the Academy for so many years?
  74. Hold up. She knows enough Turkish to have this relationship but she doesn’t know about the Nazar?  Give me a break.
  75. BWAHAHA Cesika’s FACE!!!
  76. Bunny boiler is pissed.
  77. “I am a Muslim but my sin is not.” Someone should put that on a t-shirt.
  78. The yabancı brother is rocking some pale abs. If he sparkled he would be a vampire. danny-abs
  79. The kizlar are going deli for that white boy.
  80. We realise that the freaking futbol topu isn’t round. That joke has been done already.
  81. The bunny boiler just got a slap down! I knew he was an asshole.
  82. Is she dead?
  83. Now people are dancing. That seems harsh.
  84. Open buffet!
  85. They’ve been in the village for two days and this is the first time Steve Guttenberg has gone to the toilet? He must be totally backed up.
  86. Sit and shit! Sidenote: my family here had a sit down toilet installed for me when I first came to the village.  My MIL was so happy she cried!
  87. The bunny boiler has a bun in the oven!
  88. Chinese whispers … and that crazy kid is hitting himself again!
  89. Well that’s that then isn’t it?
  90. Oh bok! 9/11.
  91. They don’t have water and they steal their electricity but DNA testing is a viable solution.
  92. Büyük baba is channeling Einstein.
  93. Ibrahim is not the father. Tebrikler!
  94. This wedding is jinxed.
  95. An immaculate conception.  Seems legit.
  96. It took the US 10 years to track down Osama Bin Laden but Steve Guttenberg did it in 10 minutes.
  97. This is taking a very dark turn.
  98. Spinster is going all Terminator on everyone.
  99. This really is going to be a shotgun wedding.
  100. OMFG they just circumcised the yabancı brother! OMFG!!!
  101. American toilet’s for everyone!
  102. So very confused.
  103. Groundhog Day.
  104. Again nope.
  105. Can anyone tell me why the baby chicks are pink and yellow?
  106. I now realise that the musicians are timed so The Turk can go for a cigarette.
  107. Okay now I just feel bad for Baba. He doesn’t exist.
  108. I am upgrading Bunny boiler’s father to a moose knuckle. Trying to steal the village away from Baba.
  109. Are they waiting at the Devlet Ofisi for an answer? They could be there for two lifetimes.
  110. Moose knuckle got denied.
  111. Blah blah blah. Joke done already.
  112. Seriously it took me 3 years to get my kimlik but in Tinne they are handed out like candy!
  113. Wedding – Take 4.
  114. Steve Guttenberg is all up in the funk.
  115. I am totally shipping Yabancı brother and spinster.
  116. It was the musician! Vindication for Ibrahim!  Does anyone else think it should have been Saito.
  117. 10 years later …
  118. The cow has eaten the whole car.
  119. Ibrahim and Cesika standing on Pride Rock (The Turk called it Fraggle Rock).
  120. My Lion King analogy is not complete without a baby and Elton John.

Wait.  That’s it?  THAT’S IT??

But … but what about the yabancı brother and spinster???  There had better be an Ay Lav Yu 2 with the yabancı brother and spinster moving to Colarado.  They have five children.  Yabancı brother has chance meeting with ex-girlfriend and embark on a torrid affair.  Spinster goes all deli and kills him.  Meets a TV reality star (maybe a Kardashian) at her hearing.  Gets a boob job and moves to Hollywood where she becomes an actress and meets Steve Guttenberg.  Full circle.

What did you think of Ay Lav Yu (or of my outline for Ay Lav Yu 2)?

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If I Could Turn Back Time

The Powers That Be here in Turkiye took it upon themselves to ignore the way the rest of the world operate and have done away with turning back the clock announcing an end to daylight savings.  This means that we are forever on summer holidays which is nice I guess but for today, and perhaps for a few of us dopier peeps, it also means total chaos as we try and decipher what time it really is.

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Right now in our house every single clock says its 6:16am … except that it is actually 7:16am.  The reason I know it is 7:16am is that my FIL has already started screaming for his breakfast and, despite the fact that every single clock in our house says its 6:16am and we all should be slumbering it is daylight outside (albeit a little overcast which will no doubt burn off into another stinking hot day).

For sure this bureaucratical bundle of bok will cause chaos over the next 24 hours (or 23 depending on which clock you are looking at).

Turkiye is now at Greenwich Mean Time plus 3 hours.  So for those of you in the UK you are now of course 3 hours behind, for those of you in Down Under you are 8 hours behind and for those of you in the US you are … fecked … and I’m not just talking about your presidential candidates.

And why did they do this you ask?  Officially it is to save on electricity (truely this is the official word).  Unofficially I wonder if this is a religious decision to bring Turkiye in line with Saudi Arabia and Mecca for prayer and Ramadan timing.

Just to prove that this is a real kerfuffle think of Cyprus.  Northern Cyprus is 1 hour ahead of Southern Cyprus.  What about Nicosia?  It’s a half / half city!  And what if you live in Northern Cyprus and work in Southern Cyprus.  Or go to school in Southern Cyprus?  Can anyone say cock-up???

Regardless whatever time you think it is check with someone who does not spend their life attached to a phone or a computer because I reckon they are the only folk who actually know what the feck is going on around here!

Update!  Daughter’s new Iphone 7 did NOT change time.  She has just dragged herself out of bed wondering what all the fuss is about.  “You people are all technologically stupid”!  Direct quote.

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#First World Problems

Daughter and I have been in Sydney for the past 6 weeks as well as a sneaky side trip to Bali with a few of my girlfriends so I have been MIA in case you hadn’t noticed (what do you mean you didn’t notice???).

While Down Under I got to spend desperately needed time with many, but not all, of my most beloved peeps (and purchased some desperately needed bras – my boobs are back in the Northern Hemisphere again) and Daughter also got to have a few catch ups, again stalked members of 5SOS and even went to see The 1975 in concert.  Sydney was definitely a win/win sitch for both of us (although Calum from 5SOS is still playing hard to get).

Bali 1Now we are back in my Türkiye and back in the Village I find that things haven’t changed.  At all.

Of course I am aware that Türkiye was on the news while I was away.  As an early riser I had the news on and was watching the ‘incident’ as it happened.  (I will call it an incident however I won’t make any further reference to it due to the current political climate here).

“Holy Shit!” said I.

“Don’t go back!” said most, if not all, of my acquaintances back in Sydney.

Coming back home I admit was a little nervous but now that I am here and have been out and about I can say that in the Village and in the city of Mersin nothing has changed.  The sun is still shining, people are going about their business and life goes on oh and The Turk actually didn’t know that the ‘incident’ had taken place.  Slept through the whole thing.  And before you Negative Nelly’s start banging on at me yes I know that Mersin is not Istanbul and that there are continued protests there as well as other cities including Ankara but, just in case you didn’t realise, this is a blog about living in Mersin.

Anyway after staring at the television for hours I realised that something that was so huge in Türkiye and that held such huge ramifications for this country as well as the rest of the world it was merely a ripple in the pond in Australia (and possibly other countries) and was only getting about 7 minutes of airtime with the Australian media.   I should just stress at this point that the home that I was staying at only had free to air television – in fact I didn’t even get to see the finale to Game of Thrones until I got home!  #FirstWorldProblems

Everybody-Loses-Their-Mind-GoTAustralia had a general election during my time Down Under and so I did my civic duty and cast my vote.  I actually received a fine for not voting in the last election although on checking with the Consulate here in Türkiye I found out there was in fact nowhere to cast your vote unless you did it by post.  Have you ever tried to send mail from Türkiye?  Has it ever arrived or did it take 6 months?  I betcha that if I had done the postal vote in the last election my solitary postal vote would have been crucial in stopping that tosser Abbott getting elected!  And did you know that this is like the 50th freaking election since 2010 – not really – but it sure seems like it.  I mean Australia change leaders like others change their undies!  #FirstWorldProblems

I took Daughter to the hairdresser in Sydney.  Now, back in Mersin a trip to the hairdresser including a wash and blow dry will set you back 9TL or AU$5 (the price has gone up in our absence).  In Sydney a wash and blow dry at a suburban hairdresser set us back AU$60 or approximately 120TL!!!  #FirstWorldProblems

I made potato kofte for dinner for a friend and after a quick trip to the local supermarket I realised that Türkiye beats Australia hands down on the cost and the quality of the fresh produce available.  Of course here in Türkiye fruit and vegetables are seasonal but after I paid AU$3 or 6TL for one (rather crummy) bunch of maydanoz (parsley) I realised just how great I really have it here.  I couldn’t even get my hands on any nane (mint) either!  I mean WTF??  It’s mint for feck sake.  Here it’s growing on every freaking street corner.  I think back to when we lived in Sydney and we always had mint on hand.  Of course The Turk would grow his own.  Duh! #FirstWorldProblems

Although Australia did win hand over fist time and time again.  Electricity is abundant as is fresh drinking water.  I had only been home in Mersin a few days when the electricity was cut and the water disappeared from our pipes.  It took 2 days for the water to come back but the electricity did crank up again pretty quickly (and a good thing too with the current temperatures here in Mersin hitting mid-40’s (that’s Celsius to you freaking Americans) on a regular basis.  Sidenote – Daughter just stuck her head out the door and asked me “When’s it winter?”  LMAO! #SydneyoverMersin

The traffic back in Sydney is as always a dream to navigate although peak hour did my head in on more than one occasion.  I love that the speed limit isn’t just a suggestion and I seriously don’t think I heard a car horn during our whole time there!  #SydneyoverMersin

Of course the biggest drawcard and the one thing that I can’t replicate in Mersin is bacon.  Sydney has bacon.  A lot of bacon.  And I ate it all!  #SydneyoverFECKINGMersin

bacon 1So now that I’m back I will probably be back to whinging about all and sundry and hating this and that again but right now I will just say that I’m glad to be home.

Oh and yes I was playing with hashtags.  They are stupid and I hate them.  I vow this day to never use them again!

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The New Normal

Once again terrorism has raised its ugliness stealing more lives and ruining countless others with this most recent atrocity in Istanbul, Turkey.  My thoughts go out to the families of those who died and to those who were injured in yesterday’s attack.  I wish with all my heart that we didn’t live in such a tumultuous time but we do and we need to take control of how we react to what is going on around us.  Terrorism is rife throughout the world and frankly we need to accept that this is the new norm for all of us.  We all know that fear is a commodity and terrorists are more than prepared to manufacture fear with the help of today’s media. istanbul 3

Right now many of you who were thinking of visiting Turkey are asking the same question, “Is it safe to travel there?”  Yesterday the Turkish Government was quick to respond to the attack by declaring that the bomber was a member of Daesh (IS) and that Turkey will continue the battle against all terrorism until it no longer remains a threat to Turkey or to the world.  That’s great but does it make it any safer for tourists or for those of us living here?

I really love Istanbul.  It is, without doubt, one of the most unique cities in the world.  When Napolean said “if earth was a single state, then Istanbul would be its capital” he summed up how so many of us feel about her (yes to me Istanbul is a ‘her’).  She is a city with over 2500 years of history, culture and traditions.  She is jam packed with amazing landmarks, vibrant nightlife and something new around every corner.  She is truly sensational.  And she should not be passed over because when it comes down to it nowhere is truly safe anymore.

Paris.  Tunisia.  Egypt.  Lebanon.  Sydney.  Hell even San Bernadino in LA.  But it is our response to that fear that will determine our future.  Please don’t turn your back on these amazing places.  Do not let evil win.

Climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower and savour its magnificent view.  Visit the Pyramids of Gaza or Tunisia’s famous beaches and please – please – come and stand in awe at the grandeur before you in Sultanahmet Square, Istanbul.  Be amazed by the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace.  Indulge in the heavenly cuisine and be welcomed with open arms by some of the most kindest people you will ever have the pleasure to meet.

There has always been a strong police presence in Istanbul and no doubt security will be beefed up again in the aftermath of this most recent attack.  For those of you travelling to Turkey remember to be safe, be aware (see links below) and be smart but please do not let evil control your future.  Only you can do that.

Travel advice for Australian tourists

Travel advice for UK tourists

Travel advice for US tourists

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Waiting for the Tulips to Bloom

These days you will find me on my terrace soaking in the last rays of sunshine before the grey of Mersin’s winter takes over.  I will no doubt have a cup of çay (sorry guys it’s not particularly Türk – white with two sugar) and, depending on the time of day, perhaps a biscuit (or two) to tide me over until akşam yemeği (dinner).  Basking in the sunshine is also the perfect time for me to catch up on my reading.

Tulips

As a blogger I am always on the hunt for fellow bloggers and writers that live in Türkiye, telling their own anecdotes of life, love and the numerous catastrophes that befall them living in this crazy country.  One of my favourite’s is fellow Aussie, Lisa Morrow, with her blog insideoutinIstanbul.  Her blog is filled with tales and photographs of her life living in one of the most incredible cities on earth – İstanbul – so when I received a copy of her most recent book, Waiting for the Tulips to Bloom, I knew that I needed to find a comfy spot in the sun where I would no doubt be entrenched until I had finished the very last line.

Lisa’s descriptive style captures the sights, sounds and even the smells (remind me to never catch the no. 2 bus with her) of modern day İstanbul, giving me, the reader, not only a personal tour of her favourite haunts but drawing me in with little known stories of what is, without doubt, one of the most amazing cities in the world.  Her anecdotes of language barriers and Government bureaucracy or even her partner’s difficulties with something as simple as his name (Who?) was something that any expat living in İstanbul (or any other city for that matter) will recognise.

To quote the wonderful Molly Meldrum (I am now picturing anyone who is not Australian googling “Molly Meldrum” right now), “Do yourselves a favour”.  With the Christmas season fast approaching this will make an excellent stocking stuffer, in fact, I can think of one particular friend back in Sydney will be receiving it in the mail very soon.

Does anyone else have any recommendations for good Türk inspired reading?  With winter fast approaching it is time for me to hibernate until spring so any suggestions to help pass the time while in my self imposed exile will be greatly appreciated.

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