That time our dolmus driver went bat shit crazy

Yesterday our dolmuş driver lost his cool.  Postal.  I get it, I really do.  It’s hot here in Mersin and it is only going to get hotter.  It was 35 in the shade yesterday afternoon and when it gets hot people lose their shit but this guy was one sandwich short of a picnic crazy and I did start to worry about our safety (you will understand as the story goes on).

Just to remind you or for the uninitiated a dolmuş is a shared taxi that runs along a set route.  It is usually quite civilised.  They come along every few minutes.  There are signs on the dolmuş so you know where they are going and it is easy enough to wave them down or ask them to stop when you want to get off.  If you are lucky you will get an air conditioned dolmuş which is a blessing in this heat but if they are not air conditioned then it is a little like being stuffed into a sauna with 30 other unlucky souls.

dolmus

(Stock photo – not dolmus in question)

Up to speed so back to my story.

It all started with the driver receiving a telephone call.  Now I know I do not have enough Turkish to give you a rundown of the conversation but I can tell you that he was obviously not on time (the drivers have a very tight schedule to keep and if they run late or run early they are fined) and his boss telephoned him wanting to know where he was.  He pretty much told his boss to get f*cked and he would get there when he got there.  I had a big grin on my face at this point after all who hasn’t wanted to tell their boss to get f*cked at one stage or another.

He then lit up a cigarette.  No you are not allowed to smoke on a bus in Turkey but the sign above his head “Sigara içilmez” or “no smoking” meant nothing to him at this point after all he had already told his boss where to go.  An elderly lady complained about the cigarette so in reply he flicked it at her feet.  She got out of the dolmuş.

At the next block a young mother hopped on with two children.  She handed over 50TL to the driver for payment and this was the catalyst to the next fifteen minutes of crazy.  The explosion of expletives being thrown around the dolmuş by the driver was astounding and he wasn’t discriminating, he was screaming at everyone.  Daughter (who is well versed in expletives) was gawking at the driver with her mouth wide open.  “I think we need to get off this bus,” she whispered.  I nodded in agreement and was about to ask the driver to stop when his telephone rang again.  The driver looked at the telephone, pulled the dolmuş over, turned the engine off, got out and shut the doors behind him.  At this point I began to wonder if we were being held hostage.

A man stood up and started trying to open the door but he was unable to so he hung out the window and abused the driver who turned around and started kicking the side of the bus.  This was sensational, well except for being held hostage and all that.  The mother that the driver had abused moments earlier started crying and another passenger was comforting her.  I started to giggle (which is what I normally do when I am nervous) and I wondered if the other passengers thought I would lose my shit next.

A couple of minutes later the Polis arrived and the driver immediately opened the door.  The driver was yelling at the Polis, the passengers started to get off the dolmuş and began yelling at the driver and the Polis while Daughter and I stealthy snuck off the dolmuş and backed away from the scene.  Once we were clear we stopped and stared at each other.  WTF???

When we got home Daughter called out to The Turk, “Daddy we just got kidnapped!  Really!”

He is never going to let us out by ourselves again.

Çay Time

It is so fecking hard to make a cup of tea in this place!  There is a reason why I like a teabag.  It is easy.  It is simple and it does not require a damn engineering degree just to complete the task.

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Before I go any further I wish to point out that at no stage has The Turk ever taught his yabanci (foreign wife) how to make either traditional Türk çay (tea) or kahve (coffee) so when the inevitable time came for me to attempt either of these two beverages it was going to prove a difficult task.  Earlier today I found myself without electricity but with the desire for a “cuppa”.  I bet you are wondering what I did.  Well I became the perfect yabanci eş and attempted to make some Türk tea – some real Türk tea.

My SIL recently gave me a çaydanlik (Türk teapot) as I suspect she was sick of tea bags when she came for a visit.  She also gave me a show and tell on how to correctly make çay.  There is an art in how to prepare Türk çay, pour Türk çay and even drink Türk çay however when SIL was giving me instruction I was a less than stellar student as I was more interested in the biscuits that she had brought over rather than how to make the tea itself (I mean, really, how hard could it be?).

I just want to remind you (in case you skipped it above) that The Turk has never taught me how to make çay so when you read below I imagine you will rally behind me at the suggestion that he has a little “accident” in the near future.

A çaydanlik consists of two separate pieces.  Crazy you would no doubt say.  The Chinese have been making tea for centuries without the need for two pots and my mother (along with her English ancestors) would have scoffed had I suggested that they had been doing it wrong for all these years but this is Turkey and in Turkey you need two pots.  I delved into my cloudy morning mind to recall Songul’s instructions on how to correctly make cay.

2 heaped spoons of çay – check. Water in the pots – check.  Put it on the stove – check.  Pride people.  I took the challenge and accepted my accolades when pride called my name.  Cok guzel Janey!

After about fifteen minutes the water in the bottom pot was boiling so I thought I should take it off the stove but the water in the top pot was nowhere near warm enough I put it on the cooktop to boil.  The Turk wandered past and stuck his larger than life nose in just as the top pot came to boil, “What are you doing?”

(“Building a rocket ship,” was the bitchy wife comment in my head)  Dutiful yabanci replies, “Making çay.”

“Well you can’t do that.”

The Turk proceeded to lecture me about what I was doing wrong and why I was doing it wrong (apparently you do not let the top pot boil as it will burn the leaves) and then gave me a little speech about “tea dust”.  Bitchy wife was beginning to get quite aggravated at this point but dutiful yabanci was still in complete control of my bodily vessel and set forth to make a fresh pot of çay with a smile.

2 heaped spoons of çay – check.  Rinsed for tea dust – check.  Water in the pots – check.  Put it on the stove – check.

The Turk called from the balcony, “Do you need any help?”

“No!”  Arsehole.

Another fifteen minutes had now passed and to be honest I really didn’t want a cup of tea anymore but I persevered as a good yabanci would.  About this time The Turk decided he should come and check my handiwork.  I mentioned that the water is still not hot in the top pot and out of his arrogant male mouth came this reply, “What?  You really have no idea what you are doing do you?”

Any hope of yabanci continuing to reside in this bodily vessel was just thrown out the window, “What the holy mother of all hell are you talking about?”

The Turk nudges me away from the stove and throws the contents of the top pot into the sink – yet again.

“You can’t use cold water.  You use the water from the bottom pot to heat the leaves.”

“How the feck am I supposed to know that?”  Yep bitchy wife is now in full possession of this vessel.

At this point the idea of pushing The Turk off the balcony came to mind.  He had washed the tiles on the balcony that morning and it was still a little slippery.  I stared at his measly body for a moment – I am certain that I could make this look like an accident.

Another 15 minutes now passes while The Turk’s çay simmers away on the stove.  Let’s just add all this time up.  45 minutes after I got the ridiculous notion in my head to have a cup of fecking tea I finally got a cup of fecking tea and if you are wondering if I can taste the difference between this fancy-smancy Turkish delicacy and a Jiggler-bag?  Nope, they taste the same to me.

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