Have a dose of what life is really like living here – from my single-handed destruction of the Turkish language, random arguments with random relatives about everything from apples to vaginas to learning the secrets to making the perfect içli köfte! Highs or lows this is my observations from the melting pot of crazy that is my life in Mersin.
I know I’ve been threatening to do this for a while now but it looks like it’s really happening… Mersin: All Over is being formatted as we speak and will soon be live to purchase on Amazon, IBooks, Kobo, and many more!
If you’re thinking of visiting Mersin, or maybe, like me, you visited family each year and always found yourself wandering around aimlessly having no idea where to visit next, then this is for you:
Written with 20 years of experience, expat Jane Gundogan, has assembled her knowledge, anecdotes and research into Mersin: All Over. This is the ultimate guide to uncovering the real story of this fascinating part of Türkiye. For the first time ever, this area is getting the recognition and resource it deserves, catering to a little of everything, from hidden castles to the author’s favourite restaurants. You’ll be surprised by what this often-overlooked part of the Mediterranean has to offer.
In Mersin: All Over you’ll visit the Big Five of Mersin including the incomparable Kizkalesi, historical Tarsus, the stunning dining experiences at Mersin Marina, the almost hidden Alahan Monastery, the recently-discovered Gildiere Caves and, of course, the unspoilt beaches of the Mediterranean coastline. This book will give you the inside information to discover little known places and the juicy stories behind them that bring the area to life.
Inspirational colour photography by the well-renowned photographer, Nancy Habbas, does more than just provide pictures of Mersin, her images prepare you for the beauty of what you will see. Mersin: All Over doesn’t stop at giving you helpful guides and information on places to avoid, it is also filled with hilarious anecdotes, and tips to fit everything into your day. Jane shares her expert advice for exploring the wonders of this little-known province so you can make the most of your time in Mersin.
Release date: 1 June 2022
Pre-order available soon.
And for those of you living in Türkiye I am currently in discussions with a Turkish publisher so you can buy direct at an excellent price (none of those pesky international postage charges that we all loathe).
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No, I’m not talking about my monsters-in-law (although they would run a very close second). I’m talking about my inability to get a fecking decent hot chocolate here in Mersin.
I love me a good hot chocolate. Always have, always will. As a child, my mother would make hot chocolates with cocoa and marshmallows, and as an adult non-coffee-drinker, I would usually buy myself a hot chocolate as a treat for my morning pick-me-up. Today, and particularly in winter when Mersin’s temperatures resemble the Artic circle, a hot chocolate is my go-to to warm up my weary bones.
Türkiye is famous for its excellent kahve (coffee) and its çay (tea) served in tulip-shaped glasses. Sipping on a çay as you shoot the breeze is practically a national sport. People just don’t drink hot chocolate. And I appreciate that, in fact before Starbucks arrived in Mersin getting a decent hot chocolate was as rare as hen’s teeth. If you were lucky enough to find a place that serves them, they usually varied from bad to an abomination that will live in infamy in certain circles. But hear me out, if a restaurant has sıcak çikolata (hot chocolate) on the menu, then damn it, they should know how to make one, at least.
“If you’ve ever wondered what tar and the tears of children taste like – drink their hot chocolate.”
This quote refers to the most God-awful concoction that was purportedly passed for hot chocolate that I and my friends had the misfortune to try from a very well-known restaurant here in Mersin. I will not name the restaurant, mostly because I don’t need the blow-back, but let me tell you the story.
After a lunch with a group of my yabancilar friends, a few of us decided to hang around enjoying the pleasant ambience of the restaurant. We would frequent this place regularly. The food was pretty good and the prices were always reasonable. At this point I should mention that there was in fact a Starbucks located directly across the street but we chose to stay put, mostly because we couldn’t be assed standing in the queue.
Hot chocolates were ordered.
Within minutes a glutenous concoction in a small white mug was delivered to each of us. It was thicker than mud, hotter than the sun, and as stomach-churning as kokoreç (well-known Turkish offal dish) on a good day. Honestly? It resembled the packet pudding that is so often served in Türkiye and tasted like it as well. After a polite explanation as to how a hot chocolate should be made, the apologetic waiter retreated to re-order. We stared longingly at the people sitting in the sunshine opposite us, no doubt sipping on their perfectly made Starbucks hot chocolate, until our waiter returned with attempt number 2. I crossed my fingers for him and for us, I even prayed to all the deities available to me that it would be good.
It was not good.
Am I a Karen? Have I become an entitled expat who expects the niceties from my homeland having no regard for local custom? I took a Buzzfeed quiz to check whether I am, in fact, a Karen and can thankfully report that I’m only half Karen… the other half is pure Janey with a little bit of bitch thrown in for good measure.
And while I’m just having a little whine for comedic purposes it doesn’t take away from the fact that I just want a fecking decent hot chocolate!
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I had an interview with an UK-based blogger recently and he asked me this question. I’m not usually lost for words (in fact you can rarely shut me up), but I was in this case.
How much have I really integrated into Turkish culture?
After over eight years here, I don’t think I’ve integrated that much. I still crave bacon and a variety of different countries food (that usually includes pork). I still struggle with Turkish but I can at least order a bottle of red wine so that’s progress. And Oh.My.God I still roll my eyes at the inconsistency of the bureaucracy here.
However, I respect this country and abide by the laws when I am out. I wear a mask (and at the rate we’re going probably always will), rarely speed (total bollocks but then to be truly Turkish you must speed, am I right?), never litter (why is it so hard for someone to put something in the bin?) and always pay my bills on time.
I may have jumped into my life here in Turkey with blinders on but now that I am truly out in the world with no buffer (aka The Turk) I think I am beginning to really come into my own. It was easy to integrate in the beginning. I was the new plaything for the family and was lovingly introduced to every facet of Turkish life. I worked in the kitchen perfecting my baba ganoush, and learned to accept tomatoes despite a lifetime of hate. I love, love, loved making salca and harvesting the olives, and I loved nothing more than sitting with my mother-in-law drinking Çay and listening to her and her friends make fun of their husbands, but after the breakdown of my marriage I found living in the village stifling. Why after all these years, you might wonder? It was fun, don’t get me wrong. It was a completely different way of life. Definitely a slower way of life and a much healthier lifestyle. But as time went on the dust that never goes away, the constant electric cuts, the non-existent internet, the village dramas, the weddings (or funerals) that I have to attend even if I’d never met him, her or them, and last, but certainly not least, his fecking family who I’m quite certain have a voodoo doll with my name on it squirrelled away somewhere, sent me so far over the edge that I found myself in freefall. Now I’m living in the city and I’m loving every second of it, despite COVID lockdowns and restrictions, despite my sometimes dire financial situation and despite the fact that our swimming pool hasn’t been opened this season (which is the real kick in the pants).
So now I’m going to ask you, how much have you integrated into Turkish (or other) culture? Let me know in the comments below.
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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?”
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?”
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.
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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.
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.
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.
And then again…
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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It’s been a while since I have mentioned my nemesis. Just to remind you my nemesis has reincarnated a few times over the years but has always taken the form of a rather large and loud cock-a-fecking-doodle-doing rooster.
There was the large red cock that terrorised My Hurley Dog so much that he refused to go into the yard for a good month. That red cock ended up as a fricassee. Then there was the big black cock (what am I writing?) who made it his personal mission to ensure I never slept more than two hours a night. Now I don’t know what happened to him but when he disappeared there was nothing left of him but some feathers and a beak. I’m guessing an alien abduction was the most likely cause of his demise. Then there was a cute little brown cock. He was a sweet-looking little guy but despite his tiny stature, he had a hell of a set of pipes on him! I swear you could hear him in the city. My BIL mangaled his ass and I must say he was delicious.
The owner of all of these reincarnated nemeses in their various forms, previously referred to as Crazy Eyes, had been rather quiet of late. I hadn’t seen her, or her mother or those five unruly boys (no doubt the reason for her crazy eyes), but last weekend she reappeared in a big way and worse still she brought with her yet another big black cock. She has gotten much smarter though. She knew we entered under the cover of darkness and Seal team 6’d her roosters so she has re-housed her new black cock and his six bitches onto the roof of her house. The fecking roof! Now, this new black-feathered evil dinosaur is even closer to my window.
My nemesis started this morning at 3:36AM. Precisely. He hopped to the end of his coop (read that as Crazy Eye’s roof), stared into my opened window and screamed at the top of his lungs “HEY, JANEY? ARE YOU AWAKE? JANEY? HUH? JANEY? WAKE UP! WAKE THE FECK UP!”. I swear to you this is no lie.
As he is now mere feet from my window I
immediately woke, moaned, cried a little, hugged My Hurley Dog and, when this
ugly ass cock-a-doodle-dummy kept this shit up for a straight forty-five
minutes I gave up on sleep and went and watched the news.
So I now have a mission (if I choose to accept it) and that mission is to find myself a big-ass rifle and, if I haven’t accidentally shot off my own head in the interim, I am going to sniper the shit out of that bastard cock-a-doodle-don’t!
From 1 January 2019 grocery stores in Turkey are required to charge customers 0.25 Turkish lira (US$0.04) for a single-use plastic bag under new regulations and the Turks have lost their flipping mind over it.
I for one am issuing the seldom given (by me anyway) high five to the Turkish government. It’s the little things that mark the beginning of change unless you are under the gross misunderstanding that climate change is “false news” (insert eye roll here). I personally ditched the single-use plastic bags a long time ago and instead, I seem to have accrued literally hundreds of canvas bags. They’re in the car, in my handbag, under the sink, in the laundry and in Daughter’s school bag. They are in the garden, at my SIL’s and I even have three bags at the local market so they are available for my use (much to the shopkeeper’s mirth but who’s laughing now Mehmet? Huh? Not me, baby!).
Social media has been buzzing (and by social media I mean me because I thought it was hilarious) with photos of genius consumers wheeling wheelbarrows into A101, Teyzeleri washing and reusing their plastic bags, amcaları selling their wife’s mountain-load of bags that she has been saving since 1982 and in an effort to win the Great Plastic Bag War of 2019 one dede even brought his fecking donkey into BIM (which made little sense to me because I usually use the shopping cart when I’m wandering down the aisles). Yes, its all very amusing and even I grasp that we are having a bit of a laugh but the fact is that this regulation is a good thing (despite The Turk having a meltdown when he had to purchase four plastic bags at Migros yesterday – he has never really understood my love of the cloth bag).
Turkey has the abysmal rank of 108 in the 2018 Environmental Performance Index (EPI), produced by the Yale Centre for Environmental Law and Policy, that analyses the environmental performance of 180 nations so every little step forward does make a difference. Istanbul now has vending machines at metro stations where you can recycle plastic bottles for transport credit. I love this! Here in Mersin, you can recycle your old bottles and every bottle that you recycle will drop pet food into a bowl for the stray dogs and cats in the city. Another great example!
I think the Turks just need a little push in the right direction and I can help with that. See exhibit below.
This is Kivanc Tatlitug. He is sizzling hot. If he told me to recycle I would. Plastic bags? Gone. Bottles and cartons? Definitely in the correct bin. Husband? Kicked to the kerb if this is what I could find on my sofa.
So to all the poo-pooing to the single-use plastic bag ban just know that we will adapt. Remember when they banned smoking in restaurants … oh, wait…
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The year is almost over, and this funk I’ve been in, this fog, is finally lifting. It’s almost incomprehensible that 2017 is taking its final breath and tomorrow will be the first day of another new year. I guess I will wake tomorrow with the usual worries that affect us all – family, health, love, money, yada yada – but I am going to try to not let those little things send me spiralling into a depression abyss of no return.
I think for the whole 2017 has been a bit of a shit-storm but I’ve already lost friends this year for voicing my opinion over various subjects so instead, I shall reflect on the year of that was and its effect on me personally.
I have met some wonderful new people (and a few nutters) this past year and, thanks to my high school reunion (which I did not attend as I happen to live 14,351km away, although was Facetimed into – and yet somehow still found myself spending an extraordinary amount of time gossiping about so and so in the toilets!), I also got to reconnect with people that I hadn’t spoken to since I unceremoniously left those not so hallowed halls many moons ago.
January was spent with Daughter in London where along with a butt-load of bacon being consumed I got to catch up with one of my dearest friends (I have been told I can no longer say ‘oldest friend’). A special shout out to her for putting up with me through my tears (I was still recuperating from my knee surgery and a bit of a Negative Nelly during my visit), but it was wonderful to spend time with her and her family again. I also travelled to my happy place, aka Australia, in June and spent desperately needed time with my family and friends there. There was another quick trip to Bali where a lot of silliness ensued and I finished off my travels this year with a thumping good concert in Germany.
On the writing front, I know I have been slack with my blogging and thank you all for regularly reminding me to get back to work but my general slackness was for a very good reason and that reason is *drumroll* I have finally completed the first draft of my novel (truth be told its probably my 20th draft but it is done either way). I have sent it off to a few publishers but all that rejection is quite disheartening and it certainly taps into my already dark funk, however, I did get a little realistic feedback from a few of them which has bolstered my resolve to see my book one day get published. Right now, it is being Beta-read (a new concept to me) for detailed feedback on plot, characters, clarity and pacing. Shall I tell you the name? Okay. Here goes. “Salep and Ginger”. Yes, it is set in Turkey. Yes, it is a romance and yes, it is kind of sexy, in fact, one editor suggested to me that perhaps there was a little too much sex (although no neckties were injured in the writing of this novel). Anyway, that’s all I can say for now. The whole thing is nerve-wracking, but the end result means I might get to publish my book. Imagine that? Me? A published author! But I don’t want to get ahead of myself just yet. Chill Janey!
This year also gave me the opportunity to visit places in Mersin that I hadn’t visited before. A few highlights were visiting tiny villages in the Toros Mountains, exploring the monastery in Müt, peeing my pants in Kozan (maybe that wasn’t such a highlight) and even a visit to the ruins in Uzuncaburç (which I will get around to writing) as well as repeated trips to Kiz Kalesi and lazing the extended summer on practically deserted beaches. I had become a lazy expat, not exploring the beauty that surrounds me. I promise that 2018 will bring a lot more adventures in my adopted country.
On the home front, The Turk and I still quarrel constantly. We slam doors on each other and vow to divorce at the earliest opportunity, but we soldier on – because that’s just how we are. Daughter is over both of us and it is clear that I have lost whatever parenting mojo I actually once had. She no longer buys into any of my shite and is way too busy socialising to remember that The Turk and I actually exist (other than to open our wallets or to drive her to some very important event). I guess I was the same at her age (and again I should be very thankful that she is growing up here where morals are imbued into these kids at a very young age) but I am hoping that 2018 will bring her a little more confidence in herself and help her strive to reach her goals (whatever they may be).
I won’t be making any New Year’s resolutions again this year, and I’m good with that. I will try and be a little healthier, but I don’t really need resolve to do it. I did buy a treadmill and I used it for a good few weeks before it started to collect dust (not true). I am, however, putting My Evil Cat on a diet. She is a binge-eater and, despite the fact that she now has only 3 teeth, she still has managed to put on weight. Now that I think about it My Evil Cat and I are very similar ladies (although I do still have all my teeth) so perhaps we shall become diet buddies in 2018 (that won’t happen either).
For those of you who read my very first post knows that I don’t love New Year’s Eve (in fact I also talk about it in my novel – Salep and Ginger – hopefully to be found in good bookstores just in time for summer – hello free advertising on my blog page) and the probability is very high that I won’t be going anywhere tonight. I am good with that, but I do want to thank all of you for hanging around and reading JaneyinMersin. It really does mean the world to me and to all of you I say this – no matter how shitty 2017 may have been, you survived it. Internet fist bump for you.
That’s me done for the year… there’s a glass of red calling my name soo Happy New Year and to 2018 I say this – bring it!
Hello, it’s me, Janey … in Mersin (in case you forgot). I know I’ve said this in the past but my life has definitely been really busy over these few months. Some days are out of my control and by the time that I get home I’m usually exhausted. It takes all my effort to pour that first glass of wine. The second and third glasses do come a lot easier.
In all honesty, I haven’t felt particularly motivated to write. Mersin has its moments but they are nothing new. I’ve written about them before. Roosters crowing? Wrote it. The Turk fighting? Done it. Random family members doing random crazy shit? All over it! I have done a little more travelling, went to a wedding or nine and maybe I will post a few blogs in the coming weeks but unless aliens land here in the village there won’t be an awful lot to write.
Daughter and I were away for two months, spending quality time in Australia and a naughty side trip to Bali. It was definitely good to get back to Australia and spend time with our Aussie family and friends. I even had the opportunity to catch up with some school friends which was fabulous. I will miss my 30 year high school reunion later this year (although do I really want to catch up with most of them? Nope. I had my core group and I loved them. The rest can go and jump in the lake). And it was definitely great to eat bacon. Man, I love me some bacon. Yes, I know you know that but I just needed to reiterate it one final time – I love bacon.
Even though I was away I had some pretty remarkable hits on the page mind you. It looks like Mersin is slowly being considered a tourist destination in its own right (I know I’m as shocked as you are). The Turk suggested to me that perhaps I was being stalked but I’m not sure why anyone would want to stalk me, because as fascinating as I believe I am my life here in the Village is truly dull and exceedingly uninteresting. And before you laugh it has happened before people turning up on our doorstep having tracked me down. No! I swear it’s true! But that’s okay, as long as they’re not Ted Bundy or that Manson fellow … or maybe IS.
Summer is definitely here and Mersin is feeling like Satan’s asshole right now. Coming from a very pleasant Sydney winter (with its average temperatures of 22-24) I’m a little jealous of my friends up in the mountains with their mountain breezes although the two times I have been up to visit since my return it’s been 30 degrees both days. Not so cool (although it was probably mid-40’s back in the village).
Socially here in Mersin, many of the expats and locals disappear for summer. Like me, the expats go and visit their homeland and the locals get the hell out of Dodge because it’s just so freaking steamy as feck. A few of the expats have moved on to new cities and countries but when one goes another usually arrives although sometimes this can be more drama than it’s worth.
Oh, and I’ve finished the first draft of my novel (which takes up an extraordinary amount of time). It’s currently being read by a few trusted friends and I got some pretty realistic feedback so on their recommendation I’ve sent it off for an edit. We’ll see where this goes. And it’s only the first draft so I expect there will be another 100 drafts before I am finally satisfied with it. Give me the strength!
So, keep an eye out for some new material in the coming weeks. I will be in touch and remember to message me on my FB page (here) if you want or need to make contact.
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A public toilet in Türkiye can be one of the most feral places on earth. I guess I could say that about any public toilet around the world but as I live in Türkiye and this is a story about Türkiye then I’m going to say Türkiye. Anyway, you would think that in the thousands of years that public toilets have existed, someone would have thought to modernise the ancient art of sıçmak (shitting) amongst strangers. What makes it all the more worse is if you really luck out and find yourself desperate to use the facilities, you follow your helpful host down a funky smelling corridor, praying that you are not about to be sold into slavery, and into a damp, dark room (why is there never any electric?) only to find … a squat toilet in the corner. FML!
Long term readers are already aware that over the years I have had a bit of a love/hate relationship with the squat toilet and, despite a few near misses, I actually consider myself as a pretty knowledgable squatter. I can usually be called on to give helpful advice to any virgin squatter setting them on the righteous path of dryness and some fabulous thigh muscles. I mean in all these years I’ve never had spillage or splash back. I totally have the angle sorted. Yes, of course I bring my own paper and I always have 1TL in my pocket to pay at the door. I can dodge a puddle and unknown entities do not phase me. I have even mastered the skill of blocking out that smell – you know the smell – but since my knee reconstruction it has become abundantly clear that all my past successes adds up to exactly squat (no pun intended).
While visiting Kozan recently to photograph the sunflowers (thus the photo above) I found myself needing to visit the little girls room and I was relatively happy to find a clean-ish public toilet. Yes it was a squat toilet which could’ve potentially caused heart palipations for any lesser yabancı but for me I was happy to see it was a 6.5 on the squatty potty scale of cleanliness. I went in for I am the Squatting Master. I have the skills of an Olympic gymnast and the little matter of a still troublesome knee reconstruction wasn’t going to stop me from my goal. What was going to stop my from my goal was my skin tight jeans on a fecking hot day! Do any of you remember that episode of Friends with Ross and the leather pants? That was me. I was Ross and I was fecked!
I don’t think I actually have to go any further. You all know what happened next. *Sigh* Yes, I had a squatty potty disaster – and it wasnt a little splash back situation, no ma’am, this was a fully fledged guidance system failure thanks to my sweaty skin tight jeans that I could only drag half way down my legs and fecked up knee bent into an unholy angle leaving me in a position that I couldn’t recover from. And as soon as I realised what had happening it was too late and I literally peed all over myself! To add insult to injury and to drag others into my mess a friend came running to my aid only to bend over and rip her own pants! So there we were, two yabancılar in a little town a couple of hours from home, me covered in pee and my friend showing off her blue Primark knickers (I’m not sure if they actually were blue Primark knickers). I am sure the locals had a good old laugh after we left. The words salak yabancılar come to my mind and I’m sure it came to many of theirs as well!
What to do? What to do?
I guess I should say I was lucky it was so fecking hot so I dried out pretty quickly and a few squirts of deodorant returned me to my pre-pee fresh scent but after this little disaster I have made an executive decision. There shall be no more pee stories from this little yabancı. I am now on the hunt for one of those P-EZ pee-cups stat. In future I shall stand tall and pee freely!