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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A New Beginning

I promised I would be back in the New Year fresh and with lots more drama about surviving life in my Türk köyü (Turkish village).  I was kind of hoping to start 2017 on a happy note with stories about Christmas parties and New Year’s celebrations and jolly old St. Nick coming to visit us here in Mersin but that had been hijacked by the terrorist attack in Istanbul in the early hours of the morning on 1 January 2017 so I decided to write nothing.

reina

It is clear that I can no longer live in a cocoon ignoring what is happening in my adopted homeland.  It is a hot topic of discussion between the many expats that live here and it seems that there is an exodus happening right now with even lifers packing up and leaving for greener pastures.  I am a lifer.  But I say that with reservations.  I’ve got to.  Again I won’t give an opinion because it is so deeply seeded and there are so many differing views that I will no doubt offend nobody, somebody or everybody *waves again to the Powers That Be*.  I do want to say to my friends and family that I hear your concern and I understand that you are worried but for us, right now and with decisions being made as a family, Türkiye is our love and we cannot abandon her just yet.

So let’s move onto more jovial topics.

I am currently writing this post tonight to the soothing (and rather loud) hum of our very own generator.  Notwithstanding my numerous threats to divorce The Turk if he did not buy me a generator and The Turk’s numerous rebuttals that threatening divorce is more likely to discourage said purchase, he finally opened his wallet, blew away the cobwebs, and made our apartment that bright, beaming light calling out to others in the darkness.  Of course now when the electricity goes our home becomes the place to be with neighbours flocking for warmth, numerous glasses of çay and a place to watch the fecking futbol (which seems to be on all the fecking time!).  So for those of you currently sitting in the darkness with your very own generator envy remember it can be a double edged sword.

flood

I’ve mentioned before that January is Mersin’s wet month.  It rains in January.  A lot.  Actually a lot doesn’t really describe how much rain has fallen here over the past few days.  In fact it was 153kg worth of rain.  Now I’ve got to be honest with you I am not quite sure how they worked out that scientific measurement but that’s the official word.  Yep.  It rained.  Then it flooded.  Then Noah started collecting two of each creature.  And then it became abundantly clear that my new apartment (with aforementioned generator humming away happily) isn’t exactly waterproofed.  Sorry I’ll rephrase that – it became abundantly fecking clear that my new apartment isn’t fecking waterproofed at ALL!  Now that the rain has all but gone (fingers crossed) we have had the builder back who, of course, flat out denied that the water streaming down my wall was due to his shoddy work.  Nooo!  I have now named him The Moose Knuckle and I think it suits him (sidenote: I learned this marvellous expression the other day from a friend and have decided to incorporate it into my daily life).  The Turk has forbidden me from calling him a Moose Knuckle to his face which isnt really a problem because I doubt I could translate it into Türk anyway.  Pfftt!

snow-3

Meanwhile where there’s rain there’s snow and we had a Home Alone situation in the mountains behind us over the Christmas period.  One of our friends had entrusted her kedi to be cared for by us expats while she and her husband returned home for the holidays however due to a massive dumping of the white stuff all roads leading to her home were closed to traffic.  Despite desperate attempts to locate anyone who was holed up in the village plus numerous rescue attempts by expats to retrieve the cold, hungry and no doubt pretty peeved kedi all proved unsuccessful.  Kedi was Home Alone.  Kedi was McCauley Culkin protecting his home from Joe Pesci and the other guy.  But don’t fret readers McCauley was finally set free by two expats who, wearing enough equipment to climb Mt Everest, rescued and transported him to luxurious digs where he immediately took possession of the bed forcing rescuer’s husband to the couch.  As it should be.

duman

Oh and finally I want to thank Expatfocus.com for including Janeyinmersin in their Turkey recommended blog list.  Yah!!!

Enough for now.  I have a glass of red and a humming generator.  Life doesn’t get much better than this.

Iyi akşamlar sevgilerim.

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Time Out

Aside from my friends and family perhaps no one has really noticed but I have taken a break from blogging.  My posts have slowed down somewhat over the past few months.  The shine of blogging.  The stories of living in the village and of living in this wonderful part of the world has dulled.  I just don’t have anything new to say right now.

collage1

When I started this blog I had no idea of what it was going to become.  I had no direction so I pretty much just wrote about my day.  Sometimes it was interesting and occasionally inspiring but usually it was just plain ridiculous.

I do have a plan though.

I will be back in 2017, fresh and with some new material.  No doubt The Turk and I will have fought 6,457 times between now and then and I expect I’ve probably had that many arguments with The Onion in that time as well.

Until then … Şerefe!

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But Did You Die?

Daughter has gone back to school this week.  She is in Year 8 and, as she will have her TEOG this year (the TEOG exam which will decide which high school they can attend), there are extra lessons to help them prepare.  She is, of course, spitting a rather large dummy in every direction because it’s a daily onslaught of 4 lessons of science and 4 lessons of math.  Her two worst subjects (except for din (religion) but we have had her removed from that class).

So with Daughter back at school it means I am doing the daily drop off and pick up again and I’ve got to tell you these fecking Turkish driver’s are doing my fecking head in.  I have decided that Turkish driver’s are so full of their own self-importance that they believe they are the only fecking drivers on the road.  Get out of their fecking way.  They are like a fecking bulldozer and they are coming through!  Of course they know how to drive and I know shit!  You know shit too but don’t take it personally.

driving-in-turkey-distorted

Look, my friend — there are two kinds of drivers in Turkey.  First there’s the stupid ones — and then there’s the crazy ones

I am over driving defensively.  I am over giving way, using my indicators, stopping at red lights and keeping to the speed limit.  I have my kimlik damn it!!  I’m Turkish I say and so I will start to drive like a lunatic … so I will fit right in with the rest of them!

And like probably 90% of the driver’s on a Turkish road I don’t actually have a Turkish driver’s licence.  I have my Australian driver’s licence but from 1 January 2016 an Australian must obtain a Turkish driver’s licence as Australia is one of the few countries that have not signed the international treaty (we are governed by our States).  If you’re an Aussie and have not got a Turkish driver’s licence your only option (right now) is to leave the country every six months to get a new stamp in your passport.  I’m all over that idea and, despite the fact that I only just got back from Down Under, I’m already online checking out my options for a weekend in Europe in January.  I’m thinking snow covered mountains, cozy fires, mulled wine, Brad Pitt. Oh right.  Okay.

Did you know that in Australia you need 100 hours of practice driving and lessons.  Getting your driver’s licence in Australia takes years.  FECKING YEARS!  Here I dunno but what I do know that if a Turkish driver sees a red light it inspires insanity in them.  It’s a red flag and bull situation and no one ever really wins that do they?

And while I’m on my high horse – feck my life – the fecking pedestrians!!  I swear they step out right in front of you, obviously with big old blinders on their eyes and waddle through six lanes of traffic without a fecking care in the world while you slam on your brakes, smelling the burning rubber of your tyres as you slide sideways, your airbag exploding in your face and you nearly having a freaking heart attack while they throw you the evil eye for honking at them!  And no teşekkür ederim or sağol.  No fecking way!  Just the evil side-eye.

And seeing as I have already climbed into that big saddle one more thing!  There is a small home decoration shop at the end of our street and there is a woman that ‘works’ there.  I use the term loosely because, let’s be honest, despite the fact that everybody in the village may need a home decorator there are few in the village who could actually afford one.  Anyway Little Miss Home Decorator has a lot of freaking attitude.  She spends her day sitting on a chair on the small terrace chatting with all the neighbours (including Vito’s wife whom I still haven’t spoken to since this incident back in May) but if the sun gets a little too intense she has taken to putting her chair on the road under the shade of the building and so, when I (or anyone else for that matter) turn right onto our street there she is sitting in the middle of the road enjoying her çay without a fecking care in the world while you slide sideways on the gravel to miss her sorry ass.  Get out of the way biatch!  And God forbid if you ask her to move she stares at you with that blank death stare that all these crazies around here have although no doubt she gives me that look because Vito’s wife would have told her all about ‘the incident’ and what a bloody awful yabancı I am and do you know what?  I’m really okay about that.  I really am.

Meanwhile The Turk thinks that if you survive driving on a Turkish road any day then it is a good day.  If you survived any near miss while dodging pedestrians, bike riders, cars, trucks, horses, dogs, cats, goats, chickens or anything else then buy yourself a lottery ticket ‘cause you are having a fecking great day!

 

Burası Türkiye!

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Loving this blog? Please help me build my audience and share with like minded people who, like you, have put aside your years of road knowledge to drive in this crazy country and love Turkey. You can also subscribe or like me on Facebook for all updates.