Wok China Restaurant

Just how far would you go for a decent Chinese meal?  Is it across the street?  Maybe it’s a few blocks from home.  Nice eh?  Back in Sydney I wouldn’t have needed to go far at all but here in Mersin?   Here in Mersin you need to leave the city.  Yep despite living in a city with a population of 1.1 million people you need to get on your bike because nowhere in this city of 1.1 million can a person get a decent Chinese meal (and the first person who mentions Blush to me will be banned from my site).  So where does a person need to go?  Does it require airfare and a passport?  No just a car, some travelling companions and the willingness to travel to the city of Adana (85 kilometres east of Mersin) to hunt out the elusive Wok China Restaurant.

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Was it worth it?  Hell yeah!  Coupled with a good 4 hours spent shopping at M1 (seriously where does the time go?) and a quick drive through the city we arrived at Wok China Restaurant exhausted but totally psyched for our Chinese banquet.

[The following paragraph is going to make me sound like one of those pretentious prat restaurant reviewers!  I am not an asshole but you have been warned!]

Despite the fact that we had to wait for our alcoholic bevies (a sacrilege in my mind) the food was delivered with a flourish, freshly prepared and delicious.  Beginning with a plate of sushi (courtesy of the chef), followed by various stir fry’s including a pretty good Szechuan Beef and a fantastic Chilli Chicken our taste buds were definitely tempted and my waistline was definitely growing ever larger.  The thing to remember with Chinese food being cooked by a Turkish chef is that it is Chinese food prepared by a Turkish chef so the dishes may not be quite as authentic as they could be or perhaps should be.  Having said that every single dish served was distinctly Chinese – not a kebab in sight!  The effort was definitely there and the staff were all lovely so put aside your expectations as you walk through the door.  It may not be exactly what my memories conjure up when I recall my last Chinese banquet but it was definitely more than I had hoped for.

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Price wise, it was very, VERY reasonable.  We ordered 4 mains plus rice and noodles, a couple of rounds of drinks and 3 separate orders of takeaway (Daughter was desperate for me to bring home spring rolls) and we still spent much less than we would have here in Mersin.  Does this say anything about the prices of the high end restaurants in Mersin?  It sure does!  I have said before that the only people who can afford to eat at the high end restaurants here are international drug barons but of course we still go to them as there are no other western style restaurants to be found.

To those of you in Adana get over to Wok China and have an excellent feed.  To those of you in Mersin – let me know when you are going and I’ll tag along!

wok china

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Shake, Rattle and Boom

You guys might recall that I have the unique ability to not feel any earthquakes here at all.  Little or large, up until this point I have felt nada.  But last night … well last night was a doozy and at the time I was pretty sure it was right underfoot.

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Let me paint you a picture.

It was a hot and humid night.  Too hot to sleep.  I thought about putting on the klima but I hate that background droning in my ear so instead I tossed and turned in bed, so much so that The Turk went and slept on the terrace to capture the sea breezes (and no doubt to get away from me).  Midnight came and went.  1am crept past me and I was still listless, The Sandman had not visited and I was knackered.

Moments after the clocked ticked over to 1am an eerie silence immersed The Village.  The neighbourhood dogs, who are usually so vocal, stopped barking and even My Hurley Dog who was sleeping on my floor sat up and started whimpering.  Then it hit.  The wardrobe started banging.  My Hurley Dog looked at the wardrobe and I looked at him.  Outside I could hear the sound of objects falling.  I sat up and the bed started vibrating like one from a cheap Vegas hotel.  I laughed … I mean my bed hasn’t seen that much action since before The Turk’s heart attack … until I realised what it was.  “Shit.  Earthquake”.

I called for The Turk but he was having his own 30 second dance party on the terrace so I grabbed My Hurley Dog (who either wouldn’t or couldn’t move) and I ran clumsily down the corridor to the terrace. By the time I made it out there The Turk had lit a cigarette and mumbled, “Deprem”.  Uh huh.   We watched as the neighbours all came running outside and started babbling to each other.  Dead set you would think that John Cusack just drove past in a limo with the door ripped off.  People here go bat shit crazy!

Seriously though it was a 5.2 and it was in the sea between here and Adana.  It was felt down in Limonlu which is about 70 kilometres from here as well as in the mountains in Yenikoy.  As it was so close to Adana they really copped it with one friend saying her 14 storey building was swaying (and she’s on the top floor – yikes).  No damage at ours although the madanoz and nane boxes ready for delivery to restaurants tomorrow all fell over next door which caused a good 10 minutes of yelling and gesticulation before they were upright again.

I went and made a cup of tea and The Turk and I sat on the balcony for a few minutes watching the show when a slight breeze picked up.  I thought that perhaps it might cool down a bit but no, if anything, it was hotter.  I looked at our temperature gauge – 30.2 degrees and its 1.49am.  Lord!  And then it hit.

No not another quake but the electrical storm to end all electrical storms.  Mother Nature was throwing everything she had at us and within seconds our electric was cut and the entire village was thrown into darkness.  Blacker than black.  The rain started and The Turk started cursing (he had washed the car earlier in the day).  Again we watched another fox in the henhouse moment while all the neighbours went running back inside.  What’s worse to a Turkish person?  An earthquake or a little rain on your head?  Definitely the rain, after all you might get grip!  People probably went inside and put on a sweater or three!

Right now I could be controversial and suggest that building a nuclear power plant in Mersin (or in Türkiye for that matter) is a ridiculous idea what with all the earthquakes and shit but because I am trying to stay away from controversy so I don’t get blocked I am going to say this – unicorn and kittens!

But I must admit Mother Nature put on a hell of a show.  Both a matinee and a curtain.  Well done Madame for an eventful evening but I really need to get some sleep now.

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Headlines and News Bulletins

They can make a strong impression on us as tourists but where is the line between scaremongering and truth?

I try to keep away from the political side of things with my little blog because I am really not knowledgeable enough on any subject to give anything but a nonsense reply however I have received so many emails from you guys asking for advice about travelling to Türkiye, and in particular, to Mersin.

Turkiye

While it is not for me to give you advice what I will say to those who are thinking of cancelling their holidays to Antalya or Bodrum is this – the distances between these areas and the Syrian border is massive – like the distance between London to Germany.  That’s a couple of countries and even a little water in distance isn’t it?  Over 1000 kilometres or 20+ hours of driving in Türkiye.    To those of you visiting Mersin and its surrounds we are still 150 kilometres from the border with Syria however most of the issues with terrorists are happening in the far east, some 500+ kilometres from here.  If you are, however, travelling to Eastern Türkiye I would suggest that you check with your country’s Consulate before making any travel plans but remember people a terrorist attack can happen anywhere at any time.  America, the UK, Tunisia, India and even Australia.  Nowhere is really safe anymore in the world.  I guess the question you ask yourself is this –  “are you going to let them control your decision, your lives?”  Noone can decide that but you.

What is going on exactly?

The past few days has seen Türkiye launch strikes on several different fronts and you need to note the distinction between the different strikes that have been made.

Firstly Türkiye has launched attacks against ISIS targets inside Syria in retaliation to a bombing last week in the city of Suruc which killed 32 people and also the shooting of security officers at the border.  Simultaneously they launched attacks against the PKK (which has been designated a terrorist organisation by Türkiye) in Iraq.  These attacks were in retaliation to the deaths of two Turkish polis officers on Wednesday.   The Government also feels that the PKK is exploiting ISIS efforts.

Where do we go from here?

Türkiye has agreed to allow the US access to their air bases to co-ordinate strikes inside Syria and Iraq and has requested talks with NATO over the security of the area.  Well I am sure this will open up a can of whoop ass on someone.

Over the past few days Türkiye has also arrested over 850 terror suspects.  This is great news although I have to wonder why, if these terror suspects were already known to Türkiye, why where they not arrested earlier?  Am I wrong?  Did these 850 terror suspects suddenly appear out of nowhere?  Hardly.

The current operations underway is obviously an effort to destabilize the country which is at this time without a proper parliament.  Will the efforts succeed or will it bite the instigator on the ass?  Time will tell.

*Sigh*

Ultimately as a tourist visiting Türkiye, your personal safety is your utmost concern.  Keep a close eye on news reports.  Register your travel plans with your Consulate and remember you are the only one that can make an informed decision as to whether or not you should travel.

Turkey map

Be safe guys.  Türkiye is a beautiful country and I am sure you will have a wonderful holiday when you visit.

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Caretta Caretta

For anyone travelling to Mersin over the next few days why not head to the beach around sunset for the chance of witnessing one of nature’s miracles.  Right now in Mersin the baby loggerhead turtles also known as Caretta Caretta have begun to hatch and can be found early evening making their journey towards the sea.  The turtles were on the decline but with conservation efforts by the local belediyi their numbers have increased and this year there was over 530 nests found in the area.

"Caretta caretta yavrularını elinize almayın"

Just remember to keep your distance and please don’t pick them up as they can become disorientated and the walk to the ocean is actually a way for these little guys to strengthen their muscles.

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200 (+ 2) stupendous posts!

I have finally made it to the 200 post mark, well 202 because I hadn’t checked my stats recently.  Again I am amazed that I have kept this blog up, that my brain has had 200 (and 2) separate thoughts that I felt were interesting enough, or funny enough or important enough, to be immortalized for all to read.  Forever and ever.  On the internet.

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So let’s talk about a few of these tremendous, colossal, amazing posts.

The most popular post was, as expected, My Letter to Özgecan.  I was amazed at the response that I received from everyone to this post. Özgecan’s death sparked a lot of debate here in Mersin and in Türkiye regarding violence against women.  Three men are currently on trial over Özgecan’s murder and will face a life sentence if convicted of charges including “murdering with a monstrous feeling”.  Türkiye does not have the death penalty (although perhaps it should).

The post that caused the most outrage (and had me forcibly removed from one of those Turkish groups on Facebook) was, 10 Things I Hate About The Turk.  Written in jest it seems that this post upset every Turk within 100 miles and perhaps it can be said that my sense of humor does not translate into all languages.

Yesterday’s most popular post is Satan Called.  I agree it is “kinda” hot here in Türkiye at the moment although perhaps not really as hot as Satan would like.

I got on my high horse quite a few times over the past 200 posts but I also fell of my throne more than once .  For a bit of toilet humor enjoy Rage Against The Latrine.

The post that made me giggle was To My No 1 Fan.  I am always so happy to hear from someone who has felt any emotion after reading one of my posts.  The fact that this particular fan was bat shit crazy only adds to my enjoyment of the whole thing.

So enough about the posts.  Now a quick rundown of other stats:

692 subscribers is amazing (a big thanks to each of you) and 738 ‘likers’ on my Facebook page (go on click on it people – you know you want to).

Over 100,000 page views is phenomenal!  I mean that’s a big number.  That’s a lot of people that either stumbled onto this blog or intentionally went out looking for it (which is nice).

I’ve had some crazy search terms as well including: “naked turkish moustache men”.  I like that one, in fact, I am going to Google that right now and see what comes up.  (Edit:  DON’T GOOGLE THAT!).  “I am selfish” – I think maybe this is a running theme with my blog.  How about “Let’s have sex tonight” – hey, I just met you, and this is crazy but here’s my number … um, no thank you but it is definitely nice to be asked.  “Ball busting bitch”.  The triple “B” threat.  This one is also obviously about me.  I don’t know how Google sends these people my way but my definite favourite search term would have to be “mersin hate sad cookies”.  This one just shouts out my name doesn’t it?  I did actually also Google “mersin hate sad cookies” and had to scroll through about 30 pages of rubbish before I found myself so whoever that searcher was must have really, really – REALLY – wanted to find me!  And anyway just who hates cookies in Mersin anyway and why would someone who hates cookies in Mersin want to Google it and make their way through pages of crap before coming across my page?  And just precisely why are the cookies sad?  Who made them sad?  Who the feck are these people that make the cookies sad?  To hell with them!

Finally I have received so many lovely messages from you guys.  I want to thank you all.  If you do ever find yourself in Mersin please look me up, well unless you were the one that Googled “mersin hate sad cookies” anyway.

Here’s to another 100!

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So this just happened …

Daughter had me edit this post as I had originally said there was 312 water balloons.  She explained to me in earnest that I should not lie on the internet.  There is in fact 450 water balloons!  So starting now …

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Daughter just returned from the market with 450 water balloons.  The old bloke at the market must have thought she was quite mad.  450 balloons seems a like a lot of work what with the filling them and then the pesky tying of the knots.  I don’t envy that job!  But she seems intent of arming our house – just in case.

water-balloons

Me:  “Just in case of what?”

Daughter:  “Zombie apocalypse”.

Me:  “In the Village?”

“Daughter:  “Sure.  I mean it makes sense.  Around here I sometimes wonder whether it’s already started.”

I just spat out my mouthful of red!  So wasteful!

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The Turk really is a bit of a prenses!

Back for less than a day and The Turk is already driving me to distraction.  For those of you who know The Turk personally know that he is one of those people who must be doing something – anything – constantly.  Being an invalid really doesn’t work for him HOWEVER being a fecking prenses when he is hasta is something that he does with great success.

Heart

So right now The Turk has a dilly of a predicament.  Daughter and I have arrived home from London with 3 suitcases that need to duly be unpacked, cleaned and then put away until next time.  So this is where the predicament comes in.  Does he tidy up the mess that Daughter and I leave in our wake or does he lie on the couch clutching his pillow to his chest and yelling “Allah” to anyone who will listen and let Daughter and I tidy up at our own pace?  The mess is sending him quite deli but as the doktor has told him he cannot carry anything more than 1 kilogram he is unable to really do anything about it – well other than complain that is – so the mess will need to wait until I have finished catching up on the finale of Game of Thrones. (Edit – Holy crap Jon Snow)!

He is working that 1 kilogram rule pretty well to his advantage as well.  He cannot carry any groceries.  He cannot pick up My Hurley Dog’s panda chew toy.  He cannot pick up that bread crumb that fell from his mouth.  Yes peeps literally everything falls under the 1 kilogram rule in accordance with his Doctor’s orders (and yet he still sneaks upstairs for a cigarette and thinks I don’t know).

For a bit of fun I am currently conducting an experiment of great scientific importance.  Currently residing on my bedroom floor is a small piece of paper, no more than about 3 centimetres in length.  This innocent piece of paper is literally driving The Turk quite insane.  He wants to pick it up.  He tries to pick it up.  He screams at the paper but the paper choses to wisely ignore his stream of insults.  I am taking bets as to how long that piece of paper lies on the floor before The Turk gets on his hands and knees and retrieves it.  I could, I mean I guess I could, you know, pick.it.up but … nah, it is definitely more entertaining this way.

With Daughter and I were away The Turk obviously drove the rest of the family up the wall with his demands as they were so happy to see us when we arrived home.  Last night my sister in law literally cried when she walked through the door!  I believe that he was quite the bastard to all of them and I must say that I was so glad that we have been away though the worst of it as I don’t think our relationship would ever have survived that kind of behaviour!  In case you are wondering I was with The Turk during his stay in the hospital but after discussions with both The Turk and his family (and taking into account our recent less than stellar relationship) we decided is was better for all concerned (and my sanity) that Daughter and I continued with our trip to Londra.

I have said before that The Turk is morphing into his father and now having spent the past 24 hours in his company I declare that I am absolutely right.  I remember watching my mother in law arguing with her husband and I used to think it was hilarious.  She would yell and he would ignore her.  Now I realise that what was really happening was that I was looking at my future.  I yell and The Turk ignores me.

Feck my life!

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Seriously speaking though The Turk had his by-pass surgery at Aci Badem Hastanesi in Adana.  The hospital was very clean, The Turk had a private room and he himself said that the standard of treatment was as good if not better than his stay in hospital in Sydney.  I understand (although you should confirm this yourself) that even though the hospital is ozel (Private) they will deal with cancer patients AND heart patients for next to nothing.  The Turk spent a grand total of 13TL for the initial appointment (yes we also have private cover).  There are Aci Badem hospitals all around Turkiye.

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*Knock, knock* Hello?

You might not have noticed but I haven’t posted for a while.  Why have I been so neglectful?  Why, oh why, have I left you, my dear followers and friends, hanging for the next episode of action packed drama that is living in Mersin?  Well to be honest I haven’t been particularly happy recently.

The Turk and I have been fighting – a lot – and not just a little scrap here and there, no, we have been having a few smack down whoopings that a stoned Hulk Hogan atop a wrecking ball could be proud of.

hulk hogan

Yes.  Seriously.  This is the current synopsis of our relationship.  I am not sure if I am Hulk Hogan or perhaps the wrecking ball and I never thought I would see the day that I had to quote Miley Cyrus but over the past weeks and months all The Turk has really achieved is to “wreck me”.

I am not really sure where it all began but since The Turk returned from Australia (after his heart attack) he has had difficulty settling back into the village way of life.  He has found fault in everything and everyone (including me) and has made me feel that our relationship is irretrievably broken.  To add insult to injury, and despite the fact that the first heart attack should have scared him straight, he has not changed his diet or his habits and in early June was admitted into hospital to have a triple by-pass.  Officially he now resembles Frankenstein’s Monster.

Adding to these current woes and health issues is me being diagnosed with “abnormal cervical cells” which has required treatment.  My doctor speaks pretty good English, although when he laughs he sounds a little like a hyena on crack, but I am relatively confident with the treatment that I have had and I go back next week for another check.  Fingers crossed that the treatment destroyed all the cells and nice, happy, non-cancerous cells have grown in their place.

There have been a few moments over these months that I have sat on the couch in tears and a few moments where I have wanted to pack my bags and flee back to Australia but I cannot because Daughter is so happy here (although I need to update you guys on her most recent boy drama when I get a chance).  Being that I am officially (yes it is officially) the Best Mum In The World I also took her to Londra in June for her birthday to a “5SOS” concert.  For those of you who have no clue what a “5SOS” is you should Google them because apparently Daughter is going to marry either the Lead Singer (who I suspect could be a world class tool) or the Bass Player (who reminds me of a dopey puppy).  The concert itself wasn’t too shabby, they reminded me of a very young INXS, although a little more polished than the INXS that played at Manly Vale Hotel back in the 1980’s.  I also got some shopping done in Londra so it was a pretty successful trip for both of us.

5sos

We also chuffed off to Rome for a week which was lovely (although the restoration work on the Trevi Fountain is STILL NOT finished!  How fecking long does it take?) and finally for a break in Istanbul.

As you can see there should be quite a bit to blog about but my sadness and health concerns have unfortunately overtaken my mental functions and writing proved very difficult over the past weeks.  I will be back to writing a little more often and hopefully I will return to a more comedic writing style which is how I would normally feel.  I am also going to re-jiggy the blog a little bit as I have had a lot of requests for more touristic information on Mersin (as there is limited information out there) and its surrounds so if I go off-line in the near future don’t distress it is merely my ridiculous attempts of navigating the web page tools (which will no doubt prove to be a little difficult for my pea-sized intellect).

And in case you are wondering yes The Turk is still smoking!

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Driving Miss Janey

I recently started driving here in Mersin having purchased a brand spanking new, beyaz (of course) Nissan Juke.  I am finally an independent woman and can get out and about without having to catch 1, 2 or more dolmuş.  This has the added bonus of being less likely to be sneezed on, kidnapped or generally treated like a second class citizen while travelling on the public buses here.

Speed-Limits

Because I am a kind and thoughtful blogger I have put together a few helpful hints for those of you who intend on driving here in Türkiye:

  1. When driving on the road use your horn – all the time. It seems that we have been wrongly instructed to only use the horn sparingly.  Fallacy!  Use your horn to show how happy you are, or how sad you are, or even how horny you are (get it.  horn/horny).  Rarely the horn is used to in agitation.  Better to use your horn than your brakes (after all the horn will last longer).
  2. Pedestrian crossings are not actually for pedestrians. These black and white zebra style markings on the road is in fact a sign for us, the driver, to speed up.  If some fool does try and cross my best suggestion would be to aim right for him.  This has a two-fold effect.    You get where you are going faster; and 2.  You help him get a cardio workout.  In fact you are doing him a favour and he will no doubt smile and wave to you when he reaches the other side of the road.  This has happened to me often.  The Turk tells me it is not waving but that is neither here nor there.
  3. When at a red light you are at liberty to disregard such red light.  Instead you should think of your car as a chess piece and it is now your move.  Manoeuvre your chess piece to the front of the lights so when the lights turn green (or orange) you can shoot out like Mario Andretti.  If you do not play chess then be prepared to start using that horn (as mentioned above) and hit it as soon as the light change to show how happy you are.
  4. Left or right side of the road?   Either.  Whatever.
  5. Feel free to ignore those silly signs on the side of the road. You know the ones 50, 70 or even 120.  These signs are not actually the speed limits they are signs that indicate how many pedestrians have successfully made it to the other side of the road (true!).  The numbers never change because making it successfully across is a pipe dream.
  6. Another rule that was drilled into us while we were learner drivers and that should be totally disregarded here is using your mobile phone. In fact I stress to you that you must use your mobile while driving.  Multi-tasking is a skill that should be utilised by you.  I find that while driving you merely point your car in the direction that you want it to go and continue your chatting on your mobile or texting your cousin.  Allah will get you to your destination.  Or not.

Bonus hint – Seatbelts are an optional extra.  Merely a suggestion by the manufacturer.  And if you, like me, have a new car with that pesky alarm warning you of your impending death should you not wear your seat belt merely lock the seatbelt in place before you sit down (as suggested to me by my brother in law).

* Disclaimer:  Some days my humor is lost on The Turk and so, on his advice, I disclose that this post should not be construed as instructions on the driving laws here in Türkiye or in any other country.  You should always adhere to road rules in the country that you are visiting or live in and here in Türkiye “road rules” means “no rules” LOL!

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CSI Cyber – Turkish Edition

I have now watched a couple of episodes of this new CSI show and I think I am more than qualified to investigate “the Great Turkish Blackout of 2015”.

After lengthy investigation I have 3 main suspects:

  1. A terrorist plot. Who could it be?  Bilmiyorum.
  2. A pimply faced 12 year old boy trying to obtain the schematics of NASA’s space station for his bedroom wall … oh wait wrong program.
  3. Türkiye forgot to pay the electric bill – most likely.

collage 1

Here’s what I know.

I went into the city yesterday to meet some friends for lunch.  There was no electricity in the village.  I shrug my shoulders (there is never any electricity in the village).  As I reached Çarşı there is no electricity there either.  Oh well.  I catch my next dolmuş and continue through Mersin.  Pozcu – no electricity.   At this point I am like “Woah all of Mersin!  Sucked in!”.  As I reached Mezitli and my destination and there was still no electricity I realised “damn lunch is going to be cancelled” but no – bless Mersin Marina for their own electricity supply!

Lunch was lovely.  I drank too much and got too much sun.  I suffer for that now.

One friend from Adana told me her electricity was out too.  “How funny is that?  Two cities, no electricity”.

I finally got home completely sloshed and feeling no pain but there was still no bloody electricity.  The Turk informed me that the electricity was, in fact, out all over Turkey including Istanbul and Ankara and that it was a terrorist plot or a military coup.  My first thought was “Yikes”.  My second thought “that movie War Games”.  Do you know the one?  Matthew Broderick starred in it, like, 50 years ago or something, and he nearly started WWIII with the click of a mouse button.  Someone should check the whereabouts of Matthew Broderick.

Officially Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said all possible causes were under investigation “including terrorism”.  Conveniently enough President Erdogan was out of the country as was the Electricity Minister.

It has suggested to me that it was an April Fools joke.  That’s seems to be a pretty elaborate joke, well done to you, however check your calendar before you pull a prank you goose!

We finally got our electric back but not before The Turk suggested we make our own – bada bing bada boom.  Daughter said that the electrical outage was “a current event”.  You see we are all fecking comedians in this household!

My CSI investigation is still underway so keep checking back for when I finally arrest my suspect.  It will be exciting.  Seriously though, if Turkiye did forget to pay the electric bill someone should diarise this shit because it was bloody inconvenient yesterday.

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