The Great Plastic Bag Debate

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!).

recycling 1

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.

turkish actor 1

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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Lemon of Troy

“And, with that, a mighty cheer went up from the heroes of Shelbyville. They had banished the awful lemon tree forever…because it was haunted. Now, let’s all celebrate with a cool glass of turnip juice.”

Strong words from the Shelbyville elder but here in Turkiye a cool glass of şalgam suyu really is just the thing to fix what ails ya!

Simpsons turnip

Let me tell you last night I visited a neighbour’s house and, after some discussion about my recent illness, I found myself being served rakı along with a large glass of şalgam suyu (turnip juice).  The look on The Turk’s face was priceless.  He knew I was going to have difficulty chugging both of these drinks down but chug them down I did because it would be considered rude to not do so.  I can see why they are served together.  The strong anise flavour of the rakı very much complimented the overly salty salgam but for me together or separate both drinks are very much hard for me to swallow.

Turnip Juice?  Seriously?

Yes indeed folks, although it is called şalgam suyu this little concoction is more correctly made with fermented carrots (yes I said that) as well as water, salt and bulgur flour.  Don’t get me wrong there is also turnip in the mix but it is only a very small amount.  During summer there are vendor’s all over Çarşı selling this famous concoction (which actually originates from the Mersin/Adana/Hatay region) and you know they are there before you see them by his unique music made by tapping the ladles to his own beat and singing at the top of his lungs.

In fact Adana even goes so far as to have a festival in honour of the wonderous şalgam.  The Adana Kebap ve Şalgam Festival, emerged from the tradition of enjoying kebab, with liver, şalgam and rakı. Originally it was called the Adana Rakı Festival but organisers had to change the name because of pressure from conservative anti-alcohol groups who wanted the Festival cancelled.

You can practically insert Mrs Lovejoy’s shrieks here, “But what about the children?!”

Oh and for those who want to know.  It is apparently good for you with vitamin B, potassium, calcium and iron.  It will help you lose weight, relieve stress and is an aphrodisiac.

turnip juice

I’m not sure if I will partake in a rakışalgam suyu throwdown again anytime soon but methinks this might be more to the stellar hangover than the freaky taste sensation.

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December Shines

My thoughts today are very cruisey and I certainly don’t want to be cooped up indoors on such a glorious day so this post will be short and sweet.

december

How’s your day faring?  Mine has, so far, been excellent.  Daughter is at school where she seems to be sitting a neverending run of exams, The Turk is taking the neighbour’s Rottweiler for a walk (because they keep him chained up all day long) and I find myself, yet again, on my terrace taking in the sunshine with My Kedi Cat.

I really should get off my bum and get a few things done, I haven’t even put up the Christmas tree yet or finished buying presents.  There has been some discussion that I am, perhaps, a Christmas lightweight although I think that was made abundantly clear last weekend with my dismal failure to keep up at the Köln Christmas markets.

Alright.  Up and at ’em.  I have been eyeing off the pazı (chard) growing in the bahçe opposite and am thinking a little sarma is on the cards for tonight’s dinner.  Yum.

So whereever you are today and whatever it is that you are doing have a great one!

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I have feet issues

Not in a “I have a foot fetish and they get me hot” way more in a “ewww get those nasty things away from me” way.  It’s not a hate.  Hate is a strong word.  I just really don’t like naked feet touching my stuff.  Worse than naked feet touching my stuff is other people’s naked feet touching my stuff. 

feet

In Turkey it is customary that you remove your shoes before entering someone’s home.  I get it, I really do.  There is a lot of dust and germs outside and you want to keep your pristine home as pristine as possible.  When you visit someone’s home you are welcomed with a hearty hoş geldiniz and your host will place a pair of slippers at your feet.  This. Makes. Me. Shudder!  I look at those slippers at my naked feet and I wonder what awaits me.  I mean how many other feet have been in these slippers?  How many other dirty, sweaty, smelly tootsies have been subjected to sharing their dirty, sweaty, smelly selves with my feet.  It’s a foot gang-bang.

Hygienically I am pretty sure you should not share shoes, when I was a kid my mum drilled it into me a hundred times!  “You never know where their foot has been!” was her catchcry.  It’s true though, you do never know where their foot has been.

We have all seen those ads on television, you know the ones with the festy toe and then miraculously the toe (with the help of some wonderous cream) becomes beautiful and no longer something that previously could have been found on Golan’s foot!  They have these ads on all the time here in Turkey, even the advertisers know that you shouldn’t share your slippers.

Daughter had some friends over the other day and in order to escape I took My Hurley Dog for a walk.  Upon my return I went to put my slippers on.  MY slippers.  My slippers do not live in the slipper box.  My slippers are segregated from all other slippers so that they are not violated by unknown feet.  My slippers are not to be passed around like a . . .  well you get my drift.  My slippers are wholesome and untarnished and for my dirty, sweaty, smelly feet alone.  But upon my return from walking with My Hurley Dog my slippers were not in their usual segregated spot.  I stealthy scanned the feet of the tweens in my living room.  Aarrghhhh!  

Someone is wearing my virgin slippers.  I tried to bring it to Daughter’s attention that one of her friends were wearing my slippers but she was oblivious to my plight or perhaps she was ignoring me, well aware of her friend’s infraction.  I looked in my slipper basket at all the other pairs that were available.  Yes we have an abundance of slippers available.  Do I put on a pair?  No.  I can’t do it!  Ewww.  

I am aware that I am sounding slightly unhinged at this point and I know I cannot say anything to the little 12 year old girl sitting on the floor, eating popcorn and singing along to some Turkish pop song with Daughter and her friends.  I did watch her swanning around in my slippers for a long time though.  I probably frightened her a little with my glare.  I am obviously going to have to keep an eye on this one.  I wonder if I could encourage Daughter to un-friend her.  She is obviously devious, I mean after all who goes searching for slippers where there is a box of slippers right in front of her?

Yes she definitely needs to be unfriended.  Pronto!