Debbie (Darling) had arranged a private boat trip for a few friends, including us, on Thursday 28th October with Captain Turgay. His boat is certainly one of the livelier ones and is renowned for having more of a party atmosphere, than a relaxing scenic day out. My arm really ached this morning from the jab but I had no other side effects at all and my parents arrived at mine early and excited for the boat trip. We were very lucky to have gorgeous weather and it looked to be a lovely day out with friends. The attendees were Debbie (Darling), Ann, me, Mom, Dad, Sue, Pamela and Mark, 2 of them had been drinking until the small hours this morning and were either still drunk or hungover. Debbie (Darling) had called for a beer on the way and had one as soon as she got on the boat – she’s hardcore!
We went down the river to the back of the beach where my parents and I got off the boat and went for a short walk to the sea. Dad had a bit of a dip but we didn’t and we saw friends Ray and Phil who were with the Riverbums, clearing litter from the area. I missed joining them this year but my leg still wasn’t good enough to be able to walk far or get on and off the boat for litter collecting, I’d even needed help to get off of Turgay’s boat to go on to the beach. We spotted 2 pairs of children’s shoes and wondered what had happened to the owners, had they forgotten the shoes or was there a more sinister reason for the shoes being left?
I hadn’t bothered with breakfast and my first drink of the day was bang on midday – a glass of white wine and soda back on the boat. Mark and Turgay had a crab which looked like it was smiling, there was a big turtle in the water and I struggled to get a good photo of it but it was swimming really near to the boat and my Mom once she got in, luckily it didn’t try to bite her bum. We had a boozy day, a great lunch and some good tunes to dance to. The buffet lunch consisted of meatballs, chicken, cornbread, broccoli, amazing garlic mushrooms, salads and great chips – it was as delicious as always. Turgay even caught fish with his bare hands but he let them go by throwing them at Debbie (Darling). Pamela was getting a flight back that night (and wasn’t drinking) so when we returned to Dalyan for us to get off there was an option to stay on the boat to go to the lake. We had already agreed to leave to meet friends that night for dinner and my mom was worried that my dad would be too drunk and injure himself so we left all the rest of them heading up to the lake to get right on it.
We decided to stop off for 1 more drink at Tez bar where people were coming out for a pre-dinner drink and it was pretty clear we were already sozzled and would be going nowhere later. We saw Penny and Phil who were with friends and arranged to join them tomorrow for music bingo at Lukka which was now a regular hobby! Having realised we were too drunk to do anything else with the evening we ended up changing our plans and getting a pizza at Pizza 48 instead. The pizzas were great and I took some of mine home so I could have the rest for breakfast tomorrow.
I was excited to be getting my 1st Pfizer vaccine on Wednesday 27th October at the Dalyan clinic, just along the river. I arrived 5 minutes early just as the nurse was going off for a sit down with her cup of Turkish tea. The weather forecast had said cloudier today but by the time my appointment of 9.30am was due, it was sunny and a few of us were stood outside. The nurse said to come back at 10am so I said I will wait where I was, then the doctor, who I had seen a couple of times now, said 10 minutes. After 7 minutes we were called in to the waiting area inside the clinic and I had to give my phone number and my residency number to a woman who put it in to her phone and then was going to vaccinate me while standing up in the small queue – I’m a natural fainter so I asked to sit down. My bum had barely got on the seat and I was done and told to leave, they don’t mess about in Dalyan. There is no receipt or card given out, I asked what date I could have the 2nd one and was told to come back in 4 weeks. I walked home and made myself a turkey ham sandwich for brunch. I was extremely happy to have got my 1st Turkish vaccine. By 10.20am my arm ached already, it felt very heavy and I started to get tired before 12. My parents popped round to see how I was and I said I’d take a nap while they went to Jiks for lunch and I had decided to have curry and rice for dinner tonight so would stay in and take it easy because we had plans for tomorrow. I managed to eat my dinner and go to bed early. I was just nodding off to sleep when the nearby Jazz bar started playing very loud music which would go on for some time!
When I woke up on Tuesday 26th October I knew it was going to be a good day, my shoulder was much better and the cyst was only producing a very small amount of clear liquid. The building site next door was at the concrete floor pouring stage today which was interesting to watch. I had my breakfast outside in the sun on the balcony and read in the news that the Vietnamese daily Corona cases were down to 3,600 per day and 65 deaths – much better than before.
My stomach was still not great but I was able to function and went to meet Ann, Ali and Sharon (all Jamie’s friends) at Lukka bar. I just had a drink but they all ordered lunch which looked great. In the afternoon Debbie (Darling) came to meet me and we went to the Dalyan clinic to ask if we could have a Corona vaccination. The doctor told me that they only vaccinate in groups of 5 or 6 so I should come back tomorrow for the Pfizer vaccine at 9.30am but unfortunately she told Debbie (Darling) that she didn’t need a third one because here they are only vaccinating up to 2 jabs and no boosters yet so I was lucky to get booked in. This was all great news and it fitted with my plans for me to be classed as vaccinated in Vietnam, Turkey and the UK so all would be fine for my visit (and return) to England in December with 3 days spare after the 14 days since my 2nd Pfizer vaccine! I walked back along the river to Lukka bar for a wine, a last drink with Jamie’s mates as Ali and Sharon were heading home tomorrow, it was a nice civilised afternoon with a lovely evening out planned.
I had booked a table for 6 of us at Egehan Boutique hotel for dinner with Maddie, Angela and Nick and as an added bonus Onur was playing live music there. I’d not been before, I had heard good things about the food and it was one of Maddie’s favourite restaurants in Dalyan. The place itself is very lovely with an intimate fine dining kind of vibe going on and excellent toilets. The tables were by the pool and the menu was quite fancy but not particularly expensive, we all decided to have wine and most of us had starters. We got a cute little amuse bouche to get us going with some fancy bread crackers, I had prawns to start, Dad and Nick had chicken soup and Mom had what looked like an amazing octopus dish. Most of us went for the steak for mains except for Dad who fancied a spot of salmon. The wine and chat flowed easily, the music from Onur was delightful and really made the night special with some expertly chosen numbers which Onur knew were Dad’s favourites. Maddie amazed us with her rendition of Valerie as she’s got a lovely singing voice. As the night cooled down and Dad tried the crème brûlée for dessert I got one of the blankets with toddles on, which I absolutely loved as they were so cosy. My stomach wasn’t too good still so I had to limit the amount of wine I had to just a couple of glasses but I really enjoyed the evening and I definitely would like to eat there again. We walked home with a stray dog following us, as is often the case on the streets of Dalyan. He was such a cutie and when he picked up a discarded disposable mask off the street I told him to drop it and he did – he was probably a pet that had been dumped.
By the time I got up on Monday 25th October I was feeling a bit better and quite hungry. Despite the 5 or 6 imodium tablets and a Gastropulgite yesterday, my stomach was still not good but I forced down my dinner from last night. It was very nice but it didn’t stay in my stomach and I had to have a little rest and drink lots of water. It was a cloudy day and I wanted to go to the bank but I couldn’t risk being away from a bathroom for long enough. Mom had suggested we should go somewhere cheap for dinner as we had been going out quite a lot but when we referred to the list of places we still haven’t tried my parents thought we could give Caretta Caretta restaurant a try. It’s named after the famous turtles but they don’t eat turtle here and it’s situated in the square near to the mosque. When we arrived the restaurant was very busy and had lots of families in, I decided to have a glass of red wine, hoping my stomach could handle it. The menu is vast and so Dad and I weren’t sure what to choose at first, Mom ordered lamb chops and I thought trying traditional Turkish dishes would be a good idea. Dad ordered the Çeltik kebab which was beef and chicken on a bed of chipstick style fried potatoes in a tomato sauce and I had the beyti kebab which was meatballs wrapped in bread and covered in tomato sauce. We were given complimentary lavaş (balloon bread) which I only had a very small amount of because of my stomach. Mom enjoyed her meal and said the lamb chops were beautiful and tender, Dad wasn’t keen on his as he said the tomato sauce was too sweet for him and had maybe chose the wrong dish. My beyti kebab was nice and I liked that it came with a side salad and nice chips and rice, the tomato sauce was a bit too sweet for me too but I still enjoyed the meal. After eating I suggested a drink at Bistro Blue and we had a couple sat outside there, even though it was starting to be a bit colder at night now, 19°C.
After 34 days of eating all the things I thought I could be allergic to, without much reaction, I thought I was safe to go on a full day trip on Sunday 24th October – I would be very wrong! When I woke up I saw some news from Vietnam and was glad to hear from Captain Caveman that everyone in Phong Nha was safe, unfortunately people in Tam Ky hadn’t been so lucky – here’s the article: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/society/20211024/vietnamese-province-evacuates-2500-residents-due-to-floods-landslides/63742.html. In Dalyan we were very lucky as the weather was dry and it was meant to be hot later in the day but at 8am it was pretty chilly, as I got ready for my pick up for the Mediterranean Highlights trip with Volkan Adventures. Our friend, Murat, picked me up and there was already a couple in the minibus. The next stop was to pick up ma & pa who were also very excited for this trip as it included a visit to Patara, where none of us had been before, and was also the last one of this particular trip for the year. We continued to pick up the rest of the customers which included a family of 7, a single lady and our friend, John. Then we were off for our short drive to the first stop which was for a hearty Turkish breakfast in a nice little spot. When we arrived Murat explained that we were early and the staff were getting our breakfast ready so we had a bit of time to take some photos. The sun wasn’t out yet and so we were all a bit cold, this was the coldest I’d been for a while and I had to put dad’s jumper on over my hoody, while John got out his travel towel and a buff. We sat at the breakfast table and we all got a hot drink just to warm our hands up and then the food started to come, there was a lot of it. I had a precautionary Gastropulgite sachet in case anything gave me a bad reaction then I tried a spinach filo pastry, a small amount of cheese, honey, jams, bread, chips and a savoury doughnut type of thing and it was all very lovely. Unfortunately my stomach decided this was the time to not accept such a feast of a breakfast and I was feeling a bit out of sorts after 2 toilet visits before we left for our next stop.
Unfortunately, the main highlight of the Mediterranean Highlights trip was closed. Murat explained that we were no longer able to visit Patara ancient town or beach and so our next stop was going to be Kalkan. I’d not been before and it had been some years since ma & pa had visited the town so we were a little disappointed but still fine as we know Murat and Volkan’s tours are usually really good. We hadn’t been travelling long when Murat stopped the minibus and went to a small shop to get waters and a sweet treat for everyone. I followed him for an impromptu toilet visit in the staff squat toilet which I was very grateful for, my bad leg wasn’t such a fan though. I felt a bit better and took one of mom’s imodium instant tablets, even though I’d already had one of my normal ones. A bit further along the journey we had a quick stop at the roadside to admire a view, by which time my mom said I looked grey and I felt terrible. I got off as I thought I might be sick and wasn’t sure whether I should ask to stay there and get a taxi to come to take me home while the others continued on. Murat reassured me that it wouldn’t be a problem to continue on and they would stop at any (or every) services they could for if I needed the toilet. The next couple of stops had very good western style facilities which I took full advantage of, all had toilet paper and soap, one even had toilet seat liners, but I wasn’t feeling any better. As everyone had a complimentary choc-ice I had to head back in to the toilets and this time I was vomitting. On the bus I put my mask on, had my hoody on and tried to sleep for a bit, but I felt cold even though the temperature was warm.
When we got to Kalkan it was a picture postcard type of town with very steep winding streets and a harbour, the beach was pebbled and it was nice and sunny as we headed to a restaurant called Gusto for our (included) lunch. Obviously, I could barely look at the menu so I had just a soda water and no lunch while my parents ordered a beer each and chicken wraps for their’s. Next to me were the grandparents of the family, who both had a mussel casserole (that didn’t help my sickly feeling one bit) and the mother of the family sat opposite me, had calamari. Others ate halloumi salad, pasta, noodles and generally everything I thought best to avoid. Although lunch was included the drinks were not and so when my mom went to pay for the beers and soda I was astonished that the beer was 45 lira (£3.44) and the soda 20 lira!!! This was almost twice the price of Dalyan and so rather than go somewhere else for drinks we decided to walk to the beach. Because both me and mom have bad legs we found it hard to walk on the pebbles so we decided not to go in the sea, Dad was going to but then he changed his mind and left the beach. I’d popped my shorts on and so had to hurry to catch up, then we walked back to where we started and bumped in to John. We had a little saunter along the harbour front, John got an ice-cream, I felt ill still but now there wasn’t really any going back and I didn’t want to ruin the day for my parents so we decided to carry on. I had more toilet visits and imodium, thinking I’d not be able to go for a week after this but they just weren’t working. One of the ladies on the trip said it could be the Norovirus which had been going round and I thought she might be right at first, or food poisoning but everyone ate the same and they were all fine.
I managed to get to Kaş where Murat lead us on some steep streets and we had a little tour of the lovely town. He also pointed out a meeting spot for later and gave us free time to do what we liked. I thought I’d try to check out some ideas for a girls weekend away as everyone was up for a visit to Kaş but I didn’t get very far as I found it harder on my leg than I thought I would. I found it difficult to concentrate on finding a place to go for a drink because I was trying to will myself to feel better too. My Dad’s eyesight was ok but he wasn’t forthcoming with suggestions and my Mom just said it’s up to us – all I wanted was to lay down and sleep! A lot of the places on the front were very pricey so we decided to go down the back streets but lots of places weren’t serving alcohol. Eventually I spotted a gorgeous little place called Frida’s and we plonked ourselves down. My parents had a couple of beers at a more reasonable price of 32 lira each and I avoided alcohol again. From there we had a short walk to the meeting point and then we walked to the bus as a group, we drove about 10 minutes to where everyone (but me) would eat our evening meal.
When we arrived it was clear that there would have been time better spent if we had got there an hour or so earlier as the sun was just setting and it was a lovely alcove beach with a nice spot for swimming. Some of the family on the trip still went in the sea but it was too dark to see where we were going for me and Dad. I had started to feel like I could probably eat but I had a word with Murat to ask if it would be possible to get my dinner (also included in the trip) to takeaway, which of course was fine. It was like torture for me when I had to dish out food to the others on the table and I really wanted to eat the garlic prawns but of course it wasn’t worth the risk – I had a 3 hour drive back to survive yet. As the evening was drawing to a close Volkan and his dance partner did us a few dances and they were pretty impressive. I drank only soda water (a bargain 5 lira) and willed myself to be able to make the minibus ride home without incident. At this last place, which was 10 minutes outside of Kaş, the drinks were normal prices and the food looked delicious, by this time I was looking forward to eating some of my doggy bag when I got home. The drive home was uneventful and we arrived back in Dalyan just before midnight – I was so ready for bed but I ate 2 small cubes of chicken shish, a slice of bread and some salad before bed. The cost of the day trip was £75 but it was a shame I had been too poorly to really enjoy it and I was disappointed that we didn’t get to see Patara. We even joked that instead of a Mediterranean Highlights blog, I would be writing a bog blog about this day! I looked forward to next season when we could enjoy some more of Volkan Adventures trips and be in better health.
On Saturday 23rd October I was very hungover, more building work was going on next door and I could have done without the sound of metal bars being cut and hammered into place. I joined my parents for the usual walk to the market where I bought the following items; Radishes Grapes Baby potatoes Plums Dragon fruit
The total spent was 66 lira (£5) of which about 50 lira (£3.80) was for the big dragon fruits – very expensive compared to only 5 lira for a lot of grapes. It was the opposite to Vietnam, where grapes are expensive and dragon fruit is cheap. I needed a hangover breakfast so I suggested we go to Jiks and it was well received by ma & pa. They both had tuna sandwiches, as they had already had breakfast but I had a bacon and mushroom sandwich which was so good! I managed to get on the E-devlet app, which had crashed yesterday, but once in it, I had no idea how to navigate the different sections so I gave up. For lunch I had plums, grapes, cheese, olives and some bread and then I decided to try something new for dinner – mushroom risotto made in the slow cooker and without wine or cheese in it! The risotto turned out pretty well and I enjoyed 2 portions of it! Today had been a nice easy-going day of recovery, ready for tomorrow’s excitement, as we were off on a day trip.
My weekend did not start out as I’d expected or hoped for, at all! On Friday 22nd October I had been in Turkey 1 whole month and had been able to indulge in all the food I wanted to, so of course the weight and centimetres were going to follow – I was 1 kg heavier than when I arrived in Turkey which isn’t bad at all. I was also going to get retested for allergies but I had to eat everything for at least 6 weeks in order to get an accurate result. I didn’t have any breakfast because I had a very important appointment in Muğla with Sonuç for my residency application. The workmen next door were already working early as I waited for Sonuç outside, he was on time and it felt cold. We had all our paperwork in order and after a long drive we arrived and I went in to the building. I had to show my HES code at the security on the door and give my name, Sonuç wasn’t allowed in and was on the end of a phonecall for if there were any questions as I sat in the waiting room. I never went in to the meeting room and the immigration man came out to me, looked over the paperwork, asked some questions about it and then went away. When he came back he said that they couldn’t agree to give me residency without more paperwork from the owner of the property. We got Sonuç on the phone and they spoke at length and I left with all my paperwork and tears in my eyes. There was already another girl blubbing away and I’d given her my tissues, while her mother consoled her.
Sonuç was waiting for me outside the Muğla immigration building as I left my residency appointment feeling upset and worried. Without the residency permit I am only allowed to stay in Turkey for 90 days (which would take me to 21st December) and then I’m not allowed to return for a further 90 days. This meant that when I leave Turkey for England in December I would not be allowed in to Turkey again until March. All sorts of concerns were going through my head about where I would be able to live as I can not afford to move back to the UK, my money is in a Turkish bank and the lira is so high at the moment that when I convert any of it to English it loses about half the value it was when I put it in the bank. It just wasn’t an option and neither was returning to Vietnam, as the country is still closed to tourists. Sonuç was calm and was looking at a piece of paper which the immigration officer had put in to my document wallet. He explained to me that we could come back and they would accept me if we could provide officially stamped copies of the extra documents they asked for. Sonuç said it was the only way and it had to be done now or the application would be denied and that would be it! After a couple of phonecalls and adding more stress to a friend who agreed to help me we were on for getting the extra paperwork and I was so overwhelmed I didn’t know what to say. We waited at a cafe where we got some breakfast and a hot beverage and before an hour had passed my friend had done everything we had asked, she had emailed the required documents at the stationers to Sonuç and we were driving to find a shop with a printer. When I went back in to the immigration office I had to wait a little while as it was fairly busy and I was so nervous, the official who I saw previously was there but my file was given to another man. After what was the longest 30 minutes of my life he came back and asked if I was requesting 1 or 2 years and took all of the papers away with him. Another 10 minutes later, if that, he came out with my official paper to say I had been accepted and that my residency card would arrive in 4 weeks, he kept all the documents and that was it. I was still sat there in shock and he had to tell me we were finished. Outside, Sonuç was waiting and we took a selfie, he even posted on Facebook that Dalyan was now stuck with me for 2 years!!! We were so happy and the drive back towards Dalyan was chirpy!
Our next stop was in Ortaca, back to the Devlet hospital to see the doctor about my cyst. By the time we got there the temperature had gone from 12°C to 32°C and I was hot. We couldn’t see the doctor because he was in surgery and the nurse wasn’t confident she would be able to give me the right advice so recommended we come back. We drove back to Dalyan and straight to Lukka bar where Sonuç had a tea and I ordered a celebratory red wine. I didn’t drink it yet as I now needed to go to the post office to get a password for an app on my phone called e-Devlet which is used for residents to book doctors appointments and access other apps for adding proof of vaccines in. I paid 2 lira and got a password then tootled back to Lukka where Ann had now joined us to help me celebrate. Once Sonuç had sorted the app out it crashed and we had to leave it in favour of celebrations that our stressful mornings were behind us. Sonuç had to go and I said thank you and farewell, I’m definitely glad I used him to do the residency or I would not have managed to have got accepted and he’s much calmer than me in a crisis. We ordered a Lukka bar lunch, Ann’s prawn spaghetti looked great and I had a gorgeous chicken and mushroom pasta dish.
More wines flowed in the afternoon and then my parents were passing and came to join us. After 1 more drink with them at Lukka we decided to go for dinner at Geçit restaurant, a firm favourite from previous years and one that our friend, Arif, had introduced us to. We had the complimentary lavaş with garlic butter, some olives to nibble on and a bottle of wine. Dad ordered soup, Mom had cheese rolls and I had garlic mushrooms for our starters, which were all lovely. For mains my parents both chose the lamb shank (Dad’s with mash, Mom’s with chips) which looked fantastic and they enjoyed it. I had an excellent pepper steak and I was so full that I could hardly finish the wine, also really good.
To finish off the celebrating of me becoming a Dalyan resident we went back to Lukka bar for the music bingo night where we sat at an indoor table next to the pool table and had a right old laugh and more booze. Mom won the 2nd round prize which was a liquid hand soap from Maizie Moo which was very lucky as she had needed to buy more soap! We finished off the night with Dad and I playing pool – I must have been drunk!
Thankfully, Thursday 21st October turned out to be a lot calmer and I was starting to feel better from the cyst, even though I still couldn’t wear a bra. I didn’t bother with breakfast because I’d eaten so late last night and was still full. The building work next door was now at the stage where the shuttering was going up and I noticed that the remaining bougainvillea was sprouting some leaves on one of the trees. I decided to take a few books round for my dad because they don’t have a TV or internet at their place and he spends his free time reading, he was already getting through the books he had. I made a list for shopping as I planned to go on the way back to grab something to go with lunch. Tonight I had arranged for us to go out with Maddie and her family but my parents had organised a night out with their friends and Maddie’s parents were still in Kaş, so we weren’t sure if it might end up being just me and Maddie. When I arrived at my parents’ apartment my Dad had decided he was going to go for a shave and a hair cut at the barbers and my Mom gave him some spending money to go with. She and I went to Migros supermarket together to get some shopping and then went back home.
My shopping, for all of you who love a nosey at my shopping trolley. Prices in lira, as usual;
Bread 2.00 Tomato puree 3.95 Small bin bags 6.50 Quark 6.90 Mushroom soup 7.95 Crisps 8.00 Big bin bags 8.95 2 tins of sweetcorn 10.52 1 bottle of white wine 56.90
Total spent 111.57 lira (£9.46)
I didnt realise sweetcorn can be pricey in Turkey, especially compared to Vietnam, and there was even 25% discount! On the other hand, can you believe that’s including a bottle of nice wine, too!?
I ate a very late picnic style lunch then managed to squeeze in a bit of blogging and another episode of You on Netflix. By the time I was leaving to meet Sarah for a drink at Tez bar the building work next door was in full swing with the metal grid work already being laid ready for the concrete pour. Sarah was already there when I arrived, a little late, she ordered an Efes and a cheese toastie while I treated myself to a blonde ale at 38 lira (£3.22) but it was really nice and I enjoyed it as Sarah chatted on and then Süleyman turned up and joined us. I didn’t stay long as the sun had gone in, I was cold in my shorts and I needed to get ready for tonight. In the end we decided we would postpone going to Egehan until the parents could join us, I’ve been wanting to try it for a while so it was a good idea to wait until we could all enjoy it together. I was also quite happy to have a dinner at home – a good portion of Lancashire hotpot, done in the oven with a sprinkling of cheese. Ma & pa chose to eat at Kebapçı Yusuf for a second time and stayed out having a lovely time with their friends for a lot longer than I could’ve managed – I dont know how they do it! Before bed I read some rather concerning news that the UK daily Corona cases were 52,000 (this time last week they were 45,000) and this started to worry me about it impacting my visit in 2 month’s time. I could not afford to catch it or be stuck in a lockdown in England and I hoped they would be able to get it back under control before it got too risky again.
Wednesday 20th October was a wonderful day, spent with my parents and some friends. The first exciting thing that happened that morning was that I got a message from our friend, the filmmaker, who came to Vietnam to make a documentary about Phong Nha. He gave me some tentative dates for the film festivals where his film would hopefully be screened in 2022 and I made a note of them – how amazing it would be to go to see something like this! It might also be a chance for me to meet up with Captain Caveman and watch him, his colleagues and our friends in what I was sure would be a work of art. I didnt bother with any breakfast as I was faffing about with the left over hotpot mixture and more layering of potatoes, this time with butter on, so I could pop it on while we were out. The suitcase lady had asked to meet me to have a look at it so I took it round to Lukka bar and ordered myself a tea. The nice lady turned up on a bicycle, with a dog and was unsure if she wanted to buy the case, even though she needed one to go back to England with, in the end I managed to sell it to her but it was quite funny watching her try to figure out how to get it back to her hotel, with a bicycle and a dog, but I couldn’t help as I was cutting it fine for my next adventure. I’d arranged for us to go on an afternoon boat trip with Captain Boris (aka Basrı) and his wife, Rebecca. Sarah had also taken the afternoon off work, at the last minute, so that she could come too and my parents came round to mine dead on time as they were looking forward to our boat trip. We arrived at the boat early, Sarah was already there and we were joined by a really nice bunch of people, who were friends of the boat owners and Sarah. The order of the day was to eat, drink and relax and the Captain Boris trips sure know how to treat their customers well. I wasn’t even too upset that I wouldn’t be able to swim because of not being able to get my cyst wet (apart from showering, obviously). We went to Çandır lake first and the sun was out as we nibbled on snacks and sipped an alcoholic beverage.
Quite a few people got in the water for a swim, including ma & pa who were larking about like a couple of teenagers. Next, Basrı took the boat to the sheltered side of the beach where Andrea got a few of us dancing on the sand at the waters edge.
I had started on white wine with my parents and later went on to red as Rebecca filled the table with the most amazing spread I’d seen on a boat – I was in cheese heaven! There was so many different cheeses, fruit, including fresh figs and dates, crackers and bread and I my stomach handled it all absolutely fine. Quite a few boats had got themselves stuck on a sandbank and Basrı had to help out, we even rescued a damsel in distress who had been left stranded on the beach. On the way back we had such a laugh, Andrea even taught me the meringue and it was such a lovely afternoon with plenty of wine.
When we got dropped off we should have gone home and stayed in however it was Open Mic night with Onur at Heybe’s which we had missed last week so we decided to meet back there after getting our warm clothing on. As it turned out one of the couples from the boat trip was having a drink at Heybe’s so I joined them while waiting for ma & pa to join us. After another couple of glasses of wine, on top of the 6 I’d already had with Captain Boris, I wasn’t shy at getting up for a singsong with Onur. This reminded the couple that they were meant to be somewhere else and they left. Debbie (Darling) did a quick cameo appearance singing ‘I’m leaving on a jet plane’, Sarah joined us and even she got up to sing with Debbie (Darling) or me. In the end Dad and I nailed House of the Rising Sun together, it was just a pity that all of the other customers had left! Onur even sat and did an acoustic version of Losing my Religion at our table and we ended up leaving Sarah there. We’d had so much fun and when I got in, my hotpot was still warm in the slow cooker so I had some before bed.
I was woken up with an earthquake at 8.32am on Tuesday 19th October, it felt like I was on a lilo at sea for quite a few minutes and I was confused at first as to what was happening. It turned out that the epicentre was Rhodes island, not that far from us, with a magnitude of 6.3. I read some Vietnam news about the floods, luckily in Phong Nha things were ok and it was not quite as bad as in 2020, here’s the article: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/society/20211018/at-least-five-missing-as-torrential-rains-trigger-raging-floods-in-central-vietnam/63642.html I took my last antibiotic after eating my cornflakes and was looking forward to an alcoholic drink with my parents later. The rest of the morning was fairly ordinary; I paid Sonuç back for my insurance as I had forgotten to give it him and I did my first online banking app transfer which was very easy, I started making a slow cooker Lancashire hotpot and soaking some lentils and I watched as the start of the building work next door got underway. I found out why Captain Caveman wasn’t concerned about how I was as I saw more photos of flooding where he was and he’d got a puncture on his motorbike. I also decided to try to help out a lady in a fix who had posted a request for swapping a large suitcase for 2 small ones and I offered to sell or swap my large suitcase which now had a dint in it from my recent journey from Vietnam to Turkey.
My parents and I had agreed to go out for lunch and it was my turn to suggest somewhere we could eat (and drink), I chose one that I know all of us have loved every time we have been. Yakamoz is on the river and looks out to the rock tombs, the men who own it have been there for years, always give great service and the food is excellent! I went to the meze cabinet and had a look to see what there was, took a photo of them and tried to remember what the man had told me so I could repeat to ma & pa who were sat at a table by the river. We ordered a bottle of water and a bottle of Angora white wine and I was looking forward to my first drink since getting drunk with Sonuç and my next door neighbours 8 days ago (not that I was counting)! From the mezes Mom chose garlic mushrooms, Dad ordered beetroot and cheese rolls, and I had courgette fritters with yoghurt and fava bean dip. We shared them and all were so good that I don’t think we left enough room for our main courses. I had chicken shish but had to take half home, Dad had prawn casserole and Mom had lamb shish. It was a glorious day and we really enjoyed our lunch out in the sunshine.
Afterwards I decided to show them one of Captain Caveman’s favourite places to see if they had been before; Backyard No. 9. We ordered a bottle of white which came with an ice bucket and olives and my parents remembered it as being the back of the Rock Bar years ago. Bora, the dog, was still there and the gardens were much more matured since my last visit. It was a lovely boozy afternoon but when the sun started to go down we went home. The builders had been busy in my absence and already the binding was down and some rebars had been delivered. It was going to be quite a big surface area but there was no indication on the height yet. That night I had a very small portion of the Lancashire hotpot and batched the rest up for the freezer, it looked like using red lentils instead of flour for a thickener had worked a treat.
Finally it was my last full day on antibiotics on Monday 18th October, I had bread, cheese and olives for breakfast. I watched more of You on Netflix and was glad I had persevered after the 1st episode of Series 3. I managed to wash my hair without my cyst hurting, it was now healing and just needed antibiotic cream and a plaster, which was great news. I decided to have a mish mash of a lunch because I could; 2 nectarines, 2 plums, toast and a couple of biscuits. That night I had arranged for the 3 of us to meet up with Maddie at River Terrace where they had live music from 6pm. My parents had agreed to come over to mine and arrived at 6.15pm then we walked the short distance to River Terrace. This would be the last time I would have to sit and watch everyone else enjoy a beer or a wine so I had a cherry juice and soda – almost a new cocktail. Onur was playing some really good music including a lot my Dad likes and it was a lovely evening with quite a few laughs. We’d not decided where to eat yet so we asked Maddie to choose and she fancied a pizza. River Terrace didn’t have their pizza oven on but Sara, one of the owners, said we could order one in if we wanted to, which was very accommodating. In the end we decided to go to Pizza 48 to eat there, ma & pa had not been before, I’d tried one of their pizzas at a bar a few weeks ago and had enjoyed it so it would be a nice treat. When we got there I don’t think my Dad looked too impressed and he can get a bit tetchy when he goes somewhere new. He went and stood outside the front of the shop while I read out what they had to my Mom from the sign above the counter and Maddie was telling us about the deals you can have, which were great value. Mom went outside to tell Dad what the options were as best as she could remember and Dad didn’t want anything with meat on so he just ordered a Margherita pizza deal but didn’t want the soft drink so ordered beer. Mom (obviously) went for tuna and onion pizza deal, also with a beer while I decided on a mushroom pizza deal with a coke. Maddie ordered Margherita too but her friend, Simone, went off piste by ordering a double cheeseburger. We sat at the back of the restaurant in the cosy seating area which is next to Bistro Blue. When the chips came they had a garlicky coating and were really tasty, and very hot, the pizzas came out pretty quickly and were excellent – even Dad was impressed. My pizza, chips and coke came to just 30 lira (£2.54) which was amazing, the bill for Ma & Pa was just 110 lira (£9.32) for 2 pizzas, 2 chips and 2 Efes beers. I got a free fridge magnet and took the rest of the bottles of coke home so I got quite the bargain and the takeaway menu would come in handy for rainy/winter nights at home. When we had done we decided to go for one more drink at Lukka bar. It was a good day and I’d really enjoyed a (sober) week of being with my parents after all this time of not being able to see them, but I was a bit peeved that it had been a few days since Captain Caveman had bothered to ask how I was, even though he knew I’d been feeling quite ill recently.
It was day 6 of medication on Sunday 17th October, I was still feeling ropey and I wasn’t in the best of moods that morning. There were some comments that annoyed me on the WhatsApp group for the apartment owners so I said I’d had enough and left. I had my breakfast of bread, cheese, turkey ham and olives with a cherry juice and a plum and tried to relax a bit. Meanwhile, in Phong Nha the rain had been heavy and some of the lower level areas were flooding, Hoi An also had floods. Sonuç and Leanne had invited me to their daughter’s 3rd birthday in the afternoon and, although I wasn’t in the mood for it because of pergola-gate, I forced myself to go. I put some money in a card, as I didn’t know what present to buy, and went to meet Sarah at Sofra so we could walk there together. Katrina and the kids were passing and gave us a lift to a nice little play area and cafe where all the kids played on the slide, swings or trampolines while the parents chatted. There were some nibbles of crisps, cheese rolls and the most delicious birthday buns, I actually had a fantastic time and was glad to have been invited. It was good to meet with some of the other women who live here and they seemed pleased to be able to let their kids go off with the other kids for a while. For a kids party it was much more relaxing than I envisioned and I had a nice Turkish tea.
On the way back from the party I bumped in to Maddie, Angela, Nick and their friend so I joined them at Rehab bar for a drink (diet coke, obviously). We got chatting and I was nearly late for my parents coming over to mine at 6pm. It was Mom’s turn to decide where to eat, so after a quick drink in Jiks, we headed for dinner at Bistro Clou, where my parents had not been for several years. Captain Caveman and I had been a few times back in 2019 and I really enjoyed it so I was happy with the choice. Dad had a starter which was a Turkish version of a shepherd’s pie, Mom had stuffed mushrooms and I had şakşuka. All were lovely and my parents had a glass of wine while I stuck with boring old soda water. For mains my parents both had steak and I had the meatballs, the food was really good and the fresh bread was excellent too. We were given plenty of lemon cologne before we left and it was definitely a place I’d eat again. Unfortunately, I don’t know if the almost 4 weeks of eating everything that I’m probably allergic to had finally caught up with me, but I had a reaction, it wasn’t terrible but I had to get home to rest up. When I got home I started watching the 3rd series of You on Netflix and I wasn’t sure after episode 1, if it was going to be as good as the last 2 series.
Photo credit – various from Phong Nha & Hoi An flood photos.