On Wednesday 4th May I had another family style Turkish breakfast, with my Turkish friends. Today’s included pancakes, and it was as tasty as usual. I went home for lunch at 1pm but I chose to come back to Retro bar and have a beer with the pool WAGs (Wives and Girlfriends, for those not familiar with the acronym). There is a group of blokes who meet to play pool on Wednesdays and Saturdays and have done so at various Dalyan venues throughout the winter. They like to play for fun at both pool and a game of killer – most of them can play well and some even have their own cues. Often the wives and girlfriends (WAGs) will come to have a get together, drink wine or beer and join in the banter. Depending on the numbers it can be quite a nice afternoon with an opportunity to carry on drinking or go for a bite to eat. It’s very relaxed and, although it’s primarily a lads pool afternoon, the women sometimes join in the game of killer. Tonight was also the first Fun Quiz night at Retro bar, hosted by Tom Cree, so Nazim was getting prepared. I was still at Retro with my friends, Nazim had gone for a quick break when a young Turkish man arrived asking for him. We chatted for a while then I realised he was here as a bar man for tonight so I helped him to move some tables and chairs. When the quiz night started, things didn’t go to plan; the microphone broke so people couldn’t hear Tom and the quiz was delayed slightly while it got fixed. My parents were on a team with Mark and Kate so that looked a good team and there were a lot of the familiar expat faces taking part. The place was very busy and I thought Deniz, the new bar man did very well to jump straight in. At the end of the night Nazim bought Deniz and I a beer and we sat down for a chat. It was 1.30am when I finally ate some dinner at home, a chicken and mushroom pie!
I had a busy morning of eating a Turkish breakfast and practicing Turkish at Retro bar on Thursday 5th May. Because of the Bayram holidays, there had been no Turkish class yesterday so today I met Vanessa for lunch and to do our homework. We walked from Retro bar to Okyanus, where we ordered food and a cold drink. She had been to Zumba and it was busier and warmer there than usual so I’d been lucky to miss it really. I decided to try a chicken burger with extra bacon and a cheeky beer which was nice, Vanessa ordered a tuna sandwich and a wine with soda. We then got chatting and forgot to do the homework, mainly because there was just too much to catch up on – we would just have to meet up another day! That evening Nazim and I shared a pizza from M-Restaurant, the street food place across the road from Retro bar, and it was very good.
I woke up too early, at Maddie’s place, on Sunday 1st May and went to the bathroom. When I came to get back in bed, Milo, the dog, had jumped in and was cleaning his nether regions. I dressed and walked through town to Debbie (Darling)’s looking like I was doing the walk of shame! I fed the cats and headed off for a lovely Turkish breakfast with my new friends at Smyrna hotel and Retro bar. In the afternoon I had the pleasure of Des and Sarah’s company as we sat on the comfy seats at Retro bar with a cold beer, chatting about all sorts of things. Back at Debbie (Darling)’s, after feeding the cats and giving them a tickle, I had a Heinz cuppa soup with toast and got my belongings together. Tonight would be my last night here for this stint of house and cat sitting.
Debbie (Darling) and Roy arrived home at 3am on Monday 2nd May, I got up at 8am and managed to surprise Roy. We both made each other jump in the kitchen as he was getting a drink and I was about to leave. He was in fine fettle to say he’d just had surgery and I gave him a kiss and a hug without him being in too much pain. I spent an hour eating another wonderful breakfast with Nusret, Gonca and Yaşar and we practiced our language skills. Yaşar had asked me about my eczema and then told me that she can highly recommend a stronger cream. I had noticed that instead of dairy affecting my stomach so much, it was making my eczema a lot worse. I took a photo of her Beklazon cream so I could get some from the pharmacy the next time I was passing. In Phong Nha, Captain Caveman was having drinks with Andrea at the Phong Nha Farmstay before she headed back to Saigon. Back home I made myself a pasta before heading back to my new favourite, Retro bar, for the evening. It was the Bayram holiday but Yaşar had made an amazing meal of pasta with oil and a very tasty chicken stew. It was super filling and delicious so I managed to eat a good portion of it. The bar was quiet with it being a Monday but it was nice to see some old faces coming back to see Nazim after not being able to visit for so long. It was lovely to be back home to my own place and having no animals to be responsible for. I had a slice of Kate’s fruit cake with Lurpak butter and went to bed relatively early.
Tuesday 3rd May was a tiring day for me as I hadn’t been able to get to sleep until after 1.30am because of the loud music coming from the Jazz bar. I met Debbie (Darling), Roy, Sue, Maddie, Ann and her 2 friends at Retro bar but I didn’t drink any alcohol today. Debbie (Darling) mentioned she might need my help again soon when they went back to Istanbul for a check up and I agreed. She would let me know the dates because I had also offered to help out Mark and Kate when they went back to England soon. Back at Captain Caveman’s apartment I noticed that something was finally happening with the swimming pool, the dirty water had been emptied out. There was no Pilates class today because it was the Bayram holiday so I spent the evening at Retro bar chatting to Ann and Maddie. We managed to stay out until 11.30pm, and without me boozing!
On Saturday 30th April, I spent time with some new Turkish friends. I was invited to eat breakfast with the family at Smyrna hotel, situated beside Retro bar. I ate an array of bread, cheese, salad, olives, spreads and jams. It was lovely and I got to practice my Turkish, which I started to realise wasn’t as good as I had hoped. They understood what I was saying, for the most part, however, I couldn’t speak in sentences which described past events and I was struggling with knowing enough vocabulary. By midday I was off back home for a ‘siesta’ but I didn’t actually have a nap. I put some washing in, had a shower, chatted to my parents and then went back to Debbie’s to feed the cats. In the evening I hung out at Retro bar with Nazim and Des, while listening to some great music. Around 7pm I ate dinner with Nusret, Gonca and Yaşar and it was absolutely lovely; a delicious soup, similar to a lentil broth and a tasty chicken dish with fresh bread. A few of my friends, including Des (by this time), Maddie and Ann, were at Sofra bar and wanted me to join them. Maddie decided to come to Retro bar to collect me and for a while we propped up the bar, her with a Vodka RedBull while I tried a cocktail with Nazim and Nusret. It was the first time I had been in Sofra after midnight sober and I hoped to not do it again. Des bought me a pint when I arrived and I’d only had a couple of sips when Ann needed to talk to me by the river. The rock band had already finished and left to go to Rodrigo’s bar so we thought we might join later. I had a couple more beers and then Ann decided she was going home. Des, Maddie and I went for more drinks at Rodrigo’s, where Mark and Kate were already at. I recognised the lead singer of the band immediately, despite his garish tie dye outfit, I’d accompanied him on a karaoke song last night; Psycho Killer by The Talking Heads. Des and I had to walk Maddie home, with her dog (Milo) who was now running loose on bar street, and she insisted on us watching Les Miserables and the end of The Greatest Showman (we’ve never seen the rest of it). What a night and, as Des left about 3.30am, I got in bed with Maddie, for a much needed sleep.
I had previously arranged with Kate to go on a boat trip she was organising with Kaan. Friday 29th April was Des’s first full day in Dalyan and also his actual day off so it worked out well. I was really looking forward to it. I woke up at Debbie (Darling’s) and fed the cats, had a bit of a tidy round in preparation for the cleaner coming and walked to the bank to meet Des and to get ready for another great day out. We all met at the boat and got a cup of tea or coffee before setting sail to pick up Mark and Kate from their jetty. We went out to sea and the boat was a bit choppy but not enough for me to actually be sick. The morning was quite cloudy and in fact pretty chilly at first, I was even wearing my hoody for a while. This didn’t deter me from getting in the sea when we had the opportunity though and it turned out to be ‘alright once we were in’. Des got introduced to everyone and I was pleased to see that he was quite the social butterfly, getting on particularly well with the ladies. The BBQ lunch was delicious and I had a wine or two to wash it down, followed by more swimming. The group on board were all lovely, easy going people including Kate’s daughter, who had just arrived in Turkey for a holiday. I spent some time sunbathing on the top deck as the sun came out in the afternoon. When we got back to dry land a few of us arranged to meet up, with Ma & Pa included, at Sofra bar for a couple of drinks. There was only delivery food available there now that the holiday season had begun so a pizza and a pide for my parents was ordered. The rest of us were too full from the boat trip and were busy taking in all the action. Daisy and Kate did a bit of karaoke and were surprisingly good, Des managed to make more new friends and we were invited to join a day trip to Marmaris next week.
On Thursday 28th April I was busy; I sorted out an airport pickup taxi for my friend who would arrive tonight. I had a new cat and house sitting responsibility for a few days while Debbie (Darling) and Roy went off to Istanbul for his emergency surgery. I popped over to see my parents on the way to Debbie’s, where I would be staying for about 4 days. The cats were lovely but definitely not as well behaved as Kate’s however they would probably be low maintenance and be out a lot – a bit like their owner. Debbie (Darling)’s house did have the added benefit of having a cleaner and I even got some chocolate orange left on my pillow! For dinner I suggested we try Mahir restaurant in the mosque square and we also would meet my friend there too. I first met Des at Momma D’s rooftop bar in Phong Nha, Vietnam. Captain Caveman and I became good friends with him and we had some good times. He is the same guy who is unlucky on dates wherever dogs are around and had an horrendous experience leaving Vietnam, once they stopped extending tourist visas during the pandemic. Des was going to be staying at the Tufan apartments, a little out of the main centre of town, for a whole month in Dalyan. I hoped he would like Dalyan and I was already concerned he might find it a bit boring or too expensive. When he arrived it was great to see him, he looked well. He no longer had long hair, had put some weight on and had been working out. I introduced him to my parents and he sat down to eat with us. We had beers and ordered food which was all Turkish meals except for me. Dad had meatballs again, but this time with cheese on, Mom had lamb shish, Des had Adana kebab and I had fish and chips. All the food was lovely and we said we would definitely eat there again, the prices were pretty reasonable as well. My fish and chips was 85 lira (£4.60) and the batter was excellent. The service was good too and after we had eaten we were given some ‘erik,’ which were green plums, and a chocolate each. We didn’t stay out late though as Des and I had a busy one planned for his first full day in Dalyan tomorrow.
Wednesday 27th April had a bit of panic about it, compared to any other day in Dalyan. I got up to the news that Drew had tested positive for Corona upon landing in England. Typically I had hugged and kissed him at 8pm last night and so I got the LFT out to do a test. The rules here now are that no one has to isolate or do anything if they test positive but I think that’s irresponsible. Other people who had been in contact with him decided not to bother with a test because they couldn’t see the point any more. My unvaccinated friend was arriving tomorrow from South Africa and I didn’t want to pass it on if I had it. I was also conscious that to get in to Vietnam I still needed to have a negative PCR test, I didn’t want to catch it and still felt it was important to at least know if I was positive, even if I didn’t have any symptoms. My result was negative however there was still a chance I may not yet show positive on the LFT. I decided mixing with a load of Dutch people at King’s day would be silly and sent messages to cancel. Everyone told me I could still attend because it no longer mattered but I held firm on my decision – no one wants to kill a grandma. I messaged the teacher and attendees of my Turkish class to check if I was still able to attend and they agreed. I still decided I would wear my mask for it though, just in case. Afterwards Vanessa and I went to Okyanus for lunch, I didn’t touch or go near anyone and we sat outside by the river. By 3pm we had joined the usual pool group at Retro bar, and sat outside. We were joined by Kate, Jackie and my parents and a few beers were consumed. I was going to go home for dinner but I got an invite to eat with Jackie, Chris and my parents at the Turay hotel, by the river. The views were lovely and the menu looked great so we ordered drinks and food. My Dad was slightly disappointed that his meatballs didn’t come with cheese as requested but the food was good and we shared a cheesy garlic bread. The beef fajitas that my mom had and the casserole got great reviews. By 7.30pm we were having a free tea in our shorts with a blanket on, as it had turned cold. Still in our summer gear, we said our goodbyes and set off back home. Unfortunately, Debbie (Darling) had some bad news, her husband, Roy, needed emergency surgery on his spine and she was in a bit of a tizzy. I called in to see Debbie (Darling) and Roy, Sarah was also already there. I offered to house and cat sit so that they could fly to Istanbul early tomorrow morning and took the keys. I met Missy, Bebek and The Terrorist, the 3 cats, and was assured the 2 dogs, Socks and Brin, were being looked after by someone else. Debbie (Darling) and Roy were going to bed but Sarah poured another drink and insisted on calling in to her house to see her freshly tidied and cleaned house. I finally got in to bed and was extremely tired – I needed sleep to be ready for the next few days!
I had a croissant for breakfast on Monday 25th April and was extra tired from not getting much sleep. I’d still got the winter quilt on so it was a tad warm and I’d slept in the spare room because of the handle coming off the ensuite bathroom in the main bedroom. I was meant to go over to collect my stuff from Mark and Kate’s house today but I couldn’t be bothered, instead I went to get some essentials from the supermarket. I had a simit and cheese spread for lunch and didn’t do much else really. I booked in for Pilates tomorrow and I got news that a friend was arriving in Dalyan on Thursday so I needed a couple of days off, in readiness for more shenanigans which I imagined could get messy. For dinner I had a cup of Yorkshire tea and some pasta with Turkish sausage and pesto sauce, then for afters a Bounty chocolate bar. It was nice to be home where I could relax completely for a couple of days.
It was another easy day on Tuesday 26th April, there was meant to be a power outage in the afternoon but it never happened. My parents were staying in with a slow cooker meal that night too and it was my first time at a new Pilates class. I had Christmas cake with cheese on for breakfast and loved it. In the afternoon I walked over to Mark and Kate’s to collect the rest of my stuff and Bluey2. When I arrived they were eating the leftover Chinese meal which was quite a few days old and asked if I wanted to share it. I declined as I could see it wouldn’t sit well with my stomach and I chatted with them while Kate instructed Mark on how to warm up food in an oven, the correct way! News came that masks for the under 65s in shops and public buildings were no longer compulsory in Turkey so I was slightly concerned that there could be an increased risk of catching the virus. Before I cycled Bluey2 back home, Mark and I arranged to meet at Okyanus for a beer in the sun before the pilates class at The Room Dalyan. Our friend met us at the class and it was definitely more difficult than I anticipated. My bad leg still wouldn’t allow for certain positions but the sciatic nerve pain I’d had seemed to benefit from the stretches. I was surprised to see how good at pilates Mark was, he was pretty flexible (for a Tuesday)! After the class, Mark went home with indigestion and I met up with Drew, Ann, Sarah, her friend and Katrina at Lukka bar to say bye to Drew. He was off back to the UK and so I had a glass of wine to see him and Sarah’s mate off. After hugging and kissing Drew goodbye I went home to have a mystery meal I’d got out of the freezer earlier, it turned out to be teryaki chicken so I was lucky to have cooked rice with it. Tomorrow’s plan was to attend a big celebration for Dutch King’s Day at Waterfall bar which I’d been invited to by a couple of Dutch friends.
A while ago I had decided that we would have a belated birthday celebration for my Mom on Sunday 24th April. Kate had suggested Kaan and so I had organised the trip with him on his boat, called Tequila. In the morning Mark, Kate and I had a few things to do before my parents got to the boat so we booked Fikri’s taxi to take us. I dropped Mark and Kate off at the boat where they went to put up the bunting, I then went to pick up the birthday cake from Louize. I asked Fikri to take the cake to Kate while I went across to see a friend off. She was going back home to England today and had bought my Mom a bottle of champagne for her birthday boat trip which was really lovely of her. I got to the boat after everyone else and we set sail for the lake. On board was Vanessa, John & Andrea, Jamie & Drew, Ann, Maddie, Angela & Nick, Nanny Kay, Viv & Paul, Mark & Kate, Ma & Pa and me. By noon Vanessa, Kate and I were swimming in the lake and the BBQ lunch was set for 1.30pm, we all had a few drinks too and it was a lovely sunny day. We changed location to Little Dalyan, which is a sheltered spot at the back of the beach where we had more swimming and my leg was getting much stronger! After a lovely lunch we presented Mom with the cake and we all had a bit of it. Mom was surprised and we even made her cry, I think she was touched to get some cards and presents from people too. In the afternoon she opened the champers and we all had a little glass or two to celebrate a bit more before going back to Dalyan.
Mom, Dad and I called in to Lukka for just a drink then decided to eat dinner. Dad ordered a cheese burger, Mom a chicken curry, and I had the sweet and sour chicken which was the best I’d had in Dalyan. It was 185 lira for my sweet and sour chicken which came with rice, chips and lots of vegetables but somehow I managed to eat almost all of it. That night I was so glad to get to sleep back in my own bed and was looking forward to an early night, even though I ended up watching the Grand Prix.
What a day Saturday 23rd April was! It started with me waking up with a strange woman in my hotel room and me asking who she was. I had half the bottle of red wine left but couldn’t find the cork, both Mark’s jumper and Kate’s jacket were on a chair and towels were strewn on the sofa having once been blankets. A bunch of keys and 2 sets of sunglasses were on the desk, Michelle and I were both fully clothed. I felt fairly ok though, as I was probably still drunk, and so Michelle and I went to meet everyone for breakfast. I was too delicate to eat much but I hammered the fresh juice and tea as everyone was recalling the awful events of last night. Matt was feeling better and grateful to have gone back to the hotel earlier last night whereas Vanessa was feeling bad for poor Steve. When we got back to the room Michelle checked her phone and had lots of messages and missed calls from Steve. He’d already had Julio visit him at the hospital and was waiting for a doctor after being told he’d broken his leg in more than one place. Michelle found Steve’s shoe which we had put on a shelf, she gave me some fresh lemon juice and left. I went back to bed for a bit but had to check out at noon. I could hear my parent’s kettle in the room next door so I knew I was going to get complaints for being noisy until about 4am. We all met back up at Address, a restaurant on the river, where Mark was the only one having a beer as no one else could manage alcohol. I started to feel unwell but we still all paid (30 lira) for our tokens for the ferry from Fethiye to Çalış – our next adventure was about to start. I was sat on the ferry boat in Fethiye worried that I had started to feel very unwell and that I might not make the trip across to Çalış. I was sat between Matt and Mark and I could feel myself getting worse, there was no toilet on board so I contemplated getting off and getting the next boat in an hour. The plan in Çalış was to go to a restaurant called Charcoal Palace so I asked Mark for the directions from where the boat stops. I reminded everyone I don’t have a SIM card in my phone but I would come to meet them at the restaurant in 1 hour’s time – it sounded simple!
As I got off the boat I headed straight for the big Migros Supermarket nearby. I had a very strange feeling and felt like I needed to get some essential ‘lady items’. In Turkey I’ve found it quite difficult to buy tampons in a supermarket. They can be found in the pharmacy and some of the bigger supermarkets and I was in luck. I picked up what I needed and then noticed the massive check-out queues and started to have a cold sweat. A young lad noticed me, he opened up another till and hurried through the process. I made it to a cafe but only just and I was not well at all. After a cup of sweet tea and a 45 minute sit down I had to force myself to go back to the ferry. I had a map of where Charcoal Palace was meant to be, in case Mark’s directions weren’t clear enough, and on I got. I felt like death, I was deeply regretting Tequila and extra red wine last night now and was not confident I would make the bus journey back to Dalyan later, either. As I got off the boat I obviously went the wrong way but asked several people for directions, most had never heard of it but the ones who did ‘know’ sent me in the opposite direction. After walking for far too long in heat and having finished my water I decided to jump in a taxi. It was meant to be 5 minutes walk from the boat but the taxi was heading down a dual carriageway and back to Fethiye when I stopped him and got out on the central reservation without paying. No one had heard of Charcoal Palace; some were convinced they knew and each bar, shop, travel agent or taxi rank I asked didn’t know. I knew that out of everyone already at the restaurant, Mark would be the least likely to have left to look for me so I found a bar, logged on to their WiFi and messaged him to say I was lost. I knew my parents didn’t have a working phone so didn’t bother them and I eventually found a taxi rank who knew where it was and said it was walking distance. I had just started to walk when I saw Kate on the street, who’d come to find me. We also saw the man who had given me the first lot of incorrect directions when I was 2 minutes walk from where I needed to be!! Of course I had missed out on having fish and chips with everyone so I had a pint of shandy. I was hot, sweaty and cheesed off already when Kate informed me that Mark isn’t good at directions and not to listen to him! His phone was in his pocket and he hadn’t noticed my message either so it was good that I had finally been found. most of the group who live in Turkey full time were so happy to have eaten good food and I gathered I’d missed out on amazing fish and chips or battered sausages. They said the chicken shish was also amazing, and portion sizes were generous meaning great value. I was disappointed to miss out but I couldn’t eat anything now and would save it for another time. Kate came up with a wonderful idea that, instead of getting the buses back, we get taxis and I was very happy with that suggestion. It was slightly unfortunate that Kate and I had to listen to Mark, the most chatty bloke I have ever met, talk to the taxi driver for the entire journey back to Dalyan. The cost of the taxi from Çalış to Dalyan was 600 lira (just over £30 per taxi). My parents, Vanessa and Matt went in one taxi, Mark, Kate and I in another. It was probably the best tenner I have spent, as I was feeling very queasy all the way back. That night I had an early night as we had another big day planned for tomorrow and it looked to be a good one.
Friday 22nd April was one of those days that we will probably remember for a very long time! A few of us were off on a trip to Fethiye and we were all excited, having booked rooms at the Infinity hotel. I’d already agreed to go ten pin bowling, even though I’m not really a fan, and I was also hoping there may be an opportunity for a Kentucky Fried Chicken, which is one of the few fast food eateries I really enjoy. Mark, Kate and I got a taxi from their’s in to town and went to the tea gardens for a quick beverage before meeting the others at the bus stop at 10.20am. We got the 10.30am bus to Ortaca and then changed at the bus station to the bus to Fethiye. The entire journey took about 1.5 hours and cost less than 50 lira (£2.67) each. We got off the bus at the Erasta shopping centre and headed straight for the food hall section upstairs. The gang went for several different options; İskender kebap at the traditional Turkish food restaurant, a burger stall and pides. Vanessa and I plumped for a 2 piece KFC meal with gravy. I’d last eaten a KFC 5 days before Christmas in 2020 in this exact same location and I was so looking forward to it. I loved it and it was quite a bargain too compared to a UK one and wasn’t as greasy. At the bowling alley Vanessa took charge of our booking while Mark had a go on a boxing game. It cost less than £5 each for a couple of bowling games and we split the teams in to two. I was the only one to start with a strike but then it went downhill from there. We were all in good spirits, some of us more competitive than others. In our team Matt won and Mark won in the other team. It was a great afternoon and despite me not liking bowling that much I really enjoyed myself. We decided to walk to the hotel which was situated in the centre of Fethiye and would take about 20 minutes. There were road works, we all had bags and after a few minutes we flagged down a taxi. The intention was for some of us to get in while Mark, Kate and Matt walked. The taxi driver was having none of that idea and proceeded to pile all 7 of us, and the bags, in to his taxi. He even pulled alongside a fellow cab driver and joked he could fit 3 more people in as we weaved through the busy streets of Fethiye, some of the passengers on their knees/going backwards/clinging on for their life.
We got out of the taxi a short walk from the Infinity Hotel, feeling lucky to have survived. The taxi driver told me it was 70 lira so I paid it but Kate, who must have been the most relieved to be in one piece, took my 70 and gave him a 100 note! We gave ourselves half an hour to get ready at the hotel then the plan was to go for a cheeky pint. I heard the instructions to meet in reception at 4pm so we could then have a stroll to the nearby Deep Blue Bar. The room was lovely with a nice (but small) bathroom where I jumped in the shower then put on my frock – I suspected we might end up out out! Three of us sat in reception waiting for the rest of the gang for a few minutes before realising they had all been chomping at the bit and had already gone to the pub. Luckily, I remembered the way (kind of) and we were there in no time. Mark, Kate and Matt had beer already and Vanessa was having white wine and soda. We got a drinks menu but then I saw a sign which advertised draft Guinness for 50 lira (£2.65) a pint until 9pm so all 3 of us were up for that. The last time the 3 of us had enjoyed a pint of cold Guinness together was 4 years ago in Singapore at a bar called Muddy Murphy’s. Everything was great, we’d had a lovely day and now we were relaxed with our drinks, enjoying each other’s company away from Dalyan, feeling like we were on holiday. A young couple were sat on the next table and obviously we got chatting; they were on holiday from Rhodes but originally from the Midlands and London. Before long we had become a group of 9 and had managed to cheese off the only other customer in Deep Blue bar with our loudness and laughter. Our Guinness went down extremely well and I’d had 3 pints of it before I thought it wise to switch to beer. Luckily someone had the sensible idea that we should probably eat food so we all went to the nearby Duck Pond for dinner and we invited our new friends, Steve & Michelle. We also decided to reserve our table back at Deep Blue bar for 8pm for after our meal. Looking back, most of the Dalyan gang were already on our merry way by the time we ordered food – in less than 4 hours things were about to take a turn for the worst.
The meal at the Duck Pond was pretty good from what I remember, despite the fountain wetting a couple of people who were sat the nearest to it. Some people had starters, others just mains and even an octopus salad was eaten. The service was good and the prices weren’t bad. Having shared a bottle of red wine with Mark during the meal at Duck Pond, on top of the 3 pints of Guiness and 2 pints of Carlsberg, I was probably drunk. However, that didn’t stop us all going back to Deep Blue bar for more drinks. I decided that sticking to red wine now would be the best bet, our table was reserved and more people joined us, including Mark and Kate’s friends from Fethiye.
Matt was the first to take himself off to bed as he’s not one for drinking too much. Kate was the next one to want to retire for the evening and she told Mark she wanted to go to bed. He was not having any of that suggestion and had now gone on to drinking Guinness. The live band were very good and we all got up to dance, the ladies were treated to a spot of gyrating and twirling from our new mate, Steve, as we twisted and jived about the dancefloor. I had just come back to our table for a drink, leaving Mom, Vanessa and Fethiye’s answer to Ricky Martin, giving it their moves on the dancefloor, when it happened. Our new friend, Steve, and Vanessa were on the floor! It all happened so fast but Steve was in pain and he said to Vanessa that he thought he had broken something. He was instructed to not move, the ambulance was called and we were all in shock. It felt like ages for the emergency services to get there but it wasn’t really and Fethiye has a good hospital quite near to the bar so he was going to be looked after. They stretchered him out to a standing ovation and his wife went with him to the ambulance.
The rest of us seemed to have sobered up somewhat so we did the only sensible thing and drank some more. Kate took herself back to the hotel and there was talk of the rest of us leaving at some point. Vanessa had said she didn’t think anyone would be allowed in the hospital due to Corona restrictions and she was correct. Michelle was back, with her husband’s shoe in her hand and upset that they wouldn’t even let her in to the ambulance. I did the only thing I could think of that might help; I ordered the tequila shots! She and I had a couple of Tequila shots and, as Vanessa, Ma & Pa went back to the hotel we thought it was a good idea to have more drinks. The night finished with Mark, Michelle and I ordering a bottle of red wine which they uncorked for us, and took it back to the hotel to drink – it never occurred to any of us that this might be a bad idea.
On Wednesday 20th April I wandered in to town ready for my Turkish lesson at noon and really enjoyed the class again. It was certainly a sign that the holiday makers were back in Dalyan because on the way to town I passed 2 shirtless fellas – it wasn’t that warm! After our class, Vanessa and I went to Okyanus for lunch, it’s becoming one of our favourite places to eat and drink on account of the nice people who work there and the good value for money on their menu. I had a chicken wrap, Vanessa had a tuna sandwich and we both enjoyed a good meal. Mark and Kate were already back from a trip to Ortaca so Kate came to join us at Okyanus. We had more drink, while Kate ate some food and then we went to join Mark, Matt and the rest of the pool group at Retro bar. It’s becoming one of my favourite bars in town on account of the music playlists the owner, Nazim, has playing – it lives up to the name. That evening a group of us went to the Four Seasons restaurant to eat dinner, we’d not been there for a few years. The prices of steaks were easily double what I had paid on the last time I ate a steak at a restaurant in Dalyan but I really fancied one. I had the mushroom soup to start and a plain steak for main and couldn’t fault it. My meal with 2 glasses of red wine came to 400 lira (£22) and was one of the nicest meals I have had recently. My fellow diners really enjoyed the prawns and stuffed mushroom starters and the mains were excellent too; beef fajitas, chicken curry, mixed casserole, and onion steak. There was even a complimentary cheesecake for us to try which we could only just manage on account of being too full. Our waiter happened to be the painter who had decorated my parents’ place, and he and the other staff were very good. We ended up having a great night and even had a dance to Pitbull before we left. I decided to sleep at my parents’ apartment that night so I didn’t need to cycle or get a taxi back to Mark and Kate’s.
I had a fairly quiet day on Thursday 21st April; I was back at Mark and Kate’s around lunch time and plopped myself at my laptop for the afternoon. I had arranged to meet Maddie and the rest of the gang for a bit of a welcome back drink at Tez bar from 6pm. Mark and Kate were staying in so I borrowed Mark’s electric bicycle to get there quicker. It was good to see Maddie, who was back for nearly 3 months, Tez bar was mega busy with everyone who had come to welcome her back, which was nice. I only had a couple of drinks before heading back to my temporary home. Tomorrow I was off on a trip to Fethiye with family and friends – I was definitely looking forward to a change of scenery.
Tuesday 19th April started with me catching up on some laptop related tasks and eating Christmas cake for breakfast. The fruitcake was really good and I was really pleased to have been given a whole one to myself – Kate does make a great fruitcake. At noon I met up with Vanessa and we went to zumba class which was really good fun but a tad warm – we were convinced it was more difficult this week. For lunch I joined family at Firat’s and had a lovely meal with complimentary lavaş bread to start. My Chicken shish was really tasty and the lamb shish was praised by my fellow diners, as were the cheese rolls and I’d definitely go there again. The sun was out and the outdoor seating had a mix of shady and sunny spots which was nice. We managed to find some curtain hooks to buy loose in the ‘Turkish Quarter’, where the man at Terzi’s was really helpful.
Back at Mark and Kate’s I joined them with a beer on the jetty to watch the sun go down, the sky was beautiful and the views of the river were amazing.
Kate had arranged a boat trip on Monday 18th April with Mehmet Özalp. Mark, Kate, their 2 friends and I got picked up from the jetty after Mehmet had already picked the others up in Dalyan. We had a hot drink and met both familiar and new faces as we sailed out to sea on what was a warm, but fairly cloudy, morning. The sea was not as choppy as recent trips had been and I was getting used to not getting seasick by looking at the horizon. By noon the sun was out, we were anchored up so Vanessa, Kate and I got in the sea. It was chilly but bearable and fine once we were in. I quite enjoyed swimming and was finding my bad leg was working much better than it had been. when I got out of the sea I noticed one of my bracelets had worn out and was broken. I was rather upset by this as it had been a gift from friends Hoa and Phil, in Sapa, who I had not been able to see for a while now – unfortunately it had to go in the bin. Mehmet provided a delicious lunch which even included prawns and there was enough for seconds for those who wanted it. We changed location and we had more swimming after lunch and more wine. After a glorious day I got off at the jetty with Mark, Kate, their 2 friends and a bag of crabs! That night we had a chilled evening and I was glad of a relatively early night.
On Saturday 16th April I got up fairly early and went out to the market. First, I cycled over to my parents’, put some of my stuff away and went to make up the spare bed so I could stay there when I needed to. Bluey2 was doing really well cycling on the Dalyan roads now and I was enjoying being able to ride about like a local. I was in a rush at the Dalyan market today because I’d planned to meet Jamie for lunch but I bumped in to quite a few friends and got talking. In the end I bought just a few bits and went back to my mom’s to put stuff in the fridge. I met Jamie at Porta Dalya where he was nursing a hangover after a boat trip with Turgay yesterday, who also rocked up to say a quick hello. The restaurant had no pasta left so Jamie had a pizza and I had chicken breast and chips which was tasty but it wasn’t our favourite chicken alfredo. It was good to see Jamie back in town and have a brief catch up but we both had prior engagements to attend in the afternoon. I met Vanessa, Jackie and Tracey at Rehab bar and the usual pool games were underway. When everyone had gone I sat and had a good chat with Jackie and Chris, we had more drinks and then found ourselves going for a bit of an impromptu dinner at River House. At River House Chris ordered liver and onions, Jackie had the chicken with almonds and I had chicken with halloumi. Jackie and I also shared a carafe of white wine, the food and wine was reasonably priced and we all enjoyed it. Kate messaged to tell me she had made me a treat and wanted to know if I was coming back to their’s. Not wanting to miss out on anything, and while it was still daylight, I set off on Bluey2 and just made it to Mark and Kate’s as it went dark. I was excited to find that Kate had made proper Cornish pasties which were fantastic, she’d made me some curry paste too and had got the fruit soaking in readiness for Christmas cake making tomorrow.
I decided to cycle Bluey2 to town on the morning of Sunday 17th April. Kate was up and about early with her usual routine of cats and plants, Mark was still in bed. I had more visitors to Dalyan who had brought me some treats out which I was very grateful for; Yorkshire tea, a bottle of Silent Pool Gin and some slow cooker sachets. The day started with us going out to get some milk at about 2pm. Having waited ages for the washing machine to stop and it didn’t, we left it and went for a late lunch with wine at Bistro Blue. It had only recently opened for the season so it was nice to see Selahı and Annie again. I had the beef fajita wrap, my fellow diners had the warm liver and onion salad and we all had a couple of glasses of wine. Next we went to River Terrace where we had beers and one of the party got confused when returning from the toilet and couldn’t find her way out to the bar. She ended up slipping out the back exit and walking round on the road, which made for much amusement for the rest of us. Mark and Kate came to join us and we decided to go to Yener’s Place for dinner. I stuck to beer as the wine was very pricey at 370 lira (£20) for a bottle of red wine, but the food wasn’t bad. I couldn’t eat all my İskender kebab so took half home, the others had casserole, beef fajitas, lamb shank and chicken with pineapple. It was a lovely night and I appreciated Kate making the effort to come out to meet my visitors as they had not yet met. By 10.30pm Mark, Kate and I were back at their house where Kate had made 4 Christmas cakes. She gave me one which was really kind and meant Mark wouldn’t have to be mardy about me eating any of his.
It was all go on Thursday 14th April; I was awake at 7.30am, Captain Caveman had a friend staying at his apartment, my parents don’t have WiFi yet so I had temporarily moved back to Mark and Kate’s house. The sun was out and it was Easter weekend so things were busying up in Dalyan now. Before 10am I had booked our lodger a taxi, discussed ingredients of a recipe with Kate, borrowed a bicycle pump from Mark and walked home, while noticing that Alegria restaurant was back open. When I got home I tried to pump up Bluey2’s tyres but the pump broke meaning I would have to walk today. I was moving all my stuff that I couldn’t leave in a cupboard at Captain Caveman’s to my parents’ place so that I could stay there when I didn’t need to use a strong internet connection. I packed up lots of things, including the entire contents of the fridge freezer. I had pasta for breakfast then walked all my stuff over to my parents’ in the hot sun. The pool guy was there cleaning their pool ready to fill it up with water. By 5pm, I took the last of my stuff to my parents’ place and I was off to meet Debbie (Darling) and Sarah at Sofra bar ‘for one’. When I returned to pick up Bluey2, Mark had already stopped by while I was out and pumped up my tyres with another pump. I went to the bank to get money from my English card and there was a lot of people complaining that the bank wouldn’t let them use their foreign cards, mine wouldn’t work either. For some, the limit per day to withdraw from our Turkish banks had been reduced to only 300 lira (£16) which was pretty low and concerning. After a couple of pints of draught lager, I made it back to Mark and Kate’s. It was just before dark and I saw a dog waiting outside the gate. He looked like he wanted to be friends, possibly with the cats. There was also a stork in the garden which had recently been soaked with the hosepipe. We had some red wine and Mark prepared us a cheese platter for a late dinner.
I woke up coughing on Friday 15th April and thought I may have Corona. I did a test and waited for the result with a nice cup of Yorkshire tea. I had some strawberries with yoghurt for breakfast and got a message from Ann to say she had some symptoms but was negative. My results also came back negative and I went to go about my day, I was using the spare room as my office. For lunch I had a crisp sandwich and then helped Mark with a tree he was trimming. He was using a saw on a palm tree and making it look like hard work. I found 2 axes in the shed and suggested we used those instead. Later I sat in the garden with a beer and enjoyed the afternoon sunshine.