I woke up early on Sunday 10th October and was trying to do some blogging but the power was off. I had quark with pomegranate sauce and honey for breakfast. The cyst was very sore now and, as the doctor wasn’t open on a weekend, I walked to the only open pharmacy in Dalyan to see if I could get some antibiotics/cream or something. When I spoke to the lady behind the counter and then showed her the offending shoulder cyst, she was quite alarmed and said I needed to go to the hospital straight away. I explained I would go tomorrow but I needed to get some antibiotic cream at least as it was now getting more difficult to find clothes that didn’t irritate it and I’d stopped wearing a bra. She reluctantly sold me some cream for 23 lira (£1.95) and off I went back home to have a rather painful exchange of messages with Captain Caveman about Tupperware! I had asked him to take a photo of the locking style Tupperware that we use in Phong Nha, instead he sent me a screenshot of a photo of a generic Tupperware box from the internet, I’d already managed that myself but I needed to explain to a Turkish person exactly what I wanted to buy. For lunch I made some of the bolognese into a pasta bake, this time with non-vegan cheese which was much better. I went to the bank to get the cash I needed to give Sonuç for my health insurance renewal and I went to meet Annie. She was flying back home to England tonight and so we decided to have a drink at Dalyano’s, they do lovely cocktails but we stuck to beer. We’d not been there long when John cycled past but then stopped and did a U-turn; John is the bloke who 2 years ago I had pushed in a wheelchair so that he could still take part in the 5k Caretta ‘run’ to raise money for charity. The 3 of us had a good old laugh and I didn’t want to leave, we really should have arranged it sooner, but I was booked in for another Sunday dinner at Lukka bar where I had agreed to meet Katrina and Sarah.
Annie and I said bye to John and walked to Lukka, we sat out the front and ordered a beer, she was sad to be leaving but also looking forward to going home after 16 days holiday. My Sunday dinner was very filling and, again, I had to take half of my dinner home but of course, I managed to eat all of the delicious apple crumble with ice-cream. We said goodbye to Annie and hoped she might be able to get a reasonably priced flight out for later this year but we would see. Sarah and Katrina decided to not eat Sunday dinner and wanted to order from the main menu, Sarah had the steak and cheese baguette, Katrina the chicken schnitzel and both looked very good. Back home I wanted to watch Netflix but, after the power cut this morning, it had stopped working. I had an early night as I knew that tomorrow I was going to see a doctor.
On Saturday 9th October I decided to have an easy day at home, for a change. My parents were arriving next week so I knew we would be going out quite a bit and I also needed to get the apartment as I wanted it. In the morning I noticed the shoulder cyst was definitely getting worse, I could no longer wear a bra or strap over it without it hurting and I thought I might need to see a doctor. In the morning I made Baba Ganoush in the slow cooker which is so much easier than in a normal oven and I added tahini to my shopping list. For brunch I decided to have an old favourite from when I was last in Dalyan, potato wedges with baked beans – I loved it!! I did some writing and I finished Line of Duty on Netflix, which I thought was good. I made bolognese in the slow cooker and in the afternoon I spoke to Captain Caveman. He was doing fine, he had not started back at work yet (maybe next month) and he said he is missing me a bit now (all while he chased a fly round the bedroom with the electric tennis racket)! I set about looking for a job for 2022 and started to draft up my winter budget, at the top of my to do list was to decide whether to self publish or get an agent for my book(s). I bought some beers, from Selçuk market, for the fridge, had one before dinner, then had 2 lovely portions of pasta bolognese with the tiniest bit of parmesan for my evening meal. I discovered a comedian I liked on Netflix, called Daniel Sloss and watched him while eating biscuits, quark and honey (the healthy eating diet was going well)! By evening my shoulder was in pain and I was using a hot towel compress to try to ease it, I was also taking paracetamol and ibuprofen to try to reduce the pain a bit. That night I had trouble getting to sleep because of how uncomfortable it was making me.
I was awake at 4.15am on Friday 8th October because I couldn’t sleep, my cyst had started to become more uncomfortable. I had a message from Captain Caveman to tell me that the Vietnamese vaccines (which I’ve had 2 of) are now recognised in the UK and Turkey which was good news. The plans for Vietnam to open to tourists in June 2022 was in the news, so it must be true: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/ttnewsstyle/20211008/vietnam-plans-to-fully-reopen-to-intl-travelers-by-june-2022/63477.html Sonuç was completing my online residency application and had me on standby for the OTP code and email for most of the morning. He also managed to get me an appointment for the residency in Muğla on 22nd October, 2 weeks wasn’t long to wait! Today was my weekly weigh day and I tentatively got on the scales because I knew I had over indulged this last week. Unbelievably, I had lost 1kg and I had to attribute it to the amount of walking about I was doing compared to before. At 10am I had a delivery I’d been looking forward to; there’s a lady, called Emma, in Dalyan who makes sausage/cheese rolls and apple pies so I had ordered a few for the fridge and the freezer. Emma is a good pastry baker and I’d often seen her posts on Facebook to offer her products, the food came hand delivered by her husband, at the time arranged and wrapped in foil/greaseproof paper – I would look forward to trying those later. My next appointment was one I had looked forward to for so long; Emrah Kilis, my favourite hairdresser, was going to work magic with my hair and I absolutely love having my hair done even though I rarely got to have it done when I was in Vietnam. He did an amazing job even if I did look more like a King Charles spaniel than Eva Longoria but I guess he’s not a miracle worker.
My next mission was banking related and Murat who works upstairs in the bank got me sorted with everything I needed, in readiness for my residency appointment and proving my savings were adequate to live on, here in Turkey. The final job of the day was to get my biometric photos done for the residency application, which I had done at the small shop near to Lukka bar, they made me look like an extra from Prisoner Cell Block H but we’re very quick and only 50 lira for 4. When I got home the steps to the apartment were soaking wet so it took me a while to get up them safely, the cleaner had been and done a good job but they always soak the marble steps which is hard to walk on with a bad ankle and I was worried I would slip – I made a mental note to book her for when I’m not here next time and messaged the neighbours to let them know to be careful.
Late in the afternoon, after shoving down one of Emma’s delicious cheese rolls, I arranged to meet Ann at Lukka bar for a drink before our evening out, with my new haircut. We also met Sonuç who needed to collect my bank stuff and biometric photos for the residency application and he agreed that my photos were pretty scary. He took all the stuff he needed to copy and then brought it back, while Ann had a white wine and I had a beer. We had booked as part of a bigger group for the bingo and fish and chips night at Lukka bar and I was conscious that I was on a tight budget, hence the beer instead of wine. At our table was me, Ann, Sarah, (Nanny) Kay, Süleyman, Jackie, Roy, Sue and Pete, the last 4 I hadn’t met before but they were already friends with each other and knew Süleyman. It certainly made for an entertaining evening and poor (Nanny) Kay came late so we had all eaten our fish and chips already, then she got told that the last portions had already been taken and she was disappointed. Luckily for (Nanny) Kay she did get her fish and chips and her’s had crispier batter than our’s and came with tartar sauce, so she was delighted. The bingo night was good with lots of singing, Ann had left early to meet Debbie (Darling) so I was left surrounded by 5 smokers at our table and my newly done hair reeked of fags, which was a pain as I was hoping not to have to wash it this weekend! I left after the 2nd game of bingo and 3 beers and decided I was ready for a night in tomorrow – it was ok having all this freedom, but so did everyone else! Maybe I had started to get a bit of social fatigue, I’d been here 2 weeks now and I was very much looking forward to settling in to home life a bit more.
It was a mix of a day on Thursday 7th October; news that Vietnam planned to open again in June 2022 were posted on the internet, the number of Corona cases in Vietnam had dropped considerably, the weather forecast for next week was looking cold and wet here in Turkey, and a few fully vaccinated friends in the UK were positive for the Corona virus. Before breakfast I went over to my parents’ place where I had arranged for my cleaner at Fire Opal to give their place a once over before their arrival next week. I did a small shopping trip too then Sonuç messaged to say he needed a copy of some paper work for my residency, again.
Here’s my shopping list and costs in lira:
1 plastic bag 0.25 2 lemons 0.77 Bread 2.00 3 carrots 3.28 1 packet of Turkey ham 3.50 1 packet of plain crisps 4.50 2 packet of biscuits 5.00 1 bottle of pomegranate sauce 5.50 Honey 5.90 Rock salt 12.45
Total 43.15 lira (£3.82).
I had arranged to meet Annie and Anne at Alegria for lunch, the owner of Yummy’s had taken over the old Safran restaurant and made Alegria her new eatery, right on the river, opposite the tombs. The place is lovely and they have a very large menu to choose from, which I’d not been used to having so much choice and it took me ages to decide. Eventually Annie and I ordered the steak salad, Ann had the crispy chicken and the food was absolutely lovely. I even had a pineapple and watermelon juice as I was conscious of not having eaten enough fruit of late and, although it’s not the cheapest place in town, it really is good value and the portions are large (I took home leftovers) and the location is gorgeous. In the afternoon I met Sonuç at the insurance company to ask about renewing my health insurance policy because I needed a 2 year policy for my residency application. That night I decided to have a night in and, because I’d had a big lunch, I just had leftover steak salad and nibbles for dinner while watching a bit of Netflix. I’d had a productive and enjoyable day and I was ready for a relaxing weekend.
After buttered toast for breakfast on Wednesday 6th October I went to meet Hüseyin, the translator, at Lukka bar at 10.30am, as organised by Sonuç yesterday. Hüseyin did all the work at the notary office in Ortaca, then we were on our way back to Dalyan. The cost of the notary was 331 lira (£28) and the cost of Hüseyin and his services was 350 lira (£30) but it was simple and fairly quick. Back in Dalyan I had a 2nd breakfast, with Ann at Lukka bar, she had a full English, I had a breakfast wrap (without egg) for the first time and it was really good! Back home I got an update from Captain Caveman; his foot was hurting again and Duyet had been to get him some medication because he was having trouble walking, I got him to agree to see a doctor, Max (Stu’s eldest) had delivered pork and homemade BBQ sauce to him so he was happy with that.
I’d got the rest of the Bolognese out of the freezer and was hoping to have that for dinner before going out, I still had half the bottle of wine left from yesterday too so I sat on the balcony with some nice wine and olives. Unfortunately the Bolognese didn’t defrost in time so after a nibble of cheese and toast I headed over to Heybe’s for dinner. On my way I walked past Lukka bar where I saw Sarah and Katrina and they invited me to join them for a drink so I had a quick glass of wine and a good look at their food (the BBQ chicken pizza looked great) before toddling off to meet the others – I did say I’d call in for a nightcap on my way home.
When I arrived at Heybe’s already there were Maddie, Angela and Nick and a few of their friends, and the place was quite busy. I met a nice elderly Turkish gentleman, Ibo, and I recommended the işkender to him. We all ordered and I couldn’t resist having the işkender for the 2nd time in the 2 weeks since I’d arrived – it really is so tasty. Onur was playing and it was an open mic night so I ended up singing a few old favourites with him. He picked out Valerie by the Zutons/Amy Winehouse, I picked out What’s up by Four Non Blondes, then we managed to get away with Hey Jude by The Beatles. All of us were having a great time and I managed to persuade Nick to sing Mad World by Tears for Fears/Gary Jules with me. I didn’t realise that Donny, the owner and chef at Heybe’s, was doing a live video update to Facebook for all to see, Nick and I agreed a bit of practice wouldn’t have gone a miss but we didn’t care and we were enjoying ourselves. We met a nice couple who were here on holiday and they were singing along to all the songs. If you can bare to watch/listen, here’s Donny’s video: https://www.facebook.com/636029992/posts/10159931815054993/ After that it was time to ‘get my coat’, walk the short journey home via Lukka to see if Sarah and Katrina were still there – they weren’t so I went straight home. Before bed I checked my shoulder and the cyst was no bother at all, which was reassuring.
When the social media issue was fixed on Tuesday 5th October it was a relief and I had a message from Melissa to say she had some ice-cream left to give me, as I was sending her a message to say I had a dress which was too big for me and perhaps it would be suitable as a maternity dress for her. I went over to her place and we said goodbyes again as they headed off to see more of Turkey, it felt a little strange that almost a year ago we had spent a few days together during the floods of Phong Nha 2020, watching Harry Potter together at Elements Collection, it was also pretty cool that the first people to come to visit me in Dalyan were friends we had met in Vietnam! My next stop was the bank where I transferred quite a bit of money to Captain Caveman’s Turkish bank account to be able to pay for the bills here, I did this a bit prematurely it would turn out, as I didn’t realise there was a limit to how much I could get my hands on before my account maturity in about 3 weeks time. I finally got my internet banking set up for my Turkish accounts, which felt good and I decided to treat myself to an English breakfast at Lukka bar, I’d been here almost 2 weeks and not had one yet – I do miss a good breakfast and wouldn’t be able to resist or wait until I got to England again, after just over 3 years of being away. The breakfast consisted of bacon, sausage, beans, toast, butter, and mushrooms for me, as I don’t eat egg or tomato on my breakfast, I had 2 orange juices and 2 teas and it was really good. I met a friend of Katrina’s, who was hilarious and he gave me some good physiotherapist recommendations, he also was a fan of shockwave therapy which had cured his leg after a bad accident. Sonuç arrived for more paperwork and preparation for the forthcoming residency application and he made a phone call to Hüseyin, the translator, and the notary office. Before I knew it, we were booked to go to Ortaca notary tomorrow, which would be another step closer to the process of being able to stay here longer than 90 days, if they agree. My lunch with Leanne and my neighbours got cancelled as Leanne wasn’t well and I decided to get some much needed products from Katrina’s shop, Maizie Moo, instead. The shop is really lovely and the products are all made with natural ingredients where I picked out whipped body butter, a hair mask, a sponge which is like magic, mosquito spray and I also got a few more free samples of foot balm, face scrub and a shower/bath bomb type of product. All of it smells like you could eat it and the products I had already tried had really done wonders for my eczema, so much so that I had now stopped using the steroid cream from the pharmacy and was using only the Maizie Moo butter. I spent a total of 300 lira (£25) and got a handmade bag which looked like someone had bought me a gift, it felt wonderful being able to get something nice for myself as a treat.
At 2pm I went for my 60 minute full body massage at BC Spa which was so lovely, the guy who did my massage, Ramazan, was very careful around my injuries too, which I was pleased about. Interestingly, when he touched the left shoulder where the scar from my cyst was it felt sore and it was obvious that there was a bit more of a problem with the cyst regrowing than I realised. Back home I felt very sleepy after the massage and I watched more Line of Duty, then made my leftover Sunday roast dinner and had some of the rather lovely red wine with it. I polished off the ice-cream from the Wiringi family and as I was washing up I realised that the origami bird, which Aaliyah had made for me in Hoi An, Vietnam, was on the shelf next to me. I’d had it in my purse all this time and taken it out to put on display, then forgot to let Aaliyah know it had travelled with me to Turkey. Before bed I got an invite for tomorrow night which I would find difficult to turn down and it was, quite literally, right up my street.
On Monday 4th October I woke up early and Captain Caveman had sent me a photo of Eric, the bee, who had stayed over at Elements last night. I didn’t bother with any breakfast because I’d arranged to meet Melissa and her family at 11.30am for an early lunch at River Terrace. It’s a lovely location right by the river and is a family oriented place with a small playground. It was nice to see the owners, Sara and Ali, who (like many business owners in Dalyan) had experienced a very hard year or 2 because of the pandemic and lack of tourism. They were still so happy and welcoming and the restaurant has had a toilet refurb since I last went there which has definitely made a massive difference. I decided to have a cider with ice, the sun was shining and I waited for the Wiringi family to arrive. Melissa had a big surprise; she was pregnant, they are expecting their 4th child in February. They all looked well and while mom and dad ordered food the 2 older kids, Noah and Aaliyah, had smoothies. Elijah, the youngest ordered a chicken wrap and wouldn’t eat it because it had peppers in. Rimaha and I ordered chicken wraps too and they were really tasty, Melissa had the nachos and then, the highlight of the day, we ordered 6 brownies. Sara is an excellent baker and her warm brownies with ice-cream went down a treat with everyone as they were so delicious.
As the family were only staying in Dalyan for 1 night it was difficult to fit anything in for them to do, they didn’t have the time for the boat trip to the beach or lake so were happy to have a simple stroll along the river where we looked out for turtles. The plan for the Wiringi family was to go to Akyaka tomorrow, then they were off to Ephesus, Pammukale and Cappadocia, they couldn’t fit all their luggage and 3 kids in the car so they had to go back to Kaş next week to pick up a suitcase then they were leaving Turkey – their 90 day stay was almost at an end already. It was unfortunate that they didn’t have longer to explore Dalyan but it was already time to say our goodbyes, they were going to stay in tonight as they had plans to leave early the next morning.
After running a couple of errands I went to Jiks, I was thirsty and desperately needed the toilet so I got a fanta and then could smell food. My favourite chef in Dalyan, the lady at Jiks, was cooking so I was very tempted to have dinner. I ordered the shrimp skewer and a white wine and soda, the food was so delicious and for just 65 lira (£5.50) for 3 skewers with chips and salad it was a new favourite. My total bill was 105 lira, which is less than an English ten pounds and I was really full, I’d definitely be coming here again. I had completely forgot that I had leftover Sunday dinner in the fridge, it would wait until tomorrow. When I got home I noticed my internet wasn’t working but it turned out that Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram were all down for the next 6 hours and it was worldwide!
I was awake before 7am on Sunday 3rd October but I went back to sleep for an hour before getting up to do a few chores. I did most of the unpacking of my stuff that I left here in boxes, laundry, washing stuff in the cupboards and getting ready to welcome Melissa and her family to Dalyan later. I had fresh bread and butter for breakfast and then I decided to rearrange the furniture so that the kitchen table is up against the wall near the stairs and not so cramped in the kitchen – it would give me a better space to write from too. For lunch I had hummus with bread and olives and I decided to try something new by doing baked potatoes in the slow cooker, to see how they turned out and they were pretty good.
There was some excitement that afternoon as I had booked in to Lukka bar to have one of their Sunday dinners. I joined a table with Katrina and her friend, Tunc, and enjoyed a glass of red wine before the meal came. This was my first Sunday dinner in Dalyan, having not been in the UK for 3 years and not in Dalyan for 1 year 8 months I had missed eating proper Yorkshire puddings so I was looking forward to a nice roast dinner. I’d previously rather enjoyed the Phong Nha Farmstay Sunday dinners but due to money and then lockdown, I’d not had one of them for ages, either. When the plate was placed in front of me I was amazed at how good it looked, especially as the photos on the Lukka Facebook page didn’t show how big the portion was and a photo can never describe how good the gravy is, which there was lashings of! The cauliflower cheese was great, the beef just melted in my mouth and I had to save some of it to take home so that I could fit in my pudding, which is included in the price. The apple crumble was made to perfection with just the right ratio of apple to crumble for my liking, topped off with a blob of ice-cream. To enable me to fit in the dessert I had to have a good hour or so gap, with a couple of extra wines before I tackled it. Because I’m no longer having gluten free meals I got to enjoy the whole thing without any special dietary amendments and it was so good. The cost of it was 110 lira (£9.32) which isn’t the cheapest Sunday dinner in Dalyan but you certainly get what you pay for, the meat quality was top notch and I had enough left for a 2nd meal. I went home very full and, as I sat down to watch some more Line of Duty, I got some good news; my friends who I met in Phong Nha (Mik, Kendra & Bryan, Hamish & Ania) were coming to Dalyan later in the year for a bit of a reunion holiday – how exciting.
On Saturday 2nd October I woke up at 7.30am to photos of mushrooms from Captain Caveman in Phong Nha, he had continued to tend to the embryos and more had grown so he was looking forward to his breakfast tomorrow. He’d been to the Phong Nha Farmstay to buy eggs from Sau today but unfortunately her ducks had stopped laying so he couldn’t get any. I had cornflakes for breakfast and started watching Line of Duty on Netflix before I set off for my appointment. I had booked in at Mimi’s for my eyebrows threading, a pedicure and reflexology because my good foot had terribly dry cracked skin and my bad foot could really do with being massaged in the hope that the swelling and aching in my ankle would be better. I had the reflexology first and it was really good, just 20 minutes but it felt so much better and all my toes popped, not bad for £15. My eyebrow threading was quick and only £5 then I had a very thorough pedicure where they now use power tools to sand off the hard skin, finishing with a moisturising massage and some nice nail varnish for a total of £15.
In the square next to Mimi’s there had been some changes since I was last there and my favourite gluten free No 10 Bakery was no longer. The shop next door was now a restaurant, called 2 Charlies, that I had seen discussed on Dalyan Facebook pages and I had wanted to try their fish and chips so I decided to go there for lunch. As I didn’t get to have fish and chips last night I thought I’d splash out for lunch and I ordered a fish and chips with a large beer. The beer was 25 lira (£2.12) for 50cl, the fish and chips was 75 lira (£6.36) so on the expensive side but it was a big piece of fish. It came served on a big white plate with a fancy brush stroke of what I hoped was balsamic glaze and a portion of mushy peas which looked like the ones you would get in England (I don’t like them but they came in a separate dish and were easy to take off). The fish was cooked very nicely although the batter was a thin sort with herbs in that I didn’t think were needed as it made the fish a bit scenty. I wasn’t sure what the fish was but probably not cod or haddock, possibly Hake or even a Vietnamese Basa as it tasted more fishy. I suspect I was the first customer of the day to have something in the fryer as the batter was a bit moist on the inside and didn’t stick to the fish very well in some places. The fish comes with wedges rather than actual chips but there was a good portion of them and they soaked up the vinegar well, I’d have preferred not to have the seasoning already on them but they were still cooked really nicely and the tartar sauce was a good touch. It wasn’t a bad meal and I couldn’t manage it all as I was too full, there was a cat under my table hoping to get the leftovers. On the way home I called at the bakery to buy bread and saw a fresh tray of baklava which I just had to buy a couple of pieces of for later.
I realised that today was 14 days since I had my 2nd vaccine and so I could officially go out and about with confidence that I was fully protected and might not die should I get Corona. It said in the news that people coming to Turkey from the UK could now enter using their proof of vaccines instead of a PCR test so it looked like lots more tourists would be on their way, probably some of them unaware they were bringing the virus, which did worry me. That afternoon I spoke to Captain Caveman who was doing ok back in Phong Nha and we had a good chat before I had to go out.
Jax was flying home tonight so I’d arranged to meet her, and her mom, Ann, at Heybe’s for an early dinner and to say bye. I’d been keen to try a Turkish dish called işkender and to my delight they had it on the menu for 85 lira (£7.20) so I ordered it. I just had a couple of soda waters at first as we ate the complimentary lavaş, often described as balloon bread, olives and a yoghurt dip. We decided to pig out and order starters; Ann and I both had the stuffed mushrooms which were great, Jax had a Turkish version of a meat pastry which looked good. For mains Ann and Jax had the chicken casserole, I had my first işkender kebab and it was absolutely fantastic – not greasy and plenty of it! I ordered a red wine, Jax had a half measure of wine just to say cheers but the pair of them were still jaded after being out until 3am. I asked the waiter to box up my leftovers and we said our goodbyes, but would look forward to her next visit. Back home it was still early so I had a marathon session of watching Line of Duty on Netflix. I got peckish after a couple of episodes and ate the left over işkender kebab. I got confirmation from Melissa, who lived with her family in Vietnam until moving to Kaş in Turkey a couple of months ago, that they were going to come to visit me on their way to Pammukale. It was a bit strange that I’d come all this way from Vietnam to Turkey, hoping to meet up with people from the UK, only for my first visitors to be from friends who, this time last year, were living in Phong Nha.
At just after midnight, so very early on Friday 1st October, having fell asleep on the sofa watching the TV, I could smell cheese again and had a pain in my left shoulder. I went to the mirror to look at my back and, where I had a cyst removed over 10 years ago, there was another small lump underneath my old scar. Incredibly I could smell that it was probably infected or another cyst had grown. I put a plaster on it, went to bed and when I woke up I had a photo of Carrot, the dog, from Captain Caveman, who was in pain again with his foot and knee. I had beans on toast for lunch and arranged to meet Maddie, Angela and Nick at Tez bar for a drink at 6pm, Angela had organised for a group of us (the usual suspects) to go to Wonky’s for fish and chips tonight.
I wasn’t really feeling like going out due to feeling tired and having some issues about applying for residency but I went anyway and I’m glad that I did. Tez bar used to be Soul Kitchen and it looks very similar, they now sell proper ales which looked great but they were 38 lira (£3.22) for a small bottle and I’m on a budget so I had a glass of white wine which was cheaper. Jax was going back home to England tomorrow so had got her PCR test done at Tez Bar where they were printing off and trying to WhatsApp a copy of it to her. When we arrived at Wonky’s Onur was already playing live music as we found a table outside, Angela had booked for 6 of us so we could try the fish and chips, which I was looking forward to. The place was packed and there were a lot of familiar faces in there too, it seemed to be one of the new places to be. When we came to order food they only had enough fish and chips left for half of us (it is very popular), Jax offered to have a burger so that Nick could have fish and chips, and I ordered a pizza. The food was very nice and I noticed that Jax’s burger looked really good and didn’t have any random chillies in, maybe I ordered the wrong one on my last visit, my pizza was excellent. By the time Sarah joined us we had eaten, Onur was in full swing with his live music and people were really enjoying it, he does all the tunes to sing a long too. On our table there was only me, Ann and Jax not smoking and I was finding it difficult to deal with the cigarette smoke so I decided to leave earlier than the others. I found out the next day that most of the gang stayed out until 3am and were singing and dancing – I could not have managed that! When I got home I noticed my shoulder looked a bit sore where my bra strap had been digging in to the scar so I put a blister plaster on to sleep in, it was strange that the exact same place where I had the cyst removed before, years ago, looked like it had another one and I hoped I didn’t have to have surgery again.
I had a simit, cheese spread and olives for breakfast on Thursday 30th September and had messages from Captain Caveman who had been for a hair cut and shave this morning. I booked my hair appointment in with Emrah as I was so desperately needing it cut and dyed, it had not been done since the Danang holiday with Tatas about 5 months ago. I also booked in for a massage as my back and leg needed attention, I wasn’t used to so much walking about and my ankle wasn’t too clever most of the time. Sadly, it was Jamie’s last day here in Dalyan and he’d arranged to meet at Aşkin’s for a farewell drink later. I still had an EasyJet flight for this year that had been cancelled which I needed to change, I’d not been able to do it in Vietnam as the EasyJet website is blocked there. I moved it to a random date in the future, just to keep the flight and went for September 2022, not really knowing what my plans were. For lunch I made some of the Bolognese into a pasta bake, using the vegan cheese but that wasn’t good for cooking. That night I had a wander in to town and was undecided where to eat, when I saw Ann and Jax in Aşkin’s having a glass of wine and they invited me to join them, I had a draught Efes beer, Jamie and his neighbours arrived, we had a drink then went next door to Spice Garden. It had been just over a year since the only Indian restaurant in Phong Nha had closed down so I was looking forward to being able to choose to eat Indian food again, while I’m in Turkey. I used to go to Spice Garden on occasion when I was here before but I’d never tried the special meal deals before. Jamie and I decided we would order a meal deal and share the starter and side dishes, he was also conscious of flying early tomorrow morning so didn’t want anything too risky. We had samosas and onion bhajis to start, I had chicken masala and Jamie had chicken dhansak, we shared pilau rice and a garlic naan bread and it was definitely the best meal I’ve had at Spice Garden. The portions were a good size and if I’d been less greedy I could easily have taken half home but I was enjoying it so much that I ate almost all of it and then could hardly move. Jax even said she thought she had a food baby and had to walk around to feel less stuffed. Not all of us at the table had the special deal but everything we did have was good, the food came out together and the service was excellent. Unfortunately it meant I was too full for drinking more and so when Sarah joined us for farewell drinks at Aşkin’s I had to have an Amaretto with ice. I had started to be able to smell a cheesy smell as we were paying the bill in Spice Garden but it was stronger in Aşkin’s so I asked if others could smell it. Sarah reckoned it was the cheesy crisps they give out with the drinks but I didn’t think it was that. After 1 drink I decided to leave, Jamie and Sarah were stopping by Sofra bar for more goodbyes but I couldn’t stop, I already needed the loo. I bumped in to Andrea, John and Adem who were sat having a drink outside Dalyan Lounge but I seriously could not stop, by this time Jamie had caught me up and he also needed to get home to the bathroom as soon as possible. We said our very quick goodbyes and promised to meet at the Radisson, Manchester airport in December, as we were flying back to Dalyan together for New Year. It was going to be weird being in Dalyan without Jamie, he’s such a lovely bloke and he’d introduced me to such nice people who had become my friends too. I only just made it home in time and I wasn’t sure whether it was a reaction to one of my food allergies or the amount I had eaten (probably both).
September had been an usual month; the first 3 weeks had been spent in lockdown at Elements Collection with Captain Caveman. It would turn out to be a very expensive month but there was finally some progress as I got my 2nd Astra Zeneca vaccine, thanks to Oxalis. I got lucky and managed to escape to Turkey where, despite the high Corona rates, everything is as normal (pretty much). There were more tears than a usual month over failed escape attempts, missing celebrations back in England, not being able to say bye to most people and having to say goodbye to Captain Caveman without knowing when we would see each other again.
My blogging continued to be a good way for me to vent my frustrations at not being able to leave Vietnam and I got some great support from people reading, as I moaned on, sometimes forgetting how lucky I was to be in Vietnam in the first place. As for the Corona data, I was so used to getting the daily updates when I was in Vietnam that I missed not knowing how the country I am in reports local cases, so far everyone was telling me it was ‘safer than the UK’ but that wasn’t a benchmark I was too happy with and I continued to be concerned I would catch the virus. Here’s a Corona summary for September of the 3 countries that have an affect on me, it was very strange going from such a strict lockdown with comparatively fewer cases, but Vietnam still had a lot more deaths.
Vietnam: September Cases 328,659 September Deaths 8,237 September Recoveries 369,971 September mortality rate 2.51% Total Cases 790,755 Total Deaths 19,301 Total Recoveries 608,831 Total mortality rate 2.44% Population 98 million
Turkey: September Cases 750,000 September Deaths 7,334 September Recoveries 780,000 September mortality rate 0.98% Total Cases 7,150,000 Total Deaths 64,054 Total Recoveries 6,620,000 Total mortality rate 0.9% Population 85 million
UK: September Cases 1,000,000 September Deaths 4,127 September Recoveries 850,000 September mortality rate 0.4% Total Cases 7,800,000 Total Deaths 136,662 Total Recoveries 6,320,000 Total mortality rate 1.75% Population 68 million
In September Vietnam’s number of cases were not much higher than August, but the deaths were lower and the recoveries higher then the previous month. The cases in Vietnam, for September, were still around half the amount of Turkey and a third of the UK, the deaths were twice as many as the UK and 1,000 more than Turkey. Vietnam was still in lockdown in most places, until the 30th September, but they were making some progress with the vaccines. In September Turkey’s cases had gone up by 50,000 compared to August but Recoveries had more than doubled those of August, the deaths had increased too. The UK for September had the most cases out of the 3 countries, the cases this month were 1 million, recoveries had increased but deaths had doubled again for the 2nd month in a row, which was concerning. In the World data September had 16.3 million cases and 16.19 million recoveries for September, both figures trending in the right way, even the number of deaths this month was less than August.
October was going to be an interesting month for me, the most exciting thing was that I would get to see my parents after almost 2 years apart and I couldn’t wait! I was also going to embark on getting my 2 year Turkish residency and hopefully start to get my next set of (Pfizer) vaccines. Once that was out of the way I think the inevitable would have to happen, towards the end of the year – I needed to get a job! Having been a Lady of Leisure for just over 2 years it was time to look for online/remote work that I could do in Turkey or the UK, there were no guarantees I’d be able to go back to Vietnam in 2022 so it was time to make some money while I was on a more suitable time zone.
I woke up at 7.30am on Wednesday 29th September and had cornflakes for breakfast. Captain Caveman sent me messages saying I am confirmed fully vaccinated on the Vietnamese app now, but of course the app doesn’t work in Turkey so no matter what I tried I can’t access the details, which will include a QR code and a batch number for each jab. The good news was that Vietnam will recognise vaccinations from Turkey and UK now so if I could get 2 more vaccines that would be good. Captain Caveman also informed me that in the week since I had left Vietnam there still hadn’t been any positive cases in our village, Khuong Ha. Captain Caveman and I discussed making some alterations to the kitchen in the Dalyan apartment so I sent him some photos so he could give it some thought for ideas. I also sent him photos of the pergola that I think we need to get replaced, another thing I added to my list to find out more about. I did lots more washing up, lots of things in cupboards were still dirty and I decided to make a chicken curry in the slow cooker. At 11am I went over to my parents’ place to meet the gardener for the key, and to check the apartment. I checked the place out which, apart from being a bit dusty, was fine and took loads of photos to send to my mom. Next I walked home the long way round so I could call at the bakery. I walked past a house where Jimmy, the dog, used to be in the garden but he wasn’t there and neither was the kennel or fence. I bought a loaf and 2 simits at the bakery which came to 7 lira (70p) and went home to add cheese and olives to my purchases for lunch.
In the afternoon I had been invited to Casablanca hotel by Maddie for food, drinks and live music from Onur. In attendance were the usual suspects; Jamie, Ann, Jax, Sarah, Süleyman, Annie, Peter, Maddie, Angela and Nick plus there were a few other people including Hannah and a bloke called Adam wearing a Vietnam T-Shirt! I had a few beers, 2 plates of food, listened to some great tunes and had a full tour of the lovely hotel. It was a really civilised afternoon, the staff are great, the food was a delicious Turkish spread which we helped ourselves to – I even ran out of plate by the time I got to the home made chips. Jamie ‘insisted’ on us all having a Mr G cocktail, which I must admit are somewhat moreish and that’s when normality kicked back in.
A few of us decided to go in to town for more drinks at Aşkin’s bar, so I nipped home to turn off my curry, Annie and Jamie went to get a shower but me, Ann and Jax went as we were, thinking we were just going for one! Of course it turned in to one of those nights, drinking until 10.30pm, even having a glass of wine and some terrible cheese at Sofra bar with Rebecca, her mom and Jamie’s neighbours. We couldn’t work out if Peter was wearing a pink or orange shirt but we did a test at the clothes shops on the main shopping street, we decided he was wearing coral! It was a good night and I slept well!
The sunrise was at 7.20am on Tuesday 28th September and I took a photo out of my bedroom window to send to Captain Caveman, he sent one back and told me he was off round to Stu’s house today. I decided to scrub more of the kitchen stuff and ended up throwing away one of the pans that had the old oil in it, it was like jelly and glue mixed together and it was taking ages to even loosen up, it must have been in the oven, wedged in to a baking tray with 2 oven gloves, since the last customer stayed here in 2020. For breakfast I had hummus, salad and olives and by 10.30am some of my draining board Jenga had collapsed on account of us having a very small earthquake, a couple of pieces of the worktop fell off!
I got the slow cooker out and made bolognese, which made good use of some of the 2 year old Dikmen wine and smelled so good. Our Aussie friends, and owners of the apartment downstairs, who are still locked down in Australia, asked me to take photos of their plants to see if they had survived, they were missing Dalyan and couldn’t wait to be able to visit again. I went to get more shopping and had seen a new shop advertising Vegan cheese on Facebook so decided to have a look in there too.
Here’s what I bought in each of the 3 shops I went to, and the prices:
Şevikoğlu supermarket Potatoes 2.88 Aubergines 4.96 Red cabbage 5.27 1 tin of tomatoes 7.90
Total 21.01lira (£1.78)
Dalyan şarküteri 1 tub of black olives 1 tin of coconut milk 1 Lurpak butter 1 vegan cheese 1 cheddar cheese 1 Sharwood’s sauce
I’m not sure of the individual prices but the total was 267 lira (£22.63), it was so expensive because I was buying imported products, but it’s a very nice shop.
I had finally got a Turkish phone number now and I arranged to pick up the keys for my parents place, later in the week so I could check on it for them. We were still hoping they would be able to come out to Turkey to visit this year so I was keeping my fingers crossed. My mom had said she might be able to bring me some bras and my UK bank card if they came out and I hoped she had room for my popcorn maker too – you can buy ready made popcorn here but it’s made with oil so it is fattening. For dinner I had some of the Bolognese with pasta and it was so good, some went in the fridge and the rest in the freezer, I watched more of The Fall on Netflix before bed as I needed another early night – tomorrow it would be 1 week since I arrived in Dalyan and I had exciting plans.
I woke up early on Monday 27th September but went back to sleep, it had been 1 week since I had woken up in bed with Captain Caveman, but it already felt longer and we had hardly spoken in that time. Having eaten loads of things that I probably shouldn’t, on the boat trip yesterday, my stomach was playing up and so I didn’t dare leave the house to do some of the things on my to do list. I had cornflakes and milk for breakfast then crisps and cherry juice for lunch and I was putting off having the allergy test in case I found out I was allergic to something worse than gluten or dairy – what if it was wine!? I did some laundry, washed some pots that had been left in the oven by some guests, for a long time, with oil in (nice!) and I unpacked more of my stuff. I took photos of our pergola and overgrown bougainvillea plant which was desperately ready for a cut and I was glad that King Emlak were sending the gardener round. It looked like some residents in grounds and shops near to our gate were using the space as a dumping ground for their rubbish instead of walking it to the nearby bin – why are people so thoughtless when it comes to litter!?
In the afternoon I managed a trip to the supermarket, the phone shop and the bank. Here’s what was in my shopping basket and the prices:
Migros Supermarket Onions 1.21 Garlic 4.74 Quark 5.50 Toast loaf 6.45 Pasta 6.75 Hummus 7.95 Tomato paste 9.95 Mushrooms 10.90 1 tin of baked beans 14.44 3 chicken breasts 23.73 500g beef mince 25.60 Toilet paper 42.75
Total spent 159.89 lira (£13.55)
My Turkcell SIM card cost just 190 lira (£16) and came with data and minutes, not quite as cheap as in Vietnam but it would do the trick for me to be able to use internet banking again. When I got back the gardener was still working on the garden, even the rosemary and orange trees had been growing a lot more than I had anticipated and it was clear we would need to do something about the pergola which was in a state of disrepair and had a cat sleeping in it. I finally got to speak to Captain Caveman who was doing well and wasn’t missing me yet. By the evening I was feeling a bit better so I went to Pammukale restaurant and picked up a takeaway pide and side salad. It is one of my old favourites and the quality is consistently good, my parents have been visiting this restaurant for years and we all love it. My pide was really tasty and I was going to save half, but (obviously) I didn’t.