Dalyan – 23rd May

Dalyan – 23rd May

The temperatures in Dalyan were heating up and, because all sides of the apartment were now blocked by buildings, there was very little draft through when I opened all windows and doors. On Monday 23rd May I was determined to take it easy as I was hoping to be refreshed and lose a bit of weight before going back to Vietnam. Captain Caveman had been working so much I was sure he would have lost weight and I didn’t want to look too fat at the side of him! I went shopping for a few essentials and made my sausage casserole in the slow cooker. I ate simit with cheese spread and plum jam for lunch and was a bit sad that I probably wouldn’t get to finish the jams I had left in the fridge – maybe I could give them to Dad as he loves a good jam. There was good news too, my Vietnamese visa had been approved and I could enter Vietnam at the airport in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) on the 5th June. It was valid until the 5th July so Captain Caveman booked me a flight from Danang to Singapore on the 4th July, for if I needed it. My original plan had been to accompany Des to Istanbul when his 30 days in Turkey was up, but that hadn’t worked out. Instead I got on with organising a leaving drinks for him, later this week.
Before 5pm I had my Yorkshire pudding tin in the oven and decided to open the bottle of mulberry wine I had. It was a bit sweet for me but I managed a glass of it with my sausage casserole and yorkshires. After dinner, I finally got the TV fixed, which was good news. I was considering taking the Firestick to Vietnam so we could still watch the Grand Prix but I thought better of it.
I had a bit of Kate’s fruit cake with butter before bed and I washed it down with a gin and pink grapefruit! It was nice to spend the day at home for a change.

Çalış – 19th May

Çalış – 19th May

I met Ma, Pa, Mark, Kate, Vanessa and Matt at the Dalyan bus station at 10.20am on Thursday 19th May and we were off on another adventure! I’d luckily managed to change my breakfast arrangement to Friday and therefore I had not eaten when we got on the bus to Ortaca. At Ortaca we changed to the bus to Fethiye, as there isn’t a direct bus to Çalış. Mark and Kate were going to Fethiye first and the rest of us were going straight to Çalış where we would meet Steve and Michelle for lunch. When we got off the bus at the Citroen garage, ready to walk a few kilometres in to Çalış, a bus arrived which we got on to. I don’t have a Kent card, which is used for transport, so the regular cost was 14 lira (72p) from Dalyan to Ortaca, 28 lira (£1.44) from Ortaca to near Çalış, then 10 lira (51p) in to Çalış itself. The total journey was just over an hour and a half and was quite pleasant. When we arrived at Summer Breeze, a lovely restaurant and bar on the sea front which Julio recommended, most of us had a soft drink and then decided to order a breakfast. The prices were very reasonable and much cheaper than most places in Dalyan so we were quite happy to stay there until Steve, Michelle, Julio, Serem, Mark and Kate were going to join us later. By that time we were well and truly on it with the drinks and were having a lovely time. A guy in white shorts, and no shirt had skated past us showing off his muscles so we, and another table of ‘Brits abroad’ couldn’t help but show their appreciation. He then came back, stopped his skate board in front of us and thanked us for making his day. I didn’t even get my camera out, I was so surprised – you can’t take us anywhere. The rest of the party arrived and we continued to have more drinks, Steve had received positive news from the hospital that his leg was doing well. He didn’t drink but they did have a breakfast and propped up his leg on a spare chair. About 3.30pm Can, the man who sells sunglasses, came round and we all proceeded to try several pairs on. I treated myself to some fake Ray-Ban’s for 250 lira (£12.82) and a couple of others bought a pair.

At 5.15pm we decided to move locations, Julio and Serem had their car so this was useful to get Steve to Charcoal Palace. The rest of us walked, this time I didn’t get lost, and I was able to enjoy the fish and chips I’d missed out on last time. Steve, Michelle and I even ordered an extra battered sausage and chips to share and I thought the food was amazing. I don’t eat peas, tartar sauce or curry sauce but my friends loved the accompaniments. I tried one of Kate’s onion rings and they were very good too but I was conscious of a batter overload. My Dad had said he had not liked the fish and chips last time so I was surprised to see him order them again. This time he said they were better, but still not as good as Tony’s chip shop, back in Mosborough, Sheffield. My Mom and Vanessa decided to order the chicken fajitas and they looked incredible, as did Julio’s chicken shish which he had eaten there before. I couldn’t finish my small portion of fish and chips so I asked to have a doggy bag, unfortunately they forgot and must have thrown it away. Steve and Michelle of course were sensible and went home at a reasonable hour. It had been so good to have a Deep Blue Leg-Ends reunion and of course there were plans for another one next month. Vanessa, Matt and my parents also decided that getting a taxi back from Çalış to Dalyan for 600 lira (£30.77) would be a good option and for the 4 of them it worked out £15 per couple – well worth it!

I could tell that Kate was on her way to getting merry as she had started to speak more Turkish to Serem, at first we were exchanging idioms but we were slowly getting off track and had to resort to speaking English. Mark had considered going home at a decent time too, but Kate was out out – we were also expecting another couple of their friends to arrive. I decided I would share the taxi back with Mark and Kate as even 200 lira each would be a reasonable amount. I joined Mark, Kate, Julio, Serem, Adam & Damla for a drink in Motto bar which turned in to a few more for some of the contingent. We eventually got a taxi after Kate negotiated the bar man down to an excellent price of 500 lira. The journey back started with Kate being chatty but then she fell asleep, Mark said almost nothing the whole way back and the Fethiye shopping made it back to Dalyan. I got dropped off at home and gave 200 lira to Kate regardless of the taxi price. It was midnight when we got in and it had been a long day with lots of laughter, great food and a fair bit to drink. It was worth it to see Steve and Michelle again but I was a bit sad when it suddenly dawned on me that I wouldn’t be in Turkey for the next Deep Blue Leg-Ends get-togethers!

Dalyan – 9th & 10th May

Dalyan – 9th & 10th May

I packed my suitcase on Monday 9th May, in readiness to move in to Mark and Kate’s place for 9 days of house and cat sitting.
I had leftover chinese for breakfast and pasta for lunch followed by the apple pie from yesterday, which was more of a tart and looked like something bought from the bakery.
I got a taxi with Fikri to go over an hour before Mark, Kate, Daisy and Phoebe were due to be leaving to go to Dalaman airport. When I arrived, around 6.30pm, no one was about except for Kate, who was on the phone. Daisy and Phoebe were both in bed, Mark had gone out for a drink. We learned that the flights were delayed just as Mark arrived to get ready, so the girls went back to bed and Mark went down the jetty with a beer. I chatted to Kate, had a glass of red wine and discovered that salt and vinegar crisps are available here in Dalyan. I had no idea and had already asked a friend to bring me some over!!! Eventually it was time to go to the airport and we all said goodbye. I ate a whole bag of the salt and vinegar crisps and then watched some Netflix in bed. Tomorrow I wanted to have an easy day where I didn’t have to do anything except for make sure the cats were ok.

I was up early on Tuesday 10th May to feed the 5 cats, Casha, Kylie, JC, Bubble and Squeak. The older cat, Casha, is Kate’s favourite and likes to be fed separately and has snuggles after breakfast. This time Bubble was on a diet so she had to also be fed separately. I watered the plants, there was a hose pipe to make things a bit easier and then all the younger cats went off to play out, while Casha followed me back to bed.
Because of doing something exciting with my parents tomorrow I had asked to join another Turkish class and Sioned had kindly allowed me to join a group today. The venue had been moved to Casablanca hotel as our usual place, Lukka bar, was getting rather busy with tourists. I arrived to meet my temporary class mates and we did a lesson on telling the time. I noted that the Casablanca hotel had a nice menu and that next week I would try out the food, and maybe even use the pool.
My next stop was to the supermarket and then back to Fire Opal for a bite to eat; a croissant and a cheese roll from the bakery section in Migros. At 6.30pm I went to Pilates which had started to help with my back and legs and I was enjoying it, even though it was difficult.
I had a cycle back over to Mark and Kate’s on the electric bicycle and chilled out. After feeding the cats and watering the plants, I decided to make some dinner. Kate had asked me to use up some meatballs in the fridge so I had some of them with beans on toast and a glass of wine. I had a relatively early night because tomorrow we had some excitement arranged.

Dalyan – 9th April

Dalyan – 9th April

I could easily have stayed in bed all day on Saturday 9th April. I had overdone things yesterday and was begging for mercy but I had arranged to take my visiting friends to the market. I couldn’t stomach any breakfast and Kate had already fed the cats before I got out of bed. What I didn’t realise is that Casha had not been home yet. After helping put the bike together in the kitchen and 2 cups of Yorkshire tea, I got a lift from Mark. He dropped me at Jiks where Louisa and family were waiting in the sunny garden at the back. Jiks is always busy on a Saturday so they had to wait for drinks then we finally set off to the market. On the way there, Louisa filled me in on any gaps in my memory from last night’s shenanigans. It was going to be a long day and my hangover wasn’t helping. At the market I bought some strawberries which had gone down to 35 lira (£1.82) then we had a bit of a wander around the other stalls. My friends tried, and bought, a few sweet treats and had a browse for a sun hat. This was the first week I’d seen the market back to it’s full compliment of stalls, including Musti, one of my favourites.
We both bought a purse as I’ve been after one for ages, mine was a Hermes and Louisa wasn’t sure at first. She went back to get the one she liked after we all had a pancake. The purses were great value for around £20 each and my old purse needed replacing. I knew the pancake would give me a dodgy stomach so I only ate a bit then took the rest as a takeaway. After the market we all walked through town and to Rehab bar where the pool gang were playing. Linda and Louisa were still in pursuit of a lamb shish for dinner so I messaged Donny at Heybe’s to check if they had some available that night. When I arrived everyone was already seated with a drink and I apologised for both my hungover state today and our drunkenness last night. I ordered İskender kebab, Alex chose a pizza, Louisa had the lamb shish but Linda decided to go with a lamb tandır. Before the food came I got a message from Kate to say that her favourite cat, Casha, still hadn’t come home and she was very worried. She’d looked everywhere, had called her but there was no sign. I enjoyed my food but had to take half home and Alex loved his pizza. Linda said her’s was nice too but had expected it might come on skewers, like the lamb shish did. While we were at Heybe’s there was a power cut so our Algerian waitress told us a ghost story of the mountain with no name. It had been a long day and I vowed not to drink that much again! I was so happy to be back home and in my own bed tonight, for a change!

Dalyan – 27th March

Dalyan – 27th March


Sunday 27th March was a great day in Dalyan, the sun was shining and I still didn’t have any Corona symptoms – I was feeling a lot luckier than some of my friends too. As I had invited 6 people over to mine this evening for a meal, it was time to get preparing and get out the spare chairs.
I decided I would have a tidy up and make some veggie wraps for a starter, taking in to account allergies. The beef, potatoes, carrots and curry paste were already in the slow cooker and would be ready before lunch time as I’d been up so early.
I popped to Migros supermarket for a few essentials and here’s what I bought:

Fresh bread 3.00
1 bag of pasta 4.20
Hummus 15.05
2 Avocados 15.90
1 bag jasmine rice 16.50
1 jar of peanut butter 17.95
Cling film 19.90
1 lipsyl 24.95
Lavaş wraps 26.50
1 bottle of red wine 56.90
2 packets of sanitary towels 71.60

Total spent 272.45 lira (£14.16)

By lunch timetime I had eaten a couple of the wraps to test them out. They both had carrot, red pepper and avocado in but some with peanut butter and some with tahini – they were quite nice and very healthy.
I transferred the cooked beef masaman curry in to a pan and washed my jasmine rice, ready to put it on while I went out to meet my mates.
Vanessa came over around 2pm for us to do our Turkish homework together, I was out of water so we had to have wine! By the time it got to 4pm we still hadn’t finished it but had arranged to meet Matt, Julie, Gareth, Mark and Kate at Okyanus for a drink. I bunged the rice in the slow cooker and off we went. We had a couple of drinks there while sat in the sun then, decided to grab some wine and beers from the shop and go back to mine. Julie and Gareth felt they were imposing but I insisted there was enough to go round and was glad I’d made the starter. Of course the rice was overdone having been at Okyanus an hour after I should have turned it off but we made do. There was just enough room for the 7 of us, we had a good laugh and gave the ball a right old kick. The masaman curry went down well and I even got my cheese and pickles out for afters – it would have been lovely with a bit of fruit cake too! Some people had a bit too much wine, including Kate, who refused to go home and fell over. Her and Mark were eventually the last to leave after the 2nd taxi was called and I insisted they go home as I had work tomorrow and still wanted to watch the Grand Prix, which I had recorded.
I managed to watch the Grand Prix, drink more wine and go to sleep in the early hours of Monday morning, after a fun-filled weekend.

Dalyan – 22nd March

Dalyan – 22nd March

It was still cold when I woke up on Tuesday 22nd March. I ate cornflakes for breakfast then started to cook. I had a bit of excitement planned for tonight as Vanessa had invited me to a curry night at Turgay’s. I had promised to make some Baba Ghanoush for Kate so I started with roasting garlic and aubergines. My next dish was making Saag Aloo to take with us to Turgay’s and I made a big batch so I could save some. It was Zumba Gold class at noon and it was really good, I was getting the hang of it now a bit more.
I went shopping in Migros and bought the following:

Fresh bread 3.00
1 Twix 4.50
1 chocolate croissant 7.50
2 croissants 12.80
2 crisps 9.30
Bleach 13.40
Fairy liquid 14.90
Natural yoghurt 20.75
1 bottle of red wine 56.90

Total spent 143.05 lira (£7.34)

I went to the off-licence and bought 2 more bottles of wine (a red and a white) but had to get Buzdağ because there was no Tılsım anymore. The manufacturer had been taken over so all supplies in Dalyan had been exhausted, or other expats had already bought it all! The 2 bottles cost me 135 lira which is about £7 at the current exchange rate.
Before curry night, Mark & Kate came for a glass of wine (or 2) at mine. After packing up the Saag Aloo, wine and Baba Ghanoush we walked over to Turgay’s where Matt, Vanessa and Figan were already there. Turgay and Figan had prepared chicken curry, rice, roast potatoes and bread for us all and we sat at the dining table to enjoy it.
The food was lovely and the drink and conversation flowed. Luckily, my spinach and potatoes went down well, Kate’s homemade onion bhajis were very tasty, plus Vanessa had taken doughnuts for dessert but I was too full for sweet stuff by then.
When we left I walked to the main street with Mark and Kate to wait for their taxi. They invited me for more wine at their’s and I accepted. Mark went to bed and I sat up chatting and drinking wine with Kate until about 2am.

Dalyan – 20th & 21st March

Dalyan – 20th & 21st March

As I didn’t go to bed until the early hours of the morning on Sunday 20th March, I was extremely tired and decided a day of doing as little as possible was on the cards. I felt a few tremors of an earthquake but couldn’t work out if I was just feeling hungover and tired. Mark had left to join in the sweeping of the new road, which Alp had organised, from Sofra bar. The intentions were to sweep sand in to the cracks to help the workmen, Sarah had been busy making sandwiches for the volunteers.
I ate strawberries for breakfast and went back to bed for a bit then I watched Netflix, did some Turkish practice and relaxed. For lunch I only just managed some red pesto mushroom pasta then had a nannan nap. When dinner time came round I couldn’t be bothered to cook so I just had cheese on Jacob’s crackers and thoroughly enjoyed it.

When I woke up on Monday 21st March I was really missing Captain Caveman. I saw a photo of his (our) home in Phong Nha on Facebook and wished it was easier to get over there. There were more complications about the visa situation, where people trying to apply via the embassy were in a backlog of processing. In Phong Nha temperatures had reached 33°C and I missed that too.

In Dalyan it was 4°C and news of more earthquakes off Crete which I’d felt yesterday. I had grapefruit and strawberries for breakfast, before opening up the laptop at the kitchen table. For lunch I had some Quinoa crackers with brie and olives but I should have eaten more. Inevitably, it would be one of those Mondays and I should have known. John had messaged me that the Rum bar was having an opening party today, to which we were all invited, so I cracked on with some work in order to finish early and attend. I also sent a message to Sarah, Debbie (Darling) and Ann to ask if they were going and to say I’d see them there from 4.30pm. In the afternoon I had a wander to Migros supermarket and bought the following essentials:

Spinach 9.95
Fabric Softener 18.25
Washing powder 22.75
Beef mince 41.16
Diced beef 44.00

Total spent 136.11 lira (£7)

After dropping my shopping home I went to join Andy, Kaye, Mark, Kate, Chris and Jackie at Okyanus for Kaye’s farewell drinks. The sun was shining and the Efes was cold, after 2 beers the sun was going in so we wandered up to Tez bar to catch the last of the sunshine. It was past 4.30pm when we arrived and Debbie (Darling) had already made her way to Rum bar to meet me. There was no word from Ann but Sarah was running late, as she was still working. Sue was at Tez bar and had recently had her cataract operation so she looked like a pirate. We just had the one beer but had a few laughs while we waited for Sarah to come. I temporarily forgot about Kate’s peanut allergy as I shelled and ate the complimentary ones, then tried to get her to eat some.
Debbie (Darling) returned to Tez, having not found me at Rum bar and she pretended to be cross, Ann had decided not to join us.

Sarah arrived, after a busy working day, and we all went to Rum bar which had some gorgeous cocktails. I started with a Pina Colada then discovered they had a Ron Zacapa rum which is one of my favourites.
I finally got to meet Cameron and Betty who were in Dalyan on holiday after not being able to visit due to the pandemic. Unfortunately they were only here for a short holiday but it was good to get to meet them in person at last. The atmosphere at Rum bar was good and a fire kept the chills off as the temperature dropped.

We all said our farewells to Kaye then Sarah and I walked back along the river towards home. On the way we decided we were hungry so would go for a Chinese at China Town. It was my first visit to ‘eat-in’ since the renovations and reopening – it looked good. I ordered chicken in black bean sauce, egg fried rice and prawn toast while Sarah opted for a half portion of sweet and sour chicken. It was unfortunate for Sarah that she had to have a work related telephone conversation on loud speaker throughout the duration of our meal. Luckily, there were only a couple of other customers in at this late hour on a Monday evening. I took a small amount of left over chicken home and felt exhausted when I got in.

Photo credit – Alp Aslan, street sweeping. Phong Nha Farmstay, Elements Collection.

Dalyan – 18th & 19th March

Dalyan – 18th & 19th March

I didn’t sleep until 3am and was awake at 7am again on Friday 18th March, I’m not sure why. I went back to sleep then didn’t wake up until 10.30am.
I lost 0.5kg on the scales this week and the cycling, Zumba, and walking were definitely helping with my leg muscles – I’d put 1-2cm on thighs and calves. I had cornflakes for breakfast then I went over to my parents’ place to put the curtains back up. I found I was an inch too short while precariously standing on the step ladder and had to abandon it. I booked in a cleaner, found a yoga class that I inquired about and did a few other jobs.
Ann messaged to ask if she could come to mine to do an LFT to check if she had Corona as she had felt like she had swollen glands, unfortunately I was out so we arranged for her to come tomorrow morning. A few more people that we knew in Dalyan were testing positive recently so we wanted to double check.
Captain Caveman was at Karst Villas, in Phong Nha, with Caroline, her dog V and Hung and it looked really hot there.
I had a delivery from Emma Cevik of some pies, of which I had a mince and onion one for lunch with mushrooms, broccoli and gravy. I snacked on dates for afters and stayed home in case I had caught Corona but didn’t have any symptoms yet.
That evening I ate the last of the (never-ending) teriyaki chicken with pasta, had cheese and pickled onions then did some writing.

Saturday 19th March was a busy and challenging day for me! I had booked the cleaner in because the apartment was full of dust and the floors were still dirty from the workmen. Ann came round at 9.30am so she could do a Lateral Flow Test. I’d already done my test and was negative, then we waited for her result which was also negative. We called for Vanessa before 10am and walked to the market. I bought potatoes and onions from the first stall for 24 lira, then peppers, carrots, mushrooms and aubergines from the next stall for 60 lira. I couldn’t resist getting another punnet of strawberries for 40 lira but 124 lira (£6.39) was the most I’ve spent at the market so far. Our bags were heavy as we walked back to town with the intention of all 3 of us going to Sofra bar for a bacon sandwich. Vanessa realised she had to get back and decided not to join Ann and I but when we got to Sofra the electric was off. It was a day for rugby but the England match wasn’t on until 11pm so I wasn’t sure if I would make it. After dropping off the market produce at home, I decided to go to Star Gurme to stock up on some non-Turkish food supplies. I bought the following:
1 Pesto sauce 15.00
2 baked beans 30.00
1 box cream crackers 30.00
1 brie 45.00
1 Curry paste 60.00
2 Coconut milk 70.00
1 Lurpak butter 80.00
3 cheddar 150.00

Total spent 480 lira (£25)

I managed to do all the talking in Turkish and the lady gave me a free box of Quinoa crackers. I popped in to Rehab bar but there were only the pool fellas in, no women as yet, so I met Sarah, Rach and Ann at Jiks for a beer. Vanessa joined us and then we went back up to Rehab bar to rejoin the pool lads, meet Kate and watch the rugby.
I spoke to Captain Caveman about plans for a visit to Vietnam and we concluded that I needed to send my passport to the consulate in Ankara to get the 90 day visa and that I should do this as soon as possible. Unfortunately this would mean I wouldn’t be able to go back to the UK in a couple of days time. Matt and Mark were very practical and helpful with offers of us hiring a car for a road trip to Ankara and I messaged Sonuç to get a price for if we hired a driver. Kate and Vanessa were also on board with the idea and I was super excited to be able to have a way to get a visa. Finally we had a loose plan, as long as the embassy were able to grant me a visa.
After pool, most people went home, they were the sensible ones. John and Andrea decided to go to Sofra for dinner so Mark, Kate, Ann and I decided to join them. I’d only had 3 beers by this time and I was purposely trying to pace myself as Kate had already asked if I minded keeping an eye on Mark, watching the rugby and him staying at mine. She hadn’t been feeling too good and fancied a night at home so I accepted the challenge. I was extra careful on the roadworks this time and was looking forward to some food as I’d not eaten since breakfast. I ordered a chicken stir fry and a glass of red wine for my dinner and in fact all of us, except Mark, ordered a chicken stir fry which came out at various times with it being so busy. I really enjoyed my food which was fresh and piping hot but I felt bad that Ann and Kate had to wait a bit longer for their’s when they were hungrier than me. Mark’s burger seemed to take ages and had still not arrived when I took an extra stir fry to Tayfur at Rehab, as he had a foot injury and was on crutches.
When I got back the mood had changed somewhat because Mark had decided he no longer wanted to wait for his food, which was taking longer than expected. Kate had phoned a taxi to go home as planned, John and Andrea were also going home but Ann and I had ordered another wine.
Unfortunately due to too much wine things didn’t quite work out as I’d imagined. Ann went home while Mark and I left Sofra to go back to Rehab bar, as arranged, to watch the rugby with Tayfur. We had some red wine, a disappointing result for England and a pretty late night. It was my turn to navigate us through the roadworks this time, we got back to mine without any injuries and, for some reason, thought it would be a good idea to stay up ridiculously late.

Dalyan – 14th & 15th March

Dalyan – 14th & 15th March

There was no madness on Monday 14th March, which made a nice change. I got a message from Captain Caveman and some photos as he, and his colleague, had been on a bike ride in Phong Nha. They were both keen to find out what would happen tomorrow, the official day that Vietnam would open to international tourism. I was still sceptical that it would happen but they were more optimistic.
I read an interesting article from Vietnam, just as I was missing pork:
https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/society/20220311/ho-chi-minh-city-police-seize-nearly-16-tonnes-of-rotten-pigs/66118.html
I decided to make a teriyaki chicken in the slow cooker, didn’t eat breakfast but made wedges with cheese for lunch. It hurt when I ate or spoke still but my chin was scabbing over now. The bruises on my legs were coming on nicely too. In the afternoon I firmed up a couple of plans for tomorrow; Mark and Kate invited me to their’s and I was going on a bicycle ride with Vanessa and Matt in the morning. We had also been invited to Andy and Julie’s for a get together. Both of these invitations clashed with the singing group but I intended to go to all of them.
For dinner that night I had some of the teriyaki chicken with steamed rice and a chilled glass of rosé wine. It tasted great and I was glad I had made enough to save some for the rest of the week.

Tuesday 15th March was meant to be the day that Vietnam reopened the country to international tourists after 2 years of the pandemic. As can be the case, these things don’t always go exactly as one would expect and I was glad I hadn’t booked on one of the first flights. Despite the country being open, the visa process was still not ideal, with many nationalities still not able to get a visa, and most people struggling to get more than the 2 week exemption for certain nationalities. There was still no official announcement made as to if a 30 day visa on arrival could be obtained and various sources seemed to think we needed to wait a few more days for further updates. There was concern that tourists to Vietnam would book elsewhere and I read this news article:
https://vietnaminsider.vn/complicated-visa-requirements-may-discourage-foreign-tourists-to-vietnam-heres-why/
It was hot in Phong Nha today and Dalyan also had some sunny weather as I got ready for my day out with Vanessa, Matt and Bluey2. I was about to cycle the furthest I’d been, so far in Dalyan, as we set off to Andy and Julie’s house. I met Vanessa at Migros and we stocked up on goodies and wine to take with us, then we went to pick up Matt.
At first I had my coat on but it soon got warm and I had to stop along the way to take it off.
The route was easy and flat so we got there in about 20 minutes, greeted by Andy, Julie and the 2 cute dogs. We had a cup of tea and an array of pastries, biscuits and cakes which I indulged in. I was meant to be leaving in time for the singing group gathering at 2pm but after mention of a potential positive case and the mention of wine I decided not to go. Instead we proceeded to sit in the sun, by the pool chatting, drinking and generally having a good old laugh with fellow northerners!
We cycled home rather merry that afternoon and I was meant to be at Mark and Kate’s already. I grabbed a few things, including potatoes and wine then got a taxi from mine to their’s.
I met the cats; Casha, Kylie, JC, Bubble & Squeak and was pleasantly surprised at how well behaved they were. Especially as I had agreed to house and cat sit Mark and Kate next go back to England. While Mark made sure I had red wine, Kate was keen to feed me a baked potato with various homemade toppings. I’d also taken over some popcorn and we had a great, but drunken night. As it was so late I stayed over, the temperature had really dropped and Mark had to put hot water bottles in the beds. Once in bed, I stayed awake a while, checking for updates on the Vietnam visa situation and hoping for good news.

Dalyan – 7th March

Dalyan – 7th March

Rain stopped the work on my parents’ apartment on Monday 7th March and the pool at Captain Caveman’s Turkish apartment overflowed. I struggled to guess my wordle games this morning but eventually managed it. I tried a new one called Nerdle, which Kate had recommended to me, then I suggested it to Captain Caveman. He was now on his way back to Phong Nha, having been to visit Raj at Curry King in Tam Coc.

After being on my laptop until lunch time, I popped to Migros supermarket for some shopping, here’s what was in my basket:


Bread 3.00
1 simit 3.27
Pasta 3.64
Chocolate 7.12
Turkey slices 9.45
2 Bounties 9.74
Toastie loaf 10.95
6 eggs 13.98
Salami 14.72
Crisps 16.31
Chicken 46.30

Total spent 138.38 lira (£7.45)

Back home I had a simit with cheese spread and crisps for lunch, then strawberries with yoghurt and honey for afters.

As I had leftover Sunday dinner, I ate that and really enjoyed it for my evening meal, with a bit of broccoli from the freezer. Before I went out that night, I called to check my parents’ place was locked and I noticed that the gardener had been round. This was unusual as the weather had been awful and they don’t usual start cutting the grass until April. I took some photos so I could let Ma & Pa know about it and went to join Penny, Phil, John, Mark and Kate for more Monday Mayhem.

The specialist section of the Wonky’s quiz this week was James Bond, of which I knew very little about. Lucky for Penny and I, Kate had taken control of the whole thing. While Phil and John got bossed about, I just drank my wine and let them get on with it, until it got to the music round. By the end of the night, though, some of our team was a little inebriated and I had to resort to some cheering up tactics. I had to pull out the only thing I knew couldn’t fail to take one’s mind away from one’s problems! My secret skill is I can flip a considerable amount of beer mats with one hand. Mark didn’t believe I could do it, so I told him to video it! It had been a while, but my Dad had taught me well and, after steadily building them up one or two at a time, and numerous failed attempts, I managed it. By this time Mark had got bored of filming and, if I remember correctly, Kate was having a Bailey’s. As soon as filming stopped, the pressure was off and I managed to flip the 20 beer mats – Dad would have been proud!
Mark and Kate left by taxi, instead of cycling, and Penny kindly gave me a lift home. I had arranged to meet Kate at 2pm tomorrow as we were off to try something new.

1st attempt of the beer mat trick – video by Mark
4th attempt at the beer mat trick, 12 beer mats – video by Mark
7th attempt at the beer mat trick, 20 beer mats – video by Mark

Dalyan – 28th February

Dalyan – 28th February

So much for getting lots of sleep! I finally got to sleep at 2am on Monday 28th February and woke up quite early. I had cornflakes for breakfast and spent the morning on my laptop. Captain Caveman had gone in to the cave today so was due out on Thursday afternoon, he would be getting the overnight train to Hanoi that night. Unfortunately Tatas had to work and wouldn’t be joining the trip, afterall, which was a shame.
In the afternoon I popped to Migros supermarket and bought the following:

1 Bounty 6.50
Crisps 7.38
2 Probiotic drinks 11.14
2 chicken breasts 30.29
Toilet rolls 64.25

Total spent 119.56 lira (£6.46)

A couple of mates were in Jiks as I came out of the supermarket so I went over to join them. I had a drink with them and then we decided we would go to Heybe’s for another drink. We bumped in to Gaz who gave us a lift round with all our shopping. Obviously, it then turned in to a Mental Monday again for several reasons. It was my first time of dancing to ‘Build me up Buttercup’ by the Foundations at 5pm on a Monday.
We all went home after that but had forgotten about Sarah, who was on her way to meet us all at Jiks. I did the decent thing and popped my shopping home before going to meet her and Rachel. I’d just finished a wine and was about to go home when I got a message from Penny asking where I was. Apparently, Mark and I had promised to attend the Wonky’s Monday night quiz but we had forgotten. I tootled over to Wonky’s in time to join Penny, Phil and John who had already started the quiz. Tom Cree is the quiz master and he’s very good, each week one of the rounds has a specialist subject. This week the specialist topic was the Titanic of which I didn’t know too many and I was better at the music questions. It ended up a late and boozy one but I was astonished to find that we came 2nd, which was a great result!
When I got home I had a sandwich and couldn’t work out why there was no Internet.

Dalyan – 23rd & 24th February

Dalyan – 23rd & 24th February

My Turkish class on Wednesday 23rd February was a really good one and now we had started to learn a lot more, some of which was going in and other bits I kept forgetting. I had a cup of tea during the class but I had not had breakfast so for lunch I had sausages and pancakes at home. I still had no clue that yesterday hadn’t been Pancake Day and I was cooking sausages for a casserole anyway. Unfortunately, as is usual with sausage, I got a bad stomach shortly afterwards which was bad timing as I had an engagement to get to.
I met Debbie (Darling) and Ann in Jiks at 4pm as arranged and they had a couple of wines. I had 2 ciders and noted that the service in Jiks today was a bit shoddy but we still ordered a couple of pizzas to share. Turgay joined us for one drink and Debbie (Darling) suggested we plan a boat trip for Friday. It would be the first one this year and I was definitely up for it. As we were eating pizza I got a message from John who was at Bambi’s with his wife, Andrea, and Mark. They wondered if I’d like to join them for drinks and so the 3 of us went over there about an hour later. Sarah was still working so we messaged to say to come there when she finished and we had another wine. Jacket potatoes were in the oven and when they were served to our friends they looked fantastic. They were massive and had various toppings – I tried a bit and was pleasantly surprised. Having introduced Ann to John and Andrea I left them chatting, to go looking for my ring which I’d lost – it had been a cold night so must have slipped off my hand. Sarah arrived and asked me to go to another table as she had an urgent HR work issue she needed to run by me. Obviously, I gave her brilliant advice, after consuming 2 ciders and 3 wines. It was a lively evening and I finally found my ring in my clothing so I was pleased about that. I walked home with Ann, it was raining heavily and by the time we got to mine we were soaked.

On Thursday 24th February I got up early and cracked on with jobs before lunch time. I didn’t have any breakfast and arrived for Zumba at noon, the class went well and I really enjoyed it, back home I had a shower and some buttered toast for lunch. I was meant to be meeting friends at 1.30pm to get a lift to the beach. It was to celebrate a birthday and we were going to be taking food and drink for a party on Iztuzu beach. I decided I would meet them in town when they got back as a work man had popped by and I wanted to point out the bits that needed fixing.
I was about to get ready to go out when the doorbell went, it was Mark, he had been to the barbers, then to collect one of his bikes from whichever bar he left it at last night, and wondered if I fancied a drink and some food at Tez bar. He had beer, I had red wine (by the glass) and we were chatting about the boat trip tomorrow, which Debbie had also invited Mark on. Penny & Phil also had the same idea to go to Tez bar so we sat with them outside for a couple of drinks.
Just as our food was served, the rain came and a thunderstorm started but we weren’t deterred. We moved to a table nearer the bar, which was undercover, but didn’t go inside to eat. I had a chicken shish, which was very good, and Mark had a nice spaghetti bolognese. We mentioned to Penny and Phil about the boat trip and Turgay, the boat Captain, came by to discuss food requirements. Penny and Phil decided they would also join the boat trip tomorrow so I let Debbie (Darling) know and an arrangement to meet at 11am was made. Penny was getting chilly so they left us to have 1 more drink, and we got a new friend who wanted to kiss Mark. Debbie (Darling) has taken in a couple of street dogs and Brin, the youngest dog, had come to join us. She is a beautiful dog and kept trying to get on Mark’s lap and lick his face. After food and 3 drinks it was time to go home, unfortunately for Mark he had to cycle back in a storm, while I only had to pop round the corner. We hoped the weather would be ok for our boat trip but decided it would definitely be too cold to swim.

Dalyan – 18th to 20th February

Dalyan – 18th to 20th February

I had more grapefruit for breakfast on Friday 18th February and I had invited Ann over tonight for curry. I got on with making that and had more Baba Ghanoush with bread for lunch. It was my weekly weigh-in day and I had put on 1kg which was disappointing, but not surprising.
When Ann arrived at about 6pm I already had a beer on the go but she brought round 2 bottles of white wine and I’d already bought 1. She also bought me an ornament for the apartment which was very thoughtful. We decided to go to Lukka bar for just 1 drink and we did just that and came back so that we could eat chicken curry. The food turned out well and we had a good night, listening to music and even dancing. At one point we both managed to do a plank for at least 30 seconds! Ann couldn’t stay over because of the dogs and left about midnight, having had a great night. It made me appreciate not having any neighbours so we could have the music loud and sing.

I finally got round to opening the plum jam I bought in Fethiye before Christmas on Saturday 19th February. I had it on toast for my breakfast and it was really good with massive pieces of plums in. The spinach I had taken out of the freezer, in an attempt to make Saag Aloo yesterday, had finally defrosted so I made it today instead. I had managed to find most of the ingredients that I needed here but because I can’t eat chillies, I left them out. The curry that night was good but I didn’t eat too much of it – there was still some leftover too. I had a couple of glasses of white wine and a relatively early night, despite the noise of the Jazz bar keeping me awake.

I was pleased to speak to Captain Caveman on Sunday 20th February at 9.30am. We used the background changing function on the phones which looks as if you are somewhere else. I showed Captain Caveman that you could do this with a photo or video from your own phone. We were definitely missing each other now and this week would mark 5 months of us living in different countries. It wasn’t the longest we had spent apart in the 10 years together, but it was still hard and there was another 6 months to go, if we stuck to the plan. Captain Caveman had a week off coming up so he had planned to go to Hanoi – the trains had recently recommenced since they stopped due to the pandemic. I had toast with plum jam for breakfast and went shopping to Migros and A101 in the afternoon. Here’s what I bought and the prices in lira:

A101 Supermarket

3 onions 1.64
2 soda waters 3.80
3 red peppers 8.35
Toothpaste 22.90
White cheese 25.20

Total spent 61.89 lira (£3.32)

Migros Supermarket

Cornflakes 9.30
Quark 9.30
Tomato paste 10.24
Turkish salami 13.04
1 litre milk 14.91
500g chicken 20.22
500g minced beef 35.25
Red cheddar 46.71

Total spent 158.97 lira (£8.52)

Although the prices in English seemed cheap because of the current exchange rate, I was still using Turkish money that had been deposited at almost a third of the rate so my shopping today had cost me more like £36!

I wasn’t hungry so I didn’t have lunch but I had yet more chicken curry and Saag Aloo left for my dinner. I even warmed up some lavaş bread to have with it.
I was about to start my 3rd week of being busy so I got on with a couple of tasks to make it easier for time off in the week if I needed it. It was a great weekend, mainly spent at home instead of in the pub, for a change! The rest of the curry went in the freezer as I think I might have eaten enough of it for now.

Dalyan – 16th & 17th February

Dalyan – 16th & 17th February

My Turkish class on Wednesday 16th February was great and I really enjoyed it. After I finished the class, I was waiting for Debbie (Darling), as arranged, to go to the doctor’s for our booster vaccines. I’d also arranged to meet Sabine and Ray who were selling citrus fruit for charity and the time slightly overlapped. Debbie (Darling) didn’t turn up and I’d already been playing lightsabers with Katrina’s child, for too long. I went without her, but at the Doctor’s they had ran out of Pfizer vaccines and told me to come back next week. I headed back along the river to meet Sabine and Ray at River Terrace for a drink in the sunshine by the river. I managed just 2 diet cokes and a really good chat with my friends. Katrina joined us and I took home a kilogram each of oranges, grapefruit and lemons for 10 lira (54p) which was an absolute bargain!
That night I tackled the mystery meal which happened to be chicken chasseur so I was lucky to have it with rice. I had the carrot cake from Sara for pudding and one of the oranges I bought earlier, both were great.

I started out with good intentions on Thursday 17th February and had half a grapefruit for breakfast. It was so sweet and juicy and I was glad I’d bought them. Today the weather was looking good so I went to Migros supermarket and had planned for another evening at home.
My shopping bag consisted of:

2 onions 0.79
Bread 3.00
Caramac chocolate 9.30
Cumin seeds 11.12
Curry powder 11.92
Turmeric 12.06
Hummus 15.05
1 pack of jasmine rice 16.74
2 bags of crisps 17.50
650g natural yoghurt 20.99
1 packet of wraps 23.50
Dustpan and brush 32.96

Total spent 174.93 lira (£9.50)

I had a macaroon for lunch and tried to crack on with some emails, only to find that an email wouldn’t send and I needed it to. I decided I would nip to Lukka bar and try to send my email from there. When I arrived some of the pool lads were having a game so I went over to say hello. I ended up having a red wine while I sorted out my admin and watched the pool match. It turned in to a late night with a few glasses of red wine and a snack of Baba Ghanoush at gone midnight!

Dalyan – 11th to 13th February

Dalyan – 11th to 13th February

On Friday 11th February, it was about 9.30am when I opened my eyes and remembered I had gone back to Ann’s house with her and stayed there. Bendy, her dog, was in the bed under the covers and came to give me a Good Morning kiss. As I walked home, the sun was out and I was really hot in all my winter evening layers. King Emlak sent a man round to have another look at the ceiling where the leaks had been and then I had to go to meet someone at my parents’ place for another quote for the decorating. I was quite hungover and hot, I saw Debbie (Darling) and had a chat then I went home for a shower and some cornflakes for lunch.
I was needing a night in but I’d already agreed to meet at Hotel Dalyance for Louise’s birthday drinks and cake. Louise, who makes amazing birthday cakes, had made her own in the design of a turtle and it was amazing. I had just 2 cokes as I couldn’t stomach any booze today. I got chatting to quite a few people but by 10pm I needed to go home to bed. Sonuç was working there and was encouraging me to ‘borrow’ Sarah’s bicycle to get home quicker but I couldn’t even get my leg over to get on it properly. I had a booze-free, early night because tomorrow I had big plans which I didn’t want to cancel.

I didn’t have breakfast on Saturday 12th February as I got up late and needed to get to the weekly market. I met Ann there and I bought mushrooms, carrots, chestnuts, cauliflower and red cabbage for a total of 75 lira (£4). In the afternoon I was meeting a friend for lunch and had already set off to go but she messaged to cancel. I didn’t get it until I’d already walked to the other end of town. I saw Mark’s bicycle outside Rehab and went in to say hello to him and the owner. I had a cup of tea as I was trying to cut down a bit on the booze. Mark was meeting the rest of the pool lads and some of the wives were stopping by later so I had a chat with a few of them. I caved and had 1 beer but then I headed home only to realise there was a planned power outage until 5pm. I sat for a while and chatted to Abi outside Maizie Moo, in the sun, then went home for some much needed food – a cheese and salami toastie.
I was meant to be going out to Sofra bar but I decided I needed a bit of a rest. The toastie had not agreed with my stomach so I cancelled going out, got some lounge wear on, then later I had a spaghetti bolognese for dinner. I stayed up until 1am because of the Jazz bar noise and I even had a midnight snack of chestnuts, which were so good.

The local Dalyan football team were playing at home on Sunday 13th February and I’d been invited by friends to join them. If Captain Caveman was here, he would be going as he loves to support Dalyanspor – I’m not a fan of football. I had arranged to spend my Sunday in a leisurely way, seeing friends and relaxing. After buttered toast for breakfast I had a wander around Dalyan as it was sunny and I needed some exercise. I bumped in to friends along the way and called in to see a couple of other friends as I passed their houses. I was meant to have been going to Sunday dinner at Lukka bar with Sarah but had cancelled when I didn’t feel too well yesterday. I walked to Ann’s and we had a glass of wine outside in her conservatory and fussed the dogs. Ann had cooked a lovely roast chicken Sunday dinner with Yorkshire puddings and my favourite cauliflower cheese.
We were sensible today, limited only to one glass of wine to be healthier, then I walked home before dark. In the evening I watched something on TV, put the washing on and made popcorn, using a small bowl as a replacement for the missing lid.
It was a nice relaxed weekend with a sensible amount of alcohol, less calories consumed and some exercise.