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.

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 – 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 – 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 – 7th to 10th February

Dalyan – 7th to 10th February

When I got up on Monday 7th February I discovered several people I knew, and had been out at the weekend, had either symptoms of, or tested positive for Corona. I decided it would be a good idea to do a lateral flow test despite not having any symptoms, just in case. While I waited the 15 minutes for the result I read in the news that schools in Vietnam would reopen at last, more here:
https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/education/20220207/vietnam-starts-reopening-schools-after-yearlong-pandemic-closure/65605.html
There was also an article about how the people in Vietnam were queuing for Corona tests, following the Tet holiday:
https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/society/20220207/in-vietnam-people-queue-for-covid19-tests-after-tet-holiday/65601.html
Luckily, I was negative because at 2pm I had a meeting with a decorator. This is when I noticed I was missing a glove and that my boots were a mess from walking through the roadworks after the party at Sofra bar at the weekend. In the afternoon I went to Migros for some shopping, where I bought the following:

Bread 2.50
3 apples 5.31
Orange juice 7.45
Crisps 7.90
Milk 11.75
Honey 18.25
Bowl (for popcorn) 24.95
5 Babybel cheeses 26.95

Total spent 105.06 lira (£5.70)

I was pleased to finally find a bowl for popcorn but then remembered the popcorn maker lid was missing so I didn’t get to use it. I had a very late lunch of bread with homemade baba ghanoush, a Babybel cheese, some crisps and an apple. I also cooked a 3 egg omelette to go in rice for dinner later. I made sweet and sour chicken to go with the egg fried rice for dinner which I really enjoyed. I also marinated some chicken in tandoori tikka paste for tomorrow. Captain Caveman had invited Tatas round to his place in Phong Nha and they were drinking wine, we had a video call and I saw he was cooking bacon pasta for her to try and he was pretty drunk as she had taken wine round. It was good to see them and I missed being there, drinking wine and talking about cave issues. It had been a pleasant day, my 2nd week of doing some work where I had managed 5 hours today as well as being a domestic Goddess! I’d also decided that tomorrow I would try something new in my ‘lunch hour’.

When I woke up on Tuesday 8th February I read the news that a Chinese city near the Vietnamese border was in lockdown due to Corona, more here:
https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/international/20220207/china-locks-down-city-of-35-million-near-vietnam-border/65600.html
In Dalyan it was windy, bad weather and lots of rain was forecast. I didn’t have any breakfast as I had an exciting event planned at midday which I needed to ensure my stomach was good for.
Because I’d clearly found it easy enough to dance for quite a while at Alp’s birthday party, without too much pain, it was time to get more active. I joined Maria’s Zumba Gold class with a few other ladies and I’d gone for the easy session as this group is better for my leg. I foolishly stood at the front of the class which meant I had to keep going and had no chance for a cheeky rest. I actually enjoyed it and I was worn out after dancing for about an hour. Back home I had baba ghanoush, bread, Babybel cheese, crisps and some fruit cake for lunch and had a busy afternoon. I did my Turkish homework and accidentally finished the worksheet because I’m enjoying being on fuller sentences. I made tandoori chicken for dinner with rice and had plenty of leftovers for the freezer along with the rest of the sweet and sour chicken.
I spoke to Captain Caveman who really made me laugh when I asked him if he had any plans for Valentine’s Day. His response was ‘I think the answer you want to hear is no’! Unfortunately there was some sad news; poor Carrot, the Elements Collection dog, had died! Captain Caveman didn’t know the details just that he was gone.
I finished the night off with something on Netflix and some chocolate orange.

At my Turkish class on Wednesday 9th February we learned even more useful sentences. It was a lovely sunny day in Dalyan, although in nearby Köyceğiz there was a big storm which caused flooding, more here:
https://youtu.be/SASXGcrsSM0
When I went to the bank I saw that there was more progress on the road improvements but it still seemed to be taking a long time to finish.
I had more baba ghanoush with fresh bread and a Babybel cheese for lunch (no crisps today) then had sweet and sour chicken with steamed rice for dinner. It happened to be the 3rd day of me not having an alcoholic drink so it was only about right that Ann and I should plan to meet up tomorrow for a cheeky afternoon wine with some of our friends.

I was at King Emlak to see Leanne at 11am on Thursday 10th February. Captain Caveman had asked me to pay the council tax and it was proving difficult without any paperwork so Leanne was helping me sort it out. We had a good chat and then I went to my Zumba Gold class. I had leftover sweet and sour chicken for lunch, then popped to Lukka bar to meet more decorators. It was a sunny afternoon, Penny and Phil were there so I sat for a chat but didn’t get a beverage, until after the meeting. I joined Penny and Phil for a white wine and soda while sat outside in the sun. I’d arranged to meet Ann, Sarah and Debbie (Darling) at Wonky’s but Ann came to join us at Lukka for one.
We got to Wonky’s late, Debbie (Darling) had decided not to join us and Sarah was working and on the phone. After one wine we decided to go to Porta Dalya for some dinner and more wine, the place was busy but welcoming. I should have stuck with having the pasta, like Sarah did, but I opted for the chicken shish and Ann had the chicken schnitzel. Mine was fine but I do prefer the chicken and mushroom Alfredo from there. While we were eating Ann said that she had seen Mal earlier who mentioned meeting up with a few of the other expats so we went to a new bar. It wasn’t officially open yet but in we went and had a jolly good night.

Dalyan – 17th to 20th January

Dalyan – 17th to 20th January

I was looking forward to a quiet(ish) week on Monday 17th January as I got on with some chores, including making a bolognese in the slow cooker, ready for dinner later. I had also lined up a few interviews and discussions with various people from my LinkedIn connections about doing some paid work for a spell, just part-time temporary positions until a more permanent opportunity presented itself.
I had leftover Sunday roast for lunch and thoroughly enjoyed it. The pasta bolognese for dinner was so good and it was another day of zero booze.

On Tuesday 18th January I arranged to meet Jamie for lunch so that he could try Kebapçı Yusuf for the first time. This was not before I managed to almost embarrass myself and Captain Caveman in front of the advisor for the Deputy Prime Minister of Vietnam, as you do. It was cold so I had on my thermal lounge wear with my fluffy dressing gown on top when Captain Caveman video called. He was at Chay Lap drinking with Vinh and his son, who had just returned from their trip to Son Doong. I was on the video call when Captain Caveman noticed my dressing gown at the same time he wanted to put Vinh on to say hello so he pointed it out. My reaction obviously was to take off my dressing gown, to expose my perfectly decent black top underneath but Captain Caveman didn’t know I had anything underneath and thought I was stripping off! It was nice to see them in Vietnam having a good time, though, but I had to go get ready for my lunch date.
Jamie and I both ordered the Turkish sausage pide which came with complimentary side salad and fresh chillies at Kebapçı Yusuf. Even though I warned Jamie the chillies would be hot he still shoved one in his mouth – he didn’t have a second one. The lunch was lovely and we had a good chat and decided we would have a wander along to Lukka Bar for an afternoon alcoholic beverage. It was a very cold day but inside it was warm and cosy. For dinner I had pasta bolognese with birthday cake for pud and an early night after making a list of things to do in Dalyan for when my friend comes to visit in April.

Another day off the booze was had on Wednesday 19th January and my knuckles were still bruised but my face was less painful now. It was my Turkish class today and I was a bit tired because of not getting to sleep until about 2am due to it being so cold that I had to double up on duvets on the bed.
Turkish class went well and it is helping me progress on Duolingo better but I still can’t hold much of a conversation with a local. In the afternoon the weather had improved, it was cold but dry, so I decided it was time to go shopping, properly this time:

Migros Supermarket

1 loaf 2.50
1 simit 3.50
2 red peppers 3.88
1 pack pasta 3.90
Potatoes 4.08
Mini cheddars 7.50
Cheese spread 9.95
Smoked turkey 10.45
2 Probiotic drinks 13.20
6 eggs 13.30
Salami 15.75
Fabric softener 18.25
2 quark 19.90
Cheese slices 24.50
500g minced beef 32.90
500g diced beef 36.49

Total spent 220.05 lira (£12.19)

A101 supermarket

Onions 1.21
Carrots 1.59
Garlic 5.00
2 Crisps 11.80
3 popcorn kernels 13.50
4 Chicken thighs 23.05
4 Chicken breasts 30.52

Total spent 86.67 lira (£4.80)

I was certainly noticing the difference as prices in Turkey continued to escalate to try to cope with the extreme rates of inflation – I was managing ok but I really didn’t know how the locals were coping.
I’d had no breakfast but I had a simit with beef ham and a cheese spread triangle for lunch, which looks boring but is one of my favourite things. I wasn’t too hungry for dinner so I just had a smoked turkey sandwich with 3 cups of earl grey tea and some birthday cake. Katrina and Abi made a poster for my comedy night as Jacqueline de Plonk, the event was on for this coming Sunday!
By the time I was watching Catfish on my new Firestick TV I had to indulge in some crisps making a note to myself not to buy them as I find it hard to resist eating a whole packet.

On Thursday 20th January I woke up with a sore throat and a cough but I didn’t feel unwell. I lounged in bed a little while reading the news and saw an interesting article from yesterday on how you can now buy Turkish citizenship, given the economic crisis here, more info:
https://tfiglobalnews.com/2022/01/10/in-a-desperate-move-to-save-its-economy-turkey-puts-its-citizenship-up-for-sale/
I had a cheese sandwich for breakfast and was slightly expecting a bad stomach from it, as this was the first uncooked cheese I had eaten this year – I was fine! After popping all the ingredients for a beef and ale stew in the slow cooker I decided to have a walk while the weather was decent enough and walked past my parents’ place. I saw a chicken cross the road and it reminded me I had better write my comedy routine when I got home. I did a bit more shopping for the things I was missing at Migros and I was still struggling to find a popcorn bucket or receptacle that didn’t involve buying a 5 litre tub of ice-cream to eat first. Here’s what I did buy:

Migros Supermarket

Ginger 5.60
Bounty 6.95
Apple juice 8.45
Milk 11.75
Mushrooms 12.67
800g Chicken breasts 32.17
6 mini magnums 42.50

Total spent 120.09 lira (£6.65)

It was interesting to see how much the price of meat was increasing so I got a bargain on the chicken while it was on offer, I suspected others were doing the same as there was not much of it left. The fresh milk was much more expensive these days too so I had gone for the skimmed UHT carton which keeps better but isn’t as good for pancake mixture. It was still shocking to see apple juice is cheaper than milk. I got a few treats in and hoped some fresh ginger would help with my sore throat and cough.
Back at home I had a smoked turkey sandwich, crisps and a mini magnum for lunch then finished off half the bottle of Efes beer I’d used in the stew. That night I made Yorkshire puddings to go with the stew but they didn’t rise enough, despite tasting good and me having a very hot oven. The stew was so good and I was glad to have the slow cooker mix from the UK to put in it. For afters I had a chocolate spoon (the ones Ann bought for my birthday) with a couple of glasses of birthday red wine. The red wine made me cough more so I had a ginger tea and a Tylol before bed. Tylol is like an English Lemsip mixed with a Vietnamese Tiffy and it makes my heart palpitate so I have to be careful I don’t have them often. This time I was asleep within seconds of my head hitting the pillow.

Dalyan – 5th December

Dalyan – 5th December

I ate a buttered crumpet (from the Mulberry Tree restaurant in Fethiye) for breakfast on Sunday 5th December and, whilst it was delicious, I did get some stomach pains and was a bit bloated.
In the news, questions were raised about if Corona vaccines will be made mandatory in some countries, here’s the link:
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-59506339
I had some messenger chat with Captain Caveman who was doing well but we discussed that going to England for Christmas might be a bad idea. The number of cases was rising, I had no insurance, my return flight could get cancelled and most of all I might contract Corona between having my Turkish PCR test and getting to my parents. My mom was due to have an operation at the end of December so I was reluctant to put her further at risk than was necessary and, apart from going back to visit people, I needed to sort out my banking situation. Having said that, I wondered if moving my trip to January might be better.
I arranged a video call with my parents to discuss and I aired my concerns about coming back and potentially not being able to go out, if restrictions increased or things got worse with the virus. I’d already changed plans of staying in London or travelling down south to catch up with people as soon as I arrived. My parents said it was up to me but they were happy to take the risk of me still coming to visit and my mom said she would check the rules of when she had to isolate and test negative before her operation. We left the call with me deciding to sleep on it because I had another important meeting to get to. Vanessa was at mine ready for our trip to Tez bar, just round the corner – we were going to confirm the times of our PCR tests, do our Turkish homework and have a glass of wine. I ended up having 3 glasses of red wine and Tez helped us practice our Turkish by introducing us to his daughter who works in Ortaca. Tez also managed to flog us some prawns at 70 lira (£3.79) a portion, they were lovely but we had to order some extra chips to go with them and the sauces were a bit random. That night I was going to stay in but as I went to the shop and then needed the toilet, I had to call in to Jiks, where I had pizza and another glass of wine. Here’s my shopping, from Migros supermarket, prices in lira;
1 pack of biscuits 2.75
1 pack of turkey ham 3.15
1 caramac type chocolate 6.50
2 packs of crisps 8.00
1 pack of wraps 11.25
1 pack of spinach 11.90
1 pack of chicken breast 20.03
Chestnuts 24.95
6 mini magnums 27.50

Total spent 124.03 lira (£6.70)

Dalyan – 28th – 30th November

Dalyan – 28th – 30th November

Crikey, I was poorly on Sunday 28th November!!! I’d been up a few times in the night with a bad stomach and I woke up so dehydrated and hungover that I had to go back to bed. I had to cancel meeting up with Vanessa and Janet to go to the Christmas fayre and I really did think I had just got a bad hangover but it seemed to get worse as the day went on, no matter what I did I could not recover. Vanessa hadn’t been able to come to Maddie and Onur’s housewarming on account of her being ill so I did wonder if I may have got something similar as there was a bug going around. By the afternoon my shoulders and chest muscles were aching and I felt like death. While the people of Dalyan went out and about, the sun came out and I spent all my day between sofa, toilet and bed – I’d only had a litre of wine over 7.5 hours last night so surely it wasn’t just a hangover!
In the Vietnamese news there was a few reports that the international tourism trial was not working and there were a few problems with that. I did have some good news that day though, friends who I had met in Phong Nha had sent me a wedding invitation for 2022. Bryan and Kendra, who will be visiting Dalyan for New year are getting married in Georgia and so I got a save the date, which is great news – I’ve never been to Georgia so it would be a good excuse!

By Monday 29th November I was still not much better but I forced down some cornflakes, I still had a bad stomach, muscle aches, a headache and was a bit clammy so I didn’t do much.
In the news there was an official update of the requirements to enter England, effective from 4am on 30th November and to be reviewed in 3 weeks, these would be the rules that would apply to me on my forthcoming visit:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-to-england-from-another-country-during-coronavirus-covid-19
By 3.30pm I decided a bit of fresh air and a trip to the shop might be in order. I could hardly concentrate and felt terrible as I bought the following:

Migros Supermarket

1 plastic bag 0.25
1 pack of polos 2.50
1 Bounty 4.95
Crisps 7.00
1 gold chocolate 7.00
1 litre of cherry juice 7.50
4 Probiotic drinks 12.26
1 pack of chicken breasts 20.85

Total spent 62.04 lira (£3.60)

On the way back from the shop Sara (from River Terrace) brought my order from the Christmas fayre that I missed. When I got in the apartment, I ate the Bounty and some crisps washed down with cherry juice and went back to bed. When I woke up I felt a lot better and decided to make a proper meal for my late dinner. I had beef köfte and homemade chips with BBQ sauce and all seemed fine. Later I had a mince pie and a chocolate orange truffle (from Sara) and my stomach was kind of ok. Unfortunately I had cancelled having a curry at Ann’s tonight as I didn’t know if I still had a hangover or if I had a bug. I hoped I was better for tomorrow as Vanessa and I had a very important trip planned.

I had hardly any sleep and felt like I couldn’t do a bus journey on Tuesday 30th November so I had to cancel Vanessa again – it’s a good job she’s understanding. Instead, I forced buttered toast down and went back to bed, I had cups of tea and lots of water but didn’t really start to recover until almost dinner time. It was a cold day and I had lots of layers on so I decided to have meat and potato pie with carrots, mushrooms and gravy to make me feel better. It was not only delicious but I was almost back to normal by bed time and the pastry didn’t give me a bad stomach.