09 January 2022
The month of December was filled with the Christmas spirit, holiday preparations, music, Christmas dinner with friends on Pied-a-Mer and a few changes in plans—-you know, the plans that are made in sand at low tide.
While Eric continued to work on the cockpit enclosure, batteries and solar, I pretty much did CHRISTMAS. For years I have wanted to make chocolate dipped candied orange peel, so I did. Popped into cello bags and tied with sparkly silver ribbon, they were used as gifts for friends. I knit miniature Christmas stockings as party favors for Christmas dinner. Each stocking was filled with Turkish chocolate and sported a Turkish Evil Eye symbol. For years I have collected buttons and when we moved aboard 10 years ago I brought all of the buttons with me——I had done nothing with them until early December when I made two button bouquets and used them for gifts. Not only did I enjoy making rather than buying, I was off loading “stuff” from the boat. Catamarans are very weight sensitive, am sure that 30 small buttons out of 200-300 made a difference!
Diane and I taxied into town and went to a huge Christmas Bazar.
There were many international food booths, craft tables, singers, dancers and, of course, a few Santas. Although the country is primarily Muslim it seems that all religions are accepted.
We spoke nightly with our friend Daniel who was helping me with my “Partner Visa” for the UK. Daniel had sailed with us from New Zealand to Papua New Guiana and currently living in Belfast,Ireland.
FOOD AND FRIENDS
04 December 2021
As a thank you to those involved in the "Passport Olympics" (aptly labeled by a Canadian friend), Eric and I hosted a luncheon at a local restaurant. Monique and I had been to the restaurant once and it was within walking distance for Metin and his mother and I knew where to tell the taxi to take us. I had done a bit of research on traditional Turkish food and had a list of items that I hoped to find on the menu----everyone laughed at this, especially the restaurant staff. Two of my items were on the menu, Eric and I ordered these---Pide and Lahmacun. 2:00 is an interesting time for lunch but in Turkey, as in many countries, breakfast is late, lunch is late and dinner is later! A few weeks ago we had been guests of Moniques at a birthday dinner for Eddy. We arrived by Taxi at the restaurant at 7:30 and were still there with after dinner liqueurs at midnight! Anyway, Eric, Monique and I had light meals but Eddy, Metin and Momma had full blown, what to me, were dinners. I tasted a national beverage and was told most foreigners don't like, but I thought it was delicious. It's called SALGAM. It is made from fermented dark turnips and violet carrots, has a tangy and salty flavor. It is served either spicy (which I liked) or mild. It reminded me a bit of a Bloody Mary with no alcohol. After we had eaten our meal we went to a nearby restaurant for a traditional dessert. Metin knew a restaurant which was off the beaten path and served only this dessert---not a tourist spot. The de”ssert, Künefe, is made with a spun pastry soaked in a sweet syrup and layered with cheese or clotted creme and chopped pistachios. The restaurant served several variations, we chose two kinds. It was interesting, once we were seated a server brought small pitchers of milk, little shot glasses and small white plates of sliced bananas. I was told that the milk and banana would cleanse the palate in preparation for the dessert! The Künefe is cooked on the metal plates that you see in the photo and then set on a liner as the plates are very hot.
Photo of Eddy, Metin, Momma, Monique and Eric enjoying Künefe.
WHAT HAVE WE BEEN DOING SINCE EARLY OCTOBER?
04 December 2021
A happy ending to last months "cliff hanger", the Passport Olympics! My new passport arrived on November 18. Backing up a little.......when the time came to work on electronic renewal form, I realized that I could begin to fill out the form, quit and then begin all over again. For the next few days I would work on the application, get caught up in something else, then start all over. Finally I completed and printed the form, made a copy of every page of my existing passport, addressed the large mailer and arranged with Metin to meet him at the Garanti Bank, main branch on Monday, November 1 to get the required cashier's check in USD. The check would only be good for 10 days and had to be in the hands of the American Embassy in Ankara within a week or the application would not be processed. The teller at the bank had never prepared a cashiers check, let alone one in US dollars , she spoke only Turkish, google translate would not have been sufficient for this mission. Without Metin it would have been quite a challenge, he again saved the day. We walked a few blocks to the PTT (Posta ve Telgraf Teskilati), the National post where I signed my application, enclosed my current passport and sent the envelope "express/one day delivery". I was pleased and surprised to receive my new "good for 10 years" Passport in just 17 days.
The Republic of Turkey was founded on October 29, 1923 by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk who became the first president of the Turkish Republic. 2021 marked the 93rd anniversary of this national holiday which is celebrated very much like the Fourth of July in the US. It was exciting to share this holiday day with the patriotic Turks. We joined locals with a ceremony at the marina, a parade of boats from the marina to the Alanya Castle, lots of flares, balloons, music, and a Turkish BBQ. We were guests on a charter powerboat which was decorated with red & white balloons (The Turkish flag is red &:white), very loud music, and lots of flares.
My current project is an application for a UK Partner Visa. Eric has dual citizenship but I don’t, I am eligible for a 6 month visa but we want to stay longer than 6 months. Stay tuned for that one!
PASSPORT RENEWAL IN TURKEY
09 October 2021
PASSPORT RENEWAL IN TURKEY
I need to renew my passport. I still have 8 months before expiration but many countries want 6 months for clearance and by the time we leave Turkey and reach the UK I will only have a couple of months before expiration. I have two choices for renewal. I can go to the American Embassy in Ankara (300 some miles) or I can renew by mail. I am planning on renewing by mail and the other day I began to research the process. As nothing has changed since my last passport was issued the process seems fairly simple however, we have learned that nothing requiring paperwork is simple in Turkey. The renewal form is filled out on line,printed and then mailed to Ankara. The renewal fee can not be paid via credit card, it must be paid by a cashiers check in USD, from a main branch of Garanti Bank (Turkish Bank). The cashiers checks are valid for ten days and should be received at the Embassy at least three days before the expiration date. The instructions indicate that the bank may not understand what is needed and if that is the case there are two telephone numbers that the bank can call for instructions. So, first step is to locate a main branch of Garanti Bank---the girls in the office weren't sure which were main branches.
Next question, will anyone in the bank speak English? I phoned the bank several times, the office gals phoned---no answer. I still was not sure if I was calling a main branch.
Now, I don't need to actually send my application in until November but I do need to get my "ducks in a row". I had to visit the bank, find out if someone spoke English, find out if they could do the cashiers check, do I need an appointment, how long would it take, is there a bank fee? My plan was to go with Kerim, our Friday taxi driver, he has translated for us before and his English is fairly good---I usually understand him. The day before Kerim was to pick me up I met a Belgium cruising couple, Monique and Eddy, who have a boat and a house here in Alanya. Having, for many years, dealt with Turkish red tape they convinced me that as helpful as Kerim might be, this might be over his head---they have a Turkish friend, Metin, who is a genius at ploughing through the Turkish system. The next day Monique, Metin and I arrived at the appropriate bank, it was the main branch.
Metin took my iKamet (residence card) and explained, in Turkish, what I needed. The bank teller checked with her supervisor and returned telling Metin that I needed to open a bank account. Now, the paperwork from the US Embassy indicated that this wasn't necessary however, as Monique told me, "The Embassy is there, we are here, this is Turkey". I asked Metin what the minimum was to open an account, he told me you didn't need money to open an account---really? OK, let's do it. Naturally, it didn't go smoothly. The teller had my iKamet but there was a problem---when she went to her computer she found that my iKamet did not have an address with it. The government has quite a sophisticated computerized system for tracking all kinds of information about residents but they do not have any boxes to tic for live-aboards. We were told we had to go to the Nufus Müdürlügü, the population government office. Monique drove to the office and we were told that they could not help us, we had to the the Alanya Directorate of Migration Management (immigration). Finally, 45 minutes later Metin said that the marina address was now linked to my iKamet. Of course, Eric doesn't have an address linked to his! Monique drove us back to Garanti Bank where a new clerk spent over an hour setting up my $0 account! The amount of paperwork was amazing, page after page after page---all in Turkish.
We'll see what happens in. November when I go to get my check.
Passing the time in Turkey
09 October 2021
Well, things have improved since my last report of the boat. Packages finally arrived, 40% customs duty on one of them! Eric replaced the thermostat and igniter on our Australian BBQ and the alarm and sensors on our propane system. Bits and pieces arrived from Sail Rite and we received a duplicate credit card. However, we still are tied to the dock. As much as Eric wants to get out to make sure that the sails will still go up, the water-maker will still work, all systems are good, he really wants to finish the cockpit enclosure, which he has been dreaming about for 9 years. So we are still in Alanya with 2/3 of the enclosure completed.
I spent a good deal of time this summer at a beach close to the marina which is used solely by locals, no tourists at all. It is quite a ways down the coast from the popular tourist area of Kleopatra Beach, otherwise known as the Turkish French Riviera. Summers are very hot and humid in this part of Turkey, this summer being even hotter than normal. Families would begin arriving early in the morning, setting up beach umbrellas and chairs, picnic baskets and inflatable beach toys, organizing themselves for a day of sun, water and friendship, a scene much like what you would see in the United States with one interesting exception. Turkey is a secular country with a majority Muslim population. This was evident at the beach where many of the women were swimming while completely covered up in brightly colored fabrics, longs sleeves, long tunics, long pants, head coverings all in in beautiful colors These swim ensembles are Burkinis. It was interesting to me that Nike has a large collection of Burkinis and much of the research that went into the design was done in Beaverton. However, Nike does not use the term Burkinis, they refer to the swim ensembles as "modest swimwear". The New Yorker in their December 9, 2019 issue featured an interesting article "Nike Takes The Modest Plunge Into Modest Swimwear".
In all the countries we've visited we have used public transportation---buses, trams, tuk tuks, trains, but not in Turkey during Covid. We taxi into town and then try to take care of all of our errands "on foot". I have seen yellow paths on all of the major sidewalks but had no idea what they were for until I read a piece from the Alanya Police Department that read "Don't Hinder Be Aware. Sidewalks are not parking. Yellow lines are not ornamental, they are for pedestrians with vision impaired!" Photos in gallery.
OLIVES——-TREE TO TABLE
07 September 2021
There are several olive trees on the marina property and on my morning walk I pass the trees full of green olives. Each day I wonder to myself, what has to happen to these olives so they are edible? Maybe they can be eaten off the tree? (I have never picked one and tried it) Do black olives start out as green olives? What about the purple ones I bought at the Bazar? But by the time I finish my walk and am back on the boat I have forgotten about my olive questions. Well, the other morning I researched olives and wow, I now look at each olive with much more respect!
Years ago we would drive from Oregon to San Fransisco, the road would take us through “Olive Country” in Northern California. We would pass miles and miles of olive groves stopping at roadside stands to buy lovely green olives stuffed with garlic, pimentos, onions or almonds. Undoubtedly there were other types of olives but I had only eyes for the stuffed green ones.
My next olive epiphany was an open air market in Nouméa, New Caledonia. More varieties and colors than I had ever seen. Samples were freely offered and I wanted to say, “I think I need to try one of each variety, please”. However, I did go every day for a new sample!
This brings me to Turkey and my morning walk past the olive trees.