On your marks, get set, aaaand…. Wait!

Faffing around on the net the day before, we’d found out that you can’t get a visa extension, but you can get a temporary residence permit. So on Monday we decided to ride into Izmir and see if we could get one of those. All went well until the lady went through a list of their demands:

Where are you staying? A friend. Ok, he will have to come in and sign that you really are staying at his address. Hm….. ok, maybe we can persuade Levent to come into town with us and do that….

Then we need you to prove that you have 2700 Turkish Lira. A bank statement isn’t good enough, and neither is cash or a receipt that you have drawn this money out of a cash machine (for some reason?!?). You have to go to a Turkish bank and exchange the money from any currency into any other. The receipt for that is what we need. To do this, you need a tax number. Who would have thought?!

And finally you need health insurance. Your travel insurance isn’t good enough. You need Turkish health insurance. You can buy it at Yapikredi Sigorta for 700TL (that’s 243 Euros) per annum. I’m afraid you cannot buy less than a years worth.

This was starting to add up to an expensive nightmare! We only wanted to stay another month maybe…. Refusing to give up so quickly, we went from bank to bank to insurance broker, but while being endlessly polite and helpful, collecting half the office staff, speaking enough english between them to understand what we wanted, none were able to help.

Finally we came across Yapikredi Sigorta and they sat us down with a glass of ice-cold water to discuss our options. Sadly that turned out to be just the one year 700TL option. The girl felt sorry for our predicament but said there just isn’t a monthly insurance available anywhere.

Well, we tried! And went to blow the money we saved on health insurance on a yummie lunch of rice, kofte, salad and bread washed down with chai in a road cafe. I txt my dad that he absolutely must send the cooling fan by the fastest service possible.

Back in Payamli we serviced the bikes and fixed all the little things we’d been putting off every day, so they’d be ready to race across Turkey.wpid-img_4519.jpg

That evening I skyped my dad. He’d sent the parcel, but not via express; they’d wanted an extra 71 euros for that and couldn’t give any guarantee as to when it would arrive. So he’d sent it as normal letter. Like that they at least guaranteed that it would leave the country that night. Had he called us to confirm, we would probably have said to do exactly that. But now I wasn’t too sure. Was it the right choice? Discussing it endlessly strangely made no difference, so we’ll just have to wait…

On Tuesday we spent the cooler morning hours building the steps down by the earthship, before retreating to the cool of the living room during the hot afternoon.

Levent had taken the little chicks to the earthship and left them there. So in the evening we returned to finish the steps.

And then we built another set in the other spot where we’d been sliding down the hill at breakneck speed, carrying water buckets to the tomatoes.

That evening Levent broke out a bottle of wine and we stayed up late, chatting away about life in Berlin and Turkey and the Istanbul Pride. I slept well that night and didn’t even wake up when the drummer boy came round. Its Ramadan and so a drummer goes through the village every night around 3.30 am to wake everyone up for their pre-sunrise meal. I wouldn’t mind too much, but this guy has no rhythm at all. Traditionally the drummer comes round on the 30th day of Ramadan and collects money for his efforts. We’ve been considering giving him vouchers for drumming lessons 🙂

Since we were stuck here, house sitting, Levent decided to leave his chickens in our care and use the opportunity to visit his brother and take a few days off. But when we got up on Wednesday morning, we found he’d missed his bus. So we had a leisurely breakfast of french toast and coffee and then Aidan gave him a lift into town on Pippa. I just washed our laundry and did some housework. And Icebear had a much needed bath.

By the time Aidan got back, it was too hot to move, so we chilled in the house, skyped some friends and left the watering of the gardens till the evening.

I set my alarm early for Thursday morning to let the chickens out and had to resist crawling back into bed straight after. I made a strong Turkish coffee instead and we got down to the earthship while it was still nice and cool. Levent had asked if we could do some more landscaping, freeing the pear trees from the gravel that had been thrown on them and creating a nice little platform.

By lunchtime the temperatures had climbed close to 40 degrees so we headed back and went to the village shop to do our daily buy-ice-cream-and-ask-if-the-parcel-arrived. Since the houses don’t all have numbers here, my dad had addressed the parcel to the village shop. But nothing yet.

We’d spread ourselves out on the sofas when a knock on the gate delivered another volunteer. Liam is a tall 25-year-old guy with dreadlocks from London who’s been traveling randomly around the world for the past five years, buying motorcycles in every country to get around on, carries lots of books, a tattoo gun and not much else and has a great, morbid sense of humor 🙂

Friday we headed into Izmir to buy a few bits and pieces. Amongst other things we needed a new indicator relay for Seven. we found a motorcycle mechanics that had an old one flying about. With no bike to test it on, the guy just gave it to me for free and waved us on our way.

That evening we made popcorn and watched a movie. I hadn’t watched a film in months! Levent and Murat came back too so now its a full house.


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