The first thing to go wrong in Turkey.

I’d been in Turkey less than an hour and I was already at risk of ending up stuck at the airport.

I’d watched my luggage going round the little carasoul twice before realsing it was mine, and was too busy being disapproving of two drunk girls who were creating a little scene at the other end of the arrivals lounge to pick it up the third time. Hardly a disaster, but I’d let myself get stressed out and annoyed by all the other people who were legitimately waiting for their bags in the most frustrating fashion possible- including loudly exclaiming that they wouldnt recognise their bags in any case. Is that irony? I’m not sure, but it did feel stupid.

More importantly though,was how I intended in getting from the airport to where I was staying. Kayakoy is a tiny village of Fethiye- a good 45km from the airport. I’d booked transfers online and was armed with my documents and proof of purchases (including reinforcemnts, courtesy of Nana Kelly). I was therefore slightly distraught to find that the transfer company had no record of my booking, and wouldn’t be willing to take me to my destination. I was told to wait while they tried to solve the problem. A kindly Irish tour guide took some pity on my lonely state and kept me company- she chatted cheerfully about how I needn’t worry too much, she’d seen worse happen to nicer people. Thanks, I think…

Thirty minutes later, after being peered at by a range of taxi drivers and having my receipts passed around a group of uniformed Turkish guides, I was asked to confirm the address, because apparently the one I had supplied (and had taken straight from the hotel website) didn’t exist. Which was reassuring.

The guide informed me that as I had booked through an indirect site-Travel Republic- the address had been accepted. However, this particular company did not go to the small village of Kayakoy as it was too obscure , so though I’d booked with them, the transaction had never been authorised. Which was great news- and the image of me standing at the side of the road with my thumb stuck out lodged permanently in my mind’s eye.

A compromise they were willing to make- which I thought generous seeing as they weren’t being paid and had no moral obligation to help me out- was to drive me to a taxi rank in Fethiye, where the local firm would then look after me. I was passed around Turkey not entirely unlike cargo, eventually to the safety of my hotel.

safe & in the right place. woo!

Turkish drivers are very different. They have no reliance on cats eyes to help them navigate the dangerously stwisting roads- just their own pair. Nor do they have any qualms in using their phones- they’re all calling each other, presumably, to let them know that they’re driving. I have never been in a taxi in England where the driver has made a sudden U-turn back to the rank in order to pick up his sister. But, I suppose, this is all part of the adventure. What’s probably more bizarre is although the second driver knew only a very basic amount of English, he knew every word of LMFAO’s album “Sorry for Party Rocking”. Which I guess is the important stuff.


Turkey tomorrow!

Not sure if I’ve mentioned it, but I’m going to Turkey tomorrow.

Just, you know. If you were wondering what I was up to. That’s it. I’m flying to Dalaman, I’m working in Kayakoy, I’m going alone. For just three weeks, but still.

It’s the longest I’ll have been away from home, discounting university. And to be honest, I get so pathetically homesick while in York, that it wouldn’t surprise me if you told me that I never made it three weeks without having a cheeky weekend home. So this’ll be interesting, at any rate.

Because I have so far undergone three separate personal safety lectures from family members, and also because I am a bit of an internet addict, I will be blogging still while I’m away.It lets my mum know I’ve not eloped with a Turkish waiter, and it also gives me an excuse to brag about what I’m doing, as I’m doing it.

I’m slightly terrified. I’ll probably be hysterical at the airport tomorrow. But lets just focus on the excitement- that’s much more fun!

(Also would like to immortalise my gratitude to Jonathan Frost for making this website look all shiny and pretty. You’re fabulous.)


The Yorker Archives: Getting your deposit back.

This time of year is one fraught with distress for students. Results are rolling in thick and fast, it’s at least a four month hiatus from all your university friends, student loans aren’t coming in until next October… and for many of us, our delightful landlords are dangling our deposits just out of reach.

As second and third years will now know, getting your deposits back this summer is a very simple process. You have to have not broken or stolen anything. You have to return keys and other bits and bobs back in time. You have to have hired Kim and Aggy, spend seven full days sobbing over a blue-tack mark on your wall, hoovering the ceilings and polishing the underside of your desks. Also, make sure the oven LITERALLY sparkles, the loo could be used to eat your dinner off, and there isn’t a single stray micro-speck of dust floating in the atmosphere of your bedroom. Otherwise, kiss goodbye to that £300.

Students aren’t exactly notorious for their cleanliness. It’s a fact jumped on by landlords, as they fear for the state of the carpets each time they let out a property to a group of scruffy undergrads. Hence the relatively large deposits and the forty-seven page cleaning manual doled out to many tenants at the end of summer term. They’re just worried they’ll have to rehouse all those traffic cones you brought home after nights out all year, or pay for a professional cleaner to get rid of all the kebab mould from the kitchen. Fair enough.

The requirements set out by your landlord in order to return your deposit may seem tantalisingly obscure, but in reality, you needn’t worry too much. Minimise the possibility of any clashes by being sensible and logical when leaving your student home.

  • Put everything they provided you with in the places that they were in on moving in day. That means the Henry vacuum you haven’t used all year and is being used as a bedside table in your room needs to be put back in the utility cupboard. That way, the landlord won’t think you’ve stolen the entire cutlery collection and charge you for it, when in fact it’s all there underneath your bed. 
  • Double check what they expect to be left in the house. This means examining the inventory you should have been given. It can be pretty easy to quickly become attached to certain household items (tin openers that miraculously work, for example), so unless you’re 100% certain that that kettle is yours, you’d be better off cross-referencing the inventory with everything you’re stowing away in the moving van. 
  • Take photos of the house right before you leave. Not necessarily for nostalgic reasons, though I’m sure in twenty years’ time you’ll get a great laugh out of looking at the shower you used to use. Rather, these photographs or recordings will provide you with some kind of proof of how you left the house. If there are any disputes over cleanliness or missing items, then you will be able to consult these pictures. 

Although it may seem like a mammoth task to polish your student digs up into pristine condition, making sure you put a little extra elbow grease in may be the difference between getting your deposit back and being forced to beg your parents for Efe’s money. Also as your deposit should be protected by the Deposit Protection Scheme, any really serious disputes can be taken to them. Happy scrubbing!

[FIRST PUBLISHED http://theyorker.co.uk/lifestyle/cashflow/11826
ALSO PUBLISHED http://onestowatchmedia.com/2012/07/01/claiming-back-your-housing-deposit-a-student-guide/]


Ning York: Restaurant Review

Having promised myself a visit to the newly opened Malay restaurant upon reading of its opening here, I could barely contain my excitement when I eventually rocked up at York’s latest Asian cuisine offering. And, thrillingly, my excitement was justified.

It was pretty quiet on the Wednesday evening when I arrived with my friend. There was no need to book, and we had a choice of the many available tables. There was a choice of a two course set priced menu at just £14.00, which we went for.  We students do have an eye for a good value bargain, after all.

As I was there with a friend who happened to have an incredible inside knowledge of the food- convincing someone who works a t a restaurant to eat there as a customer is no mean feat- I didn’t bother reading the menu. I just asked him to pick out what he thought were the best meals, and sat back as he did the hard work for me.

My friend, the charming Ian Lau, talked me through the menu, translating where necessary, and recommending what he thought I’d like. Though the menu is pretty accessible for those of us who have never actually eaten real Malay food before- and would have no idea what Nasi Ayem is normally (I have possibly made that dish up, excuse me)- it was definitely to my advantage having an insider on the job.  That, and in the same way Emma Bennett who hails from Blackpool, the spiritual home of fish & chips, knows a damn good chippy when she sees one, Ian knew exactly which dishes were going to be the real thing.

Gado Gado Salad & whatever Ian had…

I don’t usually let people order for me in restaurants, my feminist urges squirm with rage if a guy tries assumes I can’t manage the task for myself, but not wanting to ridicule myself with the pronunciation of the exotic but impossible sounding  delicacies, Ian kindly took the burden off me. Having avoided the embarrassment of trying to pronounce some of the more interestingly named dishes, me and Ian settled in a well needed and animated catch-up.

Our starters arrived shortly, and taste delicious. In fact, having been starving myself all day in preparation for this mega meal, I could have just about made out with the plate. They looked impressive, and though I’m not usually one for peanuts, I could have cried over the sauce, I was enjoying it that much. I had the Gado Gado sald, which for laypeople such as myself, basically translates to “get into my mouth oh my god”. Ian had gone for a cool stuffed and layered fried pancake thing, which I can also reassure you tasted amazing. The salad was a considerably larger starter than Ian’s, so I definitely got the better deal since I was famished.

I had been advised to order an extra side dish in order to qualify for the set priced menu, and stupidly went for Jasmine rice, despite ordering seafood Kuey Teow which is a wok-fried noodle dish. I love my rice as much as the next person, but there was just no need for both noodles and rice, so the small side bowl went untouched. Grumpy that I hadn’t gone for prawn crackers, I swiftly moved on with my life when I tucked into my food. Again, delicious. My only complaint would be that my starter and main were fairly similar- but was fine by me seeing as I’d all but necked the first dish.

Kuey Teow and the Beef Rendang

We lingered over our mains for a good long time; I pinched some of Ian’s mind blowing extra hot beef Rendang, and we were left to it by the staff. After an hour or so, we surrendered what was left of our food and asked for the dessert menu. I’m not usually one for warm desserts, so when Ian ordered an odd green trifle thing, I had to wait for it to cool down before I could enjoy. The service was friendly and attentive- stopping to chat even when I could see they were busy and happy to make special kitchen requests on our behalf. While paying the bill I had a great time singing their praises on the comments card, and had a merry little chat with them.
I think I’ll try to go for a meal with someone who knows the food inside out every time, as Ian did a marvellous job as Chief Recommender. Impressed and stuffed, we pootled our way off to the nearest bar to celebrate a good meal.