Stories, thoughts, observations, rants and dribble. Just another of my attempts to keep the interested people informed ...

Monday, May 29, 2006

A hahaha

Someone did a search for "chin puff"!
Not to mention a couple of Rikki Morris Nobody Else searches too. 
Also, my page is the first one to come up if you search for "Hywel soliloquy ".  I don't know what that means.

Safe and Sound

I'm back in Göreme after 5 fantastic days travelling east and southeast of here.  Once I have organised my thoughts and made proper notes of where we went I will write a proper story about it.  But suffice to say we didn't run into any trouble near the Syrian border, or from Kurdish rebels in the east.  Hooray, or "Oh be!", as they would say in Turkey.
I have also booked a ticket out of Turkey (as my visa is running out soon), but I don't want to divulge too much information in case I jinx myself like I always do.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

What happens when you tell some Photoshop nerds to do something about New Zealand

I'm going away tomorrow and I'm too excited to write anything decent.  So here are some links to entries from a Photoshop contest a friend pointed me to.  These are the best in my opinion, but there are some other good ones in there.
Hope the Kiwis enjoy, and nobody else is too confused.  Although there were a couple in there that I just didn't understand.  Help?

Monday, May 22, 2006

I'm on my way ...

I've been sort of busy the last few days, and the rest of the time I've either been away or not had access to the computer.  That explains most of the silence you may have heard from me.  I've also not been in such a great mood, as you may be able to tell from recent posts.
On the upside though, I finally heard back from Yahoo!, my email was (assumedly) finally read by someone who wasn't a total amoeba (sorry amoebas), and I got my password reset.  It only took me 4 years to get it arranged, but nevermind.  I'm sure once I have time to look through my old address book I will find a few people I'd like to get in touch with again. 
Also, I have just yesterday and today arranged to tag along with some people east to Nemrut Daği (Mt Nemrut).  I have been thinking about going for a while, but as it's not the best idea to travel as a single female east of here, it's worked out perfectly.  Also, it'll be a well-needed break from all the things that are bothering me about being here.  Perhaps it will help clear things up for me about what I should be doing from here on in, being with other travellers always helps with that!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

On a lighter note ...

Sorry the posts have been sometimes a little serious, vapid or irate lately. That's just the way life goes. But I am promising some thoughtful, insightful, possibly uplifting writing in the near(ish) future.

In the meantime, I have been reading Overheard in New York. It is a weblog recounting snippets of conversations heard on the streets of NYC. I love this concept, it has always appealed to me. There are usually witty comebacks from the editors. It does not much for the intellectual reputation of the average American. Best of all, the posts are short and easy to read!

They provide such gems as this. Enough said!

The robots are malfunctioning, just thought I'd let you know

Well after the big rant the other day, I didn't hear back from Yahoo!.

I did hear back from Liv though, who kindly provided the whole address for the P O Box we had in San Francisco.

I sent the updated information on to the Yahoo! helpdesk.

They replied with an even more generic, more useless form email.

I replied with a quietly seething, slightly scathing summary and plea for someone to actually read my email.

I have been replied to by three Customer Service representatives so far. The first actually addressed my issue and asked for specific information. Since then they have been getting progressively more robotic.

I think the Yahoo! androids are devolving. Or evolving, depending on how you look at it.

[I am angry about this. I have sent them 6 emails so far. I think this is too many.]

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Would you believe that your last drink of water could have once been used by a dinosaur?

Lately I've noticed that every time I empty someone's leftover bottled water down the drain I say to myself "Back to the water cycle!"
Yes, I am a geek. 
But I am also reassuring myself that I'm doing at least a tiny something to combat the lack of recycling, health and safety and concern for others and the environment that seems to be going on here.

Pride comes before a fall, more's the pity

I met one of the Fez (tour company) guides the other day, who inquired about the green curry that is on our beautifully rendered chalkboard.  She is an Aussie girl who, like many, miss a variety of food, including Thai cuisine.
I told her that if she got some numbers for me a little earlier on the next day, there would be no problem with supplying her group with green curry goodness.
She came in as promised, and though I had just woken up (to meet some lovely Kiwis who were hunting down expats in town), I arranged for 10 or so curries to be made up.
That afternoon was whiled away in the company of Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka and a giant bowl of falafel mixture.  I had managed to lose a whole tray the day before - they fell lemminglike off the bench, landing in a pile of aromatic smush.  I think they wanted to return to their chickpea form (Julie will know about this).  The majority of the batch turned out well though, with no further drama.
Things with the curry went perfectly, I had just enough rice and just enough curry to feed the extra couple of people that joined the party, as well as the hungry staff in the kitchen.  We managed to organise an informal arrangement with the tour guide, and she's going to make sure fellow guides and drivers tell their tour groups.  Excellent.
After a really busy night, I was paid my earnings for the day, which happened to be more than I've ever made in a day here (thanks, boss!).  Unfortunately I didn't have any pockets (20 Lira to guess where I put my money/keys?!), and, tragically, I dropped the money somewhere whilst cleaning up the restaurant.  I couldn't find it anywhere, and nobody will own up to pocketing it (I don't think anyone did, but I can't be 100% sure). 

Biggest fall from grace

I was going to include this in the last post but it mutated into a huge complaint and I decided it needed it's own rant ...
The winner is: Yahoo! UKIE Customer Care (and partially US customer services)
Yahoo! UKIE Customer Care have been absolutely useless in helping me with my crusade to access my old account which I lost in 2002 (during the  suspected hacking/stealing of my online identity crisis). 
I sent a physical letter to US customer services from London, since back then there was no email address available to query password loss.  With no response from them, I slowly forgot about it and began using a new Yahoo! ID, though it wasn't really me for a long time.  Recently I logged into Yahoo! for something else (I rarely do this anymore as I have all my email centrally located in GoogleLand).  I remembered my old ID and I thought I'd try customer services again (couldn't hurt). 
They wrote back to tell me I needed to give them the information that the password verification page asked for.  Obviously I didn't have that information or I would have used the password verification page (well I can't say every person in the world would do this, but ...). 
So I attached the original 2002 letter and wrote a new email explaining everything again and to ask for their understanding. 
They wrote back to tell me that without the information that the password verification page asked for, they couldn't give me anything, for security reasons. 
WHY is it even an option to email them about this then?  Why don't they say, can't do it, too bad? 
So I gave them every single country and postcode I lived at before I lost my account (ten different locations!).  I asked them to provide me my security question and I would give them the answer (they ask for you to give them both - who remembers what security question they provide to every online thing they sign up for?!). 
They replied again today with a form letter that told me:

Thanks for writing to Yahoo! UKIE Customer Care.

Your account has been closed due to inactivity. Dormant accounts are
de-activated at the end of four months. A dormant account is one which
has not been logged in to over a four-month period, regardless of
whether or not email has been received in the account during that time.
You can re-enable your account by returning to the Yahoo! Mail Sign In
page and logging in with your ID and password at:

Once you log in, please click on the "reactivate without account
protection." link at the bottom of the page.

Note:  Once an account has been de-activated, we cannot retrieve any of
the information that was formerly stored in it.

Yahoo! Premium Mail accounts do not require access to protect from
dormancy or possible de-activation. To learn more and subscribe to
Yahoo! Mail Plus, please visit:

Should you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact us.

[name removed]
Customer Care - Yahoo! UK & Ireland
I replied again, possibly a little more terse and a little less polite than before (although I refrained from writing "I don't have a bloody password, that was the frickin' problem in the first place, you useless *^#$%!") and then filled in a very unhappy feedback form that they'd sent me the other day.  I was going to leave it until the matter was resolved, but apparently it's not going to happen any time soon.
Why is it that even in the day and age where everything is answered by FAQs and computer intelligence, a well written email about a valid issue cannot be treated as individual and dealt with by a competent, actual person?  Even though I know that my question can't be answered by their help pages, I patiently go through them, just in case.  Can the monkeys on the other end not take the extra few minutes and actually read what the problem is?
On the plus side, at least it was a form letter response so I don't have spelling and grammar issues to complain about as well...
[Asides from this little issue, I have been extremely happy with the services provided by this global internet giant.  Even though I have switched over to Team Google, I still use some pages from Yahoo!.  I have many times in the past publicly lauded Yahoo!'s email service, especially as I have had a long-term extreme dislike for H**mail.  I even like their Outlook-esque new layout.  I think they just need to employ slightly less robotic people.  Ooh, maybe they are androids.  Or actual robots.  In which case, they're doing pretty well.  Good work, Yahoo!, way to keep ahead of the game!]

Favourites of the Day Part II

Name: Oktan (Turk) / Ledge (Aussie) - tie

Person: My mum (it's Mother's Day and I can't afford to call home, damn expensive Turkish telecommunications)

Old school song I was reminded of: Nobody Else by Rikki Morris (kiwi kids might remember this one)

Search string: "hasselhoff berlin wall jacket flashing freedom clip" / "gourmet mutton flaps" - tie (who are these people?)

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Statistically unlikely songs I have heard in bars lately

Bloodhound Gang - The Bad Touch
Simply Red - The Best of.  The ENTIRE ALBUM!  How desperate was I to be out that night?
Hanson - MmmBop
Meredith Brooks - Bitch
Most insane genre change (songs directly after each other):
Prodigy - Smack My Bitch Up
Rage Against the Machine - Killing in the Name of
Cyndi Lauper - Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Favourites of the day

Search string: Vasco Era Groupie - I'm happy with that!

Pastry: Essentially a giant sausage roll without the sausage. Very greasy and flaky. (Really my favourite is baklava though)

Sight through the front door: Guy riding a donkey whilst leading an unburdened horse / Favourite Person - tie

Random old school song: Martika - Love, Thy Will Be Done

Facial hair: American (of course) guy with shoulder length dirty blonde hair and a goatee minus the middle bit. A perfect rectangle without the base. What is this called?!

Person: Sam

Website: Hilarious! Found whilst searching for a name for favourite facial hair. French Fork? Balbo? Chin Curtain? Hulihee? I especially like the names "Handlebar and Chin Puff" and "Friendly Mutton Chops". [I do not endorse facial hair!]

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Oh Google ...

What kind of people am I attracting that they visit this site looking for " chinese woman passport photo sample"?  Dodgy!  I bet they stole my passport in Chinatown in Sydney.  Police!
"Wendy's burgers Auckland" is much more acceptable.  I fully endorse them.  Asides from Dominion Road, who really should get their act together a bit more.  So I only partially endorse them.
People are still looking for hallucinogenic honey in Turkey.  And I am fooling them more often by continuing to put the phrase on this site ... teehee.

Well it's a start ...

I've edited a few of my previous posts about Gallipoli, Ephesus, Butterfly Valley and Olympos, and the combined new article has been published today with some of my photos on the Turkish Travel website. 
If you're a regular reader, you've already read this, but I thought I'd put this link up for your interest.
[I have not read through the website thoroughly, but Turkish Travel do seem to provide good, interesting information and they have been very pleasant to deal with whilst requesting my stories.]


Not for lack of anything else to write, but mostly for lack of motivation to write book reviews, witty observations or even reply to my email, I would just like to say that I had some success with a complaint letter or two.  Hooray!
Firstly, the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs has officially admitted that I have only lost two, not three, passports - hence I may not have to have a full inquiry if this should happen again.
Secondly, the airline that messed up my Beijing-Hong Kong flight  has admitted partial fault (I think, I have yet to see the letter), and have promised me some form of upgrade at some point in the future.  Should I choose to fly with them again, that is.
I have yet to hear back about the third letter I sent on the same day (I am going to make a great pernickety old letter writing lady one day), but I hope to receive some sort of gift voucher soon!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Oh, hello officer ...

I was just about to start rewriting the chalkboard in the lovely sunshine when my boss told me that I should go inside and do that later.

It took me a few seconds to realise why.

The Jandarma (police) are visiting. We're in various levels of trouble because of the cantankerous upstairs neighbour (also a relative of the management) who has it in for the live music that is such a big part of the restaurant experience. It's best that the cops don't know that I am "working" here - there could be all sorts of issues to arise from this.

So as I type I am pretending to be a tourist using the free internet facility and being eternally grateful you can't see much inside the restaurant from outside in the blinding glare ...

Go Helen

Well apparently someone has been busy in the international relations department (could it be Winston the Asian hater?!).  
I have just checked the Working Holidaymaker page on the NZ government website and there are 6 more countries than there were when I checked sometime last year.  Go Labour.
Not that it makes too much of a difference to me right now, but I can apparently go and holiday for a year whilst supplementing my travel with semi-permanent work in the following countries:
Argentina - Belgium - Canada - Chile - Czech Republic - Denmark - Finland - France - Germany - Hong Kong Special Administrative Region - Ireland - Italy - Japan - Korea - Malaysia - Malta - Netherlands - Norway - Singapore - Sweden - Taiwan - Thailand - United Kingdom - Uruguay
Huzzah!  I have only done two of them.  But I only have time to do four or five more ... oh dear ...

Get it off, get it off!

Just when I was starting to miss writing about those not-so-rare problematic tables in restaurants ...
I had a table come in the other night when I thought we weren't taking any more people.  I still can't get used to the Turkish way of accepting every person they can squeeze money from, no matter how late it is or how small the bill ends up being.  I guess since they're not paying us hourly, they can do what they want.
The new table was a couple with a young child, maybe a year old (I am taking a wild guess at the age).  The father was quite normal looking, but the mother's look just screamed 80s crack whore.  They were Turkish, but she had peroxide blonde hair with four inch roots, crimped and pulled into a frizzy side ponytail.  Her black eyeliner was so thick it rivalled even Avril Lavigne's racoon face.  On second glance, the off the shoulder top was purely of my own imagination, but she was wearing a lot of white and very tight jeans.
As they were Turkish, I let the others take care of them and I carried on cleaning behind the bar. 
A happy but piercing child's laugh made me look up.  I have become almost accustomed to the non-existent health and safety standards here (more to come later), but when I saw the father helping the kid stand on the table, I couldn't help but scream internally ("Get it off, get it off!"). 
I had to look away.
Later, the strung out mother went to the bathroom, leaving the child (who was still on the table) in the care of the father. 
She was gone for about twenty minutes, and her food arrived during this time.  I already thought she was on drugs, and that didn't help matters.
She was the only one eating and I'm fairly sure they underpaid us when they finally left. 
There was food all over the table when I went to clean it up, and the baby didn't even touch the plate. 
I hope they don't come back!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Eminem? Are you sure?

The Turkish music is starting to do my head in.  Especially because the guys who work here seem to have a really high tolerance for listening to the same two albums over and over and over ad nauseum.  I knew it was going to be bad when I started recognising the lyrics that I still can't understand.
I went souvenir shopping the other day and the lovely shopkeeper had a Jack Johnson album on repeat.  I know I said I'd be happy enough never to hear him again when all I heard in Laos and Thailand was Jack Johnson and Bob Marley, but I repent.  I still love Jack.  Especially in Turkey.
You would not believe how happy I was to hear Justin Timberlake come into the restaurant mix.  There is a lot of western music on this computer but it's played very rarely.  I relish the opportunity to be able to sing along and enjoy the poppiest of pop songs.  Except for that terrible J-Lo and LL Cool J song that came on after.  I could have done without that.
Funnily enough, during JT, the manager's twenty year old sister said "Eminem!" 
She doesn't speak much English at all. 
So I said, "No, Justin Timberlake." 
She insisted, "Eminem, Turkish name Eminem!"
I'm pretty sure there's a difference ... and I'm pretty sure Eminem wouldn't want these sorts of rumours spread around, even in a little town in Turkey!

Hair, not the musical ...

I ran away from the restaurant yesterday with one of my new friends and her visiting buddies.  I think being stuck in the same building anywhere will drive you insane after a while and this building is no exception.
So when the other kids came in and asked if I had time to leave right then, I jumped straight up and ran to get my bag and jacket. 
I didn't really care where the destination was, but it turned out we were going to Avanos and then Ürgüp. 
The nearby towns were a nice change from Göreme, a little different in their feel, definitely not as touristy as here.  Ürgüp has a great lookout which would have been even better on a sunny day.
The highlight would have to have been in Avanos, however.  Straight ahead of the bus stop was the destination our guide was so excited to show us. 
The disturbing-sounding Hair Museum is housed within the same complex as the Chez Galip pottery studio.  On entry we were greeted by a resident potter who was throwing pots on a traditional foot-spun wheel.  We happily accepted wine in eggcup-sized pottery beakers and watched a demonstration.  One of our little team was braver than me and attempted to make something recognisable from the local river clay.  He ended up with a small dish that he "made" with a lot of help from the potter.  It was entertaining though and patently obvious how strong the potter's legs had to be as our volunteer could not make the wheel spin nearly fast enough on his own.
After the pottery interlude, we ducked through some low doorways into the cave system the showrooms are set up in.  The bright display lights and colourful clay creations gave way to what was completely unexpected, even knowing what I was coming to see. 
The long, narrow cave stretched away into the distance, every visible part of the wall covered in small pieces of paper, each scrawled with names, dates and details, and finished by a lock of human hair trailing towards the ground.  The hair hung dry and still, tentacles of some latent monster waiting to cling to unsuspecting passersby.  The curls and wisps were like stalactites that I had to duck low under for fear of being infected with the touch of dead hair.
I hate dead hair.  As soon as it leaves its head it becomes repulsive to me.  My sister possibly has a greater aversion, but nonetheless it grossed me out.  So of course I had to leave something as well. 
One of the other girls and I submitted ourselves to the chop, and left a tiny donation from the backs of our heads.  These were taped to our little slips of paper (people have left phone numbers, email addresses, residential addresses and even photos - are they looking for proposals?!) which were then pinned onto the wall. 
The hairfest didn't stop there.  There was a further hair-encrusted cave and passageway which led out into the main showrooms.
I don't know why but it feels good to be part of a legacy of ickiness.