While our boat guest, Jonathan’s brother Jack, had a few days stay in Istanbul to see the sights, we stayed on the boat and started the application process to extend our Turkish temporary residency visas.
My tourist visa had almost run out and Jonathan’s three month extension of his temporary resident’s visa was also about to expire. The reason why we had different visas was that he had arrived in Turkey a few days ahead of me back in April when our year-long resident’s visas were still (only just) valid. He had to then renew his after his arrival in Turkey but was only allowed three months because our marina contract at Didim was about to run out.
Soon after we had applied on line (with the assistance of Attilla, our agent in Didim) we received a date for our interview which happened to be the day Jack was leaving Istanbul.
In the meantime there was of course, lots of boat jobs to do, one in particular that took up a fair amount of time for Jonathan – researching how to replace the window that had dropped out (https://saltytalesfrombalihai.com/2022/06/21/inundation-aboard-sunday-as-window-drops-out/)
He found out that to obtain one from the manufacturer of our boat, a Lagoon 420, would cost almost 1,000 Euros (excluding shipping ) around $1500 Australian and would have had to come from the Netherlands. That was for one window – and we wanted to replace all four of our large cabin windows!
Apart from the cost, we were aware that there could be a hefty import tax to pay on top of that. We had also heard that getting items through customs was difficult and there were often long delays. So it was decided that we should try and get one made locally.
Jonathan used the Lagoon Owner’s Facebook site to find out whether other people had experienced the same problem and if so, what their solutions had been.
Surprisingly and rather worryingly, it seems to be a regular issue with Lagoons and we discovered that it is advisable to have Lagoon windows reseated after ten years!
We decided to have all of ours replaced and after quite a bit of research Jonathan found someone locally who could manufacture our windows from 15 mm thick Plexiglas. We also received some great advice from the adhesive manufacturer Sikaflex (the factory actually happens to be in Tuzla!) on exactly which adhesives should be used, in what sequence and exact timings. It was much more complicated than you’d expect.
Using computer aided design technology Evren, who was introduced to us by one of the marina’s helpful dock assistants, produced a perfect three dimensional plan for the windows. A week or two afterwards the finished windows were delivered – at the cost of roughly $850 Australian for all four!
With more guests visiting soon we really needed to buy a bar fridge to replace the old one which no longer worked. So we found a very well priced locally made one on-line and then discovered a nearby store that stocked the one we had picked.
After a long hot walk we not only found the store and ordered the bar fridge but also discovered a brand new chandlery shop not far from the marina and a great hardware store owned by the British retail chain B&Q which sells supplies for home maintenance and gardening projects. A successful day of discovery!
We spent other days discovering everything about Tuzla – the suburb of Istanbul in which Viaport Marina sits.
We found some charming back streets with decaying Greek-style houses which looked as though were about to be renovated.
On our walks we also discovered where the best fish and meze restaurants, shops and places of interest were located.
We enjoyed people-watching along the promenade – a lively place at night with people dancing, picnicking, riding bikes and scooters, busking and generally having fun.
One of the delights of Turkey is the care lavished on street cats and dogs. Along the seafront there are numerous “cat hotels” with food and water topped up each day by volunteers. The cats particularly get lots of cuddles too from young and old and really seem to enjoy the affection they receive.
We had a good few days with Jack after his Istanbul adventures and on his last night he treated us to a night at the movies – the latest in the Jurassic Park series. Three old dinosaurs watching a whole load of theropods like Tyrannosaurus Rex and Velociraptors scrap with each other and meeting unpleasant ends at the hands of humans. An edifying experience!
Jack’s plane was scheduled to take off in the morning and our appointment at the Immigration office was at 9am and as the airport was very close to the office we were able to share a taxi. As always it was sad to say goodbye but will be meeting again in Australia before too long.
Our meeting at Immigration went very well although initially we had to queue up with hoards of people. I think they might have been seeking refugee protection status as they were guided to a different part of the building. Turkey hosts the world’s largest refugee population with 3.7 million Syrians under temporary protection and over 320,000 refugees and asylum-seekers under international protection. Take note other countries – you are not doing enough!
We were treated very courteously and embarrassingly, were moved to the head of the queue. When we questioned this someone in the line explained that in Turkey older people are treated with the utmost respect and this is why we had been given precedence. I suppose there are some advantages to growing older but really? Do we look that decrepit?!