I’ll Stick To The Indigenous Turkish Brew…

From http://sg.biz.yahoo.com/041224/15/3pgzz.html:

Anadolu Efes In Licensing Agreement With Foster’s -IHA

ISTANBUL (Dow Jones)–Turkish malt beverages and brewery company Anadolu Efes Biracilik ve Malt Sanayi A.S. (AEFES.IS) said Friday it has signed a licensing agreement with Foster’s Brewing International, part of Foster’s Group Ltd. (FGL.AU), the Ihlas News Agency reported.

Anadolu Efes said it has secured the production, marketing and distributing rights of the Foster’s brand in Turkey. Anadolu Efes wants to launch Foster’s in the Turkish market before next summer.

Anadolu Group including Anadolu Efes focuses on brewing and soft-drinks. It is the Coca-Cola Co. (KO) distributor in Turkey and the producer of the well-known ‘Efes Pilsen’ beer.

The group recently took over the licensing rights of the Turkish unit of McDonald’s Corp. (MCD). Anadolu Efes posted a 9-month net profit of $122 million.

Agency Web sites: http://www.ihanews.net; www.iha.com.tr

I’m sure when Foster’s is released in Turkey some of the locals will think it is cool for me, an Australian to drink it…I’ll think I’ll stick to Efes, Marmara 34 and other Turkish beers, thanks!

Internet Problems, But….

For almost 2 days work’s ADSL Internet service was not working. I could go on about how this inconvenienced work and how I wasn’t able to write any emails or post messages on the blog. BUT…

…tens of thousands of people have died, millions made homeless and countries from Somalia to Indonesia are suffering in the aftermath of one the greatest tragedies in modern history, so, who gives a damn about 2 days without Internet access?

My thoughts go to all those having a really hard time and facing real problems.

Tragic December Floods

As everyone should know, an underwater earthquake created waves causing massive flooding to several countries bordering the Indian Ocean. It is very hard to imagine how powerful the earth is and how much grief it can cause. My thoughts go out to all affected.

Hearing about the latest flooding gave me flashbacks to a far more minor but personal flooding experience 3 years ago in Mersin. Following is the account (unedited) I wrote in an email sent on the 21st of December 2001:

For about 3 ½ weeks from November 19 onwards Mersin experienced rain day-in day-out. I don’t know how much fell during this period but anything from 300-500mm even 1000mm would not be unrealistic. This the wettest Mersin has been for ever, if not, a very long time. For the first time in a couple of years I used an umbrella. I didn’t even remember how to open one up; I soon learnt very quickly though.

The results of this rain were two floods, on Sunday December 2nd and on the following Friday (7th). An article about the first flood is at the bottom of this newsletter. I did not suffer much and my apartment and work are okay. As always, it was the poor people who bore the brunt.

On Sunday afternoon/evening I was cooking dinner for my boss’s family. After dinner Ahmet (my boss) must have received a phone call, because down he and a friend went to rescue his two cars from the underground car park. The water was above the exhaust pipe of the Mercedes and he was very lucky to get the two cars out of the car park. 10 minutes later and the cars would be stuck. As well as the car park, the apartment block entrances were flooded. To compound things (and make the atmosphere romantic with candles according to one of the children) the electricity cutout and the back-up generator for the apartment block did not work, although an adjacent block in the same complex did have power.

For the work office I was fearing the worst as it was across the road from a river and all my photos and negatives were in a bag on the floor adjacent to my desk. As well as this, most of the computer hard drives were on or near the ground. Luckily the river did not overflow and the office was safe. The river flowed a million times faster than in Summer (my very scientific guess) and much of the riverbank was washed away, including several park benches.

After spending Sunday night at my boss’s and then going to work the next day I eventually got home Monday night. On Tuesday morning whilst waiting outside my apartment complex for the bus to work I saw snow on the mountains in the distance. It was great to see snow again, although I still have not handled it in Turkey.

The second flood occurred the following Friday. There were cars stuck in the flood waters just West of Denizhan 2 (my complex) and it was quite a sight watching the vehicles try to get through the waters. In the second flood several of the “cities” (apartment complexes) were cut off from the rest of civilisation. The river in front of work destroyed more river bank and threatened to topple a gum tree onto the road. When I left that day for Adana (on the way to the AIESEC conference in Bursa) it was still raining and the water was still rising.

Here is a Turkish Daily News article on the same Mersin floods:

04 December 2001

Floods kill three in Mersin, destroy hundreds of homes, businesses

Governor Tig: We are on alert; 100 kg (sic) of rain in last 24 hours; reports it will last another nine days

The torrential rain that had paralyzed Icel/Mersin stopped in the early hours of Monday morning. Three people were killed as floods drenched hundreds of homes and businesses. The body of a child was found drowned early Monday morning in the ground floor of a home in the southern Mediterranean city of Mersin, the Anatolia news agency reported.

Earlier, a man drowned as rains beat down for the fifth consecutive day in Mersin while a woman died after being electrocuted by a power line pulled down by the floods, Anatolia said.

Waters swept away roads, a bridge and a highway and overturned vehicles, carrying some into the sea. Heavy flooding was also reported in the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya and in the Aegean port city of Izmir.

With this the flood waters began to subside. Icel/Mersin Governor Akif Tig has said they are still suffering under torrential rain and that they are on a high state of alert in the province. In a news statement, Governor Tig said that over 100 kg of rain had fallen in the previous 24 hours and that all the drainage gulleys in the city center were maxed out with water now flooding out onto the roads resulting in many vehicles, including service and police ones, being stranded.

Governor Tig said that they were unable to reach the excavators and other plant in the Rural Affairs Provincial Directorate vehicle park and put them to use, and that they had requested plant to be sent in from Adana. Houses and businessed in a large proportion of the city have been hit by floodwaters. The Mezitli road junction subsided when the soil underneath was washed away. Surrounding buildings have been evacuated for fear of collapse. Several bridges have collapsed and many trees and pylons have been brought down.

Weather forecasters say the rain and storm-force winds will last another nine days. In Erdemli, the drinking water and sewage water systems have mixed. Municipal authorities say there will be no drinking water for the next couple of days.

Much further westwards along the coast in Izmir, 90 kmh (55mph) winds have blown down trees and power lines. Meteorological Office officials say the winds, which are gusting at up to 100 kmh (62 mph) are going to last another day.

Ankara – Turkish Daily News

Fruit Smoothies!

Recently my workmates gave me a hand-held blender for my birthday (a month late – but it’s the thought that counts!). Last night I used it for the first time to make the following stunningly delicious concoction:


2 large extremely ripe persimmons

1 orange

1 large apple

1 small pomegranite

mint (fresh or dried)

a swirl of honey


1) Skin and seed persimmons

2) Peel orange, cut into cubes

3) Core apple, cut into cubes

4) Skin pomegranite and extract the seeds

5) Place all the fruit into the mixing bowl

6) Add mint and honey to taste

7) Blend until very smooth

8) Add water and blend until it the smoothie is of correct consistency

9) Sieve the pomegranite seeds

10) Pour into glass and ENJOY!

Apricots, peaches, bananas, strawberries other berries, pineapple, mangos and other fruits can also be used in addition or instead of the above fruits.

Many Spams Received Today

Since 10 am this morning I have received almost 30 similarly formatted spam emails. The spams all contain attachments and are either 78 or 79 KB in size.

As I have a collect-all email account, messages sent to any @taheny.com email address end up in my inbox. These spams are addressed to many different, seemingly random, @taheny.com addresses. Another common link are they all have the following at the bottom of the email:

*-*-* Mail_Scanner: No Virus

*-*-* TAHENY- Anti_Virus Service

*-*-* http://www.taheny.com

I have my own anti-virus service? This is news to me.

If ever you receive similar messages or even any emails with attachments that you are not expecting do not open them. Even if you know the sender, their address may have been hijacked and the attachment could contain a virus or other damaging software.

Here is a screenshot of my email account ‘Trash’ folder featuring the similar spams:

Joe’s Christmas/New Year Email

Dear Friends and Family,

Greetings again from Mersin, Turkey!

The end of 2004 is rapidly approaching. I hope this year was a good year for everyone with great outcomes and a positive base set for 2005 and beyond.

The main highlight of 2004 for me was my trip to Iran this summer. The friendly people, unique culture, food, crazy traffic, history and architecture of this much maligned country were well worth visiting. In future I want to return to Iran for a longer trip. You can read about Iran on the August, September and 3 October archive posts at Taheny.com.

Other highlights of 2004 were Port winning the AFL premiership, attending a high-society wedding with friends in Aleppo, Syria, winning my court case against the Turkish electricity distributor, Brad and Olivia visiting, winning 735,000,000 lira in the Turkish lotto, Maria singing at Cazara, hearing about my high school’s 10 year reunion (unfortunately, I couldn’t attend) and getting in touch with former classmates, and many, many other occasions. Apologies if I have not mentioned occasions I should have – there were so many highlights.

I wish those who celebrate Christmas a wonderful and happy time, particularly for people suffering in the cold climates! Believe it or not, but this my 4th cold-climate Christmas in a row. Christmas is actually meant to be like this!

1 January not only brings 2005, but also signals the introduction of the New Turkish Lira. I was not alive when Australia changed currencies and this will be the first time I will experience a currency change first-hand. I’m excited! To inform people about Turkey’s currency change I have started a website at NewLira.com. I hope you find it interesting.

Once again, I wish you all a wonderful Christmas and a healthy, positive 2005!

Lots of love,


Christmas in Adelaide

(emphasis added)

Hello Joe, just wondering what you will be doing for Christmas. we are getting organised for the onslaught on Saturday, really looking forward to it. I have many lists made and day by day instructions so I shall be organised on the day. I am sure I have already said that Dads family will be here, 29 in total and for a traditional hot meal. It will be 38 degrees tomorrow but thankfully a cool change later in the day and 27 degrees forcast for Saturday. We will organise tables for outside, start with a prawn coctail, so that everyone gets a taste, then the hot roast meal of turkey, chicken, pork and lamb plus all the vegies. Then onto pudding with real sixpences in it, or trifle.

Well I am really tired. Dad and I get up most days at 5.30am, only because we are awake, and the mornings are beautiful. But it makes for a long day.

Take care and enjoy your Christmas. Love Mum.

Sounds brilliant…

Cappadocia Under Snow!

Located in central Turkey, midway between Mersin and Ankara, Cappadocia (Kapadokya in Turkish) is an amazing area. In my opinion, it is one of the two absolute must-sees in Turkey, the other being Istanbul.

Although I have visited Cappadocia three times, I have never seen the sandstone chimneys, formations and caves under snow. Recently, friend C. Gizem sent me the following photo collage. The photos are of the town of Goreme under snow. One day I will witness this first hand…one day…

Google: The Counterfeit Turkish Version

If Google sees http://www.googleturkiye.com/ I believe a few lawyers will be busy.

EDIT: In case the website is pulled, I have added homepage and top & bottom screenshots for “Mersin” search results below. Click on the pictures for larger screenshots.


Results page for “Mersin”



Do you think Google has a good case?

UPDATE [2004/12/22]: GoogleTurkiye.com is still in existence.

If you are not squirmish or at work, for a laugh, check out the archived best matching results for ‘joe’.

WARNING: the file is 345 kb and contains adult content!

Hakan and Merve’s Wedding

Saturday night I suited up for friend Hakan’s wedding to Merve. I met Hakan through my first flatmate in Mersin, Ali. Hakan’s family run a flour sales business.

The wedding was held in the south-facing (shown in the above photo) ballroom on the 46th level of the Taksim International Hotel. The views of Mersin’s city centre at night along with the harbour, Republic Square (Cumhuriyet Meydani) and the ship lights in the bay provided a great backdrop.

The night was fun with good food (several courses), friends (Hakan’s and Ali’s classmates), Turkish dancing, a five piece band playing Turkish folk songs and a wonderful newly wed husband and wife.

Towards the end of the night, people lined up to congratulate the newly wedded husband and wife, with gifts of gold and money. I placed a 20,000,000-lira note in Hakan’s shirt pocket.

After the wedding, 3 or 4 cars followed the married couple back to their new flat. As is the tradition, each car’s hazard lights were flashing but Hakan discouraged horn beeping as the time was past midnight. Outside the flat we waited for Hakan and Merve to finish changing their clothes and whatever else they were doing. We then went to Cici Kunefe for kunefe!

All the best to Hakan and Merve in their wedded life!

Gaziantep Revisited

The weekend before last I visited Gaziantep for the first time in 3 years. Like my two visits in 2001, this trip’s purpose was also to see Ali and his family. I also came to see Rifeh, the Tunisian AIESEC trainee I previously met in Adana.

Some notable events from the time in Gaziantep:

*Seeing a light snowfall, my first snow this winter. Gaziantep is colder than Mersin.

*Visiting some ancient tombs outside of the town with Ali and Rifeh

*Entertaining Ali’s nieces and nephews aged 6 to 10 with different hand movements, clapping and juggling. They are so delightful.

*Meeting the rest of Ali’s generous and kind family

*Eating kebabs, baklava and more kebabs

*Eating breakfast, including homemade sucuk (spicy sausage), homemade jams, home-pickled olives, almost homemade everything…

*Eating more kebabs…

*Visiting and observing Ali’s family’s butcher shop, “Kasap Ali”. I will write a special feature on this shop sometime soon.

Overall, the trip was very successful despite my suffering from a cold. I hope to visit Ali’s family again, particularly during a warmer time of the year.