24th November – 31st December
After the excitement of the wedding and the thrill of having a fully equipped kitchen for a week Alex and I decided to go on a soup diet for a week to get over all of the excess.
We hit the market once again with Michael in tow who filmed some clips of us buying hoards of vegetables. We made 3 pans of soup, one radish, leek and potato, one Roasted tomato and basil, and a spicy vegetable broth to see us through a few days…which went, well, badly!
Michael and Amandine were with us for a few days more and we enjoyed their company even though they wouldn’t let us feed them…we’re feeders, a warning to anyone who ever comes to visit us! We chatted travel and weddings with them until the cows came home and did some more filming when the sun broke through the constant milky grey cloud.
After 5 days of having them we had to let them go home, we drove them to the airport at 5am in the pitch dark and disaster struck. As we drove along the empty, unlit road 5 small figures rolled around in the distance. As we approached Alex slowed down and they all darted in different directions but as we got nearer one changed its mind and ran back the way it had come and went straight under the wheel. It was a kitten. The sickening thud made us all gasp and hold our faces in shock. Alex had done all that he could to avoid them but it just ran back at the last minute and he could do no more. He was devastated. We dropped Michael and Amandine at the airport and sulked all the way home.
We spent the week working, eating soup and having friends over. We were so settled there that we decided to extend our stay in Gocek and started searching for another rental. Before we knew it Christmas had arrived with Alex’s Mum. I rescued an olive branch and made a Christmas tree. We ate Christmas dinner on the balcony in the sunshine and New Year was right around the corner.
It is incredible how the time rolls by. We used the time in Turkey working so hard trying to learn more about how to manage our website, our time and what our next steps should be but we just seemed to get deeper and deeper but no further. There is so much to take into consideration all the time.
We talk regularly about business ideas and things that we should, and could be doing but everything is so impractical on top of everything else we are doing. We are rarely online, we are out of reach most of the time and that is even before considering our next leg of the trip through the middle east where we can only imagine being online even less.
Press enquiries continue to roll in and we could be making so much more of the interest our story garners…but to what end.
Stopping was supposed to give us time to find answers but we have just found more and more questions!
On top of all of the ideas rushing around our skulls we also had a constant battle with visa applications. We needed visa’s for most of the upcoming countries, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and India. Alex completed form after form after form and we kept getting knocked back.
The struggle with Iran was getting Peggy in, we needed a guide and none were available for at least 6 months, our only hope was to find someone willing the bend the rules.
The trouble with Pakistan was that you can only apply for a visa from the country you live in. Well, we are from England and are classed as ‘living’ there but we are never there. We decided to try to bend the rules ourselves with this one and posted our passports to the Embassy in the UK in the hope that they would accept our forms and merely put our visa’s into our passports without seeing us. This plan swiftly fell on its backside when our usually dormant phone rang. I answered it frustratedly thinking it was 02 who despite being asked not to, continue to call me to try to upgrade my phone. I snapped down the phone “who is it, this call is costing me a fortune as I am out of the country”. The response was that it was the Pakistani embassy in England and they wanted to know if we could go in for a meeting regarding our visa’s. I apologised and we called him back from Skype but it was too late, the cat was out of the bag. As he answered our call he asked again about the meeting and then reminded me that I had pointed out that I was out of the country which of course flummoxed him. He asked me “if you are out of the country and I have your passport, how are you going to get back?” We were busted.
He kindly, and thankfully, agreed to post our passports back to us in Turkey so that we could fly home and complete our application. He even said he wouldn’t make us pay the application fee again so at least that cloud had a silver lining.
We had opened a huge can of visa worms and had no way around it. We couldn’t move forward without them. It was a rocky start to the new year, we had hoped to be in Iraq in early January and through to China by July, we had a long way to go and a lot of hoops to jump before that began to look like a reality.