On Sunday Daughter and I were invited to a “festival” to celebrate Cumhuriyet Bayramı (Republic Day) which takes place on 29 October of each year. I have been to my fair share of festivals over the years however upon arriving at Mersin Stadium I couldn’t help but think that my sister in law and I had differing views on what a “festival” actually was.
After going through security (which included a pat down which I would normally reserve for the bedroom) I looked around at the “festival” that was just beginning as we arrived. Yes there was a stage but I still had a niggling feeling that this festival was going to be slightly different – but hey, when in Rome. Perhaps it would just be music (just as the festival gods would have intended). I looked at the stage for instruments but these were also lacking.
Daughter did find fairy floss so all was good in the world of 11 year old girls but for me I started to think that perhaps this was going to be unlike any festival that I had been to before.
The place was packed. People were everywhere waving their flags and talking excitedly amongst themselves. I mean these people were looking forward to whatever was about to happen so we sat down with my sister in law just as the Turkish National Anthem began to play. Everyone jumped to attention and sang along – even Daughter knew the words having been at school now for nearly two months.
The first speaker came on stage to speak. Fair enough. I mean it IS Turkey and I guess they really do like their speeches. When his speech ended and the cheering dissipated another gentleman came on and gave another speech. Then another. And another. What type of crazy arse festival is this? Moreover I looked over at my sister in law and wondered what type of person would call THIS a festival? This was no festival! This was a political meeting and it did not look like it was going to end anytime soon. It was a hot afternoon in the sun and thankfully I dozed off (which was a real skill considering the amount of cheering and flag waving around me). When Daughter woke me I found out that I had been snoozing happily for about 2 hours and it was time to go home. Thank goodness!
I guess attending a political meeting in a Muslim country can be officially ticked off my Bucket List now . . .