With Christmas (or Wednesday) out of the way I can now start to look forward to the future. 2014 is only a couple of days and The Turk has promised me a blow out New Year’s Eve party to make up for my crappy Christmas.
I am up early this morning for two reasons today. Daughter has two weeks holiday in January so I have decided to book a week in Istanbul as a surprise. It will coincide with Australia Day and I am certain that we can find some Aussie celebrations to join in on while we are there (after all I watched the Grand Final on the big screen at a pub in Istanbul in 2010 – Dragons and Roosters if I am correct). I am also on the hunt for fireworks. I am told you can buy them here and Daughter wants them. A lot of them. I am not sure if she has the potential to be a pyromaniac and this is something I will need to keep an eye on in the future. She is drawn to fire like a moth . . . like a moth to a flame. Just call her Moth from now on.
So The Turk and I went into the City this morning to his brother’s office so I can use the internet to book flights and accommodation (as we have no printer). We also were on the hunt for the elusive fireworks shop. The Turk’s brother works in an area of Mersin called Carsi. Carsi means market or bazaar and this area forms part of the Old City. I usually try and give Carsi a wide berth as this area always leaves my nerves shattered and my head aching as it is loud, frantic and obnoxious. It is not my favourite part of the city however if you go early enough (as we did this morning) you can weave your way from Point A to Point B pretty easily (assuming you do not slip on the cobblestone streets).
It’s nice to go out with The Turk without Daughter or associated family members. Kind of like a date. A day time date. We start the morning with corba for breakfast. I stick to my favourite Ezogelin Corbasi (Red Lentil Soup) while The Turk had Iskembe Corbasi (Tripe soup). While we were having our soup the chef who happens to be The Turk’s arkadaş (friend) came over and told me the history of my soup.
Ezogelin Corbasi originates from the village of Dokuzyol where a beautiful girl by the name of Ezo was born in the early 1900’s. Her black hair and rosy cheeks made her very popular with the camel riders who stopped for water while en-route along the Barak Plains. Unfortunately her first marriage failed and she left this man for another. She moved to Syria and re-married. Her mother-in-law disliked her (probably because she was not a virgin when she married her baby boy) and in an attempt to please her mother-in-law she created this delicious soup. The soup is now served to new brides, right before their wedding, to sustain them for what lies ahead (wink, wink). And what happened to poor Ezo you wonder? Well she died of tuberculosis so it isn’t a great ending but still it is a delicious soup.
After our corba (which incidentally cost a total of 8TL or about AU$4.00 and this included two soups, bread and salad) we started through Carsi in an attempt to find the elusive fireworks shop. I toddled along behind The Turk trying to keep up with him as he weaves his way through the streets when he suddenly spun a 180 and took off in the other direction. I was unsure what was going on so I kept walking ahead thinking I would meet him at the end of the street. Looking up the street I saw a crowd. A large crowd. As I got closer I saw police. A lot of police. Shit! Some husband The Turk is. Does a runner and leaves me in the middle of a protest. So what does any quasi-tourist do when confronted with a newsworthy item? Take photos of course! I tried to get into the thick of things (safely of course) however the protest escalated quite quickly and when the Polis stepped in (who were waiting around the corner for the shit to hit the fan) I felt the best thing to do would be to get the hell out of dodge! I spot The Turk pushing through the crowd, grabbed his hand and he propelled me down the street to safety.
What are they protesting about? The Turk does his usual “bilmiyorum” (“I do not know”) which does not surprise me as he only watches the futbol or the horses. I will not even begin to say I understand Turkish politics – hell I never understood Australian politics so trying to get to the bottom of what is going on in Turkey is ridiculous. I can say, however, that a political shit storm brewed when two Turkish cabinet ministers resigned on 25 December 2013 for taking and facilitating bribes. From here there have been other resignations of high powered associates (including a Police Chief in Istanbul) and now a major reshuffle of ministers. Corruption. This, coupled with the Gezi Protests in May, seems to be enough to tip Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s out of office in the near future. He has had a good run – 3 terms – and elections are expected in March. I cannot see how anyone could recover from the accusations made against his party although at a speech made Friday afternoon he firmly pointed the finger at those accused and his deniability of the whole matter. As you do.
Things are only going to get worse in Turkey, economically and politically, before they get better.
And no, I did not get the fireworks. The Turk has promised he will go back into the city this evening and get them for me. This is my Second Strike, having been late home last week and making The Turk “needlessly” worry about me. He has now placed me on probation. If I leave the house and get myself into trouble again who knows what he will do to me.
The opinion giving in this piece is my opinion only. I am not a political commentator merely a spectator and layperson