A Tragic Incident at a Neighbouring Apartment Block

Early yesterday morning, well before I arrived at work (from walking around the city taking photos for an upcoming election special on my other blog) a tragic incident occurred. A 65-year-old lady from the apartment block neighbouring work committed suicide by falling from her balcony. She was suffering from depression. Apparently she has a son studying in Canada. I can’t imagine what pain the son is going through now.

The International Food Weekend

On the weekend I tried the best non-Turkish food I have eaten for months.

On Saturday afternoon Betül visited from Adana. With her she brought a packet of Thai green curry, dehydrated coconut milk and two pairs of chopsticks! She had obtained these items when she was in Thailand a few months ago. To the green curry and coconut we added chicken breast and vegetables, complemented by egg noodles. The curry was very hot and delicious although I took a minute or two to remember how to use the chopsticks!

For lunch Sunday I added grated cheese to leftover tomato-based pasta sauce and took it to “Salih Usta”, the local oven. Salih put the mixture on flat lahmacun style bread dough and placed them in the oven. The resulting 35 mini pizzas were ‘Greek’ – in between Italian and Turkish 🙂

I took the pizzas with me to Adana where Ali ate them all (slightly assisted by Magda and myself). Ali ate about 20 of them I believe!

That evening I visited Murat’s family’s flat, where Fabs and Isa were staying. Fabs and Isa cooked a European delight! First of all there was a leek quiche. Next came the lettuce-based salad with tomato, white cheese, walnuts and a lovely dressing. Following the salad was lasagne and finally, a strawberry custard torte. A fine French red wine complemented the dinner. Fabs and Isa are more than welcome to cook at my place anytime!

Returning to Mersin in the unlit cabin on the very last train of the night I reflected on what a gourmet’s delight of a weekend I experienced!

PS: after walking half way home from the train station a car stopped and the driver asked me “Çamlıbel?” Now Çamlıbel is the inner city suburb that I live in and I found it hard to believe the man did not know where it was. He said he came from Ankara. He was kind enough to offer me a ride home. On the way, the electric windows went up and, to cut the story shorter, he asked about purchasing ‘eroin’. You can translate into English! After saying I didn’t know anything about it, he kindly dropped me off next to home.

The moral of the story:

For a less interesting life, don’t accept rides from strangers 🙂

Astrologers discovered the 10th planet?????

From the front page of (Australian newpaper) The Age’s website at 17:31 (02:31 AEST) Turkish time yesterday:

“Astrologers (sic) claim to have found the most distant planet-like object in the solar system.”

This was the front page introduction to the article titled “Sedna, a cold red world” about the discovery of a 10th planet

The actual article credits astronomers as the planet discoverers:

“Astronomers announced yesterday they had found the most distant planet-like object in the solar system ever, and the biggest since Pluto was discovered in 1930.”

I submitted this critical oversight to Media Watch but The Age had rectified the mistake before Media Watch’s Executive Producer Peter McEvoy read my email and witnessed the hilarity himself.

I realise many people give astrologers and other supernatural snake oil salesmen credibility (I don’t) but crediting them with the discovery of a planet goes way beyond the usual.

A reaction to the Madrid attacks?

Yesterday afternoon I met a friend, Betül, for the first time in Adana. She was an AIESEC trainee in Malaysia and we originally got in contact last year through the Lonely Planet Thorn Tree. Betül comes from Adana but studied university in Ankara. It was fantastic to finally meet her.

As usual, I caught the train to Adana. The walk from my house to the Mersin Train station took 30 minutes of power walking across town. The election posters and banners were everywhere. I wonder how many trees have died because of the 2004 Turkish local government elections?

The gidiş-dönüş (return) ticket to Adana cost 3,000,000 TL. I think the seller gave me a student ticket even though I did not ask for one. Before the crowded train left (I was standing from Mersin to Tarsus) a security guard walked through the carriages with what looked like a metal or explosives detector. He did not pass it by anybody but just walked past. I guess he was looking for large bags that may have contained bomb equipment. Another security guard stood outside. These were the first security guards I had witnessed in the many times I have caught the Mersin-Adana train. I wonder if the security guards were a reaction to the train attacks in Madrid?

On the train journey back to Mersin there were no such security guards in evidence.

I am very happy to say that Adriana, my friend in Madrid, and her husband and friends are all safe and well. Condolences to all people who did lose relatives or friends.

At last: Some Photos

My last last camera film took 3 months to complete. Now I have a few photos to show.

Magda the Polish trainee with Zubrowka the Polish vodka, New Years Eve, Cazara

Dog at Roman theatre, Hierapolis (above Pamukkale)

Ali in the Pamukkale springs

The white of Pamukkale reflected in a winter puddle

Moon and ferry in Izmir

Karaoke Maria at her ‘last night in Adana’, Cazara nightclub: see the passion in her face

Maria’s supporting cast

With Ebru and Kubilay at their wedding, Adana

Roadworks on Silifke Caddesi (a main road) as viewed from the corner of my apartment

My balcony.

On the pants to the right of the photo there is a grey patch. That is in fact a grasshopper! This grasshopper hibernated for two or three months in the suit pants. A day or so after the photo was taken the weather warmed up and the grasshopper left. The pants are my brother, Liam’s, pants. They are part of a 25,000,000 TL suit he bought in Kadıköy, Istanbul specifically to attend Ela’s wedding back in September 2003.

11 secret until now fruits and nuts

Subtitle: This muesli is ridiculous……….ly good!

Last night I made up a new batch of muesli. This was my 5th or so batch and the concoctions are becoming more and more complex and correspondingly more and more delicious!

The ingredients for my last batch (quantities are approximate):

500 gm rolled oats

A couple of shakes of the cornflakes packet

A handful or two of both sesame seeds and coconut flakes

200 gm sultanas

150 gm currants

125 gm dried apple

125 gm dried pear

200 gm dried fig

200 gm dried apricots

100 gm whole hazelnuts

100 gm pistachios

100 gm peanuts

50 gm whole almonds

100 gm walnuts

To serve: add milk or yoghurt and top with chopped fresh banana.

Unlike KFC, I don’t keep my recipes secret!

#48828 sign there is an election occuring in Mersin

Yesterday, lemmings from both the CHP (Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi, Republican People’s Party, incumbent mayor’s party) and MHP (Milliyet Halk Partisi, National People’s Party, the nationalists) were busy placing banners and flags on my side street. I don’t know why they were only putting them only on my street. Each partys’ flags are similar, both being red and white in colour. MHP’s flag consists of 3 crescents whilst the CHP’s flag looks like a sun ray pattern.

Electricity Update

The electricity is back on and I have not moved home. The matter still has not being resolved though: I have an appearance at a preliminary court before everything is settled 🙂

Apparently the neutral wire of my power meter at the apartment block ground level was not connected. Or something like that. This allowed my meter to not record the total amount of energy used. I found this extremely hard to believe as I, a bachelor in a small (tiny for Mersin) apartment, have electricity bills as large or larger than many of the other tenants. After speaking with my apartment owner he explained that my hot water heater consumes a lot of energy. Many other apartments have solar water heaters (or don’t have showers :-). I reluctantly agreed to pay most of the money with the owner and Ahmet paying the rest. The amount to be paid (372,750,000 TL) was not calculated scientifically and was based on complete guesses. On Thursday Serkan went to TESDAŞ’s headquarters with the millions and when I returned to my infamous apartment Thursday night the electricity was back on.

On Friday Ahmet accompanied me to the Soğuksu police station just down the road where we signed a statutory declaration saying I did not know anything about the faulty meter. Ahmet signed as the tercüman (translator). There were several other people with the same issue. In the afternoon we drove to the court building near the train station and waited outside a preliminary court. After a while doing nothing we were told to go and come back when called, probably in a month. ı will write about it when it happens.

I must thank Ahmet and Serkan for their help during this drama. Except for the wasted time and money I have enjoyed the adventure. I am also happy the government is cracking down on the massive electricity fraud committed in Turkey. I believe Turkey’s expensive electricity prices are due to the amount of fraud that goes on. I am only unhappy that I drew the short straw.