Ankara Trip II (Also known as Iranian Visa II)

Tonight I’m off to Ankara again. Last time it was to apply for my Iranian visa, this time to pick the visa up.

“Mersin VIF”, the bus company I took last time raised their price from 20 to 25 million. The second company I visited also charged 25 million. At “Luks Mersin”, the 3rd company I visited, their tickets to Ankara were only 20 million, the same I paid last time. The bus companies normally raise their prices each summer as there is greater demand, particularly from students and workers on holiday.

This afternoon my neighbour telephoned and asked me to come from work to his place. I believe he was trying to match-make me with a female friend of his. I am already hooked so I will kindly pass this offer up. In Turkey it is common for friends and relatives to introduce men and women to each other.

Last Sunday Orhan and I guided Bakr, the Moroccan trainee, around Silifke and Kizkalesi. In Silifke we could not find a lahmacun restaurant Orhan, Liam (brother) and I ate at last year. We settled instead for kebab.

On the way back I bought scrumptious strawberries from the side of the road. Silifke is known for producing the best strawberries around Mersin.

For your viewing pleasure,following are 3 photos from the weekend (thank you Bakr).

On the way down in the work car.

With the offshore castle in the background, Kizkalesi.

The beach in front of the onshore castle, Korykos. In ancient times there was a causeway connecting Korykos and Kizkalesi.

At the weekly Bazaar

Yesterday I visited the weekly outdoor bazaar (pazar in Turkish) a couple of streets from home. The bazaar (like weekly bazaars all over Turkey) largely consists of fruit and vegetable sellers with the odd clothing, spice or accessory vendor.

Over the past month, with the changing of the seasons from spring to summer (the weather is still spring weather 🙂 the bazaar offerings have changed substantially, largely for the better.

*Cherries have arrived. Yesterday I bought my first for the season. They are delicious but not yet perfect.

*The first apricots, peaches, ripe plums (not the unripe green ones so popular here), melons and mulberries have also entered the market. I haven’t bought any of these fruits yet as I am waiting for the quality to improve.

*The new season’s onion and potatoes are in. The onions are very sweet.

*1 week ago I witnessed and bought my first ever ‘capsicums’ as grown in Australia!!!

The usual capsicums (red peppers) in Turkey are not as sweet or juicy as the Australian ones. There weren’t any ‘Australian’ capsicums there yesterday.

*The other capsicums as well as the chillies and tomatoes have come into season and their taste is better than those bought into the winter.

*Fresh chickpeas sold on the bush were for sale. I had never seen or tasted them before. Their flavour is kind of nutty but nice. I guess they will soon leave the bazaar as the chickpea crop matures.

*The strawberries have peaked. I went to Silifke on the weekend and bought some from the side of the road – fantastic!

This is only my second Turkish month of May. I have little previous experience of the joy of the Turkish spring fruit and vegetables. In contrast, the upcoming summer is my fourth in Turkey!

A few Aussie tunes on the radio today

MixFM, 91.6 fm, is the local dj-free automated foreign music radio station. My company sometimes advertises on Mix so this is the station we listen to at work whenever the radio is on. A few days ago they played “Treaty” by Yothu Yindi. Today, the Aussie music went into overdrive:

Tina ArenaShow Me Heaven

Kylie Minogue and Jason DonovanEspecially for You

Men At WorkDown Under

By the way, Australia lost 1:0 to Turkey in second and last soccer game of the series in Melbourne. I still couldn’t find the flag so it was lucky Australia didn’t win. I would have regretted them winning and me not having the flag to taunt the locals 🙂

UPDATE [26/05/2004]: Today on Mix was another Aussie tune: “I Touch Myself” by The Divinyls.

Add a H to the first and an N and E to the last

An email account at work received the following scam letter. It is typical of many scam letters claiming to come from Africa and asking help in moving a substantial sum of money. I only posted this letter here because of the writer’s names. Follow the directions in the above post title (‘Add a H to the first and an N and E to the last’) and what do you get?

—– Original Message —–

From:

To:


Sent: Sunday, May 23, 2004 12:52 PM

Subject: Very Urgent

> FROM: SITHOLE BALOY.

> TEL: 27-835-184-080.

>

> ATTN: DIRECTOR/C E O,

>

>

>

> I know you will be surprised to read from me, but please consider this as a request from a family in

> dire need of assistance.First, I must introduce myself. I am MR. SITHOLE BALOY from Angola. I am

> the first and only son of BRIGADIER BALOY JONES. I am presently resident in South Africa.

> I got your contact address from a business directory in Johannesburg Chamber of commerce and Industry. On behalf of my widowed mother MRS. ELIZABETH BALOY, I desided to solicit for your assistance to transfer the sum of US$21.5 MILLION( TWENTY ONE MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS)inherited from my late father, into your personal company’s

> account.Before my fathers’ death, he was a Brigadier in charge of Arms and Ammunation procurement for the Angola Army. In his WILL, he specifically drew my attention to the said sum of money which he deposited in a safe box of a private Security Company in Johannesburg- South Africa in a treasure box, fully documented in my name.

> IN FACT MY FATHER SAID AND I QUOTE MY BELOVED SON, I WISH TO DRAW YOUR ATTENTION TO

> US$21.5 MILLION . I DEPOSITED THE BOX CONTAINING THIS MONEY IN A SECURITY COMPANY IN JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA. DURING THE WAR, I WAS VERY DEDICATED AND OFFICERS AND GOVERNMENT FUNCTIONARIES WERE BUSSY HELPING THEMSELVES WITH GOVERNMENT FUNDS AND

> PROPERTIES AND SENDING THEM TO FOREIGN COUNTRIES. DUE TO THIS, WHEN I AND MY FORMER SPECIAL ADVISOR TO THE PRESIDENT WERE ASSIGNED BY THE PRESIDENT (EDUARDO SANTOS) TO PURCHASE ARMS IN SOUTH AFRICA, WE SAW THIS AS A GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY AND DIVERTED THE MONEY AND DIVIDED IT. i GOT A TOTAL SUM OF US$21.5 MILLION. IN CASE OF MY ABSENCE ON EARTH, AS A RESULT OF DEATH ONLY, YOU SHOULD SOLICIT FOR THE FUND FOR INVESTMENT

> PURPOSES.

> From the above, you will understand that the lives and future of my family depens on this money, as such I will be grateful if you can assist us. We are now living in South Africa as political Asylum seekers > and financial laws and regulation of the Republic of South Africa do not permit us financial rights to such

> huge sum of money. In view of this, I cannot invest this fund in South africa, hence i am prepared to offer you 20% of the total fund, while 10% will be set aside for local and international expenses and 70% will be for my family and me. Finally, modalities on howthe transfer will be bone will be conveyed to you once we have established trus and confidence between ourselves. Please treat this matter as very urgent.

> Best regards,

>

> SITHOLE BALOY.

>

Hanifi Amca’s Photos of long ago

My neighbour Hanifi amca was kind enough to let me scan and publish some photos of himself from many years ago. Although retired now, Hanifi previously worked for the Turkish Railway, the TCDD. Several of the photos are of him with his fellow TCDD workers. I hope you enjoy a small glimpse of Turkey from long ago (well, before I was born).

NOTE: ‘amca’ in Turkish means ‘Father’s brother’ and is a term of respect for older men. In English the equivalent is ‘Uncle’ although ‘amca’ is used between unrelated people in Turkish far more than ‘uncle’ is in English. The female equivalent is ‘teyze’ which means ‘Mother’s sister’ or Auntie.

Family

Hanifi as a young boy (front-right of photo) with his family more than 55 years ago.

Military Service

Hanifi (to the right) during his military service.

Mother Mary’s House

With another TCDD employee at Mother Mary’s House, Selcuk.

Ephesus Group of 4

Ephesus Large Group

Two photos at Ephesus

Selcuk Single

Selcuk Group

Two photos in the town of Selcuk.

Pamukkale Single

Pamukkale Group of 6

Pamukkale Group of 3

Pamukkale Group of 12

Four photos in Pamukkale. I’m sure Pamukkale was whiter and more pristine in those days than today.

Bay

Hanifi in front of a bay in south western Turkey. I believe it may be one of the Greek Islands in the background. And, yeah, Hanifi does not have as much hair now as in the photo!

Australia versus Turkey: This time in Sport, not war!

At 7:30 pm AEST Friday night (12:30 pm Turkish time) in Sydney, Turkey will play Australia in a soccer international for the first time in many years (did the soldiers play in Gallipoli?). The second and final game will be played in Melbourne on Monday. Although I am not passionate about the contests I am interested for 2 main reasons:

a) The series will probably be the first thing the locals talk to me about for the next 3 months.

b) If Australia wins I can stir the locals 🙂

I hope to display proudly the Australian flag I gave to my boss (if I can find it). I may even gather enough courage to drive a car around the city tooting the horn with the flag fluttering as the locals do whenever their team wins. I wonder how the Turkish would react?

UPDATE: Turkey won 3:1 and were by far the better team. The result was not that important to me anyway as I couldn’t find the Australian flag to show off. If Australia had won and I couldn’t find the flag I would probably be more disappointed 🙂

The decider is at the same time on Monday in Melbourne.

GuestMap Update

Many thanks to Madzik, Cath Gizem, Kaan, M. Brummet, Tami, Bakr Ben Ayad, Noriko and Shazza for making the latest posts on my GuestMap!

The map of the world is starting to look better, however, there are still many, many blank spaces. If anyone else would like place their icon on the world, please click the button to the right of page displaying, at various times, ‘View My Guestmap‘, ‘Place Your Pin‘ and ‘CLICK HERE‘. Note, you can zoom in on the map to make your placement more accurate.