For secular holidays and national events, many schools and government buildings display large Turkish flags and pictures of Ataturk.
The following is from Bakirkoy, European Istanbul and was most likely put up for the 19 May holiday.
The picture is more surreal than the life-like images of Ataturk usually displayed.
Fatih was generous enough to let me stay in his apartment in Bagilar, near the airport in European Istanbul. Fatih was a classmate of Umut’s in Mersin University. He was fun to stay with and I saw a part of Istanbul I had never been to before. Here is Fatih, Umut and Beysun in Ortakoy:
In Istanbul I also met Kerem and Fati.
Kerem is a friend from Mersin, who did his military service in Afghanistan and is now working for a zip manufacturer in European Istanbul.
Fati, an Istanbul native, and I first came into contact when she worked for the University of Santa Barbara Extension, one of many foreign education institutions my company deals with. Last week we finally met face to face over mocha in the suburb of Moda, Asian Istanbul.
Fati is now the corporate communications head for BSH Turkey, whose main brands include Bosch, Siemens and Profilo. Her American boyfriend has spent the last year developing Moda Jewels, an online shop selling Turkish jewellery.
From last weekend: Umut and Beysun’s wedding was held in “Rakkas” a multi-purpose venue located in an old Ottoman mansion on the Bostanci coastline, Asian Istanbul. I felt very privileged to be at the ceremony.
Also at the wedding were Mutlu, Fatih, Tuncay, Cuneyt, Gokhan, Ozge, some of Beysun’s and Umut’s relatives and others I had met previously.
It was a great night, as the following photos hopefully show:
The celebrant presiding over the civil ceremony at the start of the evening
Beysun looking radiant (with the 500 lira hairstyle: the standard fee in Istanbul to prepare a bride’s hair)
An amateur in between two professionals
The cake (using the ‘candle’ feature on the camera)
Umut hearts Beysun
The wedding car
Taking a leaf from the Turkish tradition of displaying flags for national days and important events, I decided to hang up my Australian flag in tribute to the recently deceased former king of Australian television, Graham Kennedy.
The pipeline from Baku, Azerbaijan to Ceyhan Port, Turkey has just started flowing with oil. It is a major logistical achievement and has huge potential economic benefits for the Caucuses.
The Ceyhan Port is located around 100 km east of Mersin. One day I may have to visit, just to say I’ve been there and to see how large the pipeline actually is. The oil will take several months just to reach the other end of the pipeline!
I haven’t had time to do a full rundown of the Istanbul trip/wedding, so that will have to wait.
Tonight, at 21:45 Turkish time, much of the world will be glued to their TVs watching the European Champions League final.
On Sunday, there was another major soccer event in Istanbul, an event with far greater local ramifications. Fenerbahce beat Galatasaray 1:0 to win the local league title.
By the time the game began I was on the bus to Mersin. However, whilst in Besiktas, on the European side, I did manage to see a special ferry service take a boatload of Galatasaray fans (or hooligans, if you prefer) across the Bosphorous to Kadikoy, the game’s location.
Following are a few photos. Note the real tough heroes on the roof (sarcasm intended).
This morning I arrived back in Mersin from Istanbul via an overnight Varan Turizm bus ride.
Umut and Beysun’s wedding and the rest of my time in Istanbul was wonderful and I will write more and upload photos later.
Istanbul is preparing for soccer’s European Champions League final to be held this Wednesday (25th). There are many official sponsor signs and advertisements promoting the event.
On the way to the main airport is the following large banner, featuring “Civil Engineer Aziz Yeniay, Mayor of Kucukcekmece” and “Dr. Architect Kadir Topbas, Mayor of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality”, each holding the Champions League trophy:
Can anyone please tell me what “Welcome To Be Champion” means? Is it even English? How crazy for such a high profile sign to be incoherent. I guess it is the thought that counts.
Tonight I’m jumping on the bus to Istanbul for my former flatmate and good friend, Umut’s wedding to his long-time sweetheart, Beysun. Umut and I shared a flat in Mezitli, a coastal outer suburb of Mersin for nine months in 2001-2002.
Umut comes from Fenerbahce territory in Asian Istanbul but studied at Mersin University where he was top of the class (and faculty?) for his year. Studying 20 hours a day does get places.
Umut and Beysun met at tourism and hospitality high school in Alanya, southern Turkey. They remained together, even when they were physically apart, studying at university in different cities.
Umut is a kind and hard working person. I wish Umut and Beysun a great wedding and wonderful marriage.
This quote in a recent email from Mum, sums Umut up well:
Have a good weekend and wish Umut all the best for us. He is a great fellow and we will always remember his generosity to us when we were in Istanbul.