Yesterday’s News: A Bomb in Mersin

A bomb exploded in Mersin yesterday. As usual, I didn’t hear about it until I read the international news websites the next day.

A home-made bomb planted in a rubbish bin has injured a 25-year-old woman in southern Turkey, officials say.

One person dressed as a dustman was held in connection with the blast in the Mediterranean port city of Mersin.

BBC News Link

I feel perfectly safe living here and have always done so, except for the odd occasion my life is in danger from locals forcing me to eat too much food.

30 August, Victory Day

Today in Turkey is Zafer Bayrami or Victory Day, commemorating the Battle of Dumlupinar in 1922 when the Turkish army defeated the Greek army in the War of Independence.

As usual on commemorative days there are Turkish flags and banners of Ataturk hanging up everywhere. Here is a photo from Cumhuriyet Meydani (Republic Square) last night:

The commemorations today will probably be like any other 30 August except the bombings two days ago may add an extra edge to the speeches.

UPDATE: Below is a photo of Peggy and Al from tonights Married… With Children episode on TV channel CNBC-e. Note the picture of Ataturk and the Turkish flag in the top left corner. On national days like today, almost all Turkish television channels feature patriotic symbols in the corner of the screen.

Pearl Jam @ Reading Festival – Wow!

The live webcast of Pearl Jam’s headlining set at the Reading Festival has just finished. It was a wonderful concert and I feel privileged to be able to see it live. The webcast was clear most of the concert with only the odd interruption. Isn’t technology amazing?!

The band were really into playing tonight and I’m now, more than ever, looking forward to see them in a few weeks. Yeah!

Turkish Wedding Season

Turkish wedding music is again blaring in the street near home. This is the third evening of the past four or five I have had to put up with it. If tonight’s wedding follows the previous wedding times, the music won’t finish until after 11 PM.

The music for Turkish street weddings is almost always similar in style, with two main variations:
a) a ‘davul‘ (drum) and ‘zurna‘ (clarinet) for poorer weddings and
b) a band, including vocals and keyboard at more expensive weddings.

Turkish weddings are generally exciting for newcomers to Turkey. However, living here for close to five years, they are now ‘a dime a dozen’. I could close the windows but then I would suffocate from the heat. At least the weddings are better than the Ramazan drummers… On that note: Ramazan begins in less than a month.

15 Days To Go

In just over two weeks I will be winging my way towards Central Europe to see my favourite band play 4 concerts.

In the space of 7&1/2 days I’ll take 4 flights and 6 intercity train rides travelling the following itinerary: Mersin-Adana-Istanbul – Basel-Bern – Bologna-Verona-Milan – Geneva-Basel – Istanbul-Adana-Mersin.

The concert tickets are paid for, hotels reserved and flights booked. I’m really looking forward to having a break, eating Italian and Swiss food, meeting friends and seeing Pearl Jam in concert. Pearl Jam began their European tour in Dublin on Wednesday.

As a prelude to the trip, I made bruschetta, the Italian favourite, last weekend. I found a few perennial basil plants on a random street in a different part of Mersin and ‘borrowed’ a few leaves. It is a national tragedy that Turks don’t feature basil in their cuisine.

I can’t wait to eat real bruschetta in Italy.


Depending on ones sensibilities, for a native English speaker, ‘Ufuk’ can be the most-liked or least-liked Turkish name. In English ‘Ufuk’ means ‘horizon’. ‘Ufuk’ is both a male and female name.

As I have a very lame sense of humour, ‘Ufuk’ is one of my favourite Turkish names. I particularly like the nightclub poster I saw the other day promoting “dj u.f.u.k”‘s visit:

At The Movies: The Lake House

The film viewed at Mersin Cinemall (formerly Metro Sinema) was “The Lake House“, a fantasy/drama/romance starring Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves. I first saw Sandra Bullock perform in The Net a decade or so ago.

Whilst waiting for the film to begin it was a pleasure to sit in the smoke-free cafe area, despite the air-conditioning not functioning due to a power-failure. This weekend the power failed 7 or 8 times.

Without giving the plot away, the film’s concept, involving weird time sequencing, was very difficult to pull-off. I thought the film was confusing and unclear, although sometimes suspenseful. If you are desperate to see a movie go see it. Otherwise, don’t worry.