The Eastern Mediterranean Yacht Rally Arrives To Mersin (Again)

Tonight the presence of dozens of internationally-flagged single and dual-hulled yachts transformed the yacht harbour near home. The catamarans were particularly impressive. The boats are here for the 2007 Eastern Mediterranean Yacht Rally (EMYR). It seems like only yesterday that the 2006 EMYR yachts were in Mersin. Tomorrow morning I hope to get up early with my camera, go out and snap a few photos.

EDIT: here are photos from this morning (2007-05-23):


The mayor’s welcoming sign


One of the ultramodern catamarans


Boats of many countries, including an Australian on the right (with the solar panels)


Yachts and their reflections

——————-

Welcome New Flatmate Hamdullah!

25 year old Hamdullah recently moved in with Levent and I. He teaches year 7 and 8’s Turkish Language and Literature at a local middle school. Like Levent, Hamdullah is also from Mardin Province, although from a different town.

——————-

Offshore Powerboat Racing Is Coming To Turkey

Offshore powerboat racing is coming to Turkey, including races in Mersin and Adana (I don’t know if the article refers to the cities or provinces – Turks have an annoying habit of not differentiating between the two).

If powerboat racing is coming to Adana city, the race would be held in the dammed Lake Seyhan. I wonder where the Mersin race will be – something to look out for.

The Turkish Offshore Championship series will have 12 races. Two points caught my eye in the Turkish Daily News article announcing the series:

1) The Istanbul Offshore Club (another IOC) chairman Ugur Isik “notes that the engines of the boats are environment-friendly“. This is not logical for such an event and in contrast to the Wikipedia description of of the ‘sport’:

Offshore powerboat racing is racing by large, ocean-going powerboats, typically point-to-point racing.
Probably the largest, most powerful racing machines of all, the extreme expense of the boats and the fuel required to participate make it an expensive and elite sport.

2) Z-grade celebrity Kiera Chaplin, the granddaughter of Charlie Chaplin, is promoting the event. I wonder a) how much she is getting paid and b) what she knows about the sport. At least she will attract the Turkish media!:

UPDATE: according to the Istanbul Offshore Club’s website, Adana’s race is on Lake Seyhan next weekend (26th-27th) and Mersin’s race will be held at Mersin city 2 weeks later.

Here is a photo of Kiera Chaplin in all her Turkish powerboating goodness:

——————-

A Tropical Hello

I’m not writing from the tropics but it certainly feels like it.

Two weeks ago I thought summer had started in Mersin and the usual 4-5 months of hot, rain-free but humid weather were lying ahead. However, recent weather has swapped between a) non-stop rain with a mild temperature, b) threatening clouds and c) a fiercely hot sun. Humidity is the omnipresent partner of all 3 patterns. I swear Mersin has received 3 times its average May rainfall already.

I’ve never experienced tropical weather this persistent in Mersin. I’m not complaining as I know the never-ending summer is just around the corner…

——————-

Eurovision Song Contest 2007

I had the privilege of watching the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest direct from Helsinki at Peter, Cansin and Micheal Can’s place Saturday night. I don’t know if privilege is the correct word because on the whole the acts were painful. Yes, the Eurovision performances are usually bad but this year they took badness to another extreme. The performances also oozed more camp than a tent display but this did not make up for the mediocrity. This year the event was held in Finland as their contestant, LORDI, won last year.

Here is a partially tongue-in-cheek and highly critical review based on my recollections:

Spain – Backstreet Boy clone jobs were big years ago – it’s about time you tried something remotely original

Georgia – not the diva’s singing was horrible but the beat and music made me wish for a nightclub. I thought this song was a dark horse and I was wrong, although the random country (can’t remember which) giving Georgia 12 points (top marks) also recognised the song’s potential.

United Kingdom – Either the Brits don’t get Europe or the Europeans don’t get the Brits. The best evidence for those who think the UK is not European comes from the Eurovision contest. Year after year, despite the hype, the Brits receive very few points; this is similar to their (lack of) success at Wimbledon. Oddly, Malta gave them 12 this year.

Ukraine – the pre-contest favourite got what Eurovision is all about – over the top kitsch, ugly and awful enough to be enjoyable. Came second.

Germany – should have remained in the smoky cellar-level Reeperbahn club they likely came from.

Turkey
– ‘Shake it up Sekerim’ (Shake it up ‘my sugar’) by Kenan Dogulu was average and bland – what one gets for trying too hard. Turkey needs to go back to the drawing-board and find a lesser-known act with edge, preferably one that hasn’t recorded Turkcell ads. Came fourth, helped by the top points from ex pat-heavy Germany, Netherlands, France and the United Kingdom.

Greece
– song style and lyrics similar to Turkey’s. I wouldn’t be surprised if the songwriters swapped notes. Again, back to the drawing-board.

Slovenia – opera? Ouch, hurt the ears.

Bulgaria – a singer who can drum – at least this song was better than anything by Phil Collins solo.

France – yawn.

Ireland
– Trad Irish music went out when the plastic Paddys (fake Irish pubs) started hosting salsa dance nights. Verdict: less trad and more rebelliousness required. Came stone cold last.

Serbia – How this song won I will never know. Serbia not only won but thrashed the pants off the competition. I guess they made a big public relations tour of the region prior to Eurovision.

Russia – stuck to the beautiful young ladies singing a pop song formula – better than average. Well, at least the ladies were decent. Came third.

Please do not buy me this year’s Eurovision DVD or CD for I already have enough beer coasters 🙂

A note about voting: if Eurovision brought in a rule restricting the points swapped between neighbouring countries the contest would be more interesting and less predictable. Have Greece and Cyprus ever not awarded each other top points? Likewise with the former Yugoslav and Soviet countries.

——————-

Summers In Mersin Mean…

– Heat and humidity all of the day and most of the night

– Deliciously fresh cherries, apricots, watermelons, peaches and melons

– Being disturbed at 6 in the morning by the rubbish truck consuming its load

– Beautifully-shaped ladies everywhere one looks

– Thousands of people relaxing in the city parks until late every night

– Escapes to the summer houses down the coast and up in the mountains

– Beachside outdoor nightclubs pumping out the latest Turkish and Western hits

– Terrible body odour, especially on the crowded buses and trains

– Many German, Dutch, French and other European number-plated cars belonging to folks returning to their homeland for holidays

– Boys swimming in the polluted city bay sea

– People wearing shorts (rarely winessed outside the beach in all but the hottest weather)

– Ice cream!

– And, this year, political campaigning for the 2007 Turkish general election

PS: cryptic types may have noticed something unusual about the post title: by moving a space, one can make the following word sequence:

sum mersin mersin mean

The place name ‘mersin’ is written twice in a row and surrounded by two of the most important statistical terms: sum and mean

——————-

Yoruk Nomads

I didn’t know this but there are nomads just west of Mersin. The Yoruks go to the Mediteranean districts of Silifke, Gulnar and Aydincik in autumn and back to the plateaus of Karaman and Konya in spring. The numbers of nomads are dwindling as more succumb to the pressures of modern life and settle.

See article.

Investigating further, the range of the Yoruk people extends all the to Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria and Greece in the the Balkans.

Trivia: Yoruk is a brand of yoghurt here.

——————-