Busy, busy, Fireworks and Euro2004

The past week was very busy at work. Many students, including the summer school group to Britain, are leaving for their education and the office is chaotic. From Monday onwards things should calm down and I will finally send the emails I’ve been meaning to send.

Fireworks

Most nights, it seems, I can hear and see short bursts of fireworks from my apartment balcony. The fireworks blast away from the coast in different places – the Hilton, the Tennis Club, the Sporting Club, the military base or others. They are formal fireworks displays, not private, random fireworks. Sometimes the noise produced is enough to set off car alarms.

On both Thursday and Friday nights the fireworks reared their beautiful heads again. Thursday’s display was the best I recall seeing in Mersin and one of my best ever witnessed, both in amount and variety. Not quite up with Tunarama, Port Lincoln, 1994(?) or Prague, New Year’s Eve 2001-2, but still very good. I do not know for whom the fireworks display was for but they came from the vicinity of the military base.

A few of the fireworks exploded as particular shapes, something I had not witnessed previously in Mersin. Some were flowers whilst others looked like miss-shaped hearts. The combined sky-lighting and noise-creation entertainment eventually stopped and I walked back downstairs from the roof to watch the remainder of the Greece-Netherlands Euro2004 semi-final.

Update [2004/07/06]: On Sunday I spoke with the Australian manager of the Mersin Hilton. She told me the firework displays are largely for weddings and graduations and Thursday’s display was for the Economics Department at Mersin University.

Addendum [2004/08/22]: I can now confirm that the firework’s display mentioned above was in fact for the Mersin Chamber of Shipping (Mersin Deniz Ticareti) and not the Mersin University Economics Department. The July Chamber magazine attests to this.

Euro2004

Some weeks ago Matthias suggested I write a post on the reaction to Euro2004 soccer championships in Turkey, particularly since Turkey did not qualify. Since then I’ve been planning to write about it, but haven’t managed to do so as other, timelier, events have occurred.

As almost all people in Europe and many people in the rest of the world know, Greece will play Portugal on Sunday for the right to be called European champions. A lesser-known fact is that the Olympic diving championships were moved forward from Athens and will now also take place at the same venue and time. Yes, I don’t like how almost all teams bordering the Mediterranean (including Turkey) dive whenever they think it will give them an advantage.

All the Euro2004 games are shown live on the government television channel TRT1 (and TRT2, when 2 games were played at one time). There is a high level of interest in the tournament and I wouldn’t be surprised if the games win the TV ratings. Of course the level of interest would be far higher if Turkey was playing. The World Cup in 2002 was just unreal.

From my observations, there were not any particular teams Turkish people favoured or disliked. Perhaps Latvia was the team least favoured because they knocked Turkey out of the qualifying. In contrast to what foreigners may think, almost all Turkish people do not hate Greeks or Greece and I’m sure many will be supporting Greece (as neighbours) against Portugal. Personally, I also favour the Greeks, as I believe the Portuguese have had 12 men playing for them so far in the tournament (if you know what I mean). (((Shhh! Don’t tell Maria C I’m not supporting Portugal!)))

Update [2004/07/06]: I’m sure all who have a vague interest know Greece won Euro2004 1-0. As I was very tired I only watched the first half and I missed out on the pitch invader and Ronaldo crying.