Friday, 6:45 pm, just before work finished, Cigdem and Fatma visited the office. Cigdem is one of a few students I have kept in touch with since I visited some high schools for work in early 2001. This academic year Cigdem and Fatma will just focus on studying for the university entrance exam (OSS), a series of multiple choice questions. The Turkish educational systems requires great reform to make it develop and skill young people better instead of developing people who only know how to take a certain test. Iyi sanlar (good luck) Cigdem and Fatma!
Whilst sitting, chatting on a park bench next to the river, a police car with several police officers arrived. During the day music had floated from the stadium area into work. Mustafa Sandal was to perform at a free public concert that night. I had previously seen ads promoting the concert for the Republic but after the bombing near the previous concert at the square the authorities and concert promoters must have decided to move the concert to the more secure dirt soccer pitch next to the stadium. This was the same place as the Tarkan concert earlier in summer.
After walking west along the bridge passed the concert and the row of police I return eastwards for some fish and salgam (3,500,000 TRL) on the ‘Tarsuslu Amores’ yacht at the local harbour. Also on the yacht were a retired Turkish couple who had lived for 22 years in Stuttgart and Munich, Germany, before returning to Mersin a few years ago. When I told the waiter I was from Australia they must have misheard ‘Austria’. After eating I went to their table and chatted (in Turkish with the odd German word). Their children live in Germany and they were interesting to talk to.
In Concert: Mustafa Sandal
Walking back from the harbour I entered the concert area (frisked of course by the police at entry) and joined several thousand other witnesses to Mustafa’s concert. Like Tarkan, Mustafa Sandal is a Turkish pop singer loved by many Turkish women but with a question mark over whether he likes women.
The concert was presented by Dogus Holding, the distributors of Volkswagen in Turkey. Throughout the concert, along with live concert footage and video clips, there were many VW adverts on the giant videoscreen located behind the stage.
Mustafa has made formula Turkish pop hits for 10 years in Turkey. The songs are catchy and the video clips always feature sexy women. For this concert Mustafa’s band featured no less than 10 musicians and backing singers. Mustafa must have experienced some voice or other problems as the very sexy violinist in a short orange(?) dress and above knee boots performed a few solo instrumentals and a backing singer sang a popular folk song. Mustafa did return. I lasted a few songs longer before departing. Many people in the crowd were dancing and it was a pleasure to see people enjoying themselves.
Outside Huseyin abi’s shop a car accident involving one of his friends had occured. Another car had crashed into the left rear of Huseyin abi’s friend’s car. Huseyin reckoned it was about 500,000 lira damage for each vehicle. Huseyin also though I shouldn’t have gone to the concert because of the bomb at the previous concert. The next event is normally safer because of the greater awareness and security.
Toygun (Fish 2)
On Saturday night Toygun arrived from his work in Tarsus on the train. After a beer at one of the several pubs in the ‘Antikhan’ complex we walked to the harbour and ‘Tarsus Amores’ for a fish sandwich and some fried mussels.
Toygun is still commuting from Adana to Tarsus each day for work. Soon he will stay in Ankara for a 3 month marketing course and whilst he is there he hopes to find another job.
After muesli with fresh pomegranite (delicious!) Sunday morning, we caught the dolmus to Pozcu for my first trip to the movies in ages. The most conveniently timed movie at Metro Sinemasi was Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. This Gwyneth Paltrow/Jude Law movie was enjoyable for the fact it was science fiction and it didn’t need to be realistic. The fun movie also exhibited an unexpected final scene which I thought was very good. See the movie to find out yourself!
Ostrich Meat Iskender
Afterwards, we were going to eat tantuni like any sane person visiting Mersin 😉 but then I suggested ‘Devekusu’ or ostrich. The Iskender (ostrich doner meat with yoghurt, bread, rice and tomato sauce) was delicious. Toygun even ordered a second portion!
Devrim and Efkan live on the same street as the ostrich restaurant so we visited their place. Only Devrim was home and she was drinking coffee with Metap. Metap’s 12 year old son later came and I asked him some questions to help him with his very basic English. Asli had sent Devrim some funny, olive-sized fruit fruit from their family’s garden in Canakkale. I had never seen such a fruit before and it tasted delicious.
That was my weekend, how was yours?