Archive for January, 2006

Nights in white satin…

When I was a child, I loved snow. I can hear you say; who did not ? But as a matter of fact, I loved the perfect snow; that untouched, curved, thick layer of snow from last night spread in front of me. I remember closing my eyes and dreaming about a journey to the pole, exploring a spot there for the first time in world history and giving this spot my name.

Life gave me the same chance after years in Istanbul. While I was coming home last night and snow kept falling slowly, covering the street with a smooth and absolutely perfect layer of snow, I closed my eyes and took a couple of steps towards my imaginary spot and when I arrived, I gave it my name.

One more spot !

My newsflash …

Now that I am back in Istanbul, I feel thrown into a sea of incredible occurences, once again. Everyday there is something new and terrible going on..

1. It is so freaking cold… It is not just cold, it is definitely VERY cold.

2. Ağca is out of jail. Justice ? Heard in the news today that he might go back for another 5 years. I wonder why someone who tried to kill Pope and murdered other people should be set free anyway..

3. Bird Flu is a new topic in Turkey. Some take it very seriously while others do not even care. It is frightening as well as astonishing to see how people deal with it. One guy tries to make a hero out of himself, telling he managed to stop bird flu in Marmara because he buried/slaughtered all his turkeys on time. Another woman says she won’t give away her animals before getting paid in advance while her kids play with ‘dead’ chickens in the yard. She is going to cook the dead animals, she says, because it is way too pity to throw that meat away. I feel so lucky that I don’t like chicken or turkey anyway.

4. Mortgage is heading for Turkey. People are delighted, people shall go crazy, people will pour on the offer like flies on trash! I am kinda looking forward to seeing the side effects of the system which shall arise in the first 3 months or when people will start losing their houses because they can not pay the monthly dues. The cruel face of banking shall put out a thousand of lives. (What is this ? will the government then plan a financial aid for the ‘new homeless’ and take over their debts too ?)

5. If you like musicals, please go get yourself a video, a VCD or a DVD of ‘Mucizeler Komedisi’ with Şener Şen, Pamela, Özlem Tekin, Mirkelam and many more (VCD was only in turkish). It has been a very long time since I last saw a turkish musical so amusing and so well made ! The usual story of bad against good is told in a gorgeous way, changed to the turkish standards. I had sometimes the feeling there were many instances of the Divine Comedy in it. I especially recommend the fighting scene between the good and the bad.

6. It is still freezing cold !

Ahoi !

Bird Flu

As many of you know, unfortunately our country is suffering from a bird flu outbreak.
Several cases have been diagnosed and I believe 4 people have died from the virus since the outbreak.
For those looking for more information about whats happening right now in Turkey, I’d advise you to click here
and read the articles written on the subject by the Turkish Daily News

I haven’t eaten chicken in weeks and I’m having withdrawals. I’m considering going to another country just to have chicken curry. Some suburbs in Istanbul have been quarantined. The governement’s response was late and extremely slow to this virus that’s feeding off our country’s ignorance on how to deal with it. I need to admit tho that in a final effort to show our population that they can safely eat chicken, our politicians invited news crews to come film them while they eat chicken at a local diner. We’re supposed to be reassured now. AKP is too busy trying to shut down normal schools to replace them with Islamic schools so that they can brainwash children into becoming narrow minded secular AKP voting minions. They’re also too busy trying to build mosques in every vacant spot they can find in the city. Sometimes, living in Turkey can be exhausting and tragic.

IETT or Blue Bus vs Red Bus

I used to live in Belgium up till 2004, I moved here in december of that year and was extremely excited.
In Brussels, we have a grand bus/tram/metro company called the STIB. The buses would always be on time, with friendly drivers and clean seats to sit on. The STIB impose a speed limit which facilitates life for everyone in the bus and in traffic.
In Turkey tho, things are a bit different..
There are two types of buses managed by the IETT, the red ones and the blue ones. Thats how I differentiate them and how I refer to them. The only difference I know and care to know between the two types is that in the blue ones you can pay your bus fair cash and use the automated ‘akbil’ system (prepaid access) and that in the blue ones you can only use akbil and bus tickets that you would’ve prepurchased.
Oh yeah, and the blue ones are much cleaner and less smelly.
Now, I know all that sounds pretty normal, apart from one little detail which I was reminded of this morning at 7am whilst coming to work; if you wanna take the bus in Istanbul, you better have a life insurance and good stomach.
The red bus is always trying to pass the blue bus that’s trying to get all the customers.
Schumacher would look pale in comparison to how these buses drive. I could count the hairs in my neighbour’s nose each time there was a sudden turn or a sharp stop.
To get from one point to another in Istanbul, the best way is the bus, but make sure you don’t have a sensitive stomach.

noise of the lambs: sacrifice feast

we are about to celebrate turkey’s longest religious feast on january 10th. muslims believe abraham was going to sacrifice his son ishmael in the name of god but god stopped him and gave him a sheep to sacrifice instead. this story belongs to other abrahamic religions, too. according to bob dylan, god wanted abraham to kill his son out on highway 61, huh.

maybe it sounds weird, after feeding and chucking a cute sheep on the eve of the feast and then you are watching the murder by cutting its throat the other day. to me, apart from all the elite?s stupid debates on wilderness of this tradition (?cause i know it has all its own pagan roots) the holiday is more important for my poor lazy soul. in a world where brother kills brother, our woolly friends are only collateral reasons to cry, so cruel? forget alice and go ask bush.

istanbul toy museum

turkish poet sunay akin has collected nearly 4000 toys in fifteen years just for fun and after visiting a toy museum in germany, he founded istanbul toy museum in goztepe district of kadikoy (hail anatolian side!) in a historical building (a large wooden house) that belongs to his family. you can see a miniature violin made in 1817 in france, a doll made in 1820 in united states etc. there. we must thank sunay akin: he didn?t rent this building to a horrible dentist or a private school as usual in istanbul.

it is open everyday (except monday.) visiting time : 09:00 – 18:00 for weekday and 09:00 – 22:00 for weekends. they demand entrance fee (not from children but their parents, blah!) 6 ytl (regular), 3 ytl (students).

samples from the museum

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