9 September; Today in Ankara. In 1923 a provincial town of 30,000 but played a key role in the War of Independence and is now capital city with 4.8 million. But a planned city to some extent so wider roads and less congestion. Perhaps that’s why people seem more chilled out too.
We visit the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, the citadel (Byzantine walled city), walk through a covered market to Genclik (Youth) Park and then to Cer Modern, an art gallery. No checks on age to get to park and no exhibits at gallery, although Steve McCurry and Grayson Perry were coming as woman with Australian accent who security fetched for us explained. So we had beer and wine instead. Despite being old enough to know better. Alcohol + heat = sleepiness. But this insomniac will just stay awake and tired instead.
The Museum illustrates that the Turks are the most recent in a long list of people’s to inhabit this part of the world.
A small girl guide us to locations in her perfect English, I didn’t ask her to and several times she said ‘school money’. I took the hint but would be just as happy if she brought sweets.
Yesterday some ‘super-patriots’ or idiots as I prefer to call them, burn down the offices of a political party in this city. Ataturk wanted Turkey to develop into a democratic society and yesterday’s behavior is a violation of this wish. Peace at home and peace abroad was one of his quotes. I say again, idiots, uneducated, simple and undemocratic, you should be ashamed of yourselves.
Some of the best food I have eaten is on journeys in service stations, simple dishes with rice, vegetables, pulses.
A feature of being in a Muslim country is the Muezzins call to prayer. When you are in a big city the effect can be pleasurable as the voices echo against each other.
My guide book says that Turks drive on the right and give way also to the right but in practice they drive in the middle and give way to no one. Unfortunately there is some truth in this. Me and Penny today tried to cross a dual carriageway, as directed we walk to a set of lights, press the button to action the lights to red and waited. And waited some more. By this time it was apparent the lights were permanently set to red for us. A motorcyclist slowed down and pressed the button again for us. We wait for a gap and dash across to middle of road. And then the whole process starts again. I was wondering if I had hail a taxi to get them to stop and finish the journey in that fashion.
The guide book said our hotel, which is satisfactory in many respects, is one which takes no smoking law seriously. So I was surprised to see an ash tray in room.
Today, the inspiration for my style of writing is a year older. Happy birthday Aki Rihilahti, legendary Palace midfielder.
10 September; Today we visited Anit Kabir, the Painting and Sculpture Gallery and the Ethnography Musuem. Anit Kabir is the resting place of Ataturk, war hero of Gallipoli and leader of resistance to British. French, Italian plans to carve up the Ottoman Empire for themselves after World War 1. In doing so Turkey determined its own future unlike Syria, Lebanon, Iraq to name but a few. Turkey today is still struggling between the forces of progress and reaction and events daily are a manifestation of that.
The gallery was near empty when we visited and in the Ethnography Musuem I learned the history of coffee. In south Abbysinia the goatherds noticed how lively the goats became when they chewed a certain plant and decided to boil it and consume it for themselves. Thanks to the goats then.
Last night we ate in Kizilay district and went to a bar where live music was being performed. From what I could make out the band were performing popular numbers and there was a bit of a singalong. We will spend our last night here in same area and tomorrow we travel to Amasya.
Things I reccomend, food at service stations.
Observing animals, they can teach us a lot.
Things I don’t recommend, burning down buildings. We should aspire for more civilized society.
Copying animal behaviour completely, we have bigger brains, lets use them.