I heard a bit of a kerfuffle outside my flat last night. So like any self-respecting neighbour, I switched off the lights and started twitching the curtains.
Rumour is, the guy next door had decided to remove the bloke downstairs' solar panel from the roof. Why just remove someone's solar panel? What, they wont notice? A similar thing happened when my father arrived for his annual holiday out here to find that his television had stopped working. Turns out the bloke downstairs got onto the roof and unplugged my father's cables from the satellite and stuck his own in. Bargain!
Well anyway, I heard people screaming and shouting outside the window and the next thing I know, the police arrived and carted the blokes off as a knife had been pulled. Bonkers. These are 60+ old men street fighting. Mind you, the wives carried on after the husbands had been nicked.
But this is Turkey, and Turkey is a little rougher round the edges than the life I was used to back in Blighty. This had been proved one day when my cousin arrived at my doorstep looking a little angry about something. To cut a long story short, in a bout of road rage, someone had called him a cunt in front of his wife and child. This is bad form. Calling someone a cunt is generally bad form but in front of the family is plain unacceptable. My cousin had asked around and found out where the bloke worked and pursued it. "Billy," he said "be careful here. You can't just call someone a cunt and not expect them to follow it up".
So here he was sitting on my balcony, waiting for a call from the guy. He explained the procedure to me. "I go to see him. I then call him a cunt to his face. If he accepts that, we're even. If not, we fight." Now remember that this is an armed nation. Guns are around. It's not unusual. More than guns though, I've learned about something that has captured my curiosity. All Turks have the ability, though most don't know how. Someone unique to Turks that was once feared across the whole world. It's a martial art form that seems to be dead but can occasionally been seen to be used by masters. My step brother told me a story:
"A close friend was sitting in a doner kebab restaurant when 3 young men came in and started taunting the chef. Things were getting out of hand and it looked like the old man was in trouble ...when suddenly ...Bang! Bang! Bang! The three men hit the dust and scrambled away."
What happened to the young men? They messed with a master of the 'Osmanli Tokati' (The Ottoman Slap). When used correctly, the Ottoman Slap can knock a grown man straight down with one simple move. There are rumours as to how it's done, and my mission is to learn more. Some say it's the way the blow is delivered to the ear that sends the victim spiralling down as their sense flies out their other ear.
If you want to see an Osmanli Tokati in action, I have been told the best way is to head to the centre of town and to find the nearest man and insult his mother. You will see the start of the slap, you might not catch the end. Insulting a person's mother is apparently the worst possible thing in Turkey (even worse than questioning someones sexuality, and that's saying something). I'm sure I'll talk about swearing another time, as it deserves a whole post in itself.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go and wax on, wax off.