Monday, 20 September 2010

Turkish things that make you go ooooohhhhhwaaaaaaaaaahhh!!!!!!

Walking through Izmir the other day, my cousin pointed out this sign.



Roughly translated it reads: "this building could collapse at any moment. Do not get too close". Please also note the tables and chairs of the local cafe. Aaahhh nothing like a relaxing lunch.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Fezaurus #7

İmam osuruyor, cemaat sıçıyor - the priest farts, the congregation shits.

Comparable to the English "give them an inch and they'll take a yard", this beautifully imaginative phrase is used in situations where the lower echelons of society take the piss (or, in this case, a shit).

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Songs About Turkey #2

Uska Dara - E.Kitt

video

Probably best known by the fur-promoting feline wannabe, Earth Kitt in 1953, this pseudo comedic ditty sings of the region of Üsküdar in Istanbul. Riddled with mistranslated, mispronounced and over-hockled Turkish, the song is, nevertheless, quite cute. Favourite line: "Ooooh those Turks!".
Uska Dara

Üsküdar'a gider iken aldi da bir yagmur
Üsküdar'a gider iken aldi da bir yagmur
Kâtibimin setresi uzun, etegi çamur
Kâtibimin setresi uzun, etegi çamur

Kâtip uykudan uyanmis, gözleri mahmur
Kâtip uykudan uyanmis, gözleri mahmur
Kâtip benim, ben kâtibin, ele karisir?
Kâtibime siter eter faltu ne güzel yarasir

Uska dara is a little town in Turkey
And in the old days
Many women had male secretaries
Oh, well, that's Turkey

Üsküdar'a gider iken bir mendil buldum
Üsküdar'a gider iken bir mendil buldum
Mendilimin içine lokum doldurdum
Mendilimin içine lokum doldurdum

They take a trip from Usku dara in the rain
And on the way they fall in love
He's wearing a stiff collar, in a full dress suit
She looks at him longingly through her veil
And casually feeds him candy, oh, those Turks

Kâtibimi arar iken yanimda buldum
Kâtibimi arar iken yanimda buldum
Kâtip benim, ben kâtibin, el ne karisir?
Kâtibime kolali da gömlek ne güzel yarasir

Kâtibimi arar iken yanimda buldum
Kâtibimi arar iken yanimda buldum
Kâtip benim, ben kâtibin, el ne karisir?
Kâtibime kolali da gömlek ne güzel yarasir
Kâtibime kolali da gömlek ne güzel yarasir
The song is based on the traditional Turkish song Katibim (below). Enjoy.

video

Monday, 6 September 2010

Arse in the Press

My random drivel about the great Turkish nation has been picked up by a couple of magazines.

Firstly, by the super Gezenti Magazine right here in Turkey and secondly by the spectacular Bluesky Traveling Magazine in Russia. Though I can't understand the translation of either articles, I just hope that the knob gags retained their banality.



Right, I'm off to add 'published writer' to my CV ...What?? It counts!!

Songs About Turkey #1

Istanbul (Not Constantinople) - J.Kennedy/N.Simon

video

Originally recorded by The Four Lads (above), the song talks about the change of name of Turkey's most famous city.

Probably the most famous recording was in 1990 by the group They Might be Giants.

video
Istanbul (Not Constantinople)

Istanbul was Constantinople
Now it's Istanbul, not Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Now it's Turkish delight on a moonlit night

Every gal in Constantinople
Lives in Istanbul, not Constantinople
So if you've a date in Constantinople
She'll be waiting in Istanbul

Even old New York was once New Amsterdam
Why they changed it I can't say
People just liked it better that way

So take me back to Constantinople
No, you can't go back to Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Why did Constantinople get the works?
That's nobody's business but the Turks

Istanbul (Istanbul)
Istanbul (Istanbul)

Even old New York was once New Amsterdam
Why they changed it I can't say
People just liked it better that way

Istanbul was Constantinople
Now it's Istanbul, not Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Why did Constantinople get the works?
That's nobody's business but the Turks

So take me back to Constantinople
No, you can't go back to Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Why did Constantinople get the works?
That's nobody's business but the Turks

Istanbul

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Famous Turks #6

Ayda Field (AKA Mrs. Robbie Williams)



Born Ayda Sabahat Evecan in Los Angeles to a Turkish father and American mother. Ayda launched her career as an actress in Days of our Lives (I thought that was a make-believe soap from Friends).

Yada yada yada, she married Robbie at the beginning of August 2010. I wish them 'hayirlisi' (may it be without problems). That said, shall we start taking bets? Anyone for 6 months?

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Fair! ...Enough!

Every year, Izmir hosts the oldest tradeshow in Turkey. Known simply as Izmir International Fair, its venue is the Kulturpark in the heart of the city. Running for a week from morning until way passed midnight, it swarms with locals as well as out of towners. This year, I decided to head down to see what all the fuss is about.

The first thing you notice is how incredibly busy it is. This is obviously a massive event in the Izmir calendar and people from all walks of life turn out to pay their 2TL to be a part of it.

The exhibitors range from TV channels to car manufacturers to olive oil wholesalers. Dolly birds trip around showing off mopeds to young couples, while slick businessmen eat waffles and ponder audio visual equipment.

After a walk through the trade section, we made a dash for the 'World Food' area. At first glance, it appeared a misnomer as the food stalls were divided into the famous cities of Turkey. There was food from Mersin, Gaziantep and even Aydin. I thought the world was bigger than this.

On closer inspection, however, I found Romanian, Bulgarian, Mexican, Italian and Chinese stands. Tucking into my Chinese noodles and fajitas, I started to get into the swing of the blaring music while food sellers danced waving paper napkins. 

After a few stuffed mussels, my friends convinced me to make the next stop the amusement park.

As a child I would visit Hampton Court fair with my friends every Bank Holiday. But, being a complete coward, I would always be the one holding the coats for my friends as they crammed themselves into gypsy-powered waltzers.

It wasn't until a 4-day motivational seminar that I had enough fire in my belly to try a rollercoaster for the first time. I headed to Euro Disney with some friends and boarded the scariest ride on offer. Despite screaming like a resident of Brokeback Mountain, this then paved the way for me to climb Kilimanjaro and, ultimately, sky-diving over Las Vegas. Nothing, however, had prepared me for the Izmir funfair.

This was where the action really was. I stood in awe as I watched scarved families barge their way through the crowds to fulfil the death wishes of their offspring. The greased pikeys who'd been lapdancing foreign pensioners in the tourist towns only days before were finally letting off steam on some of the most horrifying rides I'd ever laid my eyes on.

A friend pointed out a truth I'd been unable to admit to myself. "When you look at those responsible for your safety and the way the machinery rattles and rocks, the excitement is a very real sense that you may be propelled, waltzer and all, into a pomegranate tree."

Before long I was strapped into a ride and back to my camp YeeHawwing. Not satisfied, we got in line for the Magic Carpet ride. I watched the controller with a psychotic intensity as he pressed one button then the next, stopping only to take puffs on his cigarette.

We boarded and pulled the metal bar down over our laps. Soon we were off, swinging back and then forth. As my 95 kilo frame was ridiculed by the immense contraption as it jarred us higher and higher. A glance to my friends confirmed that we were all now in a state of silent terror. Gone were the smiles and the woops. We were now all clinging on for dear life and waiting for the ride to end.

Desperately trying to find something to anchor my obese frame, I lodged my shins under a metal bar. Though excruciatingly painful, it did offer a vague hint of security. The bruising on my lower extremities, however, is still a reminder of just how scared and desperate I was.

With all the poise and grace of four Parkinson's victims, we slowly trembled over to the Big Wheel to round off our evening with spectacular views over Turkey's 3rd largest city.

Yes, that's right. Forget the chocolate cigarettes of Hampton Court, this is Hoop-la for real packs of Marlboro Reds. I love Turkish funfairs.

Clever dick!

I think I'll try and get down there again before it ends for another year.

Izmir International Fair ...recommended!