Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Upstairs downstairs

Well Trabzonspor lost in the end. Very disappointing match actually - the Monday before they caned Fenerbahce playing attacking skillful confident football. Against Liverpool, they gibbered and stuttered and in fact bore a striking resemblance to England in a major tounament - all hesitancy, schoolboy errors and a lack of any sort of sense of urgency. Pity, it would've been a good one.

And I watched it with the Trabzonspor supporters lot, as well. In a stifling 4th floor bar in central Istanbul with no air conditioning, and, get this, NO DRINKING. This is one of the few things I genuinely am struggling to get used to here - watching football sans pint and pint fuelled fellow viewers. Most of the football watching here goes on at cafes, so it's all tea, quiet sober murmered observation and COMPLETE BLOODY LACK OF ATMOSPHERE. If you ask me, which since it's my blog, I am deciding you are :@)

This is off-topic. I meant to tell you about my new flat. Look at my new flat!

That's this sort of walled in balcony area - we've got a lounge too but this is our current lounging home in nature if not name, what with the pleasing breeze and two full sprawl length sofas and general holiday caravan vibe to it.

Other bonuses about this place, in ascending order of wonderfulness, are:

1) Convenience - we are down the bottom of the island, ie in the town centre such as it is, ie two minutes from everywhere. See that yellow spike sticking up behind the houses in the below shot? That's my commuting boat, that is. All of about 50m distance from my front door.

2) A combi boiler ie running hot water on tap when wanted, allied with a proper shower. Calloo callay!! This is a stormer - much though I was proud of my recently developed ability to wash myself by crouching in the bath using nothing but a kettle full of hot water and a bucket, I am prepared to forsake the sense of pride for the joy of a proper standy-up shower. Which is to say, in happy addition to the hot water, our new bathroom has the shower head holding fixture thingy at the 'proper' head-and-above height. This is in contrast to the almost universal tendency in Turkish bathrooms to have it, if it exists at all, at about thigh level. There's probably some well thought out cultural cleanliness reason for this (have I mentioned the fact the turkish is generally a freakishly clean society? No? Well it is, I am not, relative filth wizardry squared.) but I'm buggered if I can figure out what - you are left either standing with the hot water heating your knees and below whilst the rest of you shivers, or some bizarre one-handed shower contortions, or sitting on the floor of the bath which combines the awkwardness and the cold factors.

But no more! Wiggedy.

3) and it's a doozy, no live in landlady. This is a result the likes of which I can't describe, so I won't.

Only theoretical downside is lack of view, but it's not exactly a riches to rags affair. I mean, a typical view from Upstairs is like this:

Nice, admittedly, but then compare that with one from Downstairs:

I think I might just about cope. ;-)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Go Trabzonspor!

I'm eating a bacon sandwich, and drinking a nice can of beer, on my lovely new balcony. (Bang smack in the middle of Ramadan. If it wasn't for the fact I'm almost certainly booked in for the christian version of hell already, I'm sure this would be enough to send me to the muslim fiery place. By the way, Ramadan turns out to be not as big a deal as I thought it was. Lots of people observe it, lots don't, and as far as I can work out mutual respect seems to abound, so my vague fear that I might be obliged to run off to a toilet to scoff down mars bars to keep myself going turned out to be unfounded.)

Bacon! Mmmmm!!!

And then in a little bit I'm off to watch Trabzonspor play Liverpool in round 9, phase D, iteration XIV of the Ridiculo European Cup. (It is still a cup, isn't it? They haven't replaced it with a 48 piece china set on the grounds that a cup was too straightforward yet, have they?)

Anyway they won't win, but it should be a decent couple of games. And in the freak event that they do, I am looking forward to S trying to replicate the 'kolbastı' - 'armstomp' - folk dance that the supporters, and for that matter the players too, of trabzonspor seem to break into whenever a dose of local pride is being called for. ;-)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Mosquitoes, and other irritants

You know, I'm typing this whilst eating beans out of a can. I'm trying to persuade myself that because it's not Heinz but Fasulye Pilaki it counts as exotic and cool, but well, I suspect beanz meanz sloth whatever way you look at it ;-)

The reason for this wilful behaviour is that 'er indoors is outdoors, staying overnight at a job. So I am having a mini-batchelor night, listening to my obnoxious alt country, drinking beer and as I may have mentioned, eating beans out of a can.

Anyway, mosquitoes. Or gnats. Or, to my immense pleasure, 'pointy flies' in turkish.

We've got a wood behind our house, and from there I imagine, come swarms and swarms of the little bastards. We have been fighting a losing battle with them, plugging in anti-gnat plug thingies and slavering ourselves with insect repellent nightly. To mostly no avail. They seem to delight in dodging the window barrage of anti-bug smell, or at least holding their noses over the threshold, and then moseying on down to find a nice ripe spot to bite on THE UNDERSIDE OF MY TOES.

However, I think I've found a solution. Nearly. I have recently been using a fitted sheet as a cover (faaar too bloody hot for anything more substantial in any case) and its elasticy bits wrap me up from head to toe. I wrap the top end round my head even, with just a twist round one of my ears to anchor a hole for my nose and mouth to poke out, for breathing purposes.

So of course the little bastards now just nip me nightly on the nose. But whatever, it is a vast improvement and I will take achilles-style 98% level of immunity over head to foot bites any day of the week.

Sooo...this incredible dose of inanity is a result of the fact that I have Very Little News. Still. I seem to have moved straight from the "oo it's scary I don't know anything I haven't got a job or any money and I'm too scared/lazy to go anywhere anyway" phase to the "Yeah, whatever, foreignhood, whaaatever, I *live* here yanno I'm not a two-week tourist so what's the hurry to go and do/see stuff" phase, without passing go or collecting 200 new turkish lira inbetween.

So not a lot to blog about. I was vaguely hoping to have some sort of interesting 'finding myself' moment by now, but seem to be lacking. Unless you count finding yourself eating beans out of a can, which, I think, you probably shouldn't. (In fact, I have come to suspect that the sort of person who is capable of 'finding themselves' probably doesn't need much in the way of encouragement, and would probably manage it working in a chip shop in Blidworth for a year. On the other hand the sort of unromantic souless automaton like me, however, probably ain't going to find themself anywhere, historic/holiday islands between two continents and cultures included.)

The only other thing of possible note is that we might be moving. The landlady has come to stay for the summer, which was always part of the deal but predictably has all gone wrong with bill disputes and personal fallings out and I don't know what. Quite literally I don't know what, as the bulk of the more emotional arguing goes on in unintelligible yelling turkish (yes, yes, I know I'm always making excuses for my lack of understanding. It sucks, I suck, I'm depressed about it, NEXT) and teenage style leaving handwritten scrawled notes for each other.

Anyway the whole thing, as well as making me feel a little sad about the possibility of leaving here which has all in all grown on me, crumbling walls and eccentric utilities (and gnats. Er...) and all, is also making me think back. And I'm remembering the horror that is an unsatisfactory houseshare, but also it's making me think back with immense gratefulness and no small amount of nostalgia to the good 'uns. So, after all that - thankyou, bitches who know who they are. Miss you guys!