Thursday, August 05, 2010

Conservative fails finally coming home to roost?

 The National Post is reporting an 11 point drop in the government's popularity, according to EKOS polling. Perhaps people are noticing the incompetence of "Canada's New Government".

Just to remind you of the many sleazy and clumsy actions of Stephen Harper's government,  I have most of them covered in previous posts- look under 'Conservative party' in my tags.
here is a list posted in the Comments section of The Globe and Mail:

Chuck Cadman
Chalk River
Income Trust
Attempted to censor media coverage of our war dead coming home
Lying to Canadians about the Afghan War
Breaking his own election laws
Violation of human rights
Lying to Canadian during said election about the economy
Prorogation (twice)
Using Haiti as his personal photo-op (and his wife)
Contempt of Parliament
Billion dollar plus slush fund called the G20
1.7 million for the PMO
Killing the Census
F-35s when we are in HUGE debt
And for all you loving CONS out there...cutting the GST to 5% for appearances sake.
the attempt to hide the body of our first female casualty coming home from Afghanistan….Harper “stands behind our troops”? Only when there is a photo op.
-"Derringer" commenting on Stockwell Day's argument for spending 5Billion on new prisons for "unreported Crimes" posted in the Globe and Mail online

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Ankara part 2

So I was back at Eski Yeni for a beer on a Saturday night. The doormen were going to turn me away, but smiled and waved me in when I spoke English. Ersoy, who is the owner, recognised me and shook my hand.

Özge was the very kind barmaid who practiced her English while helping me with the menu.

Although this is a café, it looks like a beer hall to me. But you have a smattering of kids and babies out with mum(and sometimes dad, too). This place is in the Kizilay district- tourists are invisible. This is where locals go and it has a great energy. I originally walked into Eski Yeni because Ersoy looked kind of familiar- like my kind of hipster- it assauged a certain amount homesickness and loneliness I felt. I will recommend this place because it is friendly and fun without a touristy vibe.

So getting a smile of recognition and a hand shake was special. I haven't had a conversation face- to- face since Monday. Skype with friends and my little son is better than nothing, but I miss seeing faces when I palaver. 

approaching Maltepe mosque
Malatepe Mosque

The day focussed on putting together my presentation. Since Youtube is banned in Turkey, I was kind of screwed, to be blunt. How else do I demonstrate(an aside to demonstrate is to act out- a word of wisdom to my activist friends). But I found images and began putting together a piece of my argument. After spending most of the day writing and creating a powerpoint presentation, I stepped out to visit the Maltepe and Kocatepe Mosques.

Maltepe was constructed in the '50s but could have been much older. As I entered the courtyard wondering about the etiquette of photographing a mosque, a Turkish man smiled and said hello. I gestured to my phone camera and he said no problem then bade me enter. We removed our shoes at the edge of the carpet and he took them and placed them on a shelf inside the entrance. He then smiled and patted my shoulder and ushered me inside.

I watched for a few minutes as he went through a ritual of prostration, first standing and gesturing with his hands as if he were washing his head. He then knelt and folded across his knees, arms loosely outstretched in front of him. All the while, he quietly recited to himself, although so quietly the words were barely audible and entirely indistinct.
The mosque's interior was square, and carpeted from wall to wall and up the sides with a turquoise carpeting. The fenestration above was filled with stained glass combining abstract patterns with Arabic words. The interior was muffled with only the sense of sound and reverberation coming from the masonry surface dome above; It was decorated with abstract tiled patterns. A few men knelt before the far wall as the went about their devotions.

I left and continued on to see the Kocatepe mosque. A much bigger, more elaborate building, with underground parking, I just viewed the outside and then turned back so I could make a Skype call to my son.

After returning to my hotel, I chatted briefly with the little boy, and felt very lonely with him so far away. I cleaned up, napped, then set out again to see what Saturday evening was like in Ankara.

The clientele in Kizilay are Turks, so it is not as comfortable for foreigners as the tourist districts in Ulus, I suspect. On the other hand, a few words of Turkish and it is easy to gain the Turkish warmth.
Other important information: Koftë is a Turkish traditional dish. Essentially it is a spicy variation on Salisbury steak but it tastes good.

After a few beers and dinner I walked back to the hotel. I bought a can of Efes lager and a package of Ruffles chips(my concession to homesickness), drank it while checking my email and went to bed.

"If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country."
-E.M. Forster