Sunday, November 8, 2015

Internet! & Kaleiçi Night Life

It’s that time of the season where someone is coming down with a cold and the germs are rapidly replicating. Almost everyone at school is sniffling…even Alex and I have runny noses. While Alex is sicker than I am, we are both exhausted from a long week of work.

This week was eventful. We got our scores back for our Turkish exam (I did well, 85%) and continued to work with our graduate students during speaking clubs. They are all nervous about taking their IELTS exam because their score (from a scale of 1-9) will determine which universities they qualify to study at. We help them by giving them practice speaking exercises and encouraging them to stay calm. Our “MEB” (graduate) students are scheduled to take the IETLS on different days.

With Seval at her Kaleiçi office.
On Wednesday, a friend we had met in Ankara at the Ambassador’s Reception invited us to her office. Seval, who is the head of the Antalya Municipality and works closely with the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, was upset that we did not contact her once we arrived to Antalya. She graciously welcomed us and told us about her work. She even took us to her mother’s house for dinner that evening. It turns out she and her mother live very close to us in Meltem—one block away!

With our beautiful landlord, Sanay.
On Friday, we really wanted to go home and take a long nap but instead, we met our landlord, Sanay, at Mark Antalya mall to buy Internet. She has kindly offered to open the account in her name. Yasir accompanied us on this errand and served as our translator. Before making the transaction, Sanay treated us to Turkish khave as ikram (a treat out of respect). She also read our fortunes.

There is a tradition in Turkey, enjoyed mainly by women, that after drink Turkish coffee, you place the saucer on top of your tiny cup, flip it towards you (so that the cup is upside down), rotate the cup and saucer in circular motion three times in front of you, and wait for the mud-like coffee beans to drain out on the saucer. You can place a coin or a ring on top of the cup to expedite the process of cooling down (since metals absorb heat). After the ‘mud’ has fully drained out on the saucer, you flip your cup in the rightful position, and ask someone to read your fortune based on the remnants of the coffee stains inside the cup. The fortune teller examines the animals and shapes created by the coffee stains, and extrapolates fortunes based on them. On Friday, Sanay speculated the following things about my fortune—I think some of them are quite true!
·      I’ve read a lot of books, but I appear calm
·      I am competitive
·      I will go to Egypt in the near future
·      I learn from other’s lessons and try not to repeat their mistakes

After buying the Internet—finally!—we decided to have dinner together at Ataturk Park. Alex was still feeling sick, but the coffee had completely energized me. We sat at a table overlooking the beautiful Mediterranean Sea, all of Kaleiçi, and beautiful sunset over the Toros Mountains. Yasir and I ordered chicken wings, while Sanay and Alex ordered pasta. I was not very hungry so I fed most of my dinner to the hungry cats.
Breathtaking sunset over the Toros Mountains.
Later, at about 9pm, we met some school friends and Konak Kafe friends at the Raven Pub, one of the many nightly hang out spots in Kaleiçi. There were about 10 of us in total, friends of friends. I was really excited to practice my Spanish with the band singer before he performed at 10:30pm. He sang English songs and the pub became very lively. I didn’t realize that Old City was where the night scene was for Antalya. It almost looked like a college town, squirming with students in every corner, town people smoking in the streets, foreigners chattering away, music booming from every restaurant. Not that Alex and I are much of partiers, but now we know where to go. J Anyhow, at about midnight, we taxied home with Azim (Indian) and Milad (Afghan), our two friends from Konak Kafe.

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