There I’ve got it, six more months of Turkey. My last post had a bit of a negative atmosphere. This negativity was partly fake: while I wrote it, I tried to get in that mood again, in which I was when I got refused on the boat etc. But in reality I was living the good life in Mersin thanks to all the lovely people I met there.
First of all there was Emre, of Couchsurfing, who opened his door although I called him late in the evening, and we’d never met before. I stayed there for some days. Then there was Levent, a policeman who loves bike touring. He took me to several bike shops for repairs, and insisted on paying for them. Also, thanks to his connections, the people of the foreign police department became very friendly, with the easy residence permit procedure as result.
And finally there were Mehmet, Gürkan, and all the other students I spent my days with while waiting for the permit to be finished. Before I realised, I’d spend three weeks, playing football, learning to play Tavla like a man, and eating a truckload of tantuni, a local kebap variation. During these weeks, communication was done almost entirely in Turkish. I learned so much and I’m glad I could teach a bit of English.
It amazed me how they deal with money, it seemed to be some kind of common property. Some days there was plenty of it, resulting in decadence, while the other day there was not a single lira around. I, being the ‘misafir’, obviously wasn’t allowed to spend anything.
Mersin is the kind of city where no guidebook sends you. There is almost nothing to see, and most tourists just pass by to hop on a boat to Cyprus or Lebanon. The city itself consists of concrete buildings and big avenues, crowded with chaotic dolmuş traffic. But these ugly buildings are populated by friendly folks, with whom I was pleased to spend some weeks with.