24th January 2015 – Ankara, Turkey
Travel is like life. There are bad days, and then,there are days filled with glorious dusks, and reflections.Forgive me, I preach. But like still water, I would be boring too,If I merely took notes, and didn’t reflect on my actions.
I’ve had rough days on this trip, many times. And each time, I follow the same strategy. I go out, click as many pictures as I could, and put my problems behind.
I did the same today too. I had absolutely no intention of coming to Ankara, as I was told by everybody – even my friends from Ankara – that there is nothing of note to see here. I had come only for the Georgia visa application, but I decided to make the best out of it.
I left home just after noon, and starting walking from the Ataturk Kultur Merkesi (Ataturk Cultural Centre), to Kizalay where I had agreed to meet another couch surfer for dinner. This was about 6 km in distance, but the stretch covered the most important and noteworthy places of Ankara. The cultural centre itself was being rebuilt, but the Luna park and the Glenclik park. The luna park especially had some amazing scenes around dusk, and won my vote for the picture of the day. You could also make a short side trip, still walking, to the Anit Kabir, the mausoleum of Mustapha Kemal Ataturk.
By 7 pm, I was in Kizilay and my CS friend took me to a little bar, which was throbbing on a saturday night. Turkey is Islamic, but thanks to the efforts and the magnificent foresight of Mustapha Kemal Ataturk (he was given the title, which means ‘father of Turks’, for his efforts), it is definitely the most liberal muslim country in the world. The young men enjoyed a few pints of the Turkish beer, Efes, and the women sipped along and smoked their long, slender cigarettes. There were no culture vultures staring at them, like it would be in Saudi or Brunei, or even parts of India. Even when I took off my jacket in the metro, briefly flashing my tattoos, only one old man turned to stare at me. And I think it was more amusement than contempt that prevailed in the stare.
Compare that with Brunei, where I was an object of entertainment for little children!