Have I been a useless sack of bones in pajamas all day? Am I penning this post reluctantly, because any effort to be a productive, functional human being seems beyond my current capabilities? Do hangovers suck complete and utter banana balls?
Yes dear reader. To all of the above.
I blame Couchsurfing. And Vodka.My suffering also probably has something to do with the fact that I hardly drink anymore. Working so hard on getting this blog looking good, hours online and focused – as I know from today, writing with a pounding head isn’t ideal. So my tolerance for the awfulness of the day after is not where it once might have been.
Yesterday was beautifully sunny in Ankara. After the cold cold cold and the wet wet wet of recent weeks, I was more than happy to set off with a fellow Couchsurfer to explore. He is lovely, a med-student who doesn’t know why he is one, and someone I think will be my friend for a long time. I’d never had a CS’ing experience before, but I would still give it about a 10/10. Unfortunately it gets minus fourteen million and two for the near death state I’ve been in today. Naughty Couchsurfing, no ice-cream for you! But hey, I suppose –13999992 isn’t bad for a first time.
It started off as a enjoyable tour of some of the city’s sights, the details of which I will address in another great post as soon as I can think in a straight line. I’ve had the whole day to recover, but I believe that my thought’s would still get a DUI if they were pulled over by the police. Damn you Vodka. Damn you.
After dinner, things may have descended into madness. I’m not entirely sure, my memory is experiencing technical difficulties. Titans of epic booziness were unleashed into the the streets of Kizilay – and those who watched found themselves tipsy by association. My favourite district in Ankara so far, Kizilay has bar upon bar – literally. Five story buildings face the streets, each level a different establishment. Stacked on top of each other like alcoholic jenga. I love it.
The evening started so slowly, so gently – a peaceful drink at Rudi’s, where I saw my first Turkish hipster. Purification by beer at Araf (quite seriously – the name translates to ‘purgatory’), a LGBT establishment on the third floor. We sat overlooking the street, discussing politics and the mating habits of Polish girls… Don’t ask. Or do, it’s pretty funny. We stepped in to EskiYeni (‘old/new’) to listen to live Balkan music sung by a afro haired gentleman and his eight piece band. It was fantastic. I learned how to dance like a Turkish woman (this white girl can dance thankyouverymuch), with tilting, sensual hips and delicately raised arms. I taught the Dutch how to sokkie – a traditional Afrikaans dance style, but with a bit of swing added in. We all lost ourselves to the music, to the joy of dancing unhindered by vanity or shame. It was beautiful; the mix of cultures, of languages. We made friends with a group of young people sitting in front of us, a dreadlocked Swiss man with the name of a master painter, the sweetly shy German couple, a beautiful young Turkish girl. All it took was a genuine smile, received and returned. We spoke and danced and laughed as if in the company of old friends- EskiYeni lived up to it’s name.
Then I was taught how to order in Turkish. And that’s why my head is so furious at me today. Apparently “Bir tane votka-visne, lütfen” can be said too many times in one evening. What is that, you wonder? Vodka served with the refreshing Turkish sour cherry juice. Yum. I’m almost certain the bartender was dishing out more “votka” than “visne” – this is what happens when locals see that you’re trying to speak their language. You get ‘rewarded’. Bleurgh, even thinking about it makes my stomach turn a little.
All in all it was a stunning night. I was earnestly touched by the realisation that no matter what story your background tells, whatever differences in culture or tradition, a free spirit is a free spirit. And when those beautiful souls gather together, alcohol included or not, good things will happen. A long held suspicion also stood true – no matter where in the world you go, a hipster bar will have a girly type bartender with dreads. Fact of life.
My body is telling me, “Enough now”. I’m going to go watch The Mentalist and eat some ice-cream. And then I’m going to sleep, because guess what? I’m doing it all over again tomorrow. Exploring the city. Spending time with new friends, meeting more like-minded people with a heart for adventure. Just maybe without the ‘votka’ this time.
*Note my dedication readers – I’m writing this for you. I want to be sleeping right now. So make sure my efforts don’t go to waste by sharing this with everyone you know. Otherwise a scary clown will track you down and tell you insipid jokes forever and ever*