There is no storyline connecting the three subjects in the title. Do not fret. No one accidentally (or purposefully) relieved themselves in a public park while excercising, and then proceeded to ring a cab to bring them some bogroll… hehe, ‘bogroll’ is a funny word.

Sorry, let me grow up quickly… OK, done.

Anyway, that didn’t happen. At least not as far as I know, though it would make an amusing story. “But what is the link?” you ask, because you are inquisitive and this introduction is too long. Well, it’s simple- they are all weirdly fantastic things about Ankara, Turkey.

Toilet Paper

No cute 'lil pups in sight
No cute ‘lil pups in sight

Yes, you read correctly. Toilet paper, bathroom tissue, wipey stuff for the unmentionables – so far its been a wondrous experience of soft, smooth, thick papery goodness. And its not even brand specific (nor is it limited to Ankara). To be fair, my Aunt buys 3-ply, but I swear I peeled apart the layers to check that it wasn’t 5, or Egyptian cotton. (Just to be clear, this inspection was pre-use, otherwise that would be super gross. Yuk). Best of all, Turkish t.p. does not have tiny dogs printed all over it, a design choice I’ve always found vaguely disturbing for a product you use to clean up down under. Puppies should never be associated with that, no matter how tenuously.

*Please note – traditional (and many public) toilets in Turkey are of the squatting variety, and that is different story altogether.

Taxi Buttons

Push Button Cab Service
Push Button Cab Service

Now these things are clever. You’ll find yellow boxes with little green buttons scattered on lamp posts, street signs and electricity pylons throughout the streets. When you press the button, the closest Taxi is summoned by a magic genie to fetch you. Just kidding. I have no idea how it works, but it’s incredibly useful nonetheless. You don’t need to worry about finding a reliable Taxi number, keeping your cellphone on you when you go out, or being able to find out (let alone pronounce) your current location. They are everywhere you need them to be in Ankara, as well as common in the town of Eskişehir.

Also, is saying “magic genie” redundant, because genies (genii?) are inherently magical? I’m easily distracted today.

Public Park Gymnasiums

Pumping it bru…

One of the most unusual things I’ve come across in Ankara are the parks. The Turkish people love children, and as such the abundance of playgrounds strewn throughout the capital city didn’t surprise me. However the gym equipment did. Painted in firetruck red, sunshine yellow and sky blue, I first mistook the fat-busters for an extension of the kiddies play area. But no; in an attempt to encourage health, fitness and general ‘go outdoorsy-ness’, the municipality has set up exercise apparatus (I needed another word for equipment) in many of the public greens. Apparently private gym memberships are as extortionate in Turkey as back home, because despite the potential awkwardness of sweating your buns off in front of random strangers walking their dogs, the equipment seemed well used. Go Turkish peeps!

Look out for these gyms in Soweto soon my SA readers.