Siren Inflation

Today’s guest post is from Dina, a Bodrum Belle of class and distinction. Delicious Dina and her partner, Aussie Dave, run a successful gulet charter business here in old Bodrum Town called South Cross Blue Cruising. Dina is civilised and erudite and Dave is, well, Australian, though he does expose his more artistic side in oils. They’re rather good. I know what you’re thinking. An artistic Aussie? An oxymoron, a paradox, a contradiction in terms, it can’t be true. But it is.


The summer of 2011 in Bodrum will be remembered as the summer of excessive ambulance sirens.  Almost hourly and sometimes in simultaneous, harmonic dischord, ambulance and fire truck sirens have dominated the normal Bodrum hum of cicadas*, clinking of tea glasses, scooters and verbose neighbors discussing the latest diet fads.

Enough, already

In addition to the government operated national hospital’s ambulances, there are a plethora of private hospitals and clinics which have purchased a cargo minivan, painted the sides with red lettered AMBULANS and attached flashing blue lights with a very loud siren. The gleam in the drivers’ eyes of these newly sprouted emergency vehicles is one of sheer thrill as they weave in and out of the congested Konacik highway traffic, delivering patients with symptoms ranging from heat stroke to broken digits as quickly as possible.  However, as a citizen and as a driver, I find it weary and upsetting to hear the sirens continually, as would anyone who has either had to be in one as a patient or follow a loved one in such a vehicle. A quick check on Dr. Google reveals that there are specific rules in many countries as to when lights, sirens, or both together may be legally used. When I’ve got a hangover isn’t one of them.

*A note from Jack.

I didn’t know cicadas existed here in Turkey. These fascinating insects live underground for 17 years before emerging en-masse to breed. I found this You Tube Clip from the BBC’s Life in the Undergrowth series with the incomparable David Attenborough. It’s about Yankee cicadas but you’ll get the drift.

5 thoughts on “Siren Inflation

  1. Strangely enough, we don’t here sirens much here. I say strangely, given the ineptitude of many of the drivers, the dilapidated state of many of the contraptions that sneak under the edge of the umbrella labelled ‘cars’, and some of the frankly insane road intersections. Perhaps the locals bounce better here?

    I don’t envy you those jarring sounds, hangover or no.
    Although perhaps if they can screen cicadas, then maybe they could also knock out that disgusting brain-torturing electrical overload sound of the ‘cigarros’?


  2. Well said Dina! Living where we do the summer long wail of Sirens drives us crazy too. It’s the race between the two private hospitals to get to the clinics or hotels in order to claim the poor tourist as “theirs” which causes me the most alarm! Having said this we had a guest this week who was “poorly” on the way from the airport. The driver pulled in, co-incidently near to the Guvercinlik Ambulance crew. They hastened to his aid, checked him over and proclaimed him fit to continue his journey. “No money”. So maybe they aren’t all Formula 1 trainees?


  3. My brother in law tells me that he sometimes hires fake ambulances to navigate through the Istanbul traffic when he is sick of sitting in his car for hours with his driver. Istanbul traffic is horrible, no doubt, but um???? How the other half live! Can you imagine? Burasi Turkiye.


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