Swearing in Turkish

When I was on holiday and soliciting for guest posts, Dina, a Bodrum Belle of class and distinction, sent me two articles. The first, Siren Inflation was published last month, but I received her second piece too late in the day to include among the  holiday crop. I’m unsurprised it was a little delayed as Dina and her partner Dave run a successful gulet charter business here in old Bodrum Town called South Cross Blue Cruising. It’s been a busy season.

Here is Dina’s second guest post.

Swearing in Turkish is an acquired art.  The wrong word at a dinner party will guarantee a permanent ban, whereas a well-timed curse can open doors, and little is as satisfying as swearing profusely while driving in Turkey.

I once lived 20 meters up on a one way street from the main road in downtown Bodrum. This meant either driving up the one way street the wrong way in order to get into my private parking space, or circumventing the entire perimeter of Bodrum in order to arrive at the house 15 minutes and 2 liters of petrol later on the correct, one way route.

Fast forward to the bustle of August with Istanbul ’34’ number plates dominating all of the one way highways and tight Bodrum alleys. I was trying to get home and did a quick glance up my one way street which appeared completely clear. I gassed the little Fiat Uno up the alley the wrong way to duck into my parking space.  From a parked position, a tired, late 70s model, avocado green, 34 plated Mercedes sedan crept out and met me at the entrance to my parking space, with just enough room to not let me into my garage.  I signalled right – he shook his head.  I signalled right again, as all he had to do is reverse one meter to allow me access. I made a face and pointed towards my alley.  His brassy haired, bouffanted wife gave me the Turkish equivalent of the finger above her gold bangles.A combination of strong hormones and heat rash thus persuaded me to intentionally stall my Uno.  Alas, two more 34 plates appeared behind the Benz, as did a neighbor’s 48 licensed Bodrum car behind me, with shortcut intentions similar to mine.

Salak kari! bellowed the fat, sweaty Benz driver through all three of his chins. (Stupid broad)

Lavuk!  I tossed back. (Imbecile)

Oruspu!  yelled the aging Istanbulite’s missus at me above her gyrating fist. (Prostitute)

Whore! I yelled back, trying to intimidate in English.

Manyak! screeched the red faced man, blowing on his horn at me. (Maniac)

Hiyar! I retorted out of my open window. (Cucumber)

The local market boys ran out to participate in the entertaining engagement. They first attempted to assuage the Mercedes, which, in the Turkish pecking order and its big city license plate, had potential clout which almost rivalled that of mine as a trusted and known neighbor.  Realizing the aggressiveness and possible languid VIP factor within the aging Benz, as well as not wanting me to switch mini market loyalties, the market boys rearranged cement flower pots for me to pull onto the curb and allow the MB to pass.  The Honda behind me continued the argument until the Honda became an ayi (bear) and the Benz became the son of a pimp of sodomy.  Having delivered the purported greater insult, the 48 licensed Bodrum Honda backed up to let the frustrated 34 Benz pass.

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I’m a Semigrey, Get Me Out of Here!

As semigrey hedonistas we fancied a bit of wanton decadence and set our sights on Izmir. After all, it is Turkey’s third largest metropolis with a laid back, laissez faire reputation. The drive to Izmir was a pleasurable jolly, and we rekindled our love affair with mcmuffins in Soke along the way. The modest amount of recent rain has had a remarkable effect on the landscape, transforming the tinderbox hue of pale green and ochre to a lush iridescence.

Driving through Izmir, on the other hand, was the most traumatic driving experience of our lives. The city is dissected by crumbling dual carriageways and getting off the bloody things is nigh on impossible. We spent hours driving from one side of the city to the other, then back again, trying to find the right exit, any exit. Eventually, after an unscheduled two hour excursion we found the seafront boulevard where our hotel was located.

We tried to park outside a café in the only available space as far as the eye could see. The owner was having none of it and began gesticulating aggressively to move us on. We’ve heard that it is not unusual for business owners to trash any unsolicited car parked outside their premises so we thought we best not risk it. Off we drove on yet another distressing circuit of the city centre. Then, miracle upon miracles, we were delivered a space right outside the hotel entrance. The moral of this story? Get the bus.