04 March, 2010

Another Çankaya morning

To begin with, a weather report: yesterday, 2 March, was sunny and 18 degrees. That's 18 Celsius, which is 64 Fahrenheit. Students in t-shirts sat on the grass, soaking in the warmth - which by midafternoon felt like midsummer in Maine. This teaser for things to come was short lived. By evening clouds rolled in and lightning flickered across the valley; it was raining full force when i got to Tunus bus stop. 

I stayed at a cafe immersed in conversation, far too late to take the bus back to campus. A restful sleep on a friend's sofa, and i woke ready to explore, determined to find Ankara's botanical garden. I found it high in the Çankaya neighborhood near Atakule tower. It is a steep little park, a narrow vale filled with trees and shrubs. Apples lifted early blossoms, and the buds of Genista are swelling. Feral dogs sprawled on the grass, sleeping in the sun after a night on the prowl. You can find them in almost any public park in the city. The other thing i saw as Ankara awoke around me - simitçi balancing trays upon their heads, calling in a loud monotone "SIMIT!     SIMIT!" This time i finally got a photograph, and a slightly burned simit to nibble on the walk.


below: Windows are washed as women in headscarves prepare the kitchen; 
a restaurant on Ataturk Blv. prepares to open for the day.