The Only Gringos in Town

Trip Start Aug 12, 2009
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Trip End Ongoing


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Where I stayed
Ender Pension

Flag of Turkey  , Kırklareli Province,
Wednesday, August 19, 2009

We left Istanbul on the Sunday to travel to the Black Sea coast and the town of Kiyikoy. Our primary source of knowledge of Turkey, Ilker, had never even heard of the place, but off we went to Istanbul bus station, a place of such utter bedlam that it makes Sao Paolo bus station look like a sleepy backwater. Two hours later we arrive in a transfer point called Saray and within an hour we were on a mini-bus heading to Kiyikoy (finally some people had heard of it).

From the town/village, there are stunning views across the Black Sea which is actually very blue indeed. Beaches to our left and right and a truly dramatic landscape, think North Cornwall coastline type scenery. Having settled on a guesthouse with a balcony overlooking Main Street, we were left to our own devices by the friendly owner who apart from having a friend who spoke German, could not communicate with us whatsoever, but all in the most cheerful fashion. And this turned out to be the case everywhere as we soon realised that we were the only foreigners in town.

Strolling back for an early night, the place suddenly erupted to the fanfare of what can only be described as Kiyikoy's answer to Jean-Michelle Jarre. The main square was filled with locals watching this rather bizarre performance and dancing along. Suddenly everything stopped and the place went silent, what's going on we wondered? It turned out that they stopped so that the call to prayer from the local mosque could take place and be heard. As soon as that was finished, we were off again to the sounds of electronica and some truly unique dancing, the like of which has not been seen since Tokyo Joe's in Preston on a Wednesday night in 1995.... The whole of sleepy Kiyikoy had come alive.

Just as we thought things had got back to normal having had a chilled out Monday, that evening the drummers came to town. Again we had no idea what was going on, but this time it all appeared to revolve around a group of young men. We thought perhaps the local football team had won a tournament? The drumming and dancing went on into the small hours of Tuesday morning and we remained none the wiser.

One of the joys of being in such a place is the challenge of communication. In all honesty when we arrived in Istanbul we knew no Turkish whatsoever, but by now, a week in to our trip we had learned a fair amount of vocabulary, largely due to just hearing the locals of Kiyikoy.

Having spent a couple of days thoroughly enjoying the lovely atmosphere and people, we at last received an explanation of the festivities. The concert had been to celebrate a wedding and the drumming was organised as a send-off party for the young guys who were off to do national service.
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