Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Board games in Turkey

Backgammon in Turkish tavla
In turkey there are two board games what are popular: backgammon and okey. In the evening you can see especially older men drinking tea and playing these board games. Sometimes you can also see some young people playing but playing these games is the most popular among older men. I have also learned the rules of both of the games in Turkey.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Final exams of second semester

First final exam week has passed but still the second final exam weeks is left. I had my exams during the first week so I do not have any exams left. When I entered to the class room for the examination I noticed that before the exam many students were preparing themselves little pieces of paper to help them in the exam. Also some students were writing notes to the wall next to them or to the seat in front of them. The fact that they were preparing notes to cheat in the exam did not seem to bother anyone. In the exams there were two supervisors and other one was checking around all the time so there was some difficulty to cheat.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Flight from Turkey to Finland

I booked my flight from Turkey to Finland. My flight is from Istanbul to Helsinki at 20:40 on the 28th of June. Estimated travel time with a change in Riga is 5 hours and 30 minutes. The price was 134 euros. So I have 37 days left in Turkey.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Erasmus students attacked by a man

Night time
I consider Turkey as a safe country. Last weekend two Erasmus student girls had a frightening experience as they were walking on the street in the midnight to go out. When they were walking towards to the center of Ankara a van stopped next to them and one man attacked one girl by catching her and spraying pepper spray to her eyes. Other girl was able to help the girl escape and they ran safe to a open shop. It was strange that from the shop nobody wanted to call a police and the girls could see the van outside waiting for them to leave the shop. After waiting for a while a friend came to take their safe.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Spots for praying

Inside of a mosque
I have already written once about praying in Turkey. The only place for praying is not a big mosque. There are small mosques everywhere for praying. For example you can find small mosques almost in all the gas stations, in metro stations, middle of a field etc. There is not always a proper place for washing feet before praying so people use the sinks. Therefore in a toilet you can see people washing their hands after using a toilet and people washing their feet to get ready for praying. In Turkey the floor of the toilets is always wet because when you wash the feet water sprinkles everywhere.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Ice hockey as a profession in Turkey

Match in Erzurum
In the ice hockey tournament I had a chance to speak with ice hockey players of Turkish league. In  the highest level of Turkey foreign players can make money for living. They are offered apartment and salary around one or two thousand euros. Players who would not earn anything in ice hockey countries like Finland, Sweden, Canada etc. are good enough to make living with ice hockey in Turkey. For example in Turkish national team there are players who have started ice hockey when they were 12 years old as in Finnish national team players have started ice hockey when they were 5 years old. Turkish do not have a chance to train outside when ever they want in the winter time like Finnish. Therefore many players who are ready to an adventure could come to Turkey to play ice hockey. There is still limit for foreign players in a team.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Ice hockey tournament ended

Me on the ice
We have now returned from Erzurum. We got eliminated in the group stage by goal difference. One team won all the matches and other three teams won one match. We had the best goal difference among the teams in the same points but according the organizers goals conceded and made against the team that are not in the same points are not counted. Another team had better goal difference among the teams in the same points and therefore we got eliminated unfairly. I enjoyed playing ice hockey even though my team had quite different view than me how to play ice hockey. I noticed that my stick handling for ice hockey is good but my skating and playing hard needs more improvement.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Ice hockey tournament in Erzurum

Ice rink in Erzurum
I am at the moment in Erzurum to play in the ice hockey tournament of universities in Turkey. There are seven men and women teams. In our team we are 9 players and a goalkeeper. We played our first match against team of Erzurum and lost 4 - 3. That was my first ice hockey match with full ice hockey equipment. As it was match of men tackles are allowed and I took four big hits and gave pass for one goal. We were defending the whole match on our half and trying to give our two best players chance to score. Basically we were playing the whole match with 5 players because there is a big difference in the skill level of the players. The best player of our team plays in the national team of Turkey and the worst player has started to learn skating one month ago.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Turkish sauna

Turkish sauna in Turkey is called Hamam. We decided to find out how it is. We entered to a hamam and we were guided to a dressing room which reminded me of a hotel room because there were four beds. Dressed up in shorts we went to a big warm room where everything was marmor. In the middle was space for lying down for the treatment provided by hamam and around cabins for cleaning yourself. In the cabin you had a sink where you mixed nice water for yourself by using hot and cold tap water. After cleaning we were advised to go to a small hot room. Small hot room felt like Finnish sauna without throwing water.

Finally we were ready for the treatment of hamam. Hairy Turkish man with big belly peeled my skin with a glove designed for that. Peeling did not feel very comfortable but was not hurting either. Peeling took just few minutes. After peeling I could see clearly how my skin had been peeled off. Then I cleaned myself again with water and went back to get more treatment. Second treatment was that a man put soap on my body. Then he soaped my body by massaging me in the same time for few minutes.  Then I washed of the soap and I got wrapped in to towels. The cost of hamam was 11 euros.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Driving in Ankara

View from Atakule
When we rented the cars for the roadtrip I had to pick up the car and I got a chance to experience the traffic and driving culture of Ankara behind the wheel. I have already written that you have to be very careful when you cross the street and how Turkish park everywhere. I picked up the rental car at seven in the evening. My route was seven kilometers and it went through the center of Ankara. On the way there was few places where the traffic was very slow. People crossing the road everywhere was disturbing and cars were not exactly going on their driving lane. Driving experience was not too bad but driving seven kilometers in the city center took one hour.