Turkish hospital experience, Start of Iraq war

Trip Start Oct 03, 2002
Trip End Jun 30, 2003

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Thursday, March 20, 2003

Been a while I think?! Since I sent something...don't fret I am ok, had an experience of a hospital, no not me, my friend. Deniz, her sister; Irmak and I were out smoking nargile. (By the way, all Turkish names have a meaning, so I was with the Sea and a River!) Deniz (she was the dancer previously in a mail) was going home as her Gran had arrived and she must be there, we were walking along Istiklal Cadessi the main street in the city centre and she suddenly felt ill and fainted. River, I mean Irmak started to scream and cry whilst I was trying to tell people not to move her so quickly, but of course my Turkish did not rise to this occasion. So she walked a little, but then collapsed again, again people around wanted to make her get up, but her eyes were just staring and she lost her balance, so I started to just speak to Deniz and see if she could hear me, instead of these strangers all saying take her to the hospital, doctor, do this, do that whilst her sister was phoning her mum, I said come on Irmak I need you, I need you to speak to your sister and also speak Turkish. Meanwhile someone said in English to me, where are you from, I was a bit angry and said it does not matter where I'm from she is a Turk! Deniz thankfully came around, but still quite unstable, so managed to persuade her to go to the hospital, which we did. Now this was in fact hers and mine first, and fingers crossed, last time in a Turkish hospital (she was born in a naval military hospital). This hospital, being in the city centre, was firstly surprisingly smaller than I imagined and they just asked her to sit and wait, then told her to go into the cubicle and lay on the bed, still Irmak was a state and would not calm until her parents arrived. The doctor came asked some questions; were you drinking etc and then went away and checked her blood pressure. Then we waited......and waited........and waited, no-one came and I felt more like the social worker, no-one offered her something I mean she could have died there! I had some chewing-gum so we ate that!

Today is the 20th of March, and I woke up wondering if war had started. However got dressed, caught service bus to my university job the other side of the city to where I live...looked across Istanbul observing the people rushing along the streets, cramped in the buses all travelling somewhere probably their work. Everything the same. Chaotic traffic, crazy taxi drivers, lady on my service bus asking to turn down the heating to the driver (she always does this). Checked web when I got to my office, to see Iraq war had started, bombing in Baghdad at dawn. News web sites very slow and could not initially sign-in to MSN - this was the only indication that it had started, whilst I am in the country bordering where the war is. I still see the Turkish people wearing the badges written in red "Iraq'ta Savasa Hayir" No to war in Iraq, on the white background, they seem out of date or a little pathetic really now it has started and the protests did not prevent it. I cannot say how much this will effect Turkey, but Istanbul is quite far from Incirlik and the Iraq border and for now I feel safe and will go on as normal.

Started today assisting in the Multimedia module, it will be really good, doing lots of research and introducing ideas to the classes. And yes still teaching those little monkeys English, really it is just for the money sadly, and the more time goes on the more crazy and undisciplined they seem!

After work today will be travelling to the Asian side of Istanbul, to my Czech and her Turk boyfriend's flat for dinner. She's cooking a traditional Czech meal for us, in Turkey, yes it sounds funny, will let you know how it was, she is meant to be doing something with potatoes.

By the way, the Sea is calm now, I mean my friend Deniz was ok in the end!
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aborder on

Fascinating to read your opinion and observations when the invasion of Iraq started. I remember the night it started, seems like yesterday. But, the year was a good one for the English rugby team!! Will I read about where you watched it?

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