Sunday, December 11, 2005

Panel Announcement- Nuclear Energy

Your humble writer is now one of speakers in the recent "Nuclear Panel", which will take place in ODTU Alumni Association Visnelik premises on 15th December 2005 Thursday evening at 1900 hours. Details are in

Panel will be conducted in Turkish, it is open for all and free-of-charge.
Please do participate if you would be in Ankara on that day.

Monday, October 31, 2005

American Library in Ankara

In my junior high years in Ankara, my father had a certain meeting in Kizilay, he took me to the American Library in Kizilay. The lady in charge at desk, introduced me to the children's book section of the library. Although I had limited fluency in English language at that time, I had a wonderful time that day and thereafter. I received my first library card to borrow wonderful books.

Later in time, library moved to a new environment with more space, more new books to offer on the Cinnah Hill. I continued to attend and borrow books. I graduated from university, I still continued to go to the library on Saturdays, and borrowing new books.

Due to growing security threads, library has limited its services and one day it is completely closed. Now we do not have a library. Ladies of the borrowing desk got retired. My childhood memories were left at past. Books are gone.

There is no substitute in Ankara, what a pity.

Monday, October 17, 2005


One has to give himself/herself some relaxation time to recharge. Last weekend we were in Kastamonu together with a group of academicians and students from METU Architecture Department. There was no need to plan anything. We had a smooth comfortable bus ride, lots of talk and jokes. Delicious food, lunch, dinner, breakfast. Extraordinary accomodation in Ottoman House in the city center. We hope to repeat similar tour events in future in the local environment.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Attila Ilhan- Nobel nominee for Literature

"Belâ Cicegi," Belâ Cicegi (1983).
Ankara: Bilgi Yayinevi, p. 24.

exhausted they were at the alsancak train station
flower of misery in the night was the clock at the station
nothing existed but themselves
a treacherous trembling seized the man
his hands were torn they were handcuffed
the wife was carrying his bag

nobody knew who they were
flower of misery in the night was the clock at the station
they got on a third-class car
it became clear the man would go
they seemed to have given up something
try what he may he couldn’t look at his wife

standing they smoked cheap cigarettes
flower of misery in the night was the clock at the station
they had already fallen in solitude
past and future in darkness
suddenly they turned pale
quietly the cars began moving

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Bull in Modern Times

In year 1991, I had Ankara Istanbul flight late at night together with our General Manager, Jeff Green. We were on a marketing mission in Istanbul for negotiations.

I saw my dearest friend from my precious university mechanical engineering undergraduate years, the sweetheart of all pretty girls in the university, we called him, "Ox". Anyhow he says that he was "Bull" not "Ox".

I asked Jeff if he could change his seat with Bull so that we two school friends can sit together and exchange the latest developments in our respective lifestyles. Jeff said "No problem". He took all his documents and briefcase and replaced his seat with Bull.

Although we had 4 (four) years together in the undergraduate years with Bull, it was almost 20 years later now we were together again. From time to time, I had news directly or indirectly from Bull, he was in USA, in Britain, in Europe, in South America, Africa, Sahara, Algeria, Nepal, India, you name it anywhere in the world.

I asked the latest news, where he had been, new opportunities, and new business. I remember he once introduced himself to our principal business figure, Mr. Sakip SABANCI, of Sabanci Holding, "Let me introduce myself sir, my name is Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror of Istanbul". Mr. Sabanci was first very surprised (or shocked) and then understood that Bull was trying to have his attention, so very pleased to have Bull in his corporate staff.

Anyhow Bull had so much ambition that he left Sabanci group, then joined the biggest private enterprise, Koc Group, and then later he formed his own company and got very rich in rehabilitation of steam boiler business. He is now a prominent businessman in Istanbul in energy business at this time.

He said, "Haluk, in your lifetime man has limited opportunity. You do with that limited capability what you can do to create your next generations. Unfortunately I have spent most of them in various parts of the world. Hence I do not know the outcome."
I said " Don't worry you will get married and then do your homework from now on". His eyes flashed with a big smile. He brought up a picture, and said, "Look, this is Cherry. My daughter, only one-year old." A small beautiful baby daughter smiling in the photo.
I roared and responded with anger, "How come you got married and I do not know. Your best friend is NOT invited to your wedding?"
He responded " Yes, surely we need a wedding, don't we? but I do not know when?"
I surprised and asked "Common, you will not tell me that you are escaping from marriage, get married and do your homework with whatever you have left in rest of your life".
"I am NOT the one in responsible for not getting married. I do want to get married but I am refused to get married." He responded.
"That is impossible. There is no woman who can refuse your wedding proposal." I said.
"That is a reality, our times are changed. Now we are to prove that we deserve to get married and a daughter between us is not a firm commitment nor a reason for marriage."
I was stunned. A handsome successful businessman in Istanbul, with a daughter from his beloved woman, cannot get married, since he still does not get qualified for marriage. A real shock in changing times.

Later in time, Cherry's father and Cherry's mother got married and they are happily living ever after since then. He prepared a web site for his beautiful baby daughter, where he calls himself NOT only father but the best friend of Cherry, who is now 15 years old, living with her parents in Istanbul.

Time is getting changed. Nothing is same as before.

I am not sure if this is a proper story to tell. I do not know why I wrote it. I do not know how to end.

Do you have any comments how to end up this story? Any further suggestions or plot to add?

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Barselona -2004

Me and Dilek in Barselona city center, in June 2004 for PowerGen Europe Conference.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Teo's Story

On 26th June 2005, we had another alumni day for graduates of the Middle East Technical University in Ankara. On our 30th year graduation anniversary,
we were together with Teo, my classmate for more than 30 years. He told this story, and I added up some further clarifications for better understanding of the reader.

Here is his story,


Sometime in October 1966, I was a recent high school graduate, recently accepted to Middle East Technical University in Ankara. METU, for short, was founded mostly by US aid in 1955s with curriculum copy of MIT in USA. Education language was, and still is English.

We were supposed to learn English in preparatory school for one-year before attending freshman courses. Our teachers were mostly native English speakers, American, British, Australian, any other.

I was in the early days for the new semester, trying to get oriented to the new atmosphere, new style, and new procedures.

Everything was new for me. We had also foreign colleagues from nearby countries. However we had our own cultural limitations. We were trying to learn the new ways of life.

In our class, we had a number of Turkish girls, all local. They were very shy. They were resisting making any friendship, as if they would loose their virginity with handshake.

One day we saw an announcement, in English. “It is our 10th Anniversary of our University. You are invited to our Ball, on the weekend. Get dressed well." We had daydreaming all day for that ball.

We got dressed. It was our first Ball for most of us. That night we, all-boys gang, were young, sharp, clean, shaved, ready for the ball, to meet pretty girls.

Unfortunately all pretty young girls were absent. We had all grown up professionals, academicians, politicians, businessmen, old local folk etc.

Later in the night, President of our University, Mr. Kemal Kurdas, in his late 40s, came to our group with a lady in her early 40s. Lady was beautiful. Her skin was ivory white, her hair in whitish blond. Very fit, very thin, pure white skin, but unable to hide her age, seem her early 40s. Maybe Nicole Kidman of today. Very rare or even unseen beauty example of that day.

We would never think of being her friend, never boyfriend ever.

President called me and asked,

“My son, what year are you in?”

“I am in prep school, Sir”

“How is your English?”

“At beginners stage, sir.”

“My poor son, you lost the Chick.”

What chick, What is Chick? Who is Chick? Why did I loose the Chick??

Later in the night, I started to understand what Chick would mean.

Later I understood that I could dance with a lady professor. I could ask to dance. I did not need to find a girl of my age. Dance is a dance, nothing more.

Then I tried to bring together necessary English words in my mind,

When she was all-alone, I approached and said, in broken English,

“You- dance- with- me, Madam ??”

She said, “Yes”.

And we danced, although she was almost one foot taller than me. She hugged me, and we danced. More important than that, I had no idea how to dance.

Last week, we celebrated 40th year anniversary of our university.

I received my medal for my 30th year graduation.

We had our black tradtional coats; we walked in our stadium, sung our national anthem, as if we were new graduates. In 1968, we printed “Revolution” in big letters on the stairs of our stadium. It was our revolution stadium.

In those days, Joan BAEZ and her protest songs were very famous. We were listening to her every day, from loudspeakers of the newly constructed soccer stadium. I saw her live first time in Berlin in 1980s. Last year she was in Istanbul festival.

We learnt that it was now officially named as "Revolution" Stadium, our revolution in 1968. I believe that we shall listen to Joan Baez soon in one of graduation days in this stadium.

I saw my friends. Our girl friends are now happy grandmothers. Their grand daughters were very comfortable with their boyfriends. We are more tolerant compared to our mothers- and fathers.

Our university is now one of very reputable, very respected institutions, in our region. We have many successful businessmen, academicians, and politicians.

The ivory lady, Nicole Kidman, should be in her 70s now. My English is better I presume.

That was a great night, I had communicated with a foreign lady, in a foreign language. More important than that, it was my first dance.


That was Teo's story,

he then graduated, got many public posts, married twice, with two grown up kids, successful businessman in Ankara.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

This is a casual Blog,

This is a casual blog,
Do not get too serious here,
You are not a prime minister,
nor an undersecretary,
Neither a director, nor a boss,
It is not important here
That you are rich or poor,
But it is important that
You are happy and healthy,

Time is frozen here for you,
You are at your early 20s,
Do enjoy as if you are young
And happy
and healthy
and handsome,

On the very first day,
That you were once,
A recent young university graduate,

Do not take anything too serious,
Do believe that
no one can make you angry,
Or scared, or unhappy.

You will never be angry, unhappy or scared,
If you do not let them so.

Drop something to share
into the comment box
For this blog
now and then,
Not necessary serious or important,

Better but not necessary, if serious or important,
Any announcement, any information,
Any story, any poem,
You feel appropriate,

Anything in any language,
Either in English, in Russian,
Or even in Japanese or in Swahili,

Anything you have experienced,
On a dry hot desert in somewhere in Arabian Peninsula,
Or in CN tower in Toronto,
Or in deep artic Siberian construction camp,

This is one of rare places,
That you were once
Young, handsome, energetic,
Full of hope and joy,

Time is frozen for you
In this virtual blogger
All designed to please you
To feel happy, carefree,
Enjoy that you are here.

Thank you!

Friday, August 26, 2005


Dear Colleagues,

Please do remember that Cappuccino is consumed early morning in Italy. If you drink Cappuccino in the afternoon, for sure that you are not Italian. Cappuccino is a type of coffee made with boiled milk, full of sugar, and creme, and cacao added at the end. It is for early morning energy for business people who cannot make breakfast. In the afternoon, it is expresso time.

In the evening, choose a dense dry red Chianti wine, then Grappa, and finally expresso with no sugar. Expresso, dark and heavy, similar to Turkish coffee but without foam, sand and sugar.

I didn't tell you my story last week in Roma. Did I? No. OK, then.

I had a very important meeting that morning with an important Italian engineering partner. There is important renewable tender in Turkey as requested by an important business group, and we should have a reputable experienced engineering partner to work together. We shall tell them how big, how reputable, how competitive partner we are. They will tell themselves likewise. We shall market the project. The first meeting, the first impression is very important. I am staying in Hotel Mediterrano, close to Centrale Statione- Central Train Station. That morning I woke up very early. Shower, toilette, careful shaving. Dark black business suit, white clean pressed shirt, red necktie, black stockings, black belt, black polished shoes. Small hand bag for documents. All done.

I left my room for breakfast. I must have a good heavy breakfast- telling to myself. I took the elevator, from 4th floor to down breakfast lounge. The Italian waitress working in the breakfast lounge smiled and said "Bon Giorno", - Good Morning. I said "Bon Corno". She gave me "Courrierra Sera" newspaper. Popular Italian newspaper. I got it and said "Gracia Mille"- Thank you very much. She asked "Cappuccino?", I said "Si"- Yes. I was proud of my excellent Italian. I chose some breakfast items and sat down to the table at the middle of the breakfast lounge.

I was at the centre table. I had a short look at my surrounding. All Japanese. Let me correct myself, all Japanese girls. All Japanese young beautiful girls. If you are with Japanese in a restaurant, in a hotel, or in any place, that means that you have the best buy for your money. "I have the best hotel choice, for sure" I said to myself, and continued to review my newspaper Courriere Della Sera, trying to understand the headlines.

However why all these beautiful young Japanese girls are smiling to me?? It is not so common that Japanese smile at you. Even worse if young beautiful Japanese girls are smiling at you. Watch out! Be careful! Something is wrong.

I noticed that they all had a badge on their chest, "Io parlare Italiano"- I learn Italian. They are students or members of an Italian learning class. They are here in Roma for making Italian language practice. They are all looking for an Italian to speak Italian to practise. However that morning, in the hotel breakfast lounge, I am the only available one to make Italian language practise.

Beautiful Japanese girls and me with dark black business suit, drinking Cappuccino at the appropriate time frame, reading an Italian newspaper. An Italian businessman for sure. I felt an extraordinary natural charisma upon myself, not matching in any other time. I was trying to estimate what my school friends would do in this very important moment. They would certainly forget the business meeting, and dedicate themselves to the Japanese girls to teach them Italian.

I finished my breakfast. All beautiful young Japanese girls were still smiling to me. I stood up and headed for the elevator. While waiting for the elevator to come, one beautiful young Japanese girl caught me at the elevator door. We entered the elevator together. She asked "Quella piano?"- Which floor? What was number "four" in Italian? I showed my four fingers. She understood my Italian, smiled and pushed the 4th floor button. Then she started speaking in Italian in a very fast pace. She said what a wonderful adventure to be in Italy. City of Roma was beautiful. They saw Vatican yesterday. Italian people were so kind and helpful contrary to the popular belief. I was saying "Si" -yes! , from time to time.

Then we reached 4th floor. I left the elevator. She stayed inside and said "Bon Journo" Good day. She went down to the breakfast lounge so happy, for making Italian practise with an Italian businessman that early morning.

Then what happened. I swear that nothing had happened. I went to the scheduled business meeting that morning for a potential renewable project somewhere in Turkey. I had three hour meeting with Italian engineers all dressed like me. I exchanged business cards with theirs. Lots af talk on renewables.

Later in the week, we have received some inside information from the Turkish end client. In the past they had an unfortunate experience with an Italian company who promised to generate certain amout of steam but never reached that figure, left the site and informally blacklisted. Client informally has blacklisted not only that company but all Italian companies. This is why Italian companies are so careful and sensitive in their contractual commitments.

I had also the clear impression of the power of the people in the meeting. They could not buy me a business lunch even in their company canteen. I returned to the city centre and had a humble pasta with" aqua minerale"- mineral water.

Instead of that wasted time in the morning, I couldn't think of myself, walking / wandering around with Japanesese girls in Roma, in casual dress, that morning, visiting Vatican, Sistine Chapel, Spanish Stairs, Colleseum etc.

At night, hotel lobby was crowded with many handsome young Italian men, and Japanese girls were more than happy to make practise in Italian language. Anyhow what is wrong for helping young beautiful Japanese girls to make some early morning language practise in Italian?

Your comments are always welcome

Haluk Direskeneli, Ankara based Energy Analyst

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Seminar on CE Marking

For at least more than a month, I am a part of seminars prepared by a project in Ankara which is funded by the European Union.

I joined to their early "Training of the Trainees" program, then I am invited to their Istanbul seminars on two consecutive weeks on Construction Materials as local consultant/ interpreter / assistant/ moderator, you name it. In Ankara I was just a simple participant this week, on Lifts to EU norms.

It is a great opportunity to participate to these seminars since I learn a lot. These are good opportunities to meet local business people as well as highly experienced foreign consultants.

Whether we shall be able to participate into European Union within next 10-20 or even 50 years, I don't care a bit. I am not a politician. All I care is to sell our products to member countries of European Union.

In order to sell our products to the member states of EU, we need to have CE marking certified by Notified Body of the European Union.

Since we are not a member, so we do not have any notified body in Turkey. So that means we need to find a proper notified body in EU member countries with reasonable prices for certification of our products to CE marking. That is the most critical point.

So we understand that this is the rule of the game.

GMEI in The White House

The White House in Ankara is a special restaurant for the academicians of Hacettepe University in their Beytepe Campus. GMEI is the ODTU Alumni Commission on The "Greater Middle East Initiative" working group to create thoughts on The Initiative from Turkish National point of view. It is a think tank to create thoughts on the Greater Middle East Initiative from Turkish point of view.

Members are senior graduates of the Middle east Technical University, each from a different department.

We had our meeting yesterday night in the White House of Ankara, 10 individuals all special in their professional activities. We had dinner menu, white Angora then an Italian red dry sek, coffee, and lots of talks. One of our senior members has participated to the special Loussanne meeting last week. We listened to his interpretation of the event. We had toasts.

We had our job distribution for the book we are preparing on GMEI. Later in the night we shared our experiences on various issues. We had some tentative travels together to foreign lands sometime in Sacrifice Holiday, maybe to Frinze, Italy.

It was an extraordinary night for each of us, although moonless but with hot summer breeze, and beautiful Ankara view. We wished to repeat more often.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Why write??

Yes why do I write?? Initially it was for my own files. After 30 years of professional business life, I had a habit to write every single issue to record, to track every single item for business purpose in future activities.

Then I was exhausted for making others getting richer and richer, in exchange of a slightly higher salary of average, in order to support wife and 2 kids in education. For 30 years, I worked almost non-stop.

One day, I decided not to work for others any more. I stopped everything. I refused all job offers. In negotiation if you can easily leave the negotiation table you can earn more. Indeed I am very good in my business profession, marketing industrial and utility size thermal power plants.

During last 10 years I used many softwares which were not used in my environment earlier. So that software capability gave me a certain competitive edge. Then I continued to support these softwares as their local marketing consultant. I have a shared office in the downtown, where I share office expenses with a close friend of mine. Hence I earn money.

My sweetheart of last 30 years has her own obligations, other social activities, as well as sharing some reasonable time with me. Kids can take care of themselves.

Compared to my school friends who are mostly illiterate in internet, I am still in good shape in my marketing skills.

I do want to spend my time for my own expectations. I do want to walk in the woods every moring for two hours. I want to spend more time with my loved ones. I do want to spend my time in reading books of my choice, to listen to more classical music, more opera. I do want to share my experince with the younger generations, driving long hours to present a software workshop in a university free-of-charge.

I do want to spend time with my colleagues with shared same future expectations, for better life style of next generations.

Last 3-days I explored a new world. That is new network of cooks, home made cooks, business people, intellectual, sensitive, educated people of all sorts. Initially I made this blogger page for my own purpose to load my records for future use, and for the next generations to read. However while checking the other similar pages, I found a number of similar pages, all connected to each other.

Strange, these people they know each other. This is more than a email group, this is spontaneous. This is something different, different that any other formation in the past in web sites. They are openminded, they explain their feelings, they advise their accomplishments. I started to read these pages and write reviews.

It is so strange that I found so common understandings, common feelings. Some of these writers are very competant in cooking, home made cooking. I learnt a lot.

Am I a good cook? No, frankly speaking no. However I understand if a meal is good or not-so-good. I know some principles. I love good wine, red, dry sek preferable.

I am so surprised to learn that most of these people are so helpful in sharing their experiences, so capable of doing many things at the same time.

Why I write in English. It is my main intention to go global. I do not want to be a local, distant, remote part of the world, but I do want to be at the center of my own world, to respond to all globally.

I am grateful to all my colleagues who read my blogger and write their comments. Please do write your further comments at all times, and do let me know if you have any questions, or in need of any information assistance.

An Italian Restaurant

Have you ever been to an Italian Restaurant? You did. Let me ask you the question once more? Have you ever been to an excellent Italian Restaurant in Germany? You didn't. Ok then. Here is my story I hope that you will find interesting.

We had an appointment with a reputable big German contractor company. They were big, big, very big company in the long past, but due to inability they could not meet with new world order, they were supposed to get smaller at this time. We had partners whom worked in the same company in the past as site constructors, then decided to leave the company and started to work as subcontractors for the same big company at site activities.

Meeting was at 10 o'clock in the morning. We got train, fast efficient European train from Vienna, to Stuttgard one day earlier, spend that night in Hotel Ibis in downtown Stuttgard. Our colleagues came to breakfast. We had our strong breakfast as usual, in Hotel Ibis together with our local partners. Our local partners were from rural east Turkey, however they were born and educated in the efficient German system. Although it is apparent that they are not German, but they were more German than anyone on the street, fluent German language, a reputable engineering degree from German high education system.

We arrived to the offices in Heidelberg. That big big company was in one floor. Other floors were rented to new technologies. We were invited to a small office. Gentlemen who accepted us to meet in his office could not speak English. His superior joined us. He could not speak English either. Neither his staff. Our local partners could speak, but no way. You could never make business if you can not speak the same language. It is English, French, Russian, Swahili, whatever, but you should speak the same language direct and without assistance of any interpreter.

We concluded our meeting with no result. Either they will learn English, or we should make more practises in German. I can speak German, but that is only survival German. I have a few survival words and expressions in German, to ask road, to make shopping, to answer customs officers, to reserve a room in a hotel.

Since our meeting has ended with some sour feelings, they could not invite us to their company canteen for short and obviously cheap lunch. Anyhow that is also an indication of their purchasing power in the company.

We left the company head office. We were in Neustadt, wine country of Germany. It was about 14 hours in the afternoon. You may know or you may not know, restaurants are closed in Germany between 14 and 17 hours.

Our colleagues said, "Let us go to an Italian restaurant. They know us. They serve us now even at this inconvenient time". So we went to city centre, Altstadt, and walked down to the restaurant. It was " Italienishe Restaurant, AMBIENTE" with pizza, pasta, steak, and salad, all with Italian wine. We entered the restaurant. We were saluted with "Bon Journo" together with smiling faces. We were invited to a long table. All waiters were available for us. No one else in the restaurant. A stiff, strong Italian environment all around. Italian pictures, Roma Colosseum, Florence Ufficci, Milano Doumo, a low volume Italian opera at the background, LaBohema by Puccini. We got menus. All items were in Italian language.

We chose pasta to start, then salad, then an Italian steak. We chose dry, dense, dark red, Chianti classico wine, and then Grappa liquor. Then expresso with no sugar. We had wonderful Italian lunch. I said "Gracia Mille"- thank you, and they were responding "Prego" -you're welcome.

We were very happy with lunch, hospitality and environment. We ended our lunch. Thanked in Italian again to the owner of the restaurant, and we were about to leave.

Owner of the restaurant leaned on my ear and asked in stiff eastern local dialect of Turkish,

"Sir where do you come from?"

He is son of an immigrant from the east end of Asia Minor, born and raised in Germany, started as an apprentice in this restaurant in early 1970s, worked for the original Italian owner for last 30 years. When Italian owner decided to go home at retirement age, he received the ownership of the restaurant since then. That is the best Italian restaurant in the city. Ambiente im Herzstuk von Neustadt, Germany.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Fathers & Sons

Father, it is me, Haluk

Good morning, son. Good to hear you.

Did I wake you up? So early?

No I was not sleeping, I cannot sleep properly these days, and I was awake all night, reading,
Also it is not early. It is half past seven. How are you? Where are you?

I am in the office Pa.

Why so early, what’s up?

Nothing Pa, I have work to do, you know the latest project I have,
I am the new project manager, and everything is in mess.
I have to fix everthing and speed up the project.
I couldn’t stay at home.

No, No, what is up son? You’re hiding something,
Common say something, what is up?
You’re crying? Or you’re angry? Something wrong, in your voice? What is up?

I am not crying Pa, but I am angry,
Yeah, let me tell you what is up.
I have a friend, for 40 years, since my high school days.
We were in the same high school.
He has a very pretty young daughter.
Maybe a perfect match for your grandson,
She got her engineering degree last week.
I thought that, maybe, myself, my friend, our wives, she, him, we come together,
In a dinner maybe,
in our University Alumni club,
in its open-space restaurant
in the green grass garden,
sometime late in the night,
something simple to eat,
something to drink, white wine, then red wine,
we speak among ourselves,
they speak, her daughter, my son,
maybe something could happen later,

No need to be unhappy son, don’t worry, calm down, speak up, tell me what happened later,

All I want is his happiness, Pa, nothing but his happiness, that was a good match, she had no attachments, she was very pretty, she has a good degree, just a good match Pa, I wanted his happiness,

That is good son, certainly you want his happiness,

I reserved a table for six, yesterday night, I called my friend, I asked to bring his wife and his daughter, to celebrate her university degree,

We were in the restaurant at 0800 PM Pa, they came,
him- my friend, his wife and his daughter, pretty young girl Pa,

Your grandson didn’t come to dinner, Pa.
My son came late at home,
he said he was tried at his job,
I told him to join us for the night, just for a few hours, to be in our table, to be with us, to speak with the pretty young girl, just a few hours, no attachments, no commitment,
he has no attachment, she has no attachment,
and he didn’t come, he stayed at home,
I called him twice, why Pa,
he didn’t come, he preferred too stay at home, watch TV instead, why Pa,
All I wanted was his happiness, am I wrong Pa, what is wrong with me, Pa?

Don’t worry son, there is nothing to be unhappy, nothing so important, water passes in its own channel, time will settle down and erase everything, and you do your best my son.

I felt embarrassed Pa, he didn’t come, I felt lonely, I felt ashamed, I felt hopeless, and I am terribly sorry Pa, why does he behave like that? Is this because of me? What did I do wrong Pa? He feels satisfied when I am unhappy. He has a certain satisfaction when he makes me unhappy, why Pa. I spent all my life for him Pa. Why did he do like that?

Son, that is it, don’t worry, learn not to worry what your son does to you. He is a grown up man. He is 26. He is a professional engineer. He has a good job. He has his own problems with his own work. He knows what he does. Don’t worry. Don’t take it for yourself. Live your life. You did what you feel appropriate. If that does not work. Leave as it is. You can’t help if it is beyond your control.

But Pa, he goes after other girls, buying flowers, spending many hours with them, why not with this girl, why Pa?

I wish I know son, leave it as it is. Don’t worry.
You did what you had to do. That is all.
He will find what is right, what is wrong by himself
You cannot help him, leave him alone,
Your perfect match may not be his perfect match,
you did all you can, that is all,
When will you be coming? I missed you. Come sometime, we drink some, speak some, walk some. I have a very good selection wine, dry, red, I am sure that you will like it,

I will come soon Pa, as soon as I clear up my desk here, I will.
I promise to come the week after next week.
We walk together, and talk Pa, I promise I will come soon.

No need to worry, Son. That is life.
Yes, Pa, no need to worry.

Ankara, based on a true story.

Lady in Athens

I loved him very much,
we met in school.
We spent warm afternoons at the Acropolis,
where love found us.

We graduated together,
he from engineering
I from architecture.

We got married.
He worked in a plant,
and I worked at home, as homemaker.
We had a cute, beautiful baby daughter
and a reasonably happy life,
A car, a house, summer holidays.

Then he changed --
high profile job, more money, more power,
pretty young women all around,
women with no career
good time, fun time, any time ladies.
He had an affair,
hurt, but I did not take it seriously,
until one day he said "divorce!"
He said, "we forgot that we were married!"
He said, "we were good friends, but not lovers!"

I hated him
I hated he would leave me
I asked our daughter should stay with me, he accepted
I asked him to send me to a tour in Europe, he accepted
I asked him to wait until I got my driving licence, he accepted
I wanted him to wait until I find a job, he accepted,

I went to Europe,
I got my driving license,
I got a job as an architect,
then one day he left.

He packed his luggage,
as if for a regular business trip -- late in the night
This time I did not stop him.
He had an accident that night,
I did not go to his funeral,
I cried but would not let anyone else to cry.

Now, after 17 years,
hard work was my therapy,
I learned how to live alone,
Dealing with clients, worse than husbands,

I still miss him.
Our daughter now has her own life,
I am alone in my house,
with a company office,
big orders, big projects, big success, big money.

I paint, sculpture, seek time consuming activities.
I am in therapy, hoping for some peace of mind,
after 17 years,
I still ask myself, what should I do?
Should I try to stop him?
Should I beg him not to leave me?

Here in the last row of the tour coach late at night,
on the way to Athens
with all my university friends,
they are with husbands,
husbands of all sorts,
drunk, sober, successful, incompetent, funny, serious, exhausted
never mind good or bad.

I am alone with no one to love or hug,
I have money to spend in Athens,
to buy almost everything, every silly item, in Kolonaki.
drink and sing all night, in Plaka.

But no courage to go to Acropolis.
I wish to be in this Plaka tavern,
drinking white Macedonian dry sek wine,
sing the same song in two different languages,

"good to talk to you."
"thank you that I look like Elizabeth Taylor in 1960s."
"thank you that you say I am still beautiful at my age."

We had no divorce,
still I keep our common surname,
never thought to change,

where are you my love?
why did you leave?
why didn't I stop you?

But it is too late --
someone to love,
someone to trust to talk to,
to sleep with,
to travel with,

I am ready and waiting
And, next time I will never let him go.

Athens, 2004, based on a true story.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

It was early WWII period in Istanbul

They were two small girls. It was early WWII period in Istanbul. Seaside district Caddebostan was very popular at summer time. Two girls were in an old Ottoman mansion at the seaside, where the Ministry of Education used this mansion as summer camp for successful schoolgirls, as reward for their hardwork. Poor but successful girls of elementary schools were invited based on their accomplishments.

Hadiye was also one of those chosen successful few. Her mother was the only surveyor of the wealthy family of Bosnia in WWI, who were forced to leave their estates in one day with limited belongings. She arrived to Istanbul after a long and dangereous walk for more than 3000 miles. She had only her old aunt with her. In Istanbul, she got married with Abdulkadir bey, Istanbul Fatih court staff. They had one daughter, Hadiye. Abdulkadir Bey passed away shortly due to early hearth attack. Mother Fatma Muzeyyen Hanim earned life as tailor for housewifes of the district. Her only daughter Hadiye was a shy, thin girl and very successful in the school.

The other girl was from rich strata of the other Istanbul. Gonul was attending to a private expensive reputable elementary school in rich Nisantasi district. Her father Abdurrahman Bey was a rich successful businessman. He had a textile plant in Yesildirek to produce underwares and its marketing organisation. Her mother was an educated housewife with some rheumatismatic health problems. That year parents decided to go to a health clinic in one of Romanian hot springs. They decided to send Gonul to the same summer camp provided that they pay some contribution for general expenses.

Two girls become friends shortly. Their beds were next to each other. That summer was extraordinary time for them. They swam at the sea, played together. They dreamed future, getting education, visiting foreign lands, getting married, having children. Every morning they looked at each others eyes in order to have a good day ahead.

At the end of the summer camp, they exchanged their postal addresses, promising to write a letter each week, and they kept that promise. One day, Gonul took the public tramway and she visited her friend in their small house at the other end of the city. Mother Fatma Muzeyyen hanim prepared a vageterian lunch for them since it was only available with their budget. Later the day, they talked, played, and walked at the nearby Zeytinburnu seaside.

The next week, the first time in her life, Hadiye took the tramway, and came to the other end of the city, Harbiye ValiKonagi Street, very popular rich section of the city. Gonul lived with her family in a new apartment flat, next to Govener's mansion. Housemaids, cook, and driver served them. They invited Hadiye to their weekend lunch. Hadiye answered their questions in short and smart responses. Family has happy for that friendship, and they encouraged for their weekend meetings. In the afternoon, they walked down to the main street and watched a new foreign film.

The following 4-years, they exchanged reciprocal monthly visits and weekly letters to each other. One day Gonul stopped sending letters. Hadiye was so worried that she took public tramway and went to their house. Door was openned by the elder sister. Ayse said the bad news with pale white face. Hadiye left apartment and cried nonstop on the way back, and more on the days after.

That springtime, parents decide to start cleanup and maintenance in their summer house in the Prince Islands, on the Sea of Marmara, near Istanbul. Gonul joins the helpers that weekend. Weather is relatively hot. She decides to swim at the seafront. However on the same day, the nearby senatorium disposes the dangereous winter refuses into the sea. She gets infected, although immediately hospitalised, but cannot be saved.

Hadiye never forgot her childhood girl friend. She prayed for her all her life. She attended to schools and became a teacher on Turkish Literature. She got married and had children.

On a hot summer night, on the same seashore of Istanbul, where that big old Ottoman mansion was at the back, full moon raised between the Prince Islands on the front, she told this story to her elder son.

Thursday, July 21, 2005


When I was 10 years old, we were two brothers in a core family of four living in a small town. My mother was then a teacher in town's only high school teaching Turkish literature, whereas my father was rural judge to settle down the land disputes in the rural region. My grandmother was living with us.

My mother had too much house work so one day she expressed her need for a housemaid, a small girl to help her in daily household activities. So my father asked his staff to find a proper housemaid preferably to stay with us to help my mother. Rural administrators are asked to advise for a family to volunteer to give their girl, preferably a poor motherless family unable to support their children.

Then one day we have been advised that a poor father whose wife left the house with someone else, volunteered to give his 8-year old girl to our family. One early morning she arrived with a poor dirty dress, long dirty hair, with heavy dirty smell, with no belongings. She was afraid of being alone, in a different new environment, away from her natural family protection.

My grandmother took the initiative, pushed her to the bathroom, stripped her completely, cut her dirty hair at short style and washed her completely multiple times during the day. Then my mother tailored new dress for her. She had same food we had, clean dress, comfortable bed to sleep. She was not overloaded. She was a small house maid, a daily household helper for my parents, but for us, two small boys, she was our natural sister to share everything.

We had 3 years together. At first she avoided to talk, other than short talk, in order to hide her rural accent. Within 3-months she modified her accent and was able to talk in the same manner we had. The next year my younger brother was in the first year of elementary school, we shared all books and she learned read and write and math.

After 3-years my parents decided to move to the capital city in order to enable the kids to attend to better schools available in the capital city.

Our sister had home education during that time. Mom decided to send her to special school for girls to let her receive special talents for home management, tailoring, cooking, etc. She could also go to schools for teaching or health services.

However one day she disappeared suddenly for 3- days.We informed the town police. They found her in a shanty house at the outskirts of the town, with her biological father and relatives from the rural village. Her father said that he missed her daughter very much after 3-years.

It was shock for my parents. They were afraid of not being able to control her escapes. Things may get worse, and they could not carry the responsibility any further.

So my parents decided to send her back to her family.One day her luggage was prepared, full of her personal dresses, plus some books to read.

Anyhow from the very beginning, we two boys presumed that she was our new natural sister, not a housemaid, and we shared everything with her.

Suddenly one day she left our house leaving us, two small boys all alone without sister. Two small boys lost their sister thereafter. We had no more news of her thenafter. We had a new born brother. Later our family moved to the capital city Ankara. We changed our environment, our house, our city, our way of life, our schools. So her absence was absorbed and forgotten in time.

Most probably she got married at a very early age, and for her marriage, her father probably received a big amount of cash money or land for agriculture in agreement with the other party, since she was not an illiterate village girl any more but a literate educated polite mannered city girl.

We have two group pictures taken in one of my humble birthday parties, cute, cleaver, pretty, small girl next to daughter of local high public administrator.

I feel and wish that she got married and had many children as well as grandchildren at later years, and had a happy life.

Anyhow I still feel sorrow after her leave for her absence, loss of a sister in early childhood.

Your comments are always welcome!



I'm asking myself why you just sent this to me. Then again, if you want my honest opinion, I'm always happy to share with a fellow writer. I thought this was sent to the group site--interesting.

I would suggest that you leave out the phrase at the very beginning of your essay--"Long long time ago, when I was 10 years old". Just say instead--"When I was ten years old--and go on from there."
This is a fascinating study of your culture. The choice of words you use really tells me a great deal about what you consider "normal life." For example, if your mother needed help with the household chores, why couldn't the young men of the household help out. I know why. It just wasn't done, perhaps considered just women's work. There's one example.

Then a young, but poor, eight year old girl comes to your house to help out your overworked mother. She is taken under wing and although, she works, she is also treated as one of the family. That is wonderful and she obviously benefits from living in your household. It sounds like you accepted her until I read these words----”cut her hair at proper short style” or “hide her terrible rural.” This shows a prejudice against the child that cannot control her existence. Now I will not stand in judgment of you or your family, and obviously you loved this girl a great deal. I think you want us to see your feelings for this girl and you would like to know what happened to her.

Here you tell us about her schooling--”Our sister had home education during that time. Mom decided to send her to special school for girls to let her receive special talents for home management, tailoring, cooking, etc.” I'm guessing that girls are not afforded the same educational opportunities as boys there. Or was that merely your mother's choice?

Now here we really see the change in class structure----”for her marriage, her father probably received a big amount of cash money or land for agriculture in agreement with the other party, since she was not an illiterate village girl any more but a literate educated polite mannered city girl.” Your word choice says it all. This is not a criticism, Haluk, just an observation in our cultural differences. Women are, in fact, exploited and considered commodities in many countries. Young girls, especially in poor and rural areas, are married off or given away at an early age. I've studied this in some of my history and literature classes. I cannot say that I agree with the practice.

I like the ending and I think it shows your love for a “sister” that you undoubtedly miss. “I still feel sorrow after her leave for her absence, loss of a sister in early childhood.” There are many databases to search for people here on line. But I doubt if she's listed on any of them. Perhaps she's out there somewhere and would like to see you also. Have you tried to locate her? You obviously care about her still. I feel that in your word choice as well.

You may want to rethink some of your word choices, but I see a lot of love for a young girl showing through here. And I think that's what you should concentrate on. I hope this is helpful to you and let me know if I can be of further assistance.

Carol, USA

Thursday, July 07, 2005

London 7/7

I am terribly sorry for the latest attacks today in London. We had the same in Istanbul on November 20,2003. Earlier that was 9/11 in NewYork. That is something against humanity. I am afraid that we are heading to worst science fiction conditions at full speed. The security precautions will be tightened obviously, and I am afraid that we shall have police state everywhere in the globe. We do not deserve those days, and I do believe that our children deserve better environment. We should all contribute for better/ safe days, with all our capacity. I share the sorrow of of our friends in London, and hope them fast recovery.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Canadian Day- 1st July 2005

Dear Colleagues

It was Canadian day, last Friday, 1st July 2005. I was invited to the celebration reception in the Canadian Embassy. Ambassador Michael Leir and his staff was welcoming the incoming guests at the embassy entrance.

Guests were from other foreign embassy staff, Corps Diplomatique so-to-speak, high level local public servants, ministers, undersecretaries, general managers, plus business people local and expatriates, as well as Turkish Canadians.

Embassy parking lot was full of high profile powerful big cars, their drivers and guards. Yours truely parked his car in his own office park, walked to the Embassy. That was more logical. There was no need to compete. Anyhow we were all on the same greengrass for networking.

Canadian Whisky, Canadian and French wines were available as well as other alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Food was abundant. I had some red dry wine as usual.

In these events, embassy invites all key figures (sometimes also your humble servant) and expect them to make necessary business networking.

Ladies were beautiful, all men were powerful in their business posts, weather was hot, dry and excellent, no clouds on the sky, sun was shining, a soft breeze all time on the embassy hill.

The Lady Commercial Councellor (Mrs. Jennifer Barbarie) informed that she completed her mission in Ankara, and she will be relocating in Ottawa shortly. We shall miss her very much. She was a great person in increasing Canadian Turkish business relations, especially in hydro power investment projects.

I met with Prof. Dr. Ronald Crelinsten in the reception. He is from University of Victoria of British Columbia, Centre for Global Studies. He is writing a new book on global risks. He says that he will be in Ankara for sometime. I agree that Ankara is the best place in the globe to write a book on global risks.

Thank you for inviting me to the Canadian Day. I enjoyed a lot.

Your comments are always welcome !!

Thursday, June 30, 2005

CN Tower in Toronto

In Toronto late evening,
with my younger brother, Haldun,
4 years my junior,
together with my school-friend Onder for many years,
who also happens to be
my business colleague
in the same company.

First we were
in Cambridge Ontario
for business meeting
in cooperation
with Babcock & Wilcox Canada
for engineering partnership
in order to design,
fabricate, and construct
the first Blast furnace gas firing,
big industrial steam boiler
in Erdemir Iron & steel mills,
the biggest enterprise in Turkey

We had reciprocal company presentations,
how wonderful company we are,
how wonderfull company they are,
lots of talk,
tough negotiations
for engineering work,
scope definition and scope sharing,
and too tight timetable,
similarly tight scheduling.

Nothing scaring,
Nothing difficult,
No problem,
All fun, all joy.

After we completed
our business meetings,
courtesy activities,
we left Cambridge
arrived to Toronto.
We had two days
to have sightseeing.

First to Niagara water falls,
so much water,
so many beautiful sceneries.

Then Toronto China Town,
to see a modernised China,
although so much Americanised,
or better to say Canadian China.

Then at mid-night
we had some more sightseeing.
It was snowing day & night.
We saw homeless people
on top of hot air channels.
Drunks, street people.

My companions were
much interested in seeing
Toronto TV tower.
I said "No way!
I have high anxiety!
I cannot climb that high!
It is almost half a mile high.
Observation tower is half of that,
and it is still too high for me!".

I should be more careful.
They would make a trick
to take me up there.

We walked around a lot,
without me knowing where I was.

Somehow, somewhere
we turned a street corner,
there it was,
the Toronto TV tower.

It should be very expensive
to take the elevator.
We were short in money.
We could not go.
But no, it was free at that time.
Like happy hour.

It was Saturday evening after 5 o'clock PM
Happy hour,
and it was free
for all visitors.

Since it was free,
we should take the elevator
and go upstairs,
no other way.

If it is free,
You must take
And accept the offer whatever since it is free.

The first time in my life,
that high, almost half a mile up.

We took the elevator,
climbed to the observation deck
in a few minutes.

And then I had that high anxiety.

You would ask
how I board an aeroplane.
Aeroplane is different.
I do not have any fear,
since it is pressurised,
closed controled environment

This was different.

I lied on a couch and
stayed there
no joy,
until my brother
and my school friend
had enough time
to visit the upper deck.

Could I see the beautful scenes what are they?
Yes, but all scaring,
All difficulty,
All thrill,
No joy, No More.

Also this story seems
to be about the fear of heights
and the Toronto CN tower,
the rest is just an introduction--
I wonder if you really need so much there.

You may ask why I have this set up
in a poetry format,
but it reads like a story.

As a story, let me tell you more.

If you saw beautiful scenes on CN tower,
what are they?
How can I explain?
I saw nothing,

Also this story seems
to be about the narrators fear of heights
and the Toronto CN tower,
the rest is just an introduction--

I wonder if/ why I really need so much there.

Also, let me bring you
into my anxiety attack,
How to slow it down--
It is all with me.

That brings me into
my anxiety attack,
To slow it down--
You would't want to
have the attack with me,
The same when I return to the tower at home.

Take my word,
Do not take anything,
If it is free, when it is said to be free,
Nothing is free,
Nothing is FREE !!

Your comments are welcome !!


We didn't know it
But you are a poet
How nice
Or Peacock
Birds of the same feather
Goldberg, Iceberg
What's the difference?
You couldn't have perched
On CN Tower
Cause if you were Shakespeare
You would have been
Locked up
In London Tower
Hausun Suyu von Terkosen
Only in Turkei,
They say
Oo, what a pityy!
Haus kaputt
Su kaputt
Gaz kaputt
Trafik sehr kaputt
Kaput ist kaputt, auch
That's why there're so many velets
In der Turkei
Avrupa Birligi pisshikk diyor
Everything's free in Canada
Except the money
That's why we call it
The lousy dollar
Monopoly money for sure
And Yanks discount us
More and more
But what the heck love is free
As long as you pay
Through the nose
For the dinner
Next time you feel like a bird
Try being a duck
Float in your bathtub
And good luck
Haner, Haldun, Haluk
There's a big difference
But you guys don't climb Mt Everest
Without assistance
You are Turks!
Be proud!
Go to the mosque and pray
Or shop at the Bay
On Yonge Street
Not over the cloud

Ata Guven, Vancouver, Canada

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Is it fair??

Dear Colleagues

My youngest son is in the third year of university EEE department. This semestre he decided to take a graduate course although he is in undergraduate studies. He worked hard, enjoyed the course, learnt a lot. At the end, he was to prepare and submit a term paper. He delivered the paper expecting the high grade. Just the opposite, his proffessor called him and accused him for copying the term paper contents from various internet sources, making "copy & paste", just because his wording is extraordinary, his presentation is good, his details are perfect. Department assistants were assigned to find where he coppied the contents. He is a bright student, first in IB studies in High School. So it is normal that his English capability is so good. I asked him if he made any serious offense, he refused any misbehaviour. Moreover I checked his term paper and found nothing so abnormal. It is a standart undergraduate term paper. Instead of getting a high grade "A", he received the lowest "F". Is it fair? He will go to the professor and explain the situation. How should he respond? What do you think??

Your comments are always welcome.


Hi Haluk.
Difficult to answer without being in possession of all the facts. "Stealing the term paper contents from internet sources" Now what exactly does that mean.If the term paper was illegally made available to students by simply entering the URL and copying
the result, that is tantamount to cheating and gaining an advantage over those without internet access. However, if your son used the internet as a source of reference to better understand his subject matter, that is to be encouraged in
the same way as checking a dictionary for the correct spelling of a word. If we were to be honest and truthful, I expect many of us would put our hands up to having used a crib at one time.Maybe scribbled a formula on the palm of our hand.But when the paper is laid in front of you,You've taken so much trouble to write it, you now know the formula by heart. There is a great feeling of achievment to be gained when you see an 'A' against your name on the results board.

I was once awarded an impossible 105% in a science test. The whole class was in the 85% plus bracket but my paper was considered way above average. And no, I didn't need to cheat for it was one of my favourite subjects. I should mention here, the course tutor was a woman and I think she had a soft spot for me. Which raises another point: You say your son's professor was a friend of yours. I fail to see the relevance to this unless you are suggesting a form of negative nepotism.

In your shoes, I would take my son aside and say."Now let's talk man to man. No recriminations but I need you to tell me if the content of the paper was sent to you by internet. If it was then the source needs to be reported to the authorities. If it wasn't, I will fight your corner with every fibre in my body to get this result reversed.

I talk from experience,for many times I have had to take to task,tutors and principals of my sons' schools of learning, Even going over their head to the minister of education. I have twice been threatened with legal proceedings for endeavouring to obtain the best for my children.

If you are certain your son 'played the game honestly',It is your duty to stand by him and insist on a re-take of the paper in the presence of official ajudicators.

Wings, UK

Dear Haluk,
I would like to comment on this issue. Being a college student myself at this time, I understand the temptation to copy from the Internet. The Internet is a wonderful resource with a wealth of information at the click of a button. I would have to spend days at the library researching and taking notes. Now I can just type in the subject and read. In my country and my college, copying text directly of ANY source
constitutes plagiarism which is not only against the school guidelines, but also can result in fines or even jail time for the student. Now I'm certainly not going to get in the middle of your son's debate with the school, however, when I write a term paper, I must cite all my sources including any websites (URL) used for each paper, listed generally at the end of my text. As a result, my professors can easily check the websites against my paper. If your son has a list or cites all his sources, in my opinion, he should be allowed to defend his paper to his professor, or perhaps the head of the department, dean or someone in a higher position. This may clear up the issue for you and him. Good luck.
Carol, USA

You can select parts of the report and run a search. If the paragraph or sentence you run comes up verbatim then that's plagiary (if the source isn't cited). I think teachers are gun shy of the Internet and I can see why. It's easy to "cut and paste." They also have a hard time occasionally, fitting in the idea that young people can "think" today, and articulate their thoughts in clear and cohesive ways. This has happened before in other cases. I'd challenge the teacher to prove plagiary, not just arbitrarily assume it. You know, "Show me, and if you can't---reconsider that grade." If you don't every time your child writes a brilliant assignment it will be suspect and it could follow them throughout their school career. Children need to get credit when it's due and blame when proven guilty, not when guilt is just assumed. Question authority (after you investigate yourself).

Matt Lamoreux

Does your son considered himself to be an expert in the
subject matter he wrote about? Unfortunately, College
professors don't consider students to be experts in
their field at that point in their lives. So, a topic
needs to be researched and sources cited.

I once wrote a paragraph in a term paper about my job.
I lost points on the assignment. the teacher annotated,
"what's the source?" Looking back, I should have built
up ethos in the paper prior to using any of my personal
experiences. still, the teacher probably would have
docked points as she wanted us to include quotes obtained
through interviews. I did not qualify as an interviewed.

Part of a College writing assignment is to prove that a
student knows how to research and cite sources. If your
son didn't reserach the subject and cite sources, he
did not prove to the professor that he masters this skill;
hence, he lost the points associated to that criteria.

He should approach the professor and argue that the
grading criteria were not explained. Of course, your
son is also responsible for not asking (or not understanding)
the grading criteria.

N. Barring

Friday, June 10, 2005

Investment Climate in Turkey

Dear Colleagues,

Today, On June 10th 2005 Friday evening, I participated to a conference as prepared by a reputable local economic and strategic studies foundation for an highly intellectual local audience of more than 100 distinguished guests in Ankara at about 1900 hours.

Speaker was a senior Foreign Service Officer of a Western Embassy in Ankara in charge of Economic and Energy affairs. He started the presentation with his broken Turkish as courtesy to local culture but continued to speak in that manner as if he was checking our nerves. It is good to have foreigners speaking our language, as a courtesy for short period time, but one should warn them that we are not so comfortable to witness someone to play with our holy language so terribly.

Anyhow we are so polite as usual, and we stand firm that situation. Normally if one would do the same with English language, nobody would listen to him/her.

Speaker repeated the same latest energy situation, although we all know the details very well. Anyhow he intelligently pronounced the same energy issues as if they were new. All good news, BTC pipeline, El-Paso offshore , and Chevron inland oil explorations. All were nothing new. However he slightly, and brilliantly but clearly stated that existing investment conditions are not favourable for international investors. There are arbitration disputes in energy projects (BOT, TOR etc) ongoing, corruption is still on, there is less transparency. Local Laws are ever changing etc., and not reliable for longterm investment. All true.

As an experienced foreign diplomat working for the Embassy Economy Section, he said that the Caspian resources, which are crucially important for the world and the region, are exagerated.

He said that the Caspian is not El Dorado and that it will not be a solution for the energy needs of some countries. He reported that the Caspian has a total of 33 billion barrels in oil reserves and that this figure is equal to the oil reserves in the North Sea and the US.

We all thank to him, however the followup questions were so simple or odd that there was no point to continue. So our polite moderator stopped the event and then he invited the guests to the open buffet cocktail at the roof. We were on 10th floor of the prestigious building next to TOBB in Kizilay.

In our one-to-one personal conversation, I asked our speaker why International investors are not coming to Turkey anymore. He clearly stated that there is less interest in investing in Turkey since there are many other countries to invest and get more return.

I also expressed my wish that the ambassadors would be more commercial oriented rather than political. I asked him if it was because of the nearby war and the indifference at this end, and invader expectations were not returned. He noted positively. I also advised him that Turkish companies are handling all logistics of Iraq, paying high cost of human sacrifice. Moreover Turkish companies are handling the reconstruction activities in Iraq although there is high risk of terrorism.

Our guest speaker was not so interested in continuing that conversation, since he explained all his feelings to the highly influencial local audience towards ever cooling mutual cooperation expectations in future.

It is my feeling that we should all understand that it is too distant to expect anything for investment or further cooperation opportunities from the others, and we should work hard, and depend and trust ourselves in order to stand firm, and survive at this very difficult geography.

Your comments are always welcome!!


I can guess which ambassador you're talking about.
Denying the U.S. passage during the Iraq operation was a big strategic and tactical mistake for which they will make you pay through the nose in the coming years. The fickle U.S. foreign policy has now shifted to alliance with the Kurds and the new satellite states in the area, and is aiming at downgrading Turkey's strategic and economic importance. A U.S.-backed Independent Kurdistan is a virtual reality. You have played into the hands of the game designed by, you know who.

Transforming Turkey from a secular state into a controllable, moderate Islamic Republic was an idea hatched in Washington 15 years ago. This is now being successfully used as an excuse both by Europe and the U.S. to further the plans of creating Europe's Mexico, a buffer state betwen The West and the Islamic World, a second-class client at the whim and the mercy of The West. Yes, you are now too Islamic to be European, and too anti-American to deserve consideration as an investment haven. Islam, a deified form of Medieval Communism, is incompatible with the West's capitalistic values. Islamic countries are doomed to economic extinction unless they have a resource that can be exploited by the West. As we all know, Saudi Arabia's GNP would be zilch if they did not have oil, and who would ever invest in an Islamic desert kingdom?

Americans have traditionally invested in countries where political stability is guarded under the force of arms if necessary, and they don't really expect foreigners to fall for their own rhetoric about democracy, etc. A reliable military government is always preferable for them to a wishy washy democracy, especially one where the fundamental national consensus has not been achieved.

Even a few weeks before the Iraqi operation your diplomats did not believe the U.S. would invade Iraq. That's a serious lack of foresight. They had no idea how the Americans think. The same can be said for the U.S., but they hold the cards. You have no professional political lobby in Washington to speak of, and no economic lobby at all. The Bush Dynasty takes loyalty very seriously, and they take things personally, but decision making in Washington is still a complex process. Things can change, but it takes salesmanship, a word that Turks generally do not understand. That's your biggest problem. Best Regards
Ata Guven, Vancouver, Canada

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Partnering in Sheffield UK

Dear Colleagues,

Today between 10-13 hours, I participated to a marketing conference in METU Technopark KOSGEB premises which was organised by UK Trade Agency UKTI and NorthEast Development organisation of UK.

They had well prepared powerpoint presentations, how wonderful incentives and low taxes they have, how low their labor manhour rates are (14% less than UK average), how well positioned they are, how close to reputable universities.

However I feel that if we replace the name "Sheffield" with "Ankara", "University of Sheffield" with "METU" (Middle East Technical University", plus a few names more, we can present the same presentations on behalf of METU Technopark companies in NorthEast part of UK.

In METU, we have the best university in Turkey, and the best functioning Technopark inside. They speak mother tongue English by birth, whereby we speak text book English which is understood by everyone better.

We have more than 100 new companies in METU Technopark, and more than 1000 brilliant young engineers, software experts. So we have overlapping software products on both sides.

Therefore we feel that instead of selling their products here, and our there, we need to investigate how to make cooperation, how to work together, how make partnering, in selling joing software products, in North East of Europe through NorthEast region UK, and The Middle East, Central Asia, Eastern Europe through METU Technopark.

At this time, we do not know the future of European Union after polls in France and Holland. Mr. Tony Blair decided not to go to polls for new EU constitution, since he can predict the outcome. Therefore we need to have "B" plan without EU and investigate possibilities of more cooperation between similar industries.

We work in energy business. We have different software companies in cooperation, the most of them are from North America or Continental Europe. We work in renewables, green energy, more utilisation of natural gas, CHP, CCPP and conventional fossile fuel fired steam power plants. We always need software for new power plant contruction.

Softwares are intellectual work intensive outputs. An engineer may receive 100 Euros per manhour in the North east of UK; whereby we pay only 10 or so per high qualified engineering manhour in METU Technopark.

Similarly the lowest rate per manhour of unqualified worker could be around 20-25 Euros equivalent in UK, whereby it is around 2-3 Euros in Turkey.

So pricewise METU Technopark could be cheaper, hence more competitive, and better positioned in marketing.

Therefore we appreciate the time, money and effort that our UK collegues have spent in this mission, we feel that we better try to investigate how to work together to sell similar overlapping software products together in our respective markets.

Your comments are always welcome.


Dear Haluk...I read this through twice and failed to find any connection to the subject of writing. Have I missed something, or have you gone off on a tangent?
Suzianne, Nebraska, USA
**** Plan C: BUY AMERICAN **** (LOL)

I hope you will receive some response to your brilliant suggestions for marketing cheap Turkish human beans with the help of Brits.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Toastmaster Seniors of Ankara

Today was an extraordinary day for us, for senior Toastmaster members of Ankara. We had our first monthly business lunch in Goksu Restaurant in Ankara city center, after a long period of interruption.

I was an active member of toastmasters group in Ankara. We were a group of highly qualified, highly educated professionals at middle age between university degree to senior managers at about retirement threshold, even after. I received my CTM degree in Toastmasters after completing my 10 programmed public speeches. What is CTM?, so go to above ref. web page again,

Toastmasters group is a group of highly intellectual men and women, from all parts of the world, from all disciplines, business person, academicians, who are in need of perfecting their public speaking capabilities, There are three Toastmasters clubs in Turkey. Ankara group meets in Turkish American Association, Cinnah caddesi every Tuesday at 1900 hours. Almost half of the members are expatriates. Izmir and Adana Toastmasters are closed to public attendance since they are formed by American personnel in Turkey.

In many international business cities you can find Toastmasters clubs. These are not necessary in posh clubs, sometimes in reasonable pubs in London, although there are Toastmaster meetings in exclusive clubs in The City, Paris, Frankfurt, Milan, Moscow and in the US Senate. In Washington DC, you will find many TM clubs. I have attended one Toastmasters in a reasonable pub in Hammersmith in London twice. I also attended two different Toastmasters club meetings in Virginia.

In Japan, Hongkong, Singapore, it is too difficult to join one of those Toastmaster groups. They are too exclusive, very expensive, very distinct. If you want to find TM clubs in the world, then go to "Yahoo" or "Google", type "Toastmasters" and surf in many individual TM clubs in the world.

These clubs are generally open to public, unless otherwise it is clearly stated. Guests are not supposed to speak unless they really wish to stand up and speak. For members they should speak impromptu in table topics and programmed in the second half.

Toastmasters club is the place where you spend two hours with your friends, to improve your public speaking capability, to share your life experiences.

I hope to continue our monthly business lunches in future.

Your comments are always welcome !!!


Years from now then, this was the "longest" computer- letter(e-mail), ever I read on the screen without "a breathe" !
Your way of writing, use of english, optimum lenght of the stories were your "success" at first "sight"...
One more thing: If you'll had the opportunity to make a "book" from those lovely tiny stories; I will be encouraged to make a "book of poems"; which I wrote until today :-)))

Best wishes, with all feelings of friendship.......

Esref Ilhami YEGEN, Ankara

Hi Haluk
A toastmasters club. What a good idea, to encourage the reticent individual to get on their feet and entertain others with their own brand of wit and wisdom.

Public speaking is not really so difficult if you are well prepared. The easiest form is the eulogy read from the lectern at the front of a church, or the best man's speech at a wedding. In those instances you have a captured audience.

With the eulogy there is always respectful silence while you read (always carry and read from notes in this instance) your
reminiscences of the late departed.

The best man at the wedding reception is expected to inject a little humour into the occasion and here again it is wise to have notes to hand, for there is nothing worse than misjudging the timing of the punch line. The pregnant pause before the birth will prevent a verbal miscarriage.

The bane of most `first time' speakers is the heckler but to the seasoned orator, a heckler is welcome, as he/she often opens a new line of discussion, which the speaker can hold on to and throw back with such force as to cause the rest of the audience to treat the heckler with derision and reinforce the speaker's argument.

A toastmaster is, by definition, not a public speaker but a person who introduces speakers.

My paternal grandparents were in service in a magnificent hall in London;The Apothecaries Hall. Grandmother was the head housekeeper, a stern matronly women, held in awe by maids and lower orders `downstairs'. She was responsible for maintaining order among the staff and organising banquets for royalty and personages of the higher echelons of society. My grandfather was the head butler and one of his duties was that of toastmaster.

Sadly I was too young to even peep through the doors of the banqueting hall but my parents told me how he would stand erect, straight as a ramrod in his resplendent livery (he was an ex- guardsman) and introduce a dignitary such as an Archbishop by announcing, in stentorian tones (if the Prince of Wales was in attendance, as was often the case): "Your Royal highness, My Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen pray silence for the Most Reverend and Right Honourable the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury" etc, etc but those were the days of opulence and respect, mostly gone and forgotten. Whether for the good or bad is a matter of individual opinion.

Getting back to speaking in public: One of our illustrious members recently embarked on reading to a gathering. A poet. NO she's a poetess and I'm a sexist and don't care, for I place my opposite sex on a pedestal of devotion in the sanctity of respect. We enjoyed her occasional poems up to the day she was persuaded to read in public.

I believe she was a trifle reluctant to take to the podium but thankfully overcame her nerves and since that time the bud has blossomed for the enjoyment of all and long may this flora continue to grace our literary flower arrangements.

To conclude: My Lord (yes, we have one at t2w)ladies and gentlemen, pray silence for our good friend Haluk, who has shown us another interesting medium for displaying our communication skills. As always

Wings, UK

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Fever of Kilimanjaro

You all know "the Snows of Kilimanjaro" written by Ernest Hemmingway. Have you ever seen Mount Kilimanjaro? Let me see the hands up. Just a few. Anyhow I am one of those happy few.

How about perils of that mission?? What does it cost to me to see Mount Kilimanjaro? AIDS, Ebola, SARS, any other?. This is the story of that explains the cost of that travel to me.

In year late 70s, I was chosen to participate to an UNIDO United Nations International Development Organisation in-pant training seminar in one of developing countries. The chosen developing country was Tanzania. We were approximately 50 engineers who were selected from various counties, to come together to see the country and make necessary brain storming for future developments.

I had plane change in Roma, and AdisAbaba and arrived to Arusha Tanzania. Arusha is the second biggest city of Tanzania in Highlands. It was close to famous safari sites, Ngorongoro and Serengeti natural parks, Manyara lake. Meetings were held as usual. We gave speeches as usual. The most important parts were safaris in the natural parks.

These two parks are shared by neighbouring Kenya and Tanzania. You can visit the parks from both countries. You spend almost a fortune in Kenya in 5-star hotels, whereby to can have the same service in mountain cottages with full luxury, same wild animals maybe even more in Tanzania but spend an increment of the fortune you will be spending in Kenya.

We had our ammunitions, which were Kodak film negatives and our photo cameras. Our 4-wheel drive LandRovers took us to the centre of the wild animal show in Ngorongoro crater. Many lion families, elephants, rhinos, monkeys, all wild and misterious African world.

We spent the night in nearby park hotel in cottages. Outside they were cottages, inside it was one luxury hotel room with shower, TV, phone and all others.

In the park hotel bar, there were professional African women of all types, at all ages. African and Asian members of our group had immediate communications with them. Me? No.

In the evening, a big buffalo landed on my door, and left a huge natural fertiliser. I could not sleep due to that natural fertiliser smell. That was nothing.

On our way home, we had a round trip on Kilimanjaro crater by regular passenger plane, viewed the trackers at peak. We had a long flight on a huge desert and then River Nile.

Within one week upon my return home, I got high fever. Almost 39-40 degree Celsius, or 102-104 degrees Fahrenheit. Our family physician gave me standard antibiotics. I didn't work. I spent one week in hospital. I explained my physicians my last two weeks in Africa. Africa?? After many blood and other tests, it was found that my high fever had nothing to do with Africa but due to local infection, Simple Salmonella-B, which was cured with simple one bottle of antibiotic, Bacterim in 1-week dose.

Be sure that there is not much more extraordinary journey to the expedition to Kilimanjaro, the beauty of the mount will pay all your money, time, effort, post-travel costs to reach the crater.

Ernest Hamingway was right to be there. This is the best place to read his books, especially "the Snows of Kilimanjaro". I wish to return to Kilimanjaro once again for 1-week tracking. Who would organise??

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Money with Sand

Early in the morning, I wake up and sit on my PC to write a story from my past list. I have a long list of stories. I take a small note for each future story, in order to write it later. During day time, I make some draft variations of the chosen story. These stories are from my past experience, sometimes a travel, some event description, something worth telling to my colleagues, to my wife, to my kids while driving them school. These are my little reasons for more communication.
That draft story lies on my screen, in word format for a few days. My local colleagues read and tell me their impressions when we meet. I know that I should rewrite some of my stories. One of them is Kilimanjaro fever. I am not comfortable with the structure I drafted for the story. I do not know how to rewrite.

I am not so sure how good about my story in Moscow about an old lady, since I got no response, no feedback. Good or bad, if you receive a pesponse, that means good. Maybe I should rewrite it.

One day when these short stories will hopefully reach to 100 in number and I will try to bring them as a book. Earlier I tried to write a novel. It is impossible for me. It is another talent. I am a simple storyteller, a simple narrator, nothing more.

I have one other story for you this time. As usual this is a true story of mine. I had various drafts on my mind. I told the story a number of times when I was with my school friends. Once I told the same story in my local Toastmasters meeting. I tried to create a number of different versions. Until now it is all told but not written. This is my first try. I hope that you will like it. If you do not like the way I tell the story please do let me know so that I try another draft.

In late 90s in Ankara. I applied for early retirement. In our procedures, if you start early and if you pay enough premiums for your old age pension, then you can deserve to get your retirement at relatively early age, you receive a monthly salary and still continue to work for another salary.

You remember the park scene at the end of the old Movie "It is a mad mad mad world" where the actors try to collect money which was blown out in open air, breeze takes all money. Films are usually based on true stories. I could never imagine that the same money blown in the air would be my experience one day.

On the specific day, I got my new ATM card and went to the nearest public bank ATM machine to collect my money. I had valet on my left hand, my ATM card on my right. I put the card in get the salary out, all clean new 22 each 10 bucks. Money bunch was on my right hand together with my ATM card. I tried to put ATM card into my valet. Money lot released from my hand into soft breeze. Lots of money all around me, on the air, all released my money. I was helpless. My money was free to go in the soft wind.

I was really terrified. My monthly salary was about to go with the wind. I was about to loose all of them and wind would take all of them and probably will disappear soon.

Fortunately street was empty, not much people was around. Car drivers were cleaning their company cars, and street was covered with that dirty wash water. Money fell down on that dirty water. I collected them all. They were wet, and covered with sandy dirt.

Anyhow I took them all to my office, put them on radiator. They were dry a few hours later. I took them to another bank, where my private bank account is located. I asked the lady in charge to put the money into my bank account.

She could not operate the counting machine, since it could not be operated. She couldn't understand whey machine stopped. She counted my money by hand.
She said unbelievingly, "How interesting that money was covered with sand?".

I told this story first to my school colleagues. They laughed a lot. My contractor friend said he would never had that experience, since he would never let anyone any machine to take his money. My public director friend would not need same experience since he would have someone to do this job on his behalf. My banker friend does not bother to collect money, since he has lots of them.

Now I have a procedure while collecting money from ATM machine. First I collect the incoming money and immediately put them into my pocket. Then I collect my ATM card and place into my valet, and valet into my pocket. Now it is time to count money if that is correct.

Once one of them said, "Haluk, why do all these strange things happen to you?" I do not know. Maybe that is a special warning that is why I should write them down.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Nothing is changed, but I am.

Dear Colleagues,

In year 1987. I purchased brand new Ford Taunus 1.6 passenger car, personally upgraded my status from poor local Anadol Station. Car was new. Driving was so smooth, so wonderful. We planned go to Istanbul on the new highway. On a Sunday morning, we left home early, approaching the highway entrance. My wife was on my right. Kids were at the back seat. Singing all so happy. But a big truck was going ahead of me, creating huge exhaust fumes entering into our car. I couldn't pass him since there was "No pass!" Warning sign. I try to obey to traffic signs but this time, but due to huge truck exhaust in our car, I passed the truck and a traffic police car stopped me. "Park your car, your driving license?? Your car papers??" Penalty "55" something. I paid traffic fine many times earlier, mostly speeding etc. This time I wanted to check if I could reduce the amount. "Is there anything we can do, Sir??" Saying something loose to mean many things. Policeman in the car asked "How much cash do you have ?" I said 20. "OK, give me 20 and leave!!" I asked a receipt. He said "Are you kidding?? What receipt?" Yes I gave 20 with no fine receipt, but I wished to pay 55 afterwards.

This summer I worked in Koc Holding Entek plant for their 30 Mwe new extension project as owner's engineer. No summer holiday, no seaside all summer. In September we completed the work at site, activities almost in routine, then me and my wife decided to go to Mediterranean coast to stay with our close relatives for a reasonable summer holiday for 1-week. Our spending was reasonable. Weather was still hot. Sea was warm. Schools are open so no crowd around. Empty seashore. We spent one week. Then kids arrived at the weekend. I should return to Ankara on Sunday night. My eldest said, "Father lets us go from a different route, via Manavgat, Akseki, Konya. Road is new. Scenery is beautiful." I agreed, so I slept half way at the back seat and then took the driving in Konya. At Ankara entrance I was stopped by traffic at late night at about 0130AM. Not only me but many other private cars coming from long distance. Routine paper controls as it appeared. I had no fear since my papers were all in order. No speeding, no dangereous passing. But I had 1-week old beard. In relaxed summer mood I had no shaving. So I could be a shop-owner, not an nfluencial public employee. One officer took the initiative and said, "Your right- front parking light is off". Fine is 32mTL something." I said nothing, agreeing to pay the fine. "You have any cash?" Now he changed the procedure. I noticed the red flag. That is the code for asking cash money. In accordance with new legislation, there is no cash traffic fine payment on the spot. That means something you should understand and respond in order to avoid high penalty. I said "I have no cash with me, driving all night" Officer scrutinised once again. "Let us see your past records. Hello operator, here is driving license, give me the past records". The other end replied in the wireless, "No records this year, all clean". I try to drive very carefully taking no risks. Officer started to write the fine, probably in vain, at late hour, all pain no gain for himself, while there was easier and much cheaper solution available.

The next morning I accessed to my local bank's Internet banking web page and paid 32mTL with one tick. Now I feel more comfortable. I believe that I did the best thing. You also think so ?? I am not accusing the system. They are trying to improve themselves but there can be some foul apples in the basket. On the other hand I do not know what I would do if the fine were 100 or 1000 or more. What do you think??


Dear Haluk Bey
First, you shouldn't have deprived Turkish cows of the pleasure of eating your car. Anadol has always been known to be such a treat for the cows, some say fiberglass is what made Turkish beef so tasty. However, you are entitled, as we all are, to a car made of recycled Japanese steel.

Asking for a receipt for the bribe was a brilliant idea. Apparently the policeman didn't want to go in the Guinness Book of Records as the dumbest cop in the world. But I think you should pursue this idea. If you can persuade bribe takers to issue receipts, which would make bribes taxable, everyone would win. If I form the Turkish Government some day, which is highly unlikely, please remind me to ask you to join me as the Finance Minister.Best Regards

Ata Guven, Vancouver, Canada

Friday, May 20, 2005

Face to face verbal communication is the secret of success (Moscow 1976)

Dear Readers,
I believe that "Communication" is an art. "Communication" is everything. "Communication" is the difference between human being and the rest of other living creations.

I was in a technical training program in Moscow in year 1976, pure romantic Brezhnev years. I still believe that Moscow was real Moscow at that time, not like now similar to the rest of the world. People were real believers of their system. I was one of a few westerners in the capital. I was trying to learn Russian, however they were more eager to speak English with me, same as trying to speak other foreign languages. Therefore I had no chance to speak Russian.

I was staying in University Hotel (Gastrinistza Universitetskaya) close to Moscow University. It was cold- very cold winter. Full of snow everywhere. But Russians were all comfortable with snow and cold. They had big stone houses, all district heating, excellent public transportation, and accommodation for everyone, food and secure jobs for everyone. They had no idea of the outside world. They had vodka, they were happy.

By the way, they had also extraordinary art, ballet. Russian ballet.
The next day I arrived to Moscow, I went to Bolshoy theatre to check program and ticket availability. There were a long waiting line, I do not know now how long. It was day and night. A long line. For opera, for ballet performance, for any symphony orchestra performance. I could not understand how people could stay in that line for so long, even sometimes for nothing.

I lost all my expectations to see a real Russian ballet in Bolshoy Opera house. It was impossible for me to buy a ticket. Blackmarket could work but I had no enough practise in Russian.

I checked our hotel facilities. We had a service bureau to help foreigners. Service Bureau had one director Tovarish (Comrade) Nina, and three lady staff, Victoria, Natalia and Galia. Victoria could speak English, Natasha Spanish and Galia German, although they could speak other reciprocal languages fairly in case of emergency.
I had good communication with Victoria. Victoria was helping me to familiarise Moscow. She was married with kids, doing her service job in the hotel service bureau. I asked her if service bureau could help me to buy ticket to Bolshoy, whatever ballet, opera, and concert. It was impossible. Answer was "Nyet!!"
They had a few tickets for every performance allocated for special foreign visitors. The distribution was unconditionally left to the Director Lady Tovarish Nina. Tovarish Nina was unapproachable. She was on top of everything. She had all power for everything including distribution of Bolshoy tickets.

After one month in Moscow, I was completely helpless. I would not go to Bolshoy. I tried everything, connections, embassy, even blackmarket, and no hope. For ballet, you could not bribe Russians. It was more valuable than any other worldly possession. They could stay days and days in a ticket quoe to purchase one ticket for any performance.

I had only communication with Victoria who could speak English. One day I had an idea. I should speak with Lady Director Tovarish Nina direct with her own language. Since she is in the service bureau, she should speak at least one western language. Which one?

French. She could speak French. She had French major in the Moscow University.
I had taken some French courses in my university but forgot almost everything. I had to refresh myself as soon as possible to communicate directly with the service bureau director Tovarish Nina. I checked my other foreign colleagues. We had one engineer coming from an African region with French cultural influence. He had good command of written French but he was speaking French in his own local West African dialect. Anyhow it was a minor problem. I should polish my French understanding as soon as possible. So I asked him to teach me some important French phrases for ice-breaking.

I practiced those phrases for one week in my free time. One early morning, when Tovarish Nina arrived to her office, I entered her office and I saluted her in French.

"Bonjour Madame, mon nom est Haluk d'Ankara en Turquie. Comment allez-vous?"

I addressed her "Madame Nina". Madame Nina was very happy that day. She could speak her foreign language with a foreign visitor. She told me her youth in the University, as guide to French party members, her meeting with famous French pop singer Gilbert Bécaud, her current job, her family, her husband, and her kids. She was not Tovarish any more, she was my French Lady Madame Nina and I was in her special foreign guest list in the hotel.

Later in the day, I asked ticket for Bolshoy. I was expecting only one ticket to Bolshoy. She gave me one ticket on each remaining week of that month I had in Moscow. Bolshoy theatre was a temple, not matching anywhere else. You should take a round trip to Moscow, just to see any performance whether it would be a ballet, an opera or any concert performance. Thank you very much Madame Nina.