Yesterday we had great day, up in Findikpinari, in the mountains visiting Uncle Mustafa’s rickety hand made yayla. I did the whole touristy thing of taking lots of photos of both my amazement that this place hasn’t either fallen down, blown down, or been burnt to the ground, as well as the local landscapes, chicken prisons, and of course this:
Because, well, of course building a restaurant on top of a rock is a perfectly normal thing to to. Sadly no longer open for business, I wonder why? Husband says no car park, but he did add that it probably wasn’t safe either.
We had 3 excited boys in the car because we had promised them a trip to the fun fair (luna park). In fairness this trip was meant to be for Lai Lai’s birthday but he fell asleep after the beach and didn’t wake up till the morning so it was postponed. But today was the day!
As we came out of the yayla, the rather ominous clouds had started to rumble, and the heavens tried to open. Driving back to Mersin we saw the clouds were much heavier down there so it could all have been rained off. Luckily it was all a bit pathetic and didn’t last long. By the time we were back in town nothing was going to stop these boys from having a good good time at the ‘fun’ fair.
Husband decided that the newer one at the Marina was too expensive, so off we drove to experience the ‘original’. It’s at this point you have to close your Western 21st century health and safety eyes, and just be amazed and how kids can see beauty, wonder, fun, and amazement in an area that to you just looks, well, a bit more than shit.
To say it looked tired would be giving the place a compliment, this is where fairground rides come to die, or at least enter into the final stages before death. We had to pay 1 lira each, for the privilege of entering this dilapidated requiem to pleasure. Then we had to pay for the rides.
Thank God my phone no longer had any charge left, and that despite Lai Lai’s cries of “take a photo mummy” as he sat on a cello (?) going round and round for an age on a very sorry, misery-go-round, I simply could not take one to share the true awfulness of it all. In the middle of this ride, just to give you an idea of how old it was, was some kind of faded (?) black and white minstrel. See, I told you it was old. Where do you send an ageing racist fairground round that is no longer acceptable anywhere else? Mersin of course.
The place was hardly bustling, but there was one dad totally obsessed with his selfi stick having a grand old time. Admittedly he was a distraction when the boys opted to go on the aeroplanes. It wasn’t till they were on them that I really did need a distraction. Looking too closely at the ride meant I could see how many times the tired fibreglass had been repaired. I could also see that while the hydraulics worked fine, certain parts–like bungs and bumpers, were decidedly loose. My children won’t die, my children won’t die, they’re having fun. I had to endure that one twice.
Finally off those ageing planes, we walked around the rest of the place to see what pleasures could be had. NO they were definitely NOT going to go on the roller coaster thing. Rather glad that they are scaredy cats about somethings. So, dodgems–what could possibly go wrong there. Well for one, Husband deciding that after pigging out at Uncle Mustafa’s he had a belly ache and couldn’t possible accompany anyone on them, and two me wearing a skirt. I hadn’t imagined the skirt to be an issue till I got in. Aside from having a ripped seat it turned out to be the most uncomfortable vehicle I have ever had the ‘pleasure’ of getting in. (If I keep saying pleasure it reminds me that this was fun fun fun tripled). Not only that but the damned thing was clearly set up for a midget. So with my knees up to my ears, I sat constantly trying to pull my skirt down so that my pants weren’t on display to the dad who decided to video the whole thing.
And then we were off. Oh the fun and pleasure really began now. Me trying to avoid too many bumps so that Lai Lai didn’t totally freak, but with everyone else having very different ideas and deciding that we were the prey to be hunted down and rammed into next week. Possibly egged on by that ruddy dad and the fact that there was potential for my pants to be on show. Half the cars didn’t work but that hadn’t meant they were removed, so the area to drive was half what it should have been. But to give it that real Turkish driving experience; it had pot holes. Massive, clunking, spine-damaging chunks out of the metal driving area that looked like nothing till you went over one. I was having FUN, this is such fun–trying not to grind my teeth and exposing the nerves.
It went on for eternity. One thing you can say for dilapidated, almost empty fun fairs here is that they give you a lengthy ride, whether you like it or not. Off to the next one then. Remember this is fun, it’s Blackpool pleasure beach, yes it is.
Smelly ran over to the ‘racing cars’, which looked very much closed. Padlocks pretty much suggested that. But no, a grumpy looking man told us it was actually working. Thankfully he was the one to dish out the disappointing news to Lai Lai and Dosh that they were too young. Smelly was undeterred. I most definitely was not. But I had a cunning way to get out of this: “the park opposite us has new go carts which are better, he can go on those another day”. Yes, fist pump, he walked away. The fun park opposite our flat is a whole other story.
Husband shouts that they could choose only one more ride. They saw the bungy trampolines and chose those, what could possibly go wrong. They got their tokens and waited for the other kids to finish their go, while I stood and looked at the harnesses. They may be called harnesses, but in reality they didn’t appear to be in any way shape or form a safety device. Ah well, they’ll be fine. I survived the 1970s after all. They all had a good bounce, with Dosh coming off early because his bits were being torn in two by the harness, but he stuck at it for a good while without complaining because this was FUN.
Casting my eyes around the park, I see just behind the dodgems a massive pile of random rusting metal. (Switch off the health and safety overload going on in my brain). I also see just how filthy everything, including the trampolines are. I’ve already ignored the fact that the boys went to the loo in a building that seemed to be on it’s last legs, and thankfully only had hole-in-the-ground toilets. Say what you will about a hole in the ground but at least you don’t have to sit on anything or touch anything. Plus it’s kind of easier to crouch and hold the door closed at the same time, when locks never work anyway.
Yay! We made it, no one died. We quick march out of the park, avoiding the ridiculously priced shooting game with utterly crap prizes. We get through the gate and…Dosh spies the candy floss. Husband is in a generous mood so buys them all one. It’s not till I see the fading sunset reflecting on the specks on Dosh’s face that I realise quite how luminous this candy floss is. Close my eyes, the odd bit of food colouring that is probably banned in the EU won’t kill them.
Not all fun fairs here are like that. The newer one, like the one in the marina is actually quite good. Not all candy floss is illegally pink, the stuff they sell on the promenade is pretty normal and much bigger. We all remembered a couple of years ago when they had some there and Lai Lai’s was almost as big as his head, which he found a great challenge to eat while his pesky brothers had wolfed down theirs and were stealing his.
Out of the fun fair we decide to walk round the harbour. Sadly depressing as we turn the corner to discover the now demolished water park. Basically, the way that worked was the municipality put in plans to build the water park, environmentalists objected, municipality built it anyway, environmentalists won court case, court ordered it’s demolition. Trouble is, the flaw in all this is; the army still have their water park which no one can touch because it’s military, the damage has been done years before this park because the fun fair is on the same reclaimed land and has been there for years, and the whole coastline–which was once beach–is now filled in from Mezitli to central Mersin, right up to the army base just before the luna park, because of the promenade park.
As we walk we find a whole in the fence, and walk through to get down to the last remaining bit of beach. All the boys promptly fall in the sea. Husband is glad of the candy floss bags as they can now sit on them in the car in the way home. He doesn’t approve of my just let them be naked idea. Dosh tries to have a moan that we not going to go out for dinner due to Husband’s gurgling and explosive belly. He is shot down. We have had FUN! Lots of it, mostly lethal, but we didn’t die.
Off home for spaghetti and bed.