I now feel some stirrings. Time to wake up, open the eyes, look around, watch, see; time to stretch and move. Time to write again.
It's spring, this first Sunday in April. Spring has arrived early in Ankara this year, a surprise, considering how cold and snowy December and early January were. Today the weather is glorious: sunny, not a cloud in the sky, a crystal clear view over the city to the mountains beyond, no haze whatsoever from dust or air pollution. Temperature: a delightful 18 C / 65 F.
Also encouraging: things accomplished recently, several at long last. I paid overdue car taxes at the tax office in Ulus. No line, and a warm smile from the man behind the counter. At the Kızılay metro station (now named the 15 Temmuz Kızılay Milli İrade İstasyonu / the "July 15th Kızılay National Will Station" -- honoring successful resistance to the attempted coup d'état of last July), I bought (for 5 TL / approx. US $1.50) my free pass for public transportation (buses and subways), a privilege Ankara offers its senior citizens. My card, with photo, says in big letters: 65 YAŞ ("age 65"). A brutally frank reminder of passing years, but for free transportation, who's to complain? And our ice box, which stopped cooling, is now repaired. We have retrieved our frozen foods from a refrigerator in a guest apartment two floors down, and brought in everything else that we had temporarily stored on our balcony (nature's own refrigerator, at least in this season).
I have received my voter's card for the upcoming referendum on April 16, in which Turkish citizens will be asked to vote "Evet" ("Yes") or "Hayır" ("No") for changes to the constitution that strengthen substantially the powers of the president. The push for Yes (the position of the president and of the ruling party) is seen in countless billboards across the city. On my way to the Ulus tax office, I stopped counting at 30. As for No, I saw nothing on my way to Ulus, but later, crossing the city, I noted one small bus parked boldly in the center of Kızılay, with a big Hayır ("No") on its side, and one banner hung between trees in Kuğulu Park, with the picture of a young girl and the slogan -- if I remember correctly -- "Geleceği için" ("For her future"). The publicity is definitely lopsided. Does this mean a giant win for Yes on April 16? Who knows? We'll see.