Edirne is famous for it’s fried lamb’s liver so I parted with some of my dearly earned lira for a plate. I spent the rest of the day on the outskirts of town – at the library and the Bayezit Mosque Complex. I think Edirne’s one of my favorite places thus far. It’s up there with Bergen. There’s a very peaceful air to the place despite the bustle. No tall buildings, gorgeous mosques, wonderful people. If it could boast mountains or a seaside I think it’d be perfect.
As soon as I arrived at Salaçlar Caddesi (9.1.10), the shop owners near where I played the night before came out and helped me find a good spot under some light and near the same benches. But the pitch started off poorly and my first few songs earned me nothing. I switched to slower, gentler songs with Flightless Bird, American Mouth and that changed everything. The night was colder but no less magical, with my own songs again doing the best, even one I mangled the lyrics of. A drummer passed by with his friends and we had a great set of three songs together. He reminded me of a very friendly bear, enthusiastic and playful as he followed me. One of his friends spoke a few words of English but I think I had the greatest conversation with the drummer, and I told him this through his friend: “Music is the universal language.”
The passersby were distinctly younger this night and I gathered an even larger audience. My voice even started to feel a little stronger. One thirty something man struck up a short conversation with me in a distinctly Irish accent and tipped me, in his words, “five bucks.” He helped translate between myself and a group of elementary school children who I’d been singing for when he arrived. At the end of this first pitch I ran into the Tunisian and Morrocan who stayed at the same inn and had earlier given me road maps for Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia as parting gifts. As I spoke with them a pair of haggard looking Roma showed up and started to hover around my case, looking desirously at my earnings, but my friends shooed them away.
My second pitch after an hour’s break met with markedly slower tippage. The composition of pedestrians strongly favoured groups of high school to college age boys. Many stopped and sat nearby such that by the end every bench I could see was occupied. I think I boosted the sales of the kiosk across the way, also, as some of the passersby would buy something small to get change to give me. One pair of boys passed twice, each time buying Buglers and offering me some.
In the interim between pitches I’d returned to the Anil Hotel for some water. The night shift worker gave me a short Turkish lesson using no English and when I returned at the end of the night he and another guest or friend, Himmet, taught me a page’s worth of phrases. Himmet wrote an encouraging note to me in my journal. He worked previously in Antalya, the tourist capital of Turkey, and offered to help me with the language, asking me to bring him a list of phrases I needed in the morning. He was very keen on my travels and with the permission of the hotel owners I quietly sang them Hotel California at his request. I’ll leave the irony or beauty of that to your discretion.
Earnings: 39,30 TRY, 1.9 hours
Song of the Day: Someone New – Terrence Ho