Thursday 3 September 2009

Road Rage

Time to get away from the random Turkish facts for a moment and give you an update...

The school broke up for summer somewhere around the middle of July and we got a good clear two months holiday. I decided to hide myself away in Izmir. I've grown accustomed to the place and the thought of returning to the screaming tourists of Kusadasi having just aquired peace from the screaming children of Izmir seemed the wrong move. I stayed put.

Summer passed quickly with the help of a week touring the Baltics and a couple of weeks introducing my girlfriend to my folks in England and Spain. My chest barely saw the sun and school has reopened without much change in my skin tone. Oh well.

During my weeks in Izmir, I had the use of my father's car. I had always believed that I'd have no use for one in a city with such good public transport. But the truth is, it's very easy to get used to having wheels.

My father returned a couple of weeks ago and, with tears in my eyes, I handed back his car keys.

Right, I thought, time to get myself a motor. Afterall, I'm earning good money (for Turkey), got my own place (well not strictly my own but I can crap with the bathroom door open). The search began.

Now, at this point I should warn you that I'm likely to swear liberally throughout the coming paragraphs.

I am the first to admit that I'm the king of research. I use it as a very cunning form of procrastination. I currently have on my wishlist: a new PC, a new mobile phone, an alarm clock that wont allow me to 'snooze', a new LCD TV, a new watch, new pictures for the walls... the list continues. All of these items are going to see me keeping google in business for many months. I'll read reviews, scan price comparison sites, read technology forcasts, read historical price trends and anything and everything to postpone making a decision.

When choosing a car, the potential for research-based procrastination is almost limitless. Old or new, fast or slow, big or small, LPG or diesel, automatic or manual, fun or boring? Oh god please no!

In true TopGear style, here's my automotive history:

I learned to drive in a black Peugeot 205. Not a GTi or anything, a five-door run-around. But it was nippy and fun and got me out of Coventry every weekend without breaking down (well not the car anyway).

I loved that car. It was part of me. I could parralel park it like a stuntman. In fact, I think the fastest I've ever been in a car was in that little gem. My brother and I must have had it up to 125mph down the M4 leaving Heathrow after seeing our parents off on their holidays once (sorry mum, sorry dad).

The 205 finally died of neglect in the driveway. Mould started to grow on the back seats and a mate of a mate bought it for £50.

For the same money, my dad bought an old black mini which I borrowed for a while. There's always that fear when driving a mini that any kind of collision and you'll resemble a tin of tuna.

The mini died a spectacular death while I was tucked up in bed. A hoover, a terracotta flower pot, a riot squad, 2 meat wagons and a madman all conspired to comprehensively render the vehicle a right-off.

After that, I got myself a Mazda MX-5. Anyone who's ever driven an MX-5 will know the sheer pleasure they bring. I bought it from a lady in Reading. Something of a rescue mission if you ask me. That little car was fun! The number of times I lost control of the backend (and consequently my own) kept the adrenaline high. In time, though, a 2 seater became impractical. With only enough room in the boot for a bottle of pop and a bag of wheat crunchies, it made trips to Tesco something of an exercise in minimalist consumerism.

My next car was a Golf Mk4 1.6 Gti Turbo. Cunningly bought at a stupidly high price from a VW dealer. It had loads of problems but was reasonably swift. I sold it to pay for my plane ticket to Turkey.

So back to Turkey. What exactly is pissing me off? Let me give you an example...

What can you get in the UK for £2000?

.. and what can you get in Turkey for £2000?

You have got to be taking the piss! I kid you not, I have just done a quick scan for cars at this price range on both and the Turkish Try it for yourself if you don't believe me.

Cars are stupidly expensive here. That, combined with the extortionate price of tax, insurance and the highest petrol prices in the world, mean it's literally cheaper for me to jump in a cab everytime I want to go somewhere.

I honestly don't know how people can ever afford to buy a car here. I'm not exagerating when I say that I could buy a flat for the price of a half-decent run-around.

A friend of mine offered an explanation. He said that, given the relative poverty of the country, people hold their possesions in great value. So second-hand bangers are worshipped by their owners and sold reluctantly.

Whatever the reason, I'm fuming. All I want is a reliable run-around to get me from A to B. For £50 my dad picked up the doomed mini. Here, the same car would set me back 4 grand!

Any suggestions welcome. If you need me, I'll be exactly where you fucking left me. Looks like I'm not going anywhere anytime soon.