A City That Never Sleeps

by Ferdi Tackinlar, SUNY Cortland, April 11, 2008

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Have you ever traveled to an extremely boring place? Well, Izmir is the total opposite. If a college student wants to feel more alive and get involved in fun activities while enjoying the beautiful weather, then Izmir would be the place to visit.

Izmir is one of the best cities to experience the diversity of the global youth culture. I guarantee you wouldn’t be surprised to find many similarities in Izmir compared to your hometown. As Julian Hamilton says in his article ‘‘The New Global Youth Culture,’’ “Global youth culture is increasingly becoming a reality. Youth sub groups no longer significantly vary country to country.’’ Youth culture exists in all countries you would visit today; so you will see that Izmir is not so different. In the article “Understanding Youth Culture,” Carl S. Taylor says: Young people today are defining themselves through hip-hop culture, new breeds of alternative music and a host of other methods.’’ As he mentioned in his editorial, and as we will see later, alternative rock is one good example of the results of the global youth culture that you can find in Izmir. Needless to say, that a young traveler apprehensive about traveling and new environments will still be able to have fun.

With more than three million diverse residents in 1200 square kilometers, the city is vibrant. It’s crazy because it doesn’t matter if it’s late or not; you can always find young people having fun in the city! There are six universities in Izmir, so amusement never stops with the city’s native students and international students coming from various places of the world. From time to time, these students have a very good time in beautiful and sunny shore towns in Izmir like Kusadası, Cesme and Foca. In these shore towns, wonderful beaches are everywhere because Izmir is near the Aegean Sea. However, if you have limited time to visit these towns, then I definitely advise you to go to Cesme because it is the best of all. Although all of the beach towns are beautiful, Cesme has bright sun reflecting off of the sky blue water and a party scene that you shouldn’t miss.

Let me tell you about my own adventures in Cesme. One day, on a beach called ‘Seaside’ in Cesme, I was partying with my friends from my university. It was a sunny summer day and we were having fun at this beach in the hot weather, swimming in the cold water with beers in our hands while listening to techno and trance music. The beach was crowded with college students relaxing and socializing. If you have free time on the weekend after a tiring and long week of school, a day like this one can be a great chance to have fun and relax. My friends and I left the beach; we went to a cafe to eat kumru, a special kind of sandwich that is made just in Cesme. It’s an egg-shaped sandwich and there are different kinds of meat in it with melted cheese. Do you think the fun was over after we had our sandwiches? Of course not! We went back to the Seaside beach which had become an open-air club called Inside, our next stop. In the club, we drank and danced to the trance and electronic music that was playing. One of my friends was drunk and jumped on the stage in front of the huge crowd! I think he wanted to hug the band members, but perhaps they didn’t want to hug him. That was an awesome night! In Cesme there are many beaches and beach clubs like this one where you can dance and drink until the first light of the morning.

Izmir never sleeps. A college student always finds something to do to have fun at the international fair of Izmir. There are many open-air theaters, an amusement park, and a parachute tower, which I am scared to try. Turkish bands perform concerts in these open-air theaters. Two popular bands are called ‘Mor ve Otesi’ and ‘Duman’. They are both alternative rock bands that are widely popular in Turkey and globally.

As I mentioned earlier, college students from all over the world are fans of alternative rock, which is famous in Izmir. Do you know why they like alternative rock so much? It is probably because alternative rock contains a lot of subgenres of rock music and is influenced by other genres such as folk music, reggae, electronic music and jazz. Related to that, it resonates cross-culturally with many emotions and thoughts. This is why young people from everywhere in the world like alternative rock. Like many teenagers, I like alternative rock because I can relate my feelings to it. Sometimes when I want to relax or even have fun and go maybe a little crazy, I listen to this music.

For example that one night, while Mor ve Otesi were singing, people including myself had gone mad. Everybody was bouncing and singing the songs. Another night, at the concert of Duman, which is a band combining traditional Turkish folk music with modern rock music, people, mostly college students, were dancing with beer cups in their hands. It was dark and the only light was coming from the stage that the singers were on. So, it was an incredible sight to see Duman singing in the light and people dancing like crazy in the dark. Of course, I was one of those dancing crazy people and, unfortunately, I lost my friends because it was so crowded and dark! But no one cared if they were lost because the music was so good. I am sure that every single person in there enjoyed the night and if you were there, you would have enjoyed it too.

Actually, if you want some real thrills, the parachute tower is for you. To be honest, I am afraid of this tower; let me describe it. It is taller than a skyscraper and they throw you down the tower just with a parachute bag. Can you imagine? One day, I prepared myself psychologically to jump off with the insistence of my friends. Well, it was too late when I realized it was a mistake because I was right in front of the tower with five friends. All of them were making fun of me. But I still was saying, “it’s not a big deal” and pretending to be the tough guy! All of my friends jumped off; they were flying in the air. It was so fun to watch them but the time had come; I had to jump but I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t even go up to the top of the tower. If you think that you are tough enough, then you try it.

Perhaps I have interested you in these crazy activities to have fun and if you come to Izmir, you can always enjoy them. Now you know how wonderful the city of Izmir is, how colorful it is with its countless activities and how cool the city is for young people from across the world. Don’t delay! Just buy your ticket and come to Izmir!

Hamilton, Julian. The New Global Youth Culture. Youth Specialties 2004

Taylor, Carl S.. Understanding Youth Culture. February 2003

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