Saturday, March 31, 2012


At Troy we even found a tour bus (from Bulgaria) with Sam's name on it!

We like Sam a lot.  Really we do.  But the Turks LOVE Sam.  We took him with us when we picked up bookcases.  The owner gave him a stool and shook his hand.  In the gift shop at Troy, the man behind the counter talked with him and then gave him a Turkish flag badge. Two of Cam's colleagues bought Sam a Turkish military hat.  One of the fellows wanted Sam to walk with him in the market because he'd be sure to get the approval of the local girls. All the men want to ruffle his hair, hug him or shake his hand.

The Hood

The lane beside our house. Our yard borders the rocky beach on Saros Bay.  Our house is on the right side. Yes it appears the neighbours have a boat.

Looking the opposite direction.  Now our house is on the left.  This road goes from the sea to the four lane divided highway.
No pavement in the neighbourhood.  No sidewalks.

Our house is the first one with the satellite dishes.  Our house is at the corner of the highway to sea lane and dead end lane.

Deadend lane.  Our house is on the left. At the end of this lane is the back of  "Bates Motel".
(This place needs a post of it's own but none of us have had the courage to walk right up for a good look. 
We think the man with the shot gun lives at the motel.)
Our neighbour's house across deadend lane. Yes it looks like they have a boat too. Hmm.

This is a well.  It has a tap to turn the water on and off so the water is piped to this location.  If the water was free flowing the well would be spring fed.  Wells are used by people and by their livestock. The shepherd brings his sheep to water at this well and nibble the grass on sea to highway lane.  We've never seen the cowherd this close to our house however.

The house where "hole in the roof gang" lives.  They took the roof off about three weeks ago fixed part of it and have left the rest ... This is also where the dog Jingle Bells lives.  He is a massive pony sized dog with bells on his collar and a VERY loud bark. They have a fenced yard, but he runs loose.

The big house.  On google earth you can see their really big pool.  It wasn't drained last fall so now it's filled with scummy green water.

Empty lot and the more modest house across the sea to highway lane from the big house.

The house next door to the big house. No longer inhabited. It has rebar sticking up on the roof so at one point they planned to add a second storey.

The bridge.  A small stream runs toward the ocean.  It goes between the last houses on dead end lane and the Bates Motel.  It also seems to mark the boundary between our holiday village and the next one.

The garbage bins in front of the other well.  We were told they are emptied every second day.  They are actually emptied on some schedule unknown to us - more like once per month.  Being a family of five, in a part of the world where bottled water is a necessity and recycling facilities do not exist; we end up taking our garbage quite a distance when these get full.

Us and Them

Here's a challenge for you.  Next time you go to town to run errands, take your camera.  Document your trip.  Take pictures of where you shop.  Snap a few photos of other people in the stores.  In the parking lot get photos of them as they get into their cars.  Would that feel weird?

The other day we were in Gelibolu.  We parked in our usual spot and walked to Valide Sultan for lunch.  Afterwards we went to the electronics store (printer ink), the candy store (the children made us) and then to the green grocer.  While we were walking around we saw a group of young Asian tourists pointing and snapping photos.  They seemed so out of place in downtown Gelibolu. They were acting like Gelibolu was Disneyland. I was offended and horrified, because I remember doing exactly the same thing.

I still see things that astound my Canadian brain (There was the man driving his car slowly down the street with the hood covered in layers and layers of socks.  The same day we watched a car whiz by us.  The passenger was holding about  5 -  5L empty plastic water bottles tied together out the window of the car. Just yesterday there was the motorcyclist going the wrong way on the divided highway carrying gasoline in a 5L water container.) These things are still remarkable but now I feel like  snapping photos and pointing out the other worldness of this place is disrespectful to the people who live here. It doesn't help that I've been reading this:   Using your poor kid to teach my rich kid a lesson

So now I don't know who I am. Am I a tourist documenting my vacation or am I a temporary Turk just the same as my neighbours?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Building Deck Chairs - Part 3

Nicole is adding colour to Johanna's chair.

Blue the colour of the sky

and the sea.

And of course we need a pink one,

and a green one

But maybe not this shade of green!

Oh! Oh! Ran out of paint before the boys' chairs got a coat.
The deck is a lovely place to read, play guitar and hang out at lunch time and in the evening. 
I'm so grateful for everyone's hardwork!

Building Deck Chairs - Part 2

This is what you do when Dad goes to work ...

Get a new helper.

And finish the job.

First you learn and then you teach.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Kilitbahir Castle/Fortress

Just down the peninsula from us is the narrowest part of the Marmara sea also known as the Dardanelle strait or the Hellespont depending on where the person you ask comes from. The straight is 1500m or so wide. When cannon were able to reach 800 m range in the 1400's the Ottomans realized they could control all traffic through the seaway with fortifications on either shore. They built matching fortifications on either side with unique cloverleaf pattern castle keeps.

1. The best view of either one is from the ferry back toward Kilibahir.

2. If you look closely, you can see the latest in fighter technology doing a flyover of the penninsula just before the March 18 memorials.   An odd contrast of cutting edge 1450s technology and a 20th century fighter jet.

3. The inner keep is in the throes of reconstruction and is closed, but the grounds are accessible as are the walls.

4. the Turks have a different view of public safety around these ruins this faded sign and about a half dozen more replace the nanny state guardrails you'd find elsewhere.

5. There is good reason for the signs. Count the steps in the stairs.. It is a long way up on weathered stone steps to a 1 m wide "widow's walk" inside the castellations at the top.


Cam has ordered mussels a couple of times in the local restaurants.  They usually come stuffed with rice.  He enjoyed the mussels, but not the rice, so for a few weeks he tried to get some information about where to buy them. 

There is a small fish market in Gelibolu across the street from the harbour and vendors also wheel carts of small fish and shrimp through the center of town. However, the only time there were mussels at the fish market, they were cooked.  Cam wanted to cook them himself.

We met Orhan and Omer for chai one afternoon in late March.  They agreed to take Cam to the fish market. (Nicole and I went in the opposite direction to the wool shop.)  Although the vendors didn't have any mussels for sale, Cam's Turkish speaking companions were able to order 40 mussels. (He really wanted 20 but ...) The vendor took the order, but no money and said they wouldn't be available for pick up until 10 a.m. the next day.  Someone would go harvest them in the meantime.  No problem, I can pick them up, Cam said. We met at the car and were home a few minutes later.

At supper time our door bell rang.  There was Orhan with the bag of mussels in hand.  They called us, he explained. They were ready for pick up. So rather than calling Cam, he made a special trip back to Gelibolu, picked up and paid for the mussels and delivered them to our home. No charge for delivery and no charge for the mussels. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Road Side Zoo

Turkish Mickey


Husky Dogs


We stopped at this roadside zoo enroute to Troy.  This is the only one we have visited.  It is on the same property as a gas station. There was no admission fee. It was a well maintained facility by Turkish standards. Cages were small but clean. Water dishes were full and clean. There was nothing in the cages to entertain the animals or provide any natural stimulation. Besides the animals pictured there were chickens, quail and Golden Retreivers.  None of the animals acted interested in us, not even the dogs. 

A side trip to Pardise on the way to Troy

Monday we were on the outskirts of Cannakale heading for Troy.  Cam was driving our car.  We were following our guide, Ali, and his wife who were in their own car.

Suddenly, Ali moved to the middle lane and sped up to pass a large truck.  We followed. Once he was past the truck, he pulled in front of it.  Once again we followed. Before we were properly all the way into the right lane, Ali braked hard and pulled over to the narrow shoulder and stopped.  We followed. This required hard braking and nimble driving on Cam's part as well as on the trucker's behind us.

Now Cam will tell you that there was plenty of room for us in front of that truck and that we were never in any danger.  He's put on a lot of accident free kilometers on a couple of vehicles so he's very likely right. However, this is all about perception, my perception, as I watched the truck behind us in the side view mirror. And for a few panic stricken moments I was pretty sure I was going to die.

Once we were stopped, Ali jumped out of his car and told us to back down the highway to the last exit. I was pretty shaken up. What was so important that he thought it necessary to nearly kill us stopping to see?

Hill tomb of Prince Dardanos 
Why it's a TOMB!  How appropriate! Actually it is the hill tomb of the Prince who gave his name to the Dardenelle Strait.

OK so it was very cool.  We went right inside for a look. Everyone with the exception of Sam had to bend a bit to get inside.  There is a short step down and a small room and then a few steps further there is a larger room (maybe 4 m across) with a vaulted ceiling. The actual tomb is farther under the hill and the access is blocked (rightly so).  

However, my concern about the safety of our lane change and sudden stop seemed a little more justified when I saw the little blue sign at the highway exit to this historical site.

Yup   "Paradise Caravan Camping".

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

An old world village

The old village of Koru sits up on the hill across the highway from the holiday village of Koru Tatil Sitesi where our house is.  The old village seems to be a classic old world village.  The village is a collection of about 40 civilian houses with 3 markets, a butcher shop, the obligatory army base, and a couple other businesses supporting the local community like a repair shop and building materials.  Although the area around the village is chopped up into tiny little fields, there are few truly rural residences.  Most farmers live in the village close to their support network and travel to work in the fields around their village, often driving their tractors home to park in their own driveway at night. 

I took a little drive around the old village on my way back to the house this morning.  It is a glorious spring day and the little village was a beehive of activity.

The army is on maneuvers so there were 4 or 5 trucks full of men, 3 jeeps, and an ambulance.  Some of the soldiers stopped at the local market to pick up lunch.  The shop keeper sold them the bread, tomatoes, onions, and cheese, and proceeded to make up sandwiches for them on the counter beside the till (no pictures - some of the army guys seem a bit self conscious and all carry guns).

There were 4 heavy trucks (body jobs with tag axles and single lead axles making them look like tridems – kinda).  Three of the trucks had the name of a local flour mill on the doors and were in the process of loading wheat out of a large granary.  Another truck a couple of blocks away was loading sunflower seeds.  Many of the old folk were out walking and many waved in a friendly manner as I drove slowly along gawking at the sights.  The streets are often populated by an assortment of livestock including dogs, cats, chickens, and often sheep and cattle. 

The herds of animals are often driven through town streets to the “well” in the center of town for water and then back to the fields to graze or back to their barns.  Since I got here the first time just over a year ago, the village of Kavak has started a water/sewer line upgrade and has torn up every street in the village.  There has been heavy equipment working on the streets (parked about 75% of the time) since December.
 Around the dirt pile are 7 or 8 guys having Chai.  the machines haven't moved a spoonful of dirt all morning and it's 11 am when the picture was taken.

As I crossed one intersection in Korukoy this morning, I had to wait for some “romantically involved” chickens to clear the intersection before proceeding. 

As I left town to come home, I had to drive around a flock of sheep being taken out to graze. 

There are many small herds of animals around and very few fences.  All animals are tended by shepherds or herdsmen.   It is not uncommon to see a herd of either sheep or a few cows being herded through our holiday village to graze the open areas.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Building Deck Chairs - Part 1

Using the top of the cistern for a work bench.

Drilling holes.

A little more assembly.

Testing the prototype.

Showing off the prototype.

Considering the functionality of the design.

Finishing the prototype.