Thursday, June 28, 2012

Cam drops everything and goes to Ankara

When we arrived in Turkey, in December, we bought visitors visas at the airport in Istanbul.  They were valid for 3 months and cost about U.S. $60.00 each.  Then we flew to Ankara and visited a government office to make application for resident visas.  A lawyer who spoke Turkish and hand gestures directed us through the process. After we filled out the applications we had to have photographs taken. Then we stopped at a different government office and finally at his own office to notarize some documents. This is all a bit of a blur due to the lack of English translation and the fuzziness that comes with jet lag.

Once we received the resident permits, the local consultant in the employ of Cam's Canadian employer, went to work to secure Cam a work permit. Initially he needed a copy of Cam's degree and then discovered in order to have Cam's degree recognized, we would have to supply a syllabis for every course Cam took at University. So the consultant changed Cam's job description and in place of Cam's university qualifications, his high school diploma would do.  We ordered Cam's high school transcript from Alberta Education, had it emailed to Turkey and really never gave the process another thought.

Yesterday morning Cam was advised that his work permit had been issued.  However in order for it to become valid, he had to travel to Ankara, the capital of Turkey, to have it validated within two weeks. Like government offices the world over, the ones in Ankara are only open Monday to Friday and since we plan to leave Turkey on Monday for vacation, Cam had to go to Ankara today (Thursday) or tomorrow to accomplish this.

The consultant booked Cam a flight departing from Canakkale Airport at 7:00 a.m.  As a result we were out of bed at 3:00 a.m. and out the door by 3:30 a.m.  We caught the 4:00 p.m. ferry from Gelibolu to Lapseki. Gelibolu is located on the European side of Turkey.  Lapseki, Canakkale, and Ankara are all in Asia.  The dividing line between the two continents is the Marmara Sea more familliarly known as the Dardenelle Strait. 

The ferry ride took thirty minutes and the drive to the airport another thirty.  Neither Cam nor I have been to the Canakkale airport before so I navigated, based on some driving directions I pulled off the net.  After the first turn, there was a sign at every other turn for the airport so we arrived in good time and without any difficulties.

I left the airport just as it was beginning to get light.  I took two wrong turns before I got headed in the right direction.  I'm a pretty good path finder generally, but it was difficult to land mark in the dark while reading the directions to Cam.  It was the two traffic circles that messed me up.  I couldn't figure out, the first time around, where we'd entered.  After that the return journey was easy. There was very little traffic.  There were lots of signs for Lapseki in the city of Canakkale.  Considering that Lapseki is a town of about 10,000 people and it's in Turkey, it's amazing that there was one!  I arrived at the Getas Feribot terminal in time for the 6:00 a.m ferry. The return journey was only the third time I've driven in Turkey and the only time I've been in the driver's seat at a ferry crossing. The journey from the airport to home, (5:15 a.m to 7:00 a.m.) also marks the longest period of time, I've been alone since we arrived.

Cam will return on the only Ankara to Canakkale flight which lands tonight about midnight. I hope he gets a chance to sleep on the plane! He's in for another long day with very little sleep. Arriving at the airport he'll have at least two hours in transit before his head hits the pillow.  After I got home, this morning, I had breakfast and went back to bed.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Kebap with Remsi

Tuesday evening (June 26) Remsi came to our house and gave Cam a lesson on making and cooking Turkish style "kebap".  These are a mixture of ground beef and lamb, with red peppers and spices.  The meat is pressed around flat metal sticks and grilled over charcoal.  Once the meat is cooked, it is traditionally served inside flat bread with lettuce, cucumbers and tomatos. Remsi also cooked lamb "shish" and lamb chops.  The shish is purchased from the butcher already threaded on wooden sticks ready for the BBQ.

Supper was delicious.  It's amazing to me what adventurous eaters the children are becoming.  None of us care for spicy food, but our definition of spicy has changed since we came to Turkey.

Cam met Remsi through work.  He left for his home in Eastern Turkey today.  I'm not sure if we'll connect with him again because his work is finished here and he speaks no English. He and Cam communicate using Cam's Turkish, hand gestures and facial expressions - it's great fun to watch!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

A Photo

Thanks to YouTube I am now a crossbow shooting elf:

Lost & Found

A few days ago I went for a morning stroll around the neighbourhood. On my way home I found this guy:
S/he is a Spur Thighed Tortoise, and as of now I can't tell whether it's a boy or a girl so I named him Tory The Tiny Tortoise.

I left Tory in the yard. When I cam back an hour later he was gone. I looked, Mom looked. And we couldn't find him :(

Then yesterday I looked out my window and saw him! I rushed down stairs to greet him. So apparently Tory didn't leave; he's just good at being invisible ;)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Beach Clean Up

June 19 beach clean up work was done in front of our house.  The backhoe and one dump truck moved the mounds of rotting seaweed from in front of the houses on the beach.  We had been told this would happen but had no warning, except Bayram's helper came and asked us to move the car so the dump truck could get down the lane to the beach.  They also had to remove our stairs.

You can get a glimpse of Bayram (he is the live in manager of this site) wearing yellow rubber boots.  His helper is wearing flip flops, a muscle shirt and cutoffs. This is what he usually wears to work through the summer months. I mention it because often we will be sweltering in town and see an observant muslim woman wearing a headscarf, trench coat, slacks and shoes, or a man in a long sleeved shirt, sweater, long dark pants and shoes.

Over the course of a week all the seaweed was trucked away and many dump truck loads of sand were spread along the beach.  They even erected beach umbrellas near the tea house/community centre.

Beach clean up:

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Mutlu Babalar Günü

Happy Fathers' Day!

Cam arrived home about 4 am Sunday after another marathon session at work.  
When he got up we zipped into Gelibolu for a heap of groceries to sustain us for most of the next week.  Work looks like it will continue to dominate all of his waking hours and many of the hours he usually sleeps over the next few days.  After he helped the girls assemble the fans we bought, he went to work for a few hours, arriving home just in time to BBQ Fathers' Day supper. While he grilled chicken on a stick, Johanna steamed green beans (mom made her) and made oven fries. For dessert we enjoyed a chocolate/cherry cake from the bakery in Gelibolu. 

Sam's Fathers' Day jokes:

Happy Father's Day!

Who's there?
Dishes who?
Dishes the police open up!

Who's there?
Luck who?
Luck through the keyhole and find out!

Who's there?
Alec who?
Alec-tricity. Isn't that a shock!  

The Fathers' Day card Nicole made and all the kids signed.

Johanna's gift.



The bakery gave us a sparkler so ...

Poor dad has to share :(

How big will my piece be?

1/5 Just right mmm!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Neighbours

Beginning in April we began to see more activity in the village where we live.  People would arrive at their houses Friday or Saturday and leave again on Sunday.  Many overgrown yards were transformed literally overnight as a husband and wife and sometimes a local helper would scythe and mow.

Our neighbours on all three sides of us have arrived.  They have gone out of their way to make us feel welcome. A smile, a nod, or a wave go a long way when you don't share the language. However they have done more than that, bringing us plates of fruit off their trees and one lady made me a shawl!

There are some kids around now and more coming nearly every day.  We were in the water at the swim dock a week or so ago debating in English whether the water was deep enough to jump into, when a young fellow, sailed past us and dove into the water.  As he went by he said in perfect English, "It's deep enough to dive."  I wish someone had captured the look of shock on our faces with a photo.  We've made the mistake a few times of assuming we're surrounded by people who don't speak or understand our language.  Turns out this fellow, his sister and parents are here from Georgia, USA, visiting their Turkish relatives.

Not sure what kind of berries these are. They have a peculiar green taste.

Cherries off the tree in our neighbour's yard. 
The plate was heaped when we got it but I didn't get the camera out quickly enough!

The shawl Itan made for me.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

What can you buy for 72 cents?

1 kilo of green beans at the Gelibolu bazaar on Tuesday!

We've been talking about all the food we'll miss when we come home.  Fresh bread bought warm from the bakery probably tops everyone's list; then cheese, fresh fruits and vegetables round out the list.
Unfortunately nobody in the family loves green beans quite like I do.

Swimming in the Saros

With temperatures in the plus 30's, the ocean is very popular with the kids this week.
It's fun to hang out in the shallows or go to the slightly deeper water at the end of the dock. 
This afternoon a small fishing boat (no photos) tied up to the swim dock and the fisher sold his catch to people from the holiday village.  I tried out the mask and snorkel for the first time today.  Nicole taught me how to use it. It was startling to see the bottom so clearly and I had trouble figuring out the breathing but then I was laughing pretty hard.

Saros Bay Swim Dock

Cay House / Community Centre / Stone Table / Convenience Store

The swim dock with fishing boats in the background

Fishing boat.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I thought it was thunder

I thought it was thunder when I woke up this morning, but a quick glance around the blind showed blue sky and no wind.  It was too regular a sound to be thunder anyway.

It was only this afternoon that I finally caught on. The military are out playing with the tanks again today.  They're firing practice rounds somewhere near enough that we can both hear and feel the discharge. As loud as they are at the house, and we must be some kilometers distant, I can't imagine the sound close up.  My other thought is how hot it must be today on the firing range in boots, fatigues, and a helmet. I don't imagine tanks have air conditioning, but I may be wrong.

Turkey has compulsory military service for male citizens between twenty and forty one according to Wikipedia. There is much discussion among the young men that Cam works with about how best to postpone their service.  Taking vocational training or university education serves to not only delay service but also to shorten the length of time required. 

We regularly see military vehicles moving up and down the highway that runs the length of the peninsula. There is some sort of military base in many of the old world villages. There is a larger base in Gelibolu and there are armed soldiers on the street everyday.  There is sometimes a soldier with an automatic rifle on sentry duty outside one of the banks.  We suppose he is there on the day that the soldiers are paid, but we haven't stopped to inquire!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

I said I wouldn't get wet

This morning Byram (the man who basically looks after the village) and some helpers put the slats back on the dock. It's been a metal frame all winter with an old concrete dock sticking out under it. So when Sam wanted to go swimming this afternoon that's where we went.

I didn't want to get wet, I said I'd wade, but not over my knees. The plan worked for a while, I sat on the dock and watched Sam and Nicole snorkle.
Then I got in the water it was nice enough that I stayed and Nicole and Sam chased me through the water, them swimming, me walking. That got me wet to the waist.
After we were done with that game I got back up on the dock. After a while Sam came up too, he was tired of the 'slime' and weeds in the water.
A little bit later he wanted to jump off the dock into the water but wasn't quite sure. So I jumped off, wet to the chest.
Then Sam, Nicole and I all climbed back onto the dock and jumped off and got voluntarily pushed off. Wet to the neck.
Then Nicole suggested jumping off the dock backwards but didn't want to do it first, off I went.
Now at that point on the dock the water is only chest deep. But jumping backwards you don't get the visual cues to catch yourself. So under I went, soaked. My hat came off and I thought I'd lost my glasses for a minute. Silly of me to still be wearing my glasses but there you go.
Thoroughly wet.
 Yes I actually am wet in this picture.
So that's how my plan of not getting wet over the knees went.
Not well.
But I had fun anyway.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

What Bugs Me Most

What Bugs Me Most        

by Susan Murray

I’m not quite sure
Though I’ve thought and thought
What bugs me most
About the bug’s we’ve got.

There’s beetles,
Bees, flies and ants
They creep and wriggle,
squirm and dance.

They come alone
Or one by one
Sometimes in hordes
I see them run

They’re everywhere
 I look I see
A creature looking
Back at me.

The ones I fear
Very most of all
I do not see
Or hear them call.

They lurk and wriggle
In darkness unseen
They haunt my nights
And plague my dreams.

This was inspired by our supper conversation tonight.  Everyone had a bug story to tell - the big ones, the squirmy ones, and the squishy ones. We live in a beach house beside the sea in a very humid climate. We're never very far from a large alien looking creature from the family of bugs!

May 22, 2012

I had this just about ready to post a few days ago and the power went out!
I'm thankful for autosave.

The birthday cake: chocolate and sour cherry.

Seaside lunch in Sarkoy.

Big! geraniums at the ice cream shop.  Yes we had ice cream cones before cake.

Hoskoy waterfront statue.

Fish boats.  Nets are on the dock covered with tarps.

Mending nets in the shade of a tarp.

Go down there and stand on the rocks.  And DON'T fall in.