Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Do You Know Brains?

Around 11:30 or 12:00, while we were in Ankara this past Monday, we stopped for lunch at a pretty typical Turkish restaurant.
After we ordered our main courses the proprietor, the waiter and a minion (see our post on minions from earlier this year) came over with the customary large tray of salads. If you're eating in a sit down restaurant In Turkey expect to have at least one course before your entree arrives. As usual in broken English the waiter and proprietor told us what each of the salads was; beans, peppers and yogurt, just the usual. But one salad caught us all unawares, the proprietor picked up one dish and said "You know brains?" and sure enough on that plate was two or three pieces of what was probably sheep brain and some greens. Yes, we know brains alright. We elected not to have them for lunch though. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Oh those Hittites!

The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations
Although much of the museum is currently under renovation what we did see was amazing.  We were offered English audio guides for 5 tl a piece. These are usually very informative but take away from our ability to share the wonder of our discoveries.  So we skipped them.  I think all of the signs were in both Turkish and English, so we never felt like we were missing anything.

All of the artifacts we saw were from the Hittite, Phrygian and Early Bronze peoples living in Turkey; with the exception of one display case with a few pieces of jewelry from Troy.

Early Bronze 3000 - 1950 BC   Hittite 1750-1200 BC     Phrygian 1200-700 BC

Lots of bulls

This is a replica of a statue of one God standing on another God

Ancient history is soooo funny!

Lots of headless statues outside.

My favourite bas relief. Lion hunting from a chariot!

Here kitty kitty kitty.  There were actually two of these little guys.

I love this pot. The stand has cloven feet.  Wouldn't it be perfect for hobo soup or beef stew?

Book in its case.  The barely visible squiggles are actually some sort of ancient script.


Johanna and Nicole

Nicole and Johanna

There were a few of these pots with animal heads.

Lots of these antlered creatures on display.

Super model?


Sam - still smiling!

The caption says "God in a temple" - but honestly it looked like model for the "new" bathroom design.

Stand like a Hittite.

And we're done!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thirty nine hours in Ankara

Monday morning we were awakened by Sam, who reported that there was something wrong with his watch!  He thought the time was 4:30 a.m.  Thankfully he was wrong by an hour; it was only 3:30 a.m. But it was important enough to know for sure that I got out of bed to check the time just in case.  I sent him back to bed and thirty minutes later, two minutes before my alarm went off, I got up and made sure everyone else was on the move.

We left the house at 4:30 a.m. and made the 5:00 a.m. Gelibolu to Lapseki feribot.  From Lepseki we drove to the Canakkale airport and took the 7:00 a.m flight to Ankara. The ninety minute flight was full.

We went to Ankara so that the company lawyer could help us renew our residence permits. Upon arrival, we filled out the forms in his office and then followed him to the Police Station where an officer reviewed the paperwork, looked us over and presented the lawyer with the bill for 4 permits.

While the lawyer paid, we hung out in the waiting room.  Then we went out to the parking lot and waited some more. By 12:30 p.m. we were finished and could have gone back home - except that the only return flight departs Ankara at 11:00 p.m.  By the time we drove home, we would have been awake for more than 24 hours.  Cam's done the round trip in a single day, so he insisted that we needed to spend overnight in a hotel and return Tuesday evening.

After lunch, we went to Bookish, an English only book store.  It's not very big but everyone found something to read and we left with an armful.  We dropped Cam at the office and then the driver dropped us at AnkaMall.  It looks like most malls I've been in - but larger: 4 levels, movie theaters, food fair, grocery store, hardware store.  The driver took us back to the office late in the day and dropped us at the hotel.  We walked to a restaurant for supper and then turned in.

the view from our hotel - see the smoggy sky line?

the view in the other direction

We had breakfast in the hotel and our driver picked us at 10:00 a.m. We all went to AnkaMall in the morning.  Cam and Sam went one direction, Johanna headed off in another direction and Nicole and I travelled together.  We met up just before lunch in D&R.  This is a chain of bookstores which also carries DVDs and Cd's.  This particular D&R had a little corner devoted to English books and once again we came away with an armload.  After a quick lunch in the food fair (Cam, Nicole and Sam ate at McDonald's!) our driver took us to the office.  We dropped Cam and our luggage - 4 back packs, Johanna's carry on and the duffel bag (now full of books) I'd brought empty in my back pack up to the first floor office.  We piled our bags in a corner and then the kids and I headed out to the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations.

The driver parked right in front of the museum and then got out to show us where the taxi call button was located.  He used hand gestures (which I didn't understand at the time) to tell me that the taxis were parked further up the hill. The driver had corporate passengers to take to the airport so this was the only time during our two days that he wasn't entirely at our beck and call.

We were greeted in English by the ticket man.  He examined Sam's passport to verify his age so that he could have free admission.  Once we were all paid, a lady took our tickets and scanned them so we could walk through the turnstile.  This is commonly how access is arranged at Turkey's museums.

The museum is located on the south side of Ankara Castle, which we'd visited in December last year. Much of the museum is closed for renovations.  However, we very much enjoyed the two rooms which were open.  There were two guided tours in the museum (one speaking French and the other German - perhaps) while we were there and a small group of school children.  The museum has a well stocked gift shop.

After the museum, we called a cab with a push of the green button! I gave him the written address I'd been given and in short time we were back at the office.  We hung around the office for most of two hours until Cam could get away, then we went to Panora Mall.  This mall also has a D & R which sells English books.  We had supper.  (I had a mushroom burger and the best hand cut french fries I've had in a long time!!!)  After supper, we visited the Comic store which carried character merchandise for everything from Spiderman to Ice Age to Sylvester and Tweety. They also had some gruesome life size characters which I tried very hard to avoid. Then we went to the toy store and finally to D & R.  Cam and a couple of the kids walked through the RC Vehicle store too.
When we left the mall we headed toward where the car was parked when we arrived.  When we got most of the way there, the driver pulled up right beside us.  He'd obviously been watching and waiting. Cam and some of the kids took the long way to the car, so Nicole and I could reorganize the back pack so everything we'd just bought would fit.  When we weighed the bag at the airport so it could be checked it weighed more than 10 kg.

The driver took us to the airport.  It took a little more than an hour.  We had to run the security gauntlet, get checked in and go through security a second time before we arrived at the gate where a bus waited to take us to the tarmac where our twin engine plane was waiting. Ninety minutes later we were on the tarmac in front of Canakkale's terminal.  We caught the 2 a.m. feribot from Lapseki and arrived home about 3:30 a.m.  Wednesday was a very quiet day - except Cam and I had to go to town for groceries.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Our Friend James from Australia

For some reason we like to know where we are going and how to get there. When all you have is a crummy/outdated map from the hotel's website and minimal Turkish, getting there is a problem. Enter James. James is a helpful fellow; he navigates and complains bitterly when we go the wrong direction.  James, as you may have guessed is one of the voices of our new GPS.  Thanks to James, we will never get lost again. Well, that’s the idea.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Guinea Pig**

Monday Cam and I went into Gelibolu to the bank.  Afterwards, he got a shave and a hair cut and I did some shopping, then we went for lunch. On the way home we bought ice cream and parts for his work related plumbing adventure. By the time I got home, I had a burning pain in my chest and a funny little cough. Of course nearly a week later it’s blossomed into a full on cold with all the symptoms and I’ve passed it around. So today Sam is coughing like a pack a day smoker and Johanna is laying on her bed wishing she knew how to nap.
For some reason before we returned to Canada for the summer, I never thought to inventory our cough and cold remedy supply. Our first cold at the end of September depleted what little we had on hand after I threw out everything that had exceeded its best before date.
Today Cam and I went to a pharmacy to see about cough medicine. In Canada, my pharmacy of choice is located inside my usual grocery store. Behind the counter are white coated pharmacists and assistants who dispense doctors’ prescriptions. On my side of the counter are lots of vitamins and medicines which you can choose without a prescription. In Turkey, pharmacies are separate businesses. They sell a few sundries, but all the drugs and vitamins are behind the counter. There were two fellows in the pharmacy we visited. Both were dressed casually.
Cam Google translated cough syrup before we went and I mimed symptoms. They sold us something called Asist. Helpfully the fellow wrote dosing instructions in English on the exterior of the box;  1 teaspoon morning, afternoon and evening. When I got the box home, I discovered that it contained a glass bottle half full of a granular substance like Koolaid. I did a quick Internet search and discovered the active ingredient is for pneumonia and  acetaminophen over doses. Not exactly what we had in mind when we went looking for cough suppressant.
I Google translated some of the instructions and did as instructed (add boiling water to fill line on bottle – shake). After the mixture had cooled, I took a teaspoon full. When I felt neither better nor worse after half an hour I gave a teaspoon full to Sam.   It's been a couple of hours now and let me just say so far so good - not cured but not worse either.
The good news part of this story is that Cam saw vials of vitamin C, clearly labeled vitamin C, in the pharmacy and we convinced the guy to sell us a 40 tablets. 
**a person who is the subject of an experiment 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Wet Wipes

Turkish people are by nature often quite fastidious. They do not like their hands to be dirty. Turkish
people also like gadgets. Restaurants cater to this by giving out wet wipes at the end of a meal. The
wipes are packaged in various ways. The packaging is typically covered with the restaurant’s name and logo and possibly advertising for an associated business.

The most unique hand wipe we’ve seen so far came in a little puck. The top paper cover was broken and the liquid surrounding the cloth absorbed the liquid and swelled up out of the package dramatically.

Here it is unopened
Press down on the center
Keep pushing
The wipe in side will expand
Good, now take it out

And wipe your hands/face

And then put it back on top of the hockey puck it came in

These are wipes from different restaurants

In most restaurants, a waiter will also stand by the door and squirt a few drops of
scented water (?) into your hands as you leave.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Remembrance Day 2012 - Part Three

We stopped at a picnic park between the Museum and Anzac Cove on our way home.  Turns out it's a "pay as you picnic" spot.  There are many picnic tables and a beautiful beach and although we didn't patronize it there seemed to be a cay (tea) house as well.  It's a perfect antidote to the "war down the road". It cost 10 TL for the privilege of stopping, but it was a nice break before we came home.

They also had a little area where the there was info about the Galipolli Peace Park.
 The rules
 A list of foreign cemeteries in the park
A list of Turkish cemeteries in the park
Picnic tables, snacks and beggars

A pier and two Canadian girls.

Remembrance Day 2012 - Part Two

After the museum we drove to Anzac Cove.  Cam and I were there in August 2011, but the kids had never been. It's a place of incredible natural beauty.  It is also the scene of a bloody WWI battle.
"A good army of 50,000 men and sea power - that is the end of the Turkish menace." **
William Churchill 1915 British Cabinet Minister
"You have got through the difficult business, now you dig dig, dig, until you are safe."
General Sir Ian Hamilton British Commander In Chief, Gallipoli
"Sir this is a sheer waste of good men."
Joseph Gasparish, New Zealand Soldier, Krithia, 8 May 1915
"There is hell waiting here."
C.A. McAnulty, Australian Soldier KIA Galipolli Campaign 7-12 August 1915
"Countless dead, countless! It was impossible to count."
Memis Bayraktar, Turkish Soldier
Anzac forces landed in April 1915 and were evacuated in December 1915.
Estimated Allied Soldiers Killed and Wounded:  141,113
Estimated Turkish Soldiers* Killed and Wounded:  195,000
*I've seen estimates upto 300,000 killed and wounded. Turks had many allies fighting along side them in this campaign from neighbouring countries and Germany.
**All quotes on this page come from the signs at Anzac Cove describing the battles.

Remembrance Day 2012 - Part One

In Canada, we remember our war dead on November 11th.

Yesterday, (November 10) we watched War Horse after supper. It follows a horse and his boy through their World War I experiences. 

This morning, Sam gathered us up for two minutes of silence at 11 a.m.

After lunch Cam drove us to Kabetepe in the Gallipoli Peace Park. There we visited the newly opened/renovated Canakkale Destani Tanitim Merkezi (Museum).  This is a huge museum with a lot of empty interior space. Admission was 10 TL per person.  They have about 10 display cases showing artifacts from the WWI campaign which made the region famous.  They also have a 60 minute audio/visual program in 13 different rooms.  This program puts you on board a ship laying mines in the Dardenelle Strait, in the trenches and in gun batteries on shore.  Some of the program is in 3D.  We were recognized from our arrival as English speakers and given head phones with English audio for the program.  The head phones worked well and the staff was very attentive ensuring that everything was in working order.  The program was excellent.  It gave an overview of the battle for the Dardenelles and the peninsula.

Little people REALLY big wall.

Random Stranger...Not sure where the stairs go but the museum entrance is to the right.

Walkin' the walk.

Big space.  Not much to see.

Shell casings and water canteens.