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.

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