Turkey – Week 2 – Update

Sorry for the delay in writing – I have been working very hard and its been very hot and I’ve been very busy.  So here it goes – Part 2 of my adventures in Turkey.

When I left you last in was Sunday (day 7) and I was going to head into town.

Day 7 – Sunday

I walked to the town square (its about 4 blocks) and there was a bus station.  The guys at the station didn’t speak English but he was able to write down the time table for the bus schedule to and from Isparta and when I told him that I wanted to go to the mall he even told me the name of the shopping plaza to get off at.

The bus came and 30 minutes later I was at the Mall.  It was fairly upscale (mostly clothing and electronic places) – of note was the fact that the anchor store was like a home depot.  The food court had a Burger King!  There was a move theater, an arcade, bowling, and even ice skating.

I found a barber and for 5L (about $3.50) I had an amazing straight razor shave! Woo hoo I love a good shave.

I went from store to store trying to find a vest but alas – none had them.  I was able to get swim trunks for my next weeks trip to Antalya.

Next door was a supermarket and I had so much fun.  They had raw carob which I love but can never find at home and they guys were having such a fun time with my lack of Turkish that they kept giving me free samples!  I was stuffed before I left (olive, cheese, bread, Turkish delight).

My only regret was that I didn’t bring my watch with needed a battery since I could have had it replaced there.

I took a bus home without any problems and several of us pooled our food for a Sunday night feast!

Day 8 – Monday

On Monday they took me back to the Isparta Museum to shoot the pottery for a catalog.  I was a little surprised (but not too) to find that there was no special place for the photography or lighting or backdrops.

We setup a small studio in the gallery with a black paper sweep (not very big) and we had two florescent  desk lamps for lighting that bended in weird ways.  Once we set everything up – they opened up the displays and handed me pot after pot.

At first I was hands off but they instead and after a while you get used to handling the 3,000 year old pots.  They didn’t mind so why should I. It was quite an experience and I have really seen some amazing works.

We left our stuff set up on Monday (for Tuesday) as we didn’t get it all done.

Day 9 – Tuesday

We finished up as much as we could on Tuesday (though there would we found out be another day of photography).  SInce the Mall was on the way back from the Museum I asked if they could drop me off (and I would take a bus home) so I could get my watch fixed.

They dropped me off and I told them not to expect me for dinner.  They guys at the watch store said it would be about an hour and I went to the food court to grab a snack and read my book.

At the food court I went to this very nice waffle place (its a franchise) and the owner kept loading me up with more food that I didn’t order.  Potatoes and bread and such.  He was very nice and sat with me while I ate – I asked him if he knew were I could get a vest and he went and set his family into the mall to find me once – literally 4 people went looking for me.  When I was done eating he told me that they found that a place in the mall had them at their other store and drew me a map (which I later found was not to scale).

I thanked him and started walking from the mall to this plaza (that I had seen before but had not noticed the distance too).

It was a lovely night and my watch was fixed and about 4km later (yes you read that right) I got to the store which did indeed have vests but about 2 sizes smaller than I needed them to be.

I went to the bus stop to head home but I had just missed the 7:30 and the next one was at 9:30.  I waited for 2 hours (I was a tad nervous but I also knew were the taxis were if things got really bad) and the bus that came was SO full we sat in the stairwell on the floor.

When I got back some people said they were worried (the adults however knew I was a big boy) and that dinner was quiet without me.

Day 9 – Wednesday

I was told that every so often – nobody goes anywhere so that we can just play catchup.  So I laid in bed and worked on the photos.  Everyone thought I was sick and I was like – no I’m just laying in my bed and working on my photos (everyone else was in the labs).

That afternoon we threw an event for the local villagers and dignitaries – it was shorter than you would have guessed – introduction – national anthem – 2 five minute speeches and then food.  They served a light meal for everyone there.  Afterwards they did a nice thing for the kids on ancient pottery shards and they showed the villagers the kind of work we were doing.  It was very nice because I had met some of the villagers in the mountains before and they remembered me and such.

Day 10 – Thursday

We were going to go back into the field on Thursday and Andrea has told me that I had a real treat ahead of me.  Last week we had taken the jeep on the old road to  Appolonia and back on the newer road – well this week we were going back there (though the town is called Uluborlu now) to look at some inscriptions on the old Byzantine Citadel (ie Castle!!)  While the others went looking for inscriptions Hagen and I climbed around the old gate and castle walls taking photographs and panoramas.  Very nice indeed.

Next we headed to a holy shrine – the tomb of the sultan Veli Baba.  It was very nice and Paul got  more inscriptions.  The caretaker let me in and allowed me to photography and his wife made us tea.  I asked Adam how you said “No Thank You” in Turkish and his reply to me was “You don’t”.  In the end I had one glass but most of the others had 2 or 3 glasses of tea to make her happy.

After we headed to another museum which was in the area of the survey and we later found out had 30 inscriptions to study.  We walked around the museum for a few minutes and they were very nice – Paul ended up going back the next day with a team to make squeezes of almost all of them.

What a full day!

Day 11 – Friday

Just another day to catch up.  People didn’t really go anywhere.  I went to the marker where I met some of the villagers I knew again.  One guy shook my hand very heartily and kissed me on the checks.  To be nice I asked to buy some apricots from him and instead of giving me 1/2 Kilo, he gave me a giant bag and then wouldn’t take my money.  I felt bad – but they told me people do that here.  Later on someone else I knew also gave me a bag of apricots.  It was crazy how much fruit I had – I brought them back at lunchtime for everyone to eat!

Day 12 – Saturday

Well today was going to be the day of the big field trip to Termessos and are overnighter in Antalya.  We spent the morning just getting ready and headed for the long drive.  Paul did a find job driving those mountain roads.

When we got to Termessos it was almost 100 degrees and very humid.  From the gate to the parking lot is another 9km up the mountain.  As we drove Hagan joked that he wanted to try walking it – we passed some guys who were doing just that and I remarked how funny it would be to pull over and throw him out of the van and say hey walk with him – like revere hitch hiking.

When we go to the top we started to walk to a path when the guard pointed to us and indicated we were walking down the wrong path.  He didn’t speak much.  Paul asked if there was water and he shook his head no.  Then he handed 2 of us pamphlets and we all kind nudged him for a copy.  As everyone started to head up the path – I turned to him with my phrase book and asked how long the path was?

He lit up and pulled out another map and then in very good English asked me how long we had to stay and proceeded to draw a very intricate plan for us to follow that would hit all the good spots and avoid unnecessary walking!  It was a like a different person.

We hiked over the ruin for over 3 hours and saw some crazy sights – some great photos were had and I will post them at some point.

On the way back down we passed the guys we saw on the way up – this time they were looking for a ride and we found out that they were German students (so Hagan would have been in good company) and agreed to take them down the mountain to the gift shop.  When we got there they told us they too were going to Antalya so we gave them a ride into town.

I was supposed to navigate us into the city but none of the streets were marked so the mapquest guide was useless.  Paul and I were rooming together at the nice hotel and the students were staying somewhere cheaper in the old city.  We dropped them off at the Hadrian Gate and told them we would see them on Sunday between 6pm and 8pm and to have fun.

Paul drove us to our hotel where we met Bilge and Andrea – it had a real shower, a real toilet, and even AC!  Such a delight.  We had dinner at a nice restaurant under the full moon on the Mediterranean sea.  They all planned on spending Sunday at the pool or at the beach – but I had different plans.

This ends Week 2!

[Re-posted from my University Blog & Edited 07/01/2011]