Day 8 – Gonen and Isparta

Day 8 – Tuesday – July 19, 2011

Bilge told me she needed me to get pictures of the stones in the park. When I asked which ones she said – everything without an inscription.  This is a pretty funny and regular request since Paul was asking me to get everything with an inscription.  Next time I just photograph everything and let the two of them sort it out.

I kid.

So I went down to the park and she even gave me Yussof the drive to help me get them clean and such.  He started to wash them off and I realized that the lighting was terrible – all of the photos I took were either pure sun, pure shadow, or a marbled mix of the two.  I went instead and grabbed some Sour Cherry juice which is a real treat here.

I came back pretty early and was told we were going to have a big lunch with both the Mayor and the Governor.  Bilge was all prepared in her ‘war room’.  It isn’t called that but when you see her sitting at her desks surrounded by terrain and satellite maps of the region you just get the impression she is ready to move troops around.

I was asked to sit in on the meeting to take pictures.  To my surprise when the Governor came in there were 3 men and I wasn’t ready for the Governor to be the youngest and most casually dressed of the three.  I am not talking bad about him – he was dressed fine – I just let my preconceived notions of what an American politician should look like carryover here. A few minutes later the Mayor of Gonen came in and he looked like what I thought a Mayor should look like – he walked with a kind of regional pride and was very friendly.  They were presented with some slide shows and some papers – but I just took my pictures and sat there quietly.  After the short presentation we went to lunch.

Lunch was very nice – we have a sort of soup/stew with hunks of meat in it and a really nice salad.  The salads here always have shredded raw onion in them which gives them a real tang.  I also got to try pomegranate dressing.  I am becoming more and more in love with the flavor and the look of pomegranates.

At lunch I became fascinated by the Mayor’s ring – it had a huge black Onyx on it and an Ottoman crest on one side and the Turkish star and crescent moon on the other – I liked it but I don’t think I could wear one.  We showed him the panorama from the Mosque and he wanted to know if he could get the files to put it on the city’s website!  (Of course I said yes)

We then as a group went a little ways up the road to explore this empty house.  It wasn’t bad but it needed some fixing up.  I took a few pictures but Bilge said to take more that it might be the field house if they start to dig!  Dig! So exciting.  Actually I have been to several digs and they look like a construction zones.  The house was neat though and I think it will be a nice staging point.

When we came back the Mayor and Bilge started to sign papers with pictures and hand things back and forth.  So it turns out that we found the stones on one day, the city delivered them to the park the next day, they positioned them nicely the day after, and now was the formal transfer of responsibility where they were saying where each stone was found and how they were given to the city.

We had what I call a ‘political day’ last year too with us shaking hands and taking pictures and greeting the villagers.  I am told at the end of the summer they are going to have a big thing for the villagers again and I am sad I won’t get to be there.  The Governor left first (I guess his wife was ready to have a baby) and then the Major left.  We all kinda relaxed and the day was mostly done – we tend to finish things mid to late afternoon anyways so I hopped the bus to Isparta to get my massage at the Hamam.

This time I did it right.  Got on the bus – got off at the right bus stop – walked to the right Hamam and told him I wanted the sauna, scrub, and massage.  So I went and laid down for a bit in the Hamam and got nice and sweaty (like I needed it) and then he called for me.  They laid me down on this stone slab and started to scrub me with like a Brillo pad.  I reached up and there were these thick gray/white ringlets all over my body.  I picked one off and asked him what it was.  He said ‘YOU’.  That’s how much dirt and dead skin they scrub off of you.  It was so weird.  He even did my head and face.  Then he covered me in soap bubbles and started to give a really good massage.  We were in a room right off of the Hamam which was still very misty and warm and I was just wondering how wrinkly his skin got after spending all day in a towel in a sauna rubbing people.

After the massage he dumped a giant bucket of warm water over me and it was nice to feel everything just rinse off.  Of course a second later he took a dumped another bucket of water but this time ice-cold. I know I screamed and he laughed and just repeated the process hot then cold hot then cold.

He then led me back to the front where he toweled me off and offered me tea (I declined).  I felt SO good.  It was late afternoon so I didn’t worry too much about sunscreen and 25TL later (I tipped 4) I headed out to Isparta.

I did walk around a little before I got back on the bus.  They had pistachios for 30TL a Kilo (which is like $10/pound).  They were smaller but not too salty and I really like them here in Turkey.  I saw them roasting coffee which smelled so good – and they had a real coffee roaster too – huge machine very sweet.  They also sell Carob here which I love to eat is hard on your insides (makes you gassy).  Its also called St Johns bread and its really a good treat.  I used to have it on Tu Bishvat (Jewish Arbor Day) when I was a kid and it brings back fond memories – it also tastes good if you like a naturally sweet thing that feels like tree bark.

Even though I knew dinner was coming I stopped quickly and grabbed a sandwich from one of those meat spit carved things and he put on it some sauce that tasted like pepperoni.  3.5TL never tasted so good!

Walked past the military complex to the bus stop where I saw a woman holding a rabbit.  I asked if I could take her picture and she said not but a moment later called me over and let me take it. There mom – another bunny picture for you.

When I got back they had laid the daily pottery shards out to dry and I noticed this HUGE cricket just sitting there.  It let me take its picture with a flash (which is VERY rare for me to use) without jumping.

That afternoon Paul had left – he said he was coming for lunch in a few days though with his family.  Also we were getting a new addition – the German students were coming with their laser scanning equipment to get models of the ruin on the mountain.

At dinner Bilge told me that Pervin had plans to take me around tomorrow to show me 3 area cities.

Images from Day 8 (also read the captions!)
(click here if you don’t see the image thumbnails)

Day 6 and 7 – Gonen and Isparta

I have put day 6 and 7 together for reasons which will be clear momentarily.

Day 6 – Sunday – July 17, 2011

Sundays are our days off – we can do what we like.  Some people laze about others take day trips.  My roommate Bert was trying to figure out which site to see.  One of his options, Sagalassos, I saw last year and another (which I would have wanted to see) was really too far away to make it as a day trip.  He was going to go up to Lake Egirdir which supposedly has nice swimming and hiking.  I wished him well.

I had only one real agenda for the day – I really needed a massage – my back has been killing me – and as luck would have it I also really needed a bath.  Rumor has it that a trickle of hot water will come out of the shower if you use it just right but Bert and I haven’t seen it happen so its ice cold or no go.

Uygar told me there was indeed a Hamam in Isparta (only 30 min by bus) and Bilge drew me a map of the bus stop, the Isparta hotel, and the Hamam she also have me her phone number and told me that I must call her around 5pm and that since they were going for groceries they would just pick me.  She tried to have one of the students give me a cell phone but I assured her I would use one of the numerous pay phones I had seen in the city.

When I woke up this morning the power was out – it happens – usually in the morning – you don’t even notice until the lights don’t go on and -gasp- the Internet is down.  I really had no reason to stick around the field house.  Gunsu had asked if I could take some pictures of the park in Gonen for one of her papers.  The park is filled with all sorts of architecture fragments found in the region.  She walked me to town (and to the bus station) and I finally saw the elusive Turkish squirrel. People kept talking about seeing squirrels and how they were very small animals – and I kept thinking – they aren’t that small at home.  Well they are much smaller and cuter in Turkey!

The park is lovely and like everything else in this region it is covered in roses – and of course pictures and sculptures of the Atatürk – the father of Modern Turkey who is revered in some places like deity. I would recommend reading about him – he really did create modern Turkey (and the Turkish Language).

So off to Isparta I went.  I normally would get off at the mall which is really on the outskirts of the city and figured the best thing to do would be to take the bus until it ended at the  bus station so I would have a frame of reference for later.  The bus ride was uneventful except I found out that my camera and my GPS unit were 3 minutes apart!  But not to worry I was able to fix it AND to fix the previous days pictures as well.

The bus station was a mad house.  Very much like the ones we visited in Peru – apparently every city (destination) is a different bus company and they are all lines up right there.  What was even more of a zoo was the giant market that had just sprawled out and attached itself with big tents to every corner of the bus station and for blocks around.  Hey – a market – so why not go shopping?

The markets are a wild place – the men call out loudly to each other (sometimes the women do to) – and they all say the same thing.  They keep calling ‘Burida’ and it means ‘HERE’.  What is funny is that they like taunt each other with it and start replying to each other and its like – over here – no over here.  When you pass an old lady she will just very quietly whisper or mouth the word almost by instinct.  They say other things as well but that’s the big one.

You can see what shopping is like in the pictures – it is just chaos.  Lots of clothing, purses, underwear, socks, and household items.  The shoe bin was weird I have no idea how you found a match.  I did find a vest finally – they are really hard to find – its very light and was 30TL (Turkish Lira) so about $20.  I like it but I know I will find more and I will leave with a stack of new vests.  I spent hours in the market and from the men in the funny umbrella hats to the weird arrays of stuffed animals its just something I am glad I didn’t miss – it didn’t feel anything like the grand bazaar in Istanbul.

But I was here to go the Hamam! So I asked about the hotel where it was supposed to be near and was pointed in a direction.  As I walked I soon found myself in another open air market – this time it was a food one.  It street after street of vendors selling their ware – my goodness.  I so don’t need fruit or vegetables – but I do like olives.  I had a nice time and you could really smell the spices when you walked by certain booths.

So I see this little broken down sign that says ‘Hamam’ and figured – well this is it.  I go in and its empty.  Just one guy sleeping (I mean laying down and sleeping) in a side room.  I woke him up and he told me that the Hamam was 7TL! Wow that’s great – he asked if I wanted soap and then told me it would be am extra Lira.  He locked up my wallet and stuff and gave me a towel but my camera bag he took behind the counter with him – I was a little nervous but figured it would be fine.  When I went into the sauna I realized I was alone – I mean really alone – other than the attendant out front there was going to be no service here – no massage – no scrubbing – this was just a sauna to sit in and to wash in.  Well I did need a bath so I enjoyed myself – hot water – cool water – soap – I really got clean and felt very refreshed.

I was a little nervous though about the camera at this point since I recalled he was sleeping when I came in and that no one else was in the building – so I got out of the sauna and found him sitting with my camera bag waiting to hand it back to me – I think he was as nervous about it as I was.  I left feeling very refreshed (if not massaged) and went back into the market.

At this point I realized that I had just washed off all of my sunscreen!  Now I had to be very careful since the sun is very bright and I am very pale.

Going back into the market it was interesting to see how people sell things.  Each ear of corn was laid out carefully – is it that people want to select them or does he only have a limited amount?  The live fish tanks were weird – but they often are back home as well.  Eggs sold in packs of 30 and turned into little egg suitcases so people can walk home with them.

I stopped for ice-cream and I pointed at the white stuff – figuring vanilla – I was wrong.  Now you need to know that ice-cream in Turkey is a very weird consistency – its rubbery like a thick marshmallow fluff and not very creamy – more gelatinous.  The flavor though of this stuff was awful – like a floral tea – I really didn’t want to eat it but there were no garbage cans anywhere!  So I kept walking and it started to melt on my hand so I had to slowly lick and eat it – it was awful – well after a while the flavor wasn’t TOO terrible but still here I am eating ice-cream so it won’t drip on me.  I finally found a place to throw it away but it was at least 10 minutes of dripping and licking and cringing.  Next time I will get a different flavor!

The people selling dried stuff were neat too – I could recognize certain peppers but the other things looks like mushrooms.  Everyone was very nice and let me take their picture.

At this point I was getting very hungry!  So I wanted to stop for lunch. There was a very nice cafe and I sat down by the menu was only ice-cream sundaes and pies!  I was in some sort of very fancy dessert cafe.  So I left and kept walking. I passed many convenient stores and came to another cafe and sat down.  Again – the menu comes and its ONLY ice-cream.  I asked if they had any sandwiches and he smiled and said he could make me a cheese sandwich.  He then proceeded to run across the street and come back with bread and went in the back and made me a nice cheese sandwich. What I really wanted was meat! It was a nice snack but the WIFI wasn’t working in the cafe and these two teenage girls kept trying to talk to me and test out their English.  It wasn’t really a conversation as much as them trying out their sentences.

I left thinking I really wanted some more food.  I walked for a bit and found a more busy area that had a bunch of cafes including signs that had the word ‘hamburger’.  I forgot to bring my phrase book to order lamb chops (that won’t happen again) and they didn’t have picture menus like they do in Istanbul so I stopped at a cafe and ordered a hamburger.  It was the thinnest patty of processed meat you have ever seen (and looked more like a veggie burger than a meat burger) but the flavor was right and the bun and mayo were very satisfying.

As I walked along (now full) I passed some guys sitting watching soccer on large screen TVs and it was weird because it was like 2 people per giant TV.  And then I realized it was a video game cafe.  It looked fun and I almost wished I played games.

I knew I needed to find the Hotel Isparta so I could call Bilge to tell her where I was.  As I walked along I started to recognize places from the previous year – Dr Pizza was my favorite (I didn’t eat there just liked the sign).  I also started to see all the rose oil places and headed to the hotel.

Well I found the hotel and right across the street from it – the REAL Hamam.  I walked inside it was nice and busy and the man told me that for 21TL I could get a scrub and a massage.  Oh did I want to but it was getting late.  I figured I would call Bilge and if she said it would be another hour then I would get one.

I went into the hotel to make the call but they were not helpful at all – showed me the payphone but not how to use it or where to buy a card.  I wandered for 20 minutes finding people selling cell phone cards but not pay phone cards.  I finally found one and called Bilge who said they were on their way and would see me in 20 minutes.  20 minutes! No massage – damn!

It was nice to be picked up though and I told them about my misadventures with the Hamam but now that I knew where it was that I would go back later in the week.  She thought I was going to get off at the main bus stop and not at them main bus station which is where the confusion stemmed from.

We went shopping at the new grocery store.  I have to say grocery stores in Europe (and Asia) are so much cleaner and more organized than in America.  I loved the various displays – they even had iPads!  At the sweet stand we got into a big conversation and they gave me a huge free sample.

And as we were checking out – there in the toy section – a giant stuff (but odd looking) Penguin.

We went home and had dinner (though I was already full having had 2 lunches).

It was a pretty good day off even if it didn’t go as planned.

Day 7 – Monday – July 18, 2011

Monday was very unusual for me.  Instead of going anywhere or doing anything – I just stayed home.  I never put on my boots or pants (shorts and flip flops) and just edited photos and data all day – it was the lazy day that Sunday should have been. Don’t get me wrong I got a lot of work done – but it was all post production.

Until dinner that is!

For dinner they had stuffed grape leaves – now I LOVE stuffed grape leaves – but these were better than the ones at home.  The leaves were SO soft and the flavor was just the right amount of tang.  I told Bilge they were dangerous because I couldn’t stop eating them! I was full but just wanted more of that flavor.

And they they pulled out eclairs with like a chocolate cream in them.  Like the ice-cream it wasn’t creamy it was more like a gel cream filling but very sweet and very nice.

As dinner was finishing Paul warned – here it comes. And a tractor pulled down the street with a huge white cloud behind it.  He was asking which way the wind was coming from and I told him it was blowing away from us.  It was bug spray! The go up and down the streets to spray for bugs! I told him it didn’t matter which was the wind was that I am sure we got a face full of it anyways.

The good news is – no bugs.

Images from Day 6 and 7 (also read the captions!)
(click here if you don’t see the image thumbnails)

Updates Coming!

OK – so I have been working on the photos and stories like mad to play catch up.  The good news is that there has been a lot of ‘work’ work going on so that I should be able to do that very soon.  I was going to post day 6 and 7 this morning (the pictures are in fact done) but alas I have a bus that is leaving soon to take me to a Byzantine ruin!

Be patient and I promise updates soon.

Also I leave Gonen and Isparta soon (ie Tomorrow) for Istanbul to spend the rest of my trip.  I will try and catch up and then go back to nightly updates!

One teaser though – we crashed a wedding last night – and I have video! (That’s day 12 though).

See ya soon.

Interlude – Technical Procedures

Some of you are wondering why it takes so long to post all the entries and photos every day.
Others are wondering what my daily technical procedures are like.

So here it is the long boring technical details of what I do:

I am shooting with a Pentax K-5 Digital Camera that is 16.7 Megapixel with a battery grip (so I have two batteries in the camera).  I am only shooting in Camera Raw mode and that fits about 460 pictures on a 16GB card – I am also carrying with me a spare 8GB card.  If I go over 700 pictures in a day – we have trouble.

I carry with me at all times a 10-20mm and an 18-200mm lens.  For the most part its the 18-200mm lens but I switch on occasion to the 10-20.  I also have a 70-300mm Macro lens but I only use that for studio work (which has only been one day so far).  While I have a tripod and light with me I don’t carry them around daily and I have only used my onboard flash one time (you haven’t seen that picture yet).

In m pocket I am carrying a Gisteq CD111 geologger that tracks where I am every 5 seconds.  Its a great little device but VERY hard to use.  If you hit the wrong button it can be pretty loud or even turn itself off.  It was only $80 which was great but its also tricky to download the data from and wipe the data off of.  Once you know what to do it is easy but it took a lot of trial and error.  There are many geologgers on the market – what’s nice is that this doesn’t just capture a data point when I take a picture but constantly.

Every night I charge the 2 batteries and my geologger – I have a third battery with me for the camera but I have not had the need for it yet.  Since I don’t use the flash I can shoot hundred on the 2 batteries without a problem.

I also have my iPhone with me and I do occasionally grab a picture with it (its in my hand and I don’t always bring the camera to dinner).

Each night I copy all of the DNG (Camera Raw Digital Negative) files off my my memory card and onto my computer – I also download all of the images I took on my iPhone.

I use a program called Jet Photo Studio for organizing and geologging.  I create a new album for each day and copy all of the images into the album.  Jet Photo Studio will import the DNG files (and store them) but also make high quality JPG images from them as well (this can take a long time).

With all of my images for the day in an album I download the data from the Gisteq.  After I download the data I set the correct time-zone for the data and export a GPX file of the data (as a backup) – I then wipe the Gisteq for the next day.

Using Google Earth I open the data for the day and take a screenshot of the path I took for the album.

I then use Jet Photo Studio to geo-tag all of the images in the album.  If I am indoors sometimes the images don’t get tagged and while I can manually fix it – I am not concerned about it right now.

Since I am giving my photos to Bilge and Paul (I just give them JPG files and keep the DNG if they need it later) I want to make sure that the geo data is actually IN the files and not just in the album so I have Jet Photo Studio write the Latitude – Longitude and Altitude into the original JPG and RAW files (this takes a while).

Then I backup the Album to the 2 external hard drives I brought (my notebook can’t hold all the data).

For the website I go through and pick the images I like best – since these are not final prints I just grab the JPG files and I crop and resize each one to either 800×600 or 600×600 sometimes color correction but rarely rotating.

I then upload the images, describe them and write my blog entry.

Now do you see why I am a few days behind?

Photo Tallies to Date:

Day 0: 7
Day 1: 102
Day 2: 361
Day 3: 473
Day 4: 278
Day 5: 563
Day 6: 88
Day 7: 4
Day 8: 202
Day 9: 558

2,636 pictures (83GB) in the first 9 days!

Some images need more post production than just Photoshop so I have PTGUI for the panoramas, Pano2VR and Object2VR for the VR images and PhotoMatix Pro for my HDR work.

Now aren’t you glad u asked?

Day 5 – Kale Tepe and Isparta

Day 5 – Saturday – July 16, 2011

So Saturday was going to be the day.  The day we climb the mountain to explore the ruined fortress on top of Kale Tepe.  I had been there once before and while only ’30 minutes away’ it really is a treacherous road.  In fact its not even a road.  The road takes you to a dirt road which takes you to a dirt path which takes you to a clearing (which is just for fire safety up on the mountain) and only an SUV can make it up and then just barely.  When we get ‘near’ the top they let us out and we climb the rest of the way.

It really is a mountain and we are high up so sunscreen is a must as well as a hat and plenty of water.  While I have been drinking enough(ish) – I knew that today I would need to bring my 2 Liter water bag that gets strapped to my back.  Last year I brought 2 pairs of shoes – my high tops and boots – this year I have been wearing my boots everyday and today was the day it would be needed the most.  Earlier in the week the Minister of Culture’s Representative, who from now on I am going to refer to as the Representative, was up on the mountain and a snake hit her in the thigh.  It didn’t bite her but she had some irritation and they took her to the hospital just in case.  I like my heavy black steel toe boots.  I made sure to tuck my pants into them and I sprayed my legs down with bug spray to avoid any ticks.  A few days ago Bert was up on the mountain and he saw a snake as well but it ran from him (he also saw a rabbit).  Bert is good but he wasn’t ready with a camera so all we have is a good story.

Last year I overpacked for up on the mountain – brought video gear, still gear, panorama gear.  This year I packed light to do more.  I brought 2 lenses the camera and that’s it.  It was sunny so I knew I wouldn’t need a tripod.

They took us up in two trips – I went in the second which gave me a few more minutes to get ready and also let the Turkish students get ready.  Bilge had something special planned for me.  The fortress is very much a ruin – there are two large structures which are the gate, a long outer wall, and some other rooms.  There was more of the structure last year but due to illegal excavations one of the structures had been taken apart by treasure hunters who are not smart enough to know that they aren’t going to find anything here but some bits of broken pottery.

Bilge wanted Uygar to take me and Bert to photograph the entire outer wall.  Ideally we might be able to build some sort of orthgraphic image out of it but it was enough to just keep following it and shooting.  This was going to be especially exciting because the wall leads all the way to the summit of the mountain which I didn’t climb to last year.

Its hard to walk when there is no path and its even harder to stay parallel to a wall when you can barely see it – sometimes it would be a stone wall – other times just natural bedrock.  It was quite warm but not too humid and I am really glad for these heavy boots.  When we got to the summit we found a man made tower of rocks and a cloth on it – we had seen this type of structure in the mountains before.  I also found a shotgun shell – so clearly people had been here since the days of the ancient Greeks.  The view was spectacular and you could see all of the other mountains, lakes, and cities for miles around.  Bert was sure that there was even MORE wall so we followed around on the other side.

Every time we saw some architectural area I would ask Uygar what it was and he would always say “It’s a room”.  After a while you really could see the ruins of the walls and the spaces that they outlined.  On the far side of the mountain Bert started to find pottery – he has a real knack for it.  I, on the other hand, seem to only find rocks or modern pottery which Uygar just laughs at and throws away.  Bert even found several larger shards that were identifiable as Hellenistic by their patterns.

We walked back to the gate and Bilge asked me to take some scientific shots of the gate for her.  Because their work is ongoing certain images I cannot post online.  Suffice it to say you are missing a really great panorama and some nice ruin shots.  I went through all of the shots I wanted to post with Bilge and she was gracious enough to allow me to post a panorama from the summit and several shots of the students working on the gate.  The same thing happened when we were photographing the inscriptions – if the work isn’t publishing yet – it is imperative that I don’t reveal it online first. Its funny because when I go to shoot sometimes Bilge calls out “No ART shots – just documentation!”

I thought we were done but Uygar told me that we had the entire lower wall to photograph as well.  So this time we hiked down the mountain and Bert thought he saw more wall so again we followed it around and hiked back up the mountain.  While we didn’t encounter any snakes (or rabbits) my shoes were covered with sticky burs and stuff – some of them were starting to poke their way into my shoes.  We stopped and looked down to see just volumes of material caked in and around our shoes.  We knew it would be suicide to take our shoes off and just pulled out the offensive stuff until later. Bert told me that next time it was important to tuck in my shoe laces as well as my pants!

Uygar (who is quite the taskmaster) hiked us some more and then stopped me to tell me that according to his GPS we had hiked over 3miles up and down and around the mountain (that has no trails!).  We took another break and joined the other students back at the gate.  All the Turkish students smoke and its funny in the heat to watch them all light up.  They are there taking careful measurements and drawings.  Later in the week a group of German students are coming to do even more advanced measuring (with even bigger toys).

The mountain is an interesting place.  Its very sunny and when the breeze comes in it can feel quite cool – which is VERY dangerous as it is still very very sunny.  I drank my entire 2 liters of water and I wasn’t even up there all day.

Then there are the bugs.  You can’t avoid em – they are everywhere.  I really like the crickets and grasshoppers.  They don’t scare me and they make a neat kinda rhythm when you are out there.  Also they kind of herald your arrival as you walk they tend to leap and jump out of your way.  Now the flying things are a different story.  I don’t think they are used to seeing people on the mountain – they don’t really try and attack you but they like to circle you a few times for good measure.  They come in all different shapes and sizes and I joked that the big and low pitched ones would circle clockwise while the little high pictured ones counter-clockwise.  Combined with the clicking of the crickets it was just a symphony of insects.  In reality its the little bugs that scare me the most – the big ones are easy to see and easy to hear and I just feel I can hold my own if push came to shove (yes I know its just a bug).  The bug pictures are crazy though – when you see the size and shape and color of some of these things! Even with my lenses I had to get pretty close for some of the pictures.

There was also the issue of the flowers.  I wouldn’t call these flowers delicate – big spikes and thorns!  When you see the gallery I hope you are reminded of the opening sequence of “Little House on the Prairie” except if you fell down you would just come up covered in thorns and burns and … nothing soft and lush about the ground – its a very rugged terrain and you really need to be ready for it. One thing that really stood out was the smell of a certain yellow flower – it was a very strong citrus smell almost like a lemon but it was more ambient than concentrated and while I think it was the yellow flower I was never sure which exact flower it was.  There was also the black moss – was it burnt? Was is always that way?  Curious.

After a few hours on the mountain they picked us up and took us back to the field house.  Most of the Turkish students stayed but Bert and I had done what we came to do.  I think we spent over an hour taking apart our shoes and socks and pants trying to get all the burs and sticky things off. I know that I found some in my bed later that night – they are TINY but very dangerous.

Since we had a few hours to kill I asked Bert if he wanted to take the bus into Isparta for a little bit.  Bilge said we could go but since it was Saturday night to make sure we were back for dinner because we were going to barbeque!  Meat – glorious meat!  Bert was a good sport in coming with me to the mall but I don’t think his heart was really in it – it was more about looking quickly and leaving – not that I really needed anything.  I discovered that the mall has REALLY nice massage chairs and its 5 minutes or 1Lira but I just tried it and left – I will do a longer session when I am alone. Like dropping 20 Lira in it!

I went to see if my friend from last year at the waffle place was still there and found that the waffle place had turned into a kiosk and the guy I know wasn’t working it.  The mall still has an ice-skating rink which I think is very funny.  I headed upstairs to the movie theater to find that they were indeed showing Harry Potter!! In Turkish though – so I need to head to Istanbul if I want to see it in English.

After our short trip to the mall we went next store to the grocery store.  Truth be told I wasn’t very hungry – while I really could use some meat I have been getting plenty of everything else and I wasn’t going to buy bread or cheese or olives.  It was nice looking at the rows of baklava and Turkish delight but in the end we just got some cold water and headed out.

There is a park right outside the mall and grocery store and they were selling cotton candy and this weird sort of spiraled potato on a stick thing.  I couldn’t help myself and they took a raw potato – spiral sliced it – placed it on a stick and then deep fried it.  It was oh so yummy good.  He had salt for it or taco seasoning which he said was spicy – he called it “Mexican Fire” though when I looked at the bottle it looked kinda regular to me.

We hopped the bus back (we just missed it and had to wait almost an entire hour) and were just in time for the barbeque.  The Turkish students who spent the rest of the day up on the mountain were SO dark and red.  One of the students was just completely burnt and they were joking that he was darker than one of the other students (who didn’t come up on the mountain).  I was very amused at how jovial they were about this and thinking to myself how you really wouldn’t go “hey – now you are darker than she is” (which was almost the exact quote) to someone in the US.  What worried me was that they students were going to be going up again during the week and a couple looked REALLY burnt.

Paul was pointing out that the grill didn’t have a lid so that the food would get charred and cold instead of medium and warm.  I enjoyed watching them use a fan to keep the coals hot.  We ate in stages of chicken and kefta (spiced meatballs).  Everything was very flavorful and moist.  The chicken and the kefta came pre-seasoned so I have no idea what was in it.  We ended with watermelon.  And gasp – it had seeds – how quickly we forget!

This ends my adventure on the mountain – there are a lot of pictures (sorry) and one killer panorama!

Sunday is our day off and each of us gets to try and decide what adventure we want to have – my goal is to get the Hamam in Isparta – I don’t just need a massage – we haven’t had hot water here since… well we haven’t had water here – I need a bath bad!

Images from Day 5 (also read the captions!)
(click here if you don’t see the image thumbnails)

PANORAMA: View from the Summit of Kale Tepe


People Gallery from 2010

I keep writing about the people I met last year and the photographs I have been giving to people.

So here they are, the photos of the people I took last year (and some shots of the students as well).

Again – these are all from last year just not posted before and might help put faces on the stories.

People Gallery from 2010 – Don’t forget to read the captions!
(click here if you don’t see the image thumbnails)

Day 4 – Gonen Market and Yunus Emre Turbesi

Day 4 – Friday – July 15, 2011

Earlier in the week Bilge was talking to someone and pointed to me and they laughed and smiled.  She told me that I was like their own version a famous Turkish Filmmaker and she said some name.  Later Pervin made the same remark so I figured I should look him up.  When I asked Pervin for the name she blushed and got a little nervous.  She explained that he wasn’t a real filmmaker but a fictional character.  The name is Cevat Kelle and he is a comedic character of a “well equipped/over equipped cameraman”.  I am not offended by this at all – I think it is funny – on more than one occasion I have been called Inspector Gadget and there is no difference here.

So moving forward…

Friday was all about going to the local market. Pervin was going to go with me at 10:30 so she could make the introductions/translations and see if we could find the people who I took photographs of the previous year.  However I got up pretty early and Paul asked if I wanted to come to the park with him to look at a milestone.  I went with him to the park and sat around reading a book while he tried to decipher the text when a truck pulls up – not just a truck – a truck and a giant shovel thing and they proceeded to unload all of the items that we found 2 days previous.  Just swung em out on a harness at the entrance to the park. The park is filled with all sorts of inscriptions and architectural pieces found in the area.

So they ended up leaving the pile of stones near the entrance and Paul continued to try and make an impression of the milestone when a policeman walks up and starts to question us.  Of course we have no idea what he is saying but it looks kinda like we are trying to TAKE the stones not drop them off.  Now its a silly thing to think we could even move them but they were kinda stacked in the wrong place and Paul has a bunch of stuff laying around this milestone.  Paul grabs for his residency permit – the one we spent 4 hours getting and has no practical purpose – and shows it to him.  He really enjoyed flipping through it – I don’t think he really cared but it looked like he was having great fun with them.  I then showed him my photos of them UNLOADING the objects off the truck and he just smiled and we got the hell out of there.  To be honest we think he was more curious than upset but it wasn’t good to linger at that point.

So off to the market we went.  Pervin and I both recalled where we had met some people and headed there first.  We met one very old lady and I handed her the photograph. She blushed and her friends were all smiles and it was a very tender moment.  Now all the other ladies want to see what photos I have.  One woman looks over and grabs a photo and starts laughing really hard and Pervin translates “That’s my sister! That’s my sister!” She was somewhere in the market so they went and found her and it was very fun everyone was laughing and having a good time.  One lady come up to me and tells me that last year I took her picture and wants to know where “it” is.  Oops – I didn’t print EVERY picture.  I explain that they didn’t all come out.  I also had explained to Pervin that when they tried to thank me for the photo to tell them that this was MY way of thanking THEM for letting me take it.  This was very useful as it prevented me from getting bags and bags of free fruit.

There was one man I had met several times and I have a wonderful picture of him rolling a cigarette.  They said he left for the day though so I was going to hold onto it.  Meanwhile one of the ladies called over this guy and he looked at my pictures and said “that’s my daughter!” and then of the man with the cigarette “that’s my father!”.  So he happily took both pictures with him.  It was observed by someone that I am only taking pictures of old and young because middle age people are boring to look at.  It’s true.

At this point I was feeling pretty good because that was all the pictures I took of people at the market the rest were the nomads up on the mountain and we were going to figure out how to visit them.  I looked over and I saw one of them.  It was a father who I had photographed his entire family – his kids – his parents – his wife’s family.  So I have him like a huge stack and he kept laughing cause he was going through and explaining how each person was related.  He told me that I needed to come back up to the mountain so that they could “cut a goat for me”.  I told them that we didn’t have time but I appreciated the thought.

He then told me that the horsewoman than I met on the mountain was also in town right now at the local clinic and another gentleman was having tea in the village.  So off we went.  First to the clinic to see the horsewoman.  She really like the photo I think also because it had her horse in it and she hope I would visit her up on the mountain and I told her that maybe next summer.

We headed into the village (and my stack was getting smaller and smaller) and there was the gentleman I met up at the mountain.  I also hadn’t noticed that the father (whose daughter and father I had photographed) was guiding us there.  I was asked to join them for tea and this seemed like an ideal moment to socialize.  They pulled up another table and we sat for tea (my first in Turkey).  Just then Bilge pulled up and joined us as well.  And a moment later from across the street the Imam joined us and it was a full on party.

The old man pointed at my head and Bilge said he was asking about my ponytail.  I told him I cut it off last year in Istanbul because of the heat and he said “You grow your hair long to look like your mother, your grow your mustache long, to look like a man, to look like your father.”  Bilge pointed out the importance of the “to look like a man” part of this translation.

We didn’t talk too much but it was a good moment and we drank and he took a picture with me.  We said our goodbyes and when we went to pay for the tea (he tried and I tried) but we found out that the father had arranged it all before he left.  A local shopkeeper was very interested in this and insisted that I come into his shop and take his photo.  I was definitely a hit with the villagers and while they were always pleasant they have since been even warmer to us.

We then went shopping in the market and I really didn’t need anything but you have to see the olive merchants and the fruit merchants (love those white cherries) and the pastry merchants.  I did end up getting some Turkish Delight for everyone and this wonderful bread that is almost like a bed sheet that I tried the year before.  I first had it in the mountains at the nomads and then I bought some at the store.  When I got home with it Bilge was terrified.  She told me that it wasn’t cooked and that it needed cooked.  She was very glad she caught it before I ate it but then I explained that last year I had eaten it 2 or 3 times.  She took it from me and they used it to make some crispy feta cheese things for us – it was almost like an egg roll crispy when cooked – not my finest moment.

The traditional woman all wear the same clothes – the pants are baggy and cloth and look like pajama bottoms and they wear what Americans would call a busy and unattractive pattern. To watch the women shop for it and look at these patterns with a critical eye is hysterical because clearly I can’t see what they can.  That’s multiculturalism.

I bumped into Abdullah at the market and he was so excited.  Regretfully I was alone so I had no idea what he was saying.  Bert came over (who is Dutch) and talked to him in German and he insisted that we buy a watermelon and eat it together.  I told him I couldn’t and so he insisted that we go to the park and have some ice-cream.  Again I told him I couldn’t so he asked if we could meet later at the park for ice-cream.  Bert explained that we didn’t know our schedule and that he didn’t need to thank me any further that it was our pleasure.  I found out later that he had stopped Pervin and Gunsu as well offering them ice-cream in the park.  Before I leave I really need to have ice-cream with this man.  I had mentioned that his wife didn’t want to be photographed she was much younger than him and had a beautiful set of gold teeth (not grills but just very nice golden teeth).  I was surprised how much younger she was and it was remarked that he probably bought her.  That aside I still can’t but laugh when Pervin told me the gist of the fight that they had when we stopped over “who are these people? whey did you invite them to our house? do they want money from us?”  I could have guessed that.

Bilge had noticed that it was the Minister of Culture’s Representative’s Birthday and asked if I could buy her a scarf at the market.  While there are many people selling them there was this one lady who I went back to week after week last year and boy did we have a good time at it.  I walk up and she looks at me grins from ear to ear and says “America, Archeology”. I tried to buy one scarf and she ended up selling me three! So I figured I would get a picture of her this year – I recall her resisting a little last year.  She let me take a picture of her and her scarves but she wanted a better photo so I took a nice portrait of her.  She smiled and then told me friend her on Facebook and then gave me her email address.

The rest of the market was just as fun everyone was suddenly eager to have me take photos of their wares or themselves and then a couple of kids ran up and asked for their photo. I had no idea who they were and then Gunsu told me that they were the ones washing the puppies yesterday!

We went back and had lunch and Bilge said we were going to explore some of the outer regions of Gonen that we hadn’t looked at before – these were the places where the people who lived in the mud-brick houses moves from.  We took two cars, Paul driving one and the hired driver driving the SUV.  It was dirt roads (and AC thank God) all the way and we stopped every so often to look at freshly plowed fields (for pottery) or at the occasional stone (for inscriptions).  Paul wanted to follow the road all the way out of town to see where it went but Bilge told him that it stopped at the dam. It was in fact the damn road. Dam road.  When we got to the dam it was lovely to see the reservoir but no mud-brick houses. It turns out they were all torn down when they but the dam in.

Paul led us out of the dam road and it really was a bumpy dirty road – we were next going to head to where we knew there was an old settlement still.  The other driver overtook us to lead the way but the road got rougher and rougher and we had to turn back as we were in a car – you can kinda see some of this on the map.  We took a slightly better road up to the Yunus Emre Turbesi which is a shrine/tomb.  A short while down the road – walking really up a man-made stream we found the decomposing ruins of the mud-brick homes.  Some of them were just foundations. Its amazing what 50 years will do.  There were more white mulberries so I was happy and some really nice photos as well.  Paul wanted me to know that much of the history of the region and migration is supposition – its the best that they can explain about the history of the region in the past 100 years but that is ongoing research and not a lot is really known.

Dinner was nice and we had some yummy desserts in addition to the regular type of Halva (which is a sweet tahini paste) there is another type which is more like a gelled sweet Farina – in truth I like them both.  One other funny thing at dinner time is that no matter what is for dinner there is a plate of raw onion that is passed around – everyone treats it like it is abig delicacy and really relishes their bit of fresh onion. I of course pass. We had the birthday celebration with dinner and they brought out a big chocolate cake with icing and cherries and all sorts of decoration. I thought it was funny because they had her cut the cake (like we do in America) but they also had her SERVE the cake – and I was really amused at all the work she had to do to get the cake all nice and sliced up.  They handed me a huge slice but I couldn’t really eat it – it was laced with some pretty strong alcohol.  I had to pick at it and mush it up a little bit so it didn’t too bad but they still asked me if I didn’t like it when I cleaned my dishes.

It was about 8:30 and I told Paul and Bert that I wanted to get a shave in town and asked if they wanted to join me.  Paul wasn’t sure if they would be open but I had seen at least 3 barbers in town and almost always someone sitting inside.  Paul said he needed a haircut and that he got a great one from this one barber in town 2 years ago.  The barber shop was open and he was sitting inside talking to two friends.  When we walked in they were all very excited.  Paul went first and got a haircut.  It turns out of the men sitting there was living in Hamburg as a taxi driver so he talked in German with Bert.  It was great – my German might be weak but I can hear conversations like “where are you from?” “what do you do?” “how long have you been doing  it?”

Right then the barber turned to Paul and said – “haven’t you been here before” and Paul was like “yeah 2 years ago” and then he was very excited and “Die Welt ist klein” which means “The Worlds is Small”.  Someone kept calling (we guessed his wife) and he kept saying something about Archaeology and hanging up.  One thing that was very funny was that his voice didn’t match his face – he sounded like Ray Romano with a real Kermit the Frog type voice.

Last year when I was in Turkey and went to get a shave Paul said there was a surprise at the end.  I figured he meant when they came at me with the nose hair scissors.  He seemed disappointed when I didn’t tell him about them burning the hairs off of my face. I of course was disappointed that he wasn’t going to warn me properly but he didn’t want to spoil my surprise.  This year I got to see it first hand.  After they finished his haircut he dipped something in a liquid lit it on fire and then proceeded to tap it back and forth around his head to burn off the stray hairs.  There are pictures.

After the haircut Paul asked him how much and handed him a 10 Lira bill.  The man shook his head, reached into Paul’s wallet and instead took out a 5 Lira bill.  That’s right – best haircut Paul has ever had – $3.24.

It was my turn next and Paul went to get drinks and he asked the barber if he wanted a beer. I shouted “No!” as the man was about to straight razor my face!  So he got 2 beers and 2 sodas.

The shave was amazing.  I had a lot of beard already and he didn’t pre-trim it he just lathered me up (on water he had to heat with a propane heater) and started to shave me.  It was great – very few nicks and he was able to stop the bleeding instantly.  Mom – since I know you are reading this – he used a new blade for each one of us.  He was a true perfectionist getting the side-burns the exact same length, trimming my eyebrows, and shaping my ears and neck.  Then came my turn – with the fire.  It didn’t hurt but you know that smell of burning hair? It’s very strange when you know its yours and attached to your face.

Paul was a real joker during my shave.  He kept saying things like “Now I know how to get Jared to keep quiet” or other silly things to get me to smile.  Come to think of it – Paul is a real jerk!  Kidding.

Just like with Paul the barber reached into my open wallet and took only a 5 Lira bill.  $3.24!

Then Bert got his shave.

The evening ended with the call to prayer coming from the Mosque and I turned to Paul and said:

“You know what? I know that guy!”

I have to show the Imam the panorama this week.

We went back to the field house and went to bed pretty early because Saturday we are going to the fortress on the mountain.

Breakfast is at 6am the SUV leaves at 6:20am!

Images from Day 4 (also read the captions!)
(click here if you don’t see the image thumbnails)

Day 3 – Exploring Gonen

Day 3 – Thursday – July 14, 2011

Today Pervin was joined by an architect friend of hers from the University and we were going to drive (and walk) around Gonen to look at the mud-brick houses.  Most buildings now are brick or reinforced concrete but the oldest houses are made of mud-brick (and my old we mean 50-60 years old).  There are a few buildings older (like the Hamam) but for the most part its all pretty new construction.

As we started to walk around I heard this weird shrieking noise and I looked up and saw an owl! Perched on a roof clear as day a big old owl just sitting there.  We explored this one area of town and I was told that they had relocated from up in the hills 50 or 60 years prior (and that we would try and explore the old village another day).

It was a pleasant walk around town – talking to people and taking pictures (of VERY run down buildings).  One of the buildings however was in great shape and a new roof and very modern windows – very weird mix.

It was hot out but a nice breeze and pretty dry – the sun was shining very bright – at one point I went to put on my sunglasses only to find I was already wearing them!  In fact I wear my sunglasses almost all the time here – a very good purchase indeed.

At one point we heard this announcement on some city loudspeakers – it wasn’t the call to prayer but something very official sounding. I turned to Pervin to ask what it was but they were all already laughing. She said she knew I was going to ask what they were saying but that she had no idea how to translate it.  It turns out that the city was coming by with a very high end thresher and any farmer who wanted their field ‘threshed – or whatever’ should stand out there so that they would know to do their field.

Speaking of threshers we passed this weird wood board with slits in it on the side of the road.  Until the late 1960s this board would have had pointy bits of flint in it to make like a sharp comb and they would drag it over the field to cut down the wheat stalks.  Pretty neat.

The part of town we were in were the ‘other’ type of local Muslims.  There are 3600 people in Gonen (which is what the sign says – and has said I am told for 3 years) and 5 Mosques.  But the Mosques are for the Sunni Muslims the other group the Alevi Muslims worship at a different place in this on part of town.  I was told that the town might also have some atheists and that long long long ago there was evidence of Christianity in the region – that if there are any Christians now that they don’t advertise the fact.  I didn’t ask about Jews. 🙂

Later as we walked around an black cat crossed my path – which combined with the own makes for good storytelling – I am going to try and break a mirror and find a ladder to walk under this week if I can.

Its a quiet town – saw some kids bathing puppies (how cute is that) and a lot of animals and plants.  I loved seeing the Pomegranate tree with the baby fruits and pretty flowers.  Also little pears and such. Its not exactly like home – but I saw a walnut tree, a cherry tree, some berry trees (and if you get near them you get terrible stains all over you).

This one mud brick house we visited was completely abandoned but in GREAT shape.  We explore the various floors (if you saw how solid the wood portions were!) and walked around the rubble of the previous tenants.  We joked about restoring it but it turns out it was actually very restore-able.

Several people chatted with us but one lady was terrified – her body language said everything – she had her hand on the door and the frame blocking our entrance to the gate and she would only let one person into her courtyard and look around so the architecture professor went.

After a few hours of exploring we went to the park and sat and drank some soda, tea, and water.  We sat for like an hour which was really nice – there is this park in the center of town and everyone just sits there and enjoys themselves.

The best house of the day was the oldest home in Gonen.  It was a very nice house that had attached to it a little very very old hovel (used for storage).  It had a great garden and some wonderful shaded area and they welcomed us with open arms.  The couple Fatma and Ramazan really wanted us to stay and see everything.  She had a lovely garden which I took pictures of but can’t identify all of the stuff in.  Everyone also has lots of flowers – I think its great that as much as they grow to eat they also grow to enjoy.  Fatma took us into the back and showed us the old portions and where she would dry her herbs and spices – it smelled so wonderful!

They had a massive white mulberry tree (sorry folks its what I been eating) and they made us sit and pick berries and eat them from the tree for at least 20 minutes.  We were so full.  I asked Fatma how long they had been married and she said she was married at 16 and that she was 73 years old – Ramazan is 83 now.  They let me take pictures of them and Ramazan was very upset when he saw his because he wanted his hat straighter so I took it again – he loved seeing the picture of his wife on the camera.

On Friday I am going to try and give some prints I brought to the people I took photos of last year in the market and the reactions look like they could be good.

As I took their photos a neighbor came by and insisted I take her photo as well – when I was done she said – “now you have a picture of a real Ottoman woman” her name was Rukiye and we sat for a bit and talked to all three.

I took a sip of water from my water bottle and Ramazan told me I should drink cold water instead – I lied and told him my water was cold but he insisted that I refill my body with fresh cold water from his … tap.  I asked Pervin if it was safe and all she could tell me was that ‘they drink it’.  So I drank what I could and THEN filled my bottle up knowing now I couldn’t drink anymore safely.  He was trying to be nice though and I do appreciate that.

After our exploration we went back to the field house where 3 cars full of people were taken to the spot where we found the inscriptions the day before.  The guys cleared out a lot of rubble and 4 of them managed to get one in the car.  The others were too heavy and the city was going to be called in to relocate them instead.

We only had one last errand to run – Pervin needed to pick up some maps from the city planning office and she wanted me to see some photos that they had on the wall to tell her the best way to scan them – pretty much what I do at work.

When we got to the panning office I could tell right away that the pictures were very bad (and faded) inkjet prints of low resolution jpg images. I told her it was worthless to scan them and to find the digital images they had been made from.  She also showed me several older (and not digital) panoramas that had been taken of the city.  At close inspection you could tell they were quite good (and quite large) and probably from the 1960s.  She asked if it was possible to take a modern version of the same picture – so we stood there trying to identify landmarks to see where the picture might have been taken from.

One of the city planners walked up and said that it was taken from atop the Minaret at the central Mosque in town and that he would call the Imam and ask if we could go up it!  I didn’t even ask – they just offered!  The Imam wanted to know what time would give us the best light and suggested we go around 7pm. The city planners were nice as well – wherever you go someone offers you a drink – I keep passing on the tea because while I do enjoy tea you can get sick of it fast so I am delaying it until it is the ONLY option.  I did learn a trick – if you ask for cold water they offer you cold soda – its either Fanta (orange), a lemon/lime soda, or some sort of cola.  You have to be careful though – if you finish they bring you another so its always good to leave a little in the glass and then down it when you are just leaving.

We had a quick dinner and headed back to town. The Imam opened up the Minaret for us and told us it was 104 steps to the top.  Unlike in other towns, in Gonen the call to prayer is done live my the Imam so he climbs these steps often.  He bounded up them (I knew he would) and we emerged at the top about 30 minutes before sunset.  It was so nice – the wind – the sunset – the moon – the swaying of the Minaret (yes it swayed in the wind).  He was so gracious and we stayed there for a long time – he told us we can come back whenever we want and now we want to climb all the Minarets in town.

Pervin is going to try and have my panorama printed and brought to the Imam as a present.

What a day!  Friday we go to the market.

Images from Day 3 (also read the captions!)
(click here if you don’t see the image thumbnails)

PANORAMA: View from the Minaret

Don't Fret!

My computer is acting slow and they are keeping me busy but I do indeed have posts coming soon (which means like 12-14 hours) and images too!

The adventure has been a good one!

Some teasers:

I climbed a minaret of a mosque.

I got a straight razor shave.

I ate poppy!

Pictures and stories later!

Going to climb a mountain (well be driven most of the way).

Day 2 – Gonen – Isparta

Day 2 – Wednesday – July 13, 2011

We started today with an early breakfast of…. that’s right cheese, olives, and bread. Yummy.

Our first stop of the day was back to the Police station in Isparta to try and get our residency permits.   You have to love the bureaucracy its all about stamps and photocopies and typewriters. There were a lot of people waiting but one in particular stood out – her had an ‘air’ about him – I mean he totally reeked – and I don’t mean like BO or even smoke – but it was a strong smell of garlic like a very old salami – it was crazy potent and I kept having to hold my breath. It only took an hour today and we were told that they would be done later in the day.

My task for the rest of the day was to photograph as many of the inscriptions in the Isparta Archeology Museum as I could for their catalog. There is a lot of formality in this country. And similar to the bureaucracy at the police station when we went to the museum we were taken to the director’s office first for a chat. There Bilge asked me “What would you like to drink?” with the quick follow up addendum of “There is no escape from this!”  I had ‘su’ which is water. I have avoided the ‘chi’ (ie Tea) because there will be many times I am forced to have it (a cultural necessity) and I am stalling as much as I can.  We sat in the office for 30 minutes as Bilge and the director spoke in Turkish – it was all a form of pleasantry – an expectation that we wouldn’t work until they had showed us some courtesy – the irony of course is that we just sat there for 30 minutes having no idea what they were saying. But ceremony is ceremony and you have to love that.

It was pretty hot out (but not very humid) probably high 80’s low 90’s and fairly sunny.  The sun meant that I didn’t have to worry about a tripod but also that lighting ‘was what it was’. To get the shots I needed it was a lot of kneeling, squatting, and bending after a few hours I really needed to give my back a break.

For those photographically minded I used my 18mm-200mm lens the entire time.

One funny moment happened right before lunchtime.  I was so caught up in taking a photo and moving around a column that I stepped on a sprinkler head and activated it. Of course I had no idea what I had tripped over and why I was suddenly all wet and quickly had to scramble to figure out how to turn it off again! No one noticed 🙂

Paul noticed that the items he needed to work on weren’t in the garden and we found out that they weren’t at the museum yet so he said that was all we needed for the day and headed back for lunch.

After lunch I was going to go into the village with Pervin.  She is a professor or city planning or something of that nature and is very interested in how people currently live and how they have lived in the past.  Last year she is the one who introduced us to the nomads and the villagers and knows a lot of people.  I wanted to give the photos I brought with me to the villagers and she said she would help – also she needed me to help her photograph some mud-brick buildings.

I remember that one person lived across from the ruined Hammam (bath-house) so we went to that window and it was indeed the same house.  We knocked on the door – no answer.  The opened the door and yelled inside – no answer. So we figured we would come back later.

We hiked around and found some new construction.  New construction is very important because they always un-earth things when they go to build new and what they find the museum can take.  We also find items that are built into walls – sometimes inscriptions and all – so we do look carefully.  In one pile of rubble near a construction site we found 2 stones with inscriptions and really nice carved column top. Paul told us that he has seen one of these inscriptions the previous year but that it was in someone’s shed.  The shed was now gone and it was in this pile of rubble. We also found another stone that head a wreath on it.  Its tough climbing over rocks and field (and rebar) and at one point I slipped and landed on my knee – funnily enough it doesn’t hurt today – though everything else does.

Paul wanted to show Pervin the other sights so we walked to where we collected pottery in a freshly plowed field the previous year. Its a nice little walk and there are a lot of fruit trees along the way – I love the while mulberries we just kept eating and eating them – I am tempted to plant one back home.  We found an old cemetery in one of the fields some of the graves went back to the 19th century but one of them was from 1990.

Survey archaeology is pretty fun – you walk around – photograph some flowers, eat some berries, hike through construction sites and garbage dumps. We found a turtle on the road – really just a turtle – of of the people with us (an 11 year old who is the nephew of the representative of the Minister of Culture – and sometimes quiet the terror) picked it up and it got scared – I made him put it down (and then I set him back upright!) and a few minutes later he came out and headed off down the road.

Speaking of roads – the path we were on was an old roman road! Paul showed use the way the stones were laid out and how that this was part of the ancient road between the cities. Pretty cool.

We saw some other animals too – we saw dogs – and cats – and chickens.  The cats always look like death – the dogs look very slow and the chickens – well they are just future food.

It had been a pretty busy day so we stopped in the square for some ice-cream before we headed out again. The ice-cream is very gooey in Turkey like its part marshmallow – also the spoon had a squared edge!

I really wanted to go back and try to give that guy his picture.  Paul went back to the field house at this point.  As I led the group back to where his house was we cut between the mosque and the place where you wash your feet.  Pervin was like – ‘um – we were supposed to go the long way – women don’t generally take this path’.  I wouldn’t have thought anything of it because we took the path earlier but right now there were a bunch of men gathered outside the mosque and they started to talk and ask questions.  Pervin explain what we were doing and I pulled out the photograph of the man.  He laughed and told me that the guy had gotten married and moved but would walk us to his new house.

We walked to the new house and there he was – a year older – but it was the same man – Abdullah. We showed him the photos and he said it was the best present ever.  He then insisted that we come in.  Now it is very important to me that the gift not turn into an imposition – I don’t want to be ‘gifted back’ from these pretty poor families but accepting basic hospitality is fine.  He led us into his house. As we hit the first landing we had to remove out shoes and proceeded into his modest home. I love these Turkish homes they have the best carpets – I’m not kidding you can’t fail to notice them.  So of course he asks us what we want to drink and instead of asking for tea I ask for water and he offers ‘Fanta?’ which is really just Turkish for any form of soda on hand.  He goes into the back and then the yelling starts. His wife, who has yet to come out, and him are really going at it and then he comes back with the glasses and Pepsi.  She makes a quick appearance and then leave the room where we sit and he jokes and I take a new picture of him and he and I take a picture together but he makes me wear his hat which is too small.  He tries to get us to stay for a meal but we tell him we must be getting back.  We leave and he follows us down.  Pervin is thrilled because its another ‘in’ with a villager that she can go back and interview.  He then insists on giving me a present – I am dreading it being the hat – but am pleased when he comes back with a bag of cherries.

I gave home a deburred – I was covered with stuff – though luckily not red berry juice like some of the others (it got everywhere).

Oh – highlight of my day – in this guy’s living room – off in the corner – a stuffed animal of a penguin.  (I photograph imagery of penguins in everyday life and this was a real treat).

Images from Day 2 (also read the captions!)
(click here if you don’t see the image thumbnails)