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30 April 2009 @ 04:43 am
Went on a boat trip today. It’s purpose seemed to be to sunbake and swim – which is a good idea in summer / autumn, but not on a cold spring day.

Kids want to swim though, so we are off to the most famous beach in Turkey tomorrow (mostly cause it’s a sand beach, turns out pebble beaches are both hard to walk on and impossible to build rock castles in).

We’re also off to a ghost town. The town was abandoned by the Greeks in 1922 and has been left to rot and ruin ever since (I heard a story that should anyone live there, the Greeks will invade).

Had no internet connection in the hotel we’re staying at. The hotel got a techie in and wanted to use my PC as the test for the wireless connection. The techie spoke little English, I spoke little Turkish and the hotel man spoke little Tech. But between the three of us, we got the internet connection back. Turns out using a computer displaying Turkish is sometimes easy, sometimes hard depending on how well you know any particular screen. The differences in the keyboard, both layout and extra keys are annoyingly stumbly.
28 April 2009 @ 12:28 am
27 April 2009 @ 03:36 am
I thought we had gotten bored with ancient roman ruins.  But today, my daughter found her inner photographer.  Everything was examined through the lens.  Until she found the turtle.  Then she found her inner cameraman.  Anyone for videos of a turtle eating?
27 April 2009 @ 03:34 am

Things I have stopped the car for as they were in the middle of crossing the road



Herd of cows

Chickens (why’d the chicken cross the road?  To avoid getting run over)

Peacock & peahen




The latter two categories, I stopped so I could take photos of them. Theoretically I could have driven around.


25 April 2009 @ 02:44 am
I’ve seen this quote a number of times "only 7 percent of communication comes from spoken words, 38 percent is from the tone of the voice, and 55 percent comes from body language"

Picture this scene. I am driving through Turkey. There’s a policeman gesturing at me to pull over (a common occurrence in Turkey, they want to do a road worthiness check on my car). I pull over to where he indicated.

He walks over as I wind down the window. “Hello” I say brightly, meaning “ I don’t speak any Turkish and we are about to enter into a very complex transaction here, but I’m willing to give it a go if you are”.

I watch a light dawn in his eyes, a thoughtful nod. A glance up the road, a slow “Yes”. I take it to mean “I don’t speak enough English to do this. Please drive on”.

I say goodbye and drive off.
I admit I have only learnt a very limited amount of Turkish – about 30 words if I am generous(1). But I have found the combination of them and a lot of tone and body language has gotten me through.

1 – The words for ‘hot chocolate’, ‘orange juice’ and ‘strawberry’ have come in way more useful than you might think
23 April 2009 @ 03:49 pm
Other set of Turkey pics

Cave house

More pics can be seen here
21 April 2009 @ 11:18 pm
I am in heaven. Or more precisely, I am in the best hotel I have ever stayed in, in Cappadocia region. The women who greated me at the door welcomed to me to 13 joined up cave houses in Ürgüp.
The best things are:
§ It’s a cave! The roof is stone, the walls are stone. Happily the floor is wood
§ It’s 13 houses joined tother, which means that there are courtyards everywhere, stairs going to random places, unexpected rooms and general ramshackleness that makes me very happy
§ They have given me unfettered access to their kitchen and laundry, which means the kids will stop complaining about the unfamiliar meals and I can stop doing laundry in the bathroom sink (Allah decreed that washing should be done in running water, which means there are no sink plugs in Turkey. Makes it very hard to do washing.)
§ Because it’s a cave, the walls are thick enough to stop my kids arguing from being heard in the next room
§ Because it’s a cave, they have wireless access points everywhere, which ironically means I have the best reception I have had to date
§ Because it’s 13 houses joined together, the place is filled with interesting furniture and bits and bobs.
§ There’s a tunnel under street connecting parts of the hotel together.

Did I mention how much fun I am having, just being in the hotel, let alone the rest of the region?
19 April 2009 @ 01:40 pm
When studying Islam many years ago, I was amused to learn that in the first call to prayer of the day, the muezzin says the line “Prayer is better than sleep”. Being woken up at dawn by a louspeakered call I am less amused.

In Turkey, there is so much to see. The country is surrounded by history. I can see why the casually use ancient roman lintels to build a wall. Or make a pavement with Grecian carved marble. It has meant that I have had to pick and choose what to see and what to skip. For example, yesterday I decided to drive past:
§ Troy
§ Aristotle’s town where he lived and married
§ Homer’s home town
§ One of the seven churches named in Revelations (the one where Satan will sit)

In order to see:
§ Virgin Mary’s house (where she lived after the whole cross incident)
§ St John’s Bascilla (disciple of Jesus, where he lived and wrote a bunch of biblical letters)
§ The capital of the Roman empire in Asia (200,000 people lived there). Hadrian has a temple there, the same guy who built Hadrian’s wall in England.
§ An ancient Greek town, known for it’s sculpture and art (it’s art was transported as far as Rome)

This overabundance of history may by why it is treated so irreverently. On the plus side, this means they allow the kids and I to climb all over it. So we can see the layout of a building much better (and have fun).
17 April 2009 @ 08:44 pm
Road signs are pretty easy to decipher here.

A picture of:
Two bumps = hilly road
A triangle with circles = beware of falling rocks
A car doing the hulu hoop = curvy road ahead
A car doing the hulu hoop with a mangled road barrier two metres on = someone didn’t read the hulu hoop sign
A mutant goat / donkey hybrid = there could be goats or donkeys on the road ahead

My favourite road sign is a car doing a hulu hoop over an umbrella. Which I think means, slippery when wet. Hulu hoops and umbrellas are a much cooler way of saying it.
17 April 2009 @ 08:37 pm
In Turkey, it’s rare for a driver to indicate before changing lanes. But this is ok. Here, they don’t need to. Instead, they do what I’ve decided to call “Take an option”. It works like this. You are in one lane and you are thinking about changing to another lane. You drift across into the other lane, just a bit. Then you stay like that til you have made up your mind. The traffic around you has noticed your desire, and so have parted to let you into the new lane, should you decide to take up the option.
There’s no need to indicate cause everyone already knows what you want.
The only scary part is when someone in oncoming traffic is taking an option in my lane. I drift to the other side of my lane and give those guys as much room as possible.