Don't worry about us or our safety. People here are wonderful to us as always, and we feel comfortable wherever we go. More than anything else, we feel fortunate to have had this chance to travel and experience this part of the world. And it really has felt good to stand in a classroom and be with students again. But before I start rambling again, here we go. Let's just share some more notes on the old "Turkish Train Pass."
In our thoughts so much laely. Here are some photos that typify the recent turmoil in Turkey.
The Munich trip was great for us. The last time I saw that beautiful city was the summer of '74 with Bill and Pete, so soon after I arrived this time, I drank a liter in their honor down at the old Hafbrauhaus. Munich was rainy and chilly in April, but Christine and I had no problem with that. We went to many of the famous places and even took a train ride down to Salzburg, Austria on a wintry day. I couldn't stop singing, "The hills are alive with the Sound of Music" and "I am sixteen, going on seventeen" for weeks afterward.
One of the highlights was seeing the Munich Philharmonic perform Strauss music in the Munich Concert Hall. One of the most moving experiences of our lives was visiting the Dachau Nazi Concentration Camp just a short train ride from the city.
After becoming professional daredevil pedestrians like everyone else here in Turkey, crossing the streets in Germany felt strange to us. The first time we stopped on a corner, I couldn't understand why no one was crossing. So what if the light was red, there was not a car even close to us! I could hardly hold myself back and asked Christine, "What's wrong with everybody?"
It is an everyday experience here in Turkey to have shop owners tell us we don't have to pay right away for items. If we don't have enough cash in our pockets, they often tell us to just take what we need and pay later.
You don't really need a prescription to buy medication at a pharmacy. You can just show the old bottle of whatever it is, even if it's from the states, and they'll sell more to you. Very cheaply.
It's ok to pick fruit from trees in public parks and streets. The other day we saw an old guy shaking the hell out of an orange tree on a street in Adana and scooping up the oranges that fell. And a lot of vendors are selling fruit along the streets. Maybe that's where some of them get the fruit.
People who run restaurants and stores usually get real excited when an American comes in. It's pretty rare. They can't do enough to welcome you, shake hands, learn your name, and maybe even practice a little English if they know some. A while back, I walked into a local cafe, and the cook was so happy, he came out to introduce himseşf and greet me. Then he pointed to the nearest table and chair and said, "Please, stand up!"
Cappadocia is the name of a beautiful rural region in the heart of Turkey, famous for its otherworldly formations caused by volcanic eruptions, rain, and wind over centuries. And the many ancient cave homes, cave churches, and underground cities. The land of troglodites. We really enjoyed our stay there.
Typical views in Cappadocia.
As I said before, people here immediately know with one look that I'm not Turkish. The other day I was walking down the street and a kid about twelve ran up to me and yelled "Hello, England!"
People immediately know that Christine is Turkish. Everywhere we go, folks speak Turkish to her with confidence, and they are so amazed when we try to explain that she's an American and can't speak Turkish. "Pardon, Turkçe bilmiyorum," we say.
Here are some shots of people picking fruit from public trees.
You know Christine and I aren't much for watching TV. And we don't watch it at all here. But we were given all five seasons of "Downton Abbey" by another teacher this year and quickly became addicted. Around the apartment now we often talk to eachother about the characters like we know them personally. For instance, we really like the old butler, Mr. Carson. And we get so angry at that smug bastard Thomas and wonder when he's going to get fired. We can't wait for Season 6 to start this fall.
When we were in Cappadocia, we spent a day in the lower part of the region. In the town of Gözelyürt, where St. Gregory came from, there is a centuries old monestary. This is where the beautiful Gregorian Chants originated. A sweet little village girl, about ten years old, showed us around the monestary and nearby well with its "healing waters." (The well came in handy because minutes before I had once again banged my forehead. This time on a low doorway in the church). She appears to live right by the monestary, and we gave her a few lira afterward to thank her. She didn't speak English, but we were able to communicate pretty well with her. She didn't want us to take a photo of her, but later her mother and little sister came by, and they didn't mind at all if we took the little one's picture. Nearly all Turkish people have dark eyes, but look at the baby blues on this little angel.
Before and after pictures with Dürük, our neighborhood barber.
And are you ready for this? Patrick and Kari will be bringing a little girl into the world this August! Our first granddaughter!
School ends here on 17 June, and we'll fly home on the 28th. There are some school matters the teachers are required to work on following the last exams. So we'll stick around and maybe do a bit more traveling too in Turkey before we leave. Take good care of yourselves, friends.
Thanks for reading, and we'll be looking for you this summer!