TURKEY 2001 TWO-WEEK TRIP

Sunday, July 1. Day 7 of 15. ANTALYA MUSEUM. SWIMMING. THE ENGAGEMENT PARTY.

BREAKFAST AND THE YURT

We are up and have breakfast, and I'm just not feeling so hot. Maybe breakfast will help. At least, I'm moving around and that makes me feel better. Tara is certainly feeling good. Cihan officially proposed last night, and Tara is wearing her new ring.

Cihan found this ring on the internet, from a company named Mondera. It is actually an old brick-and-mortar company around a hundred years old in New York City, but has recently added a website, thereby increasing their business by a huge amount, I imagine.

Anyway, Cihan had me look into it, and after enlisting some friends, we all decided it was a bona fide, solid business. Cihan made the purchase, which had a 30-day money-back guarantee, and all the stuff (ring, extra setting in gold, paperwork) was sent to our house. Then after talking via email and over the phone, everyone decided it was authentic. And Sharon's jeweler said it's a VERY good diamond.

After breakfast we stop by the yurt, or tent, used by the roving peoples. It has been purposely set up here for tourists to see and presumably take photos in. I take a photo of the others in the tent, then Ross takes one with me in it. Outside the tent, Carrie and Tara trade hugs. Cihan, Carrie and Tara stop for a great shot. It's photo time, so next Ross takes a photo of Cihan, Tara, Sharon and me. Next I take one of Ross and Carrie, Cihan and Tara.

If you are thinking that this is one of those statistics problems, where you do every combination and permutation possible with six people (one removed to take the picture), you ain't far off. Finally we do a staged one where Cihan is in front, and Ross, Carrie and Tara are peeking around him.

THE ANTALYA MUSEUM

We move on to the next item on our agenda, a visit to the famous Antalya Museum. There are fantastic things in here, and one is the recreation of a skeleton found in a huge amphora, lying on its side, with various personal items around it.

I particularly like one of the curls on the head of some Roman official. Sharon likes a huge amphora on its stand, which was rescued from a sunken ship.

I like a burial box, called a sarcophogus I think, with a design carved into the marble, called egg and dart, I believe.

Cihan likes this area of the museum because as a child, growing up near here in Antalya, he and his buddy used to play hide and seek among these old statues and burial boxes. The floors are incredibly slick, and he pulls Tara along like a water skier.

Cihan had told us that Tufan was a famous artist, and that he had some work in some museums, but I had no idea. We see his name on a plaque on a work he did and placed here in 1984. One of the things so fun about this ceramic work is that it contains two names of ruins that Tara, Sharon and Carrie visited yesterday, with Cihan. Those names are Aspendos and Perge. And finally I back up to see the entire work. There are little ceramic boats, plying the waters of Antalya Bay and the north Mediterranean.

Then on the next wall, there is a wonderful ceramic work of Tufan's that is a hillside city beside the Mediterranean.

And Cihan tells me that Tufan's latest interest are ceramic birds on long metal legs and mounted fish -- actually ceramic, of course.

LUNCH

Kemal and Aysel find us a nice lunch place on the first floor (2nd, American), looking down over a bustling area of the city. But up here it is quiet, and done completely in white. We have a nice, relaxing time, and the women decide that since the two Bobs went Med swimming, that now it's their turn, back at the hotel. So back we go.

SWIMMING IN THE MEDITERRANEAN

Back at the hotel, we all head down the staircase to the sunbathing platform. Sharon gets in first, then Carrie, then Tara and Cihan. Cihan tries to get a giggling Tara up on his shoulders, and they finally get this done.

THE ENGAGEMENT DINNER

We dress up for dinner and the big event, then head down to the area past the swimming pool. It's still a little warm, and the men take off their jackets. Good thing they scheduled this for late in the day. I show my tricky fish picture around to people who haven't seen it yet, and everybody loves it.

Cihan introduces me to his childhood friend, the one that used to chase around the Antalya Museum, as I recall. It's Ur and his wife. Oddly, they met in Texas, where both were going to college outside of Turkey. Married and new parents, they are well-matched for each other. Ur has a PhD in Economics and was teaching at Texas Tech, in Lubbock. Ur's wife has almost no accent. Well, maybe a little Texas one, y'all.

Tara and Carrie make a great picture, together with Aysel and Sidukuh, as does Nedim with his daughters. I take one photo of all present, by the swimming pool, then one more in the special pose everybody loves, where they're holding a huge, imaginary fish. Next, I get a shot of Cihan, Tufan, his wife Leila, and Carrie. Then a shot of Nedim and his daughters, with Sharon and Tara.

Suna and sister Sena are cute together, as are Metin and Canan. The next time we see them, they'll be parents! Ur and his wife are very photogenic, while Leila and Tufan make a great couple. She is from Lebanon, while he is Turkish. They have two teenage daughters.

I get set to take a picture of three of the four sisters, but Aysel sees me and runs around the tables to join in the picture. After we eat, somebody starts playing music and Carrie and Tara start dancing. Tufan joins them.

After we eat (I think), Kemal and I give short speeches about our kids. I go first. And so here is my speech.

"We have watched Tara and Cihan become friends, then good friends, and now they are engaged. They have realized what is now obvious to the rest of us -- together they are much more than both of them, separately.

In your language, you call your country Turkiye. In English, we say Turkey. In English, Turkey is also the name of a big bird.

Tara, you will remember that when you were small, I used to push you in a swing, and tell you I was going to give you a Turkey Push. Then I'd run under the swing, and give you a push high into the sky, LIKE a bird. Neither of us had any idea that I was actually pushing you to Turkey. To Turkiye.

To Kemal and Aysel, you have done a wonderful thing for the world, raising Cihan with the strong moral values that you have taught him.

Cihan, we love all of your family, your unbounded energy, your sense of humor, your intelligence, and your appreciation of things of the finest quality. Choosing Tara is, of course, the best example of this.

Tara and Cihan- Carrie and Bob and Sharon and I wish you love, we wish you luck, ... we wish you all the best, and we wish you the skills and tools to weather life's storms as they surely will come.

With your arms around each other, you are weather-proof. Together, you will conquer the world.

God bless you and Masallah."

Before this speech, Sharon read and approved it (after correctly rejecting my first choosing a speech with jokes in it). She also bet me fifty cents I couldn't get through it without crying. I took that bet. During the speech, I gave her both 50,000 TL coins I had, but I owe her about six more.

THE ENGAGEMENT CEREMONY

Kemal asks Nedim, as the eldest of the family, to perform the engagement ceremony itself. Nedim tells a story of a young girl on a ship who falls off, then of a young man who jumps in to rescue her. After they are back on board, the young man says, "Who pushed me?" but I'm not sure exactly how deep that question is supposed to be. Anyway, Nedim says he's like that man, meaning "Who pushed me into doing this ceremony?" Kemal did, of course, so I guess that's the point.

Before Nedim ties the ribbon to the rings, he says that he hopes for such a ceremony some day for his two daughters. Tufan and Leila call out that they have two daughters too, and it cracks up Cihan, who points, as well as Nedim and Tara.

Next, Nedim ties a red ribbon, knotted in the center, to the two rings. After this, he slides Tara's ring onto the ring finger of her right hand. And finally, after some work, he puts Cihan's ring on him.

After much applause, Nedim cuts the ribbon near the middle, and then a cake with what I would call "sparklers" in Missouri on any July 4th is brought in. After a tradition, in which the cake delivery people say, "The knife won't cut," Kemal sticks some money into the pocket of one of them. Everybody laughs, and the knife is given to Tara and Cihan, who cut the cake together. Shortly thereafter, Cihan and Tara propose a toast, and Cihan delivers a very nice speech about us American and Turkish friends and family.

After this, Tara walks to each young, single girl at the party and cuts her a piece of ribbon. The two I noticed were Sena and Suna. A long piece means it will be a long time before this girl will become engaged. The mothers of the younger daughters yell, "Cut her a long ribbon," and everybody laughs at that.

Finally, the people begin to leave in small numbers, and then it's over. I am exhausted. My thoughts drift back to 1977 (though I am not dizzy now, unlike then), when Tara and I rode on the "Birdy Cages" at Marriott's Great America, in Santa Clara, California in about 1977. I had just got off the "Turn of the Century," a ride with many corkscrews which are anathema to me. All together now -- ANATHEMA.

On the way to our room, Cihan says that everyone has been invited over to Tufan's (It's about 11:30 PM now and it's at least a half-hour drive, one way), but I'm so sick/fatigued that I beg off. The rest go while I go upstairs to try and recover. I slowly realize that I've probably gotten some bacteria from the drinking water, and need some Cipro, which combats this sort of thing. I got a double batch for one of our trips in the past year, and Sharon took one course -- I think it was in New Zealand.

When she gets back, she gives me the one remaining batch, and I take the first pill. Although this will take a day or two, I start getting better right away. The after-effects are that I will be quite weak and I've lost about eight or nine pounds. But at least I'm on the road to recovery.

All in all, a remarkable, wonderful day.

No birding today.

Life Birds Today: 0
Life Birds for the Trip: Remains at 8.

Upgrades Today: 0
Upgrades for the Trip: Remains at 4.

Trip Birds Today: 0
Trip Birds Total: Remains at 49.

NOTE to Birders: No birding or bird reports till Wednesday, July 4th.

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