This is a collection of reports we emailed to friends and relatives during our trip to Turkey, and that text is in black. Text added later, as explanations, corrections, etc. is in red. Sharon's comments, added during the trip, are in {green curly brackets}.

This section concludes our vacation in Turkey, and gets us back to California. It then includes our TRIP AWARDS.


Note: Sharon may have added comments, and they will be in {angle brackets}.

Wednesday September 8 - Sunday, September 12, 2004. Winding Up Turkey.

During our last five days in Turkey, all spent at son-in-law Cihan's parents' apartment home near Ankara, we did the following:

Returned our rental car on Wednesday, to the Hertz office in central Ankara. Then we rode the Metro back to Kemal's. It was like riding any subway or high speed transit anywhere, I suppose, except that I couldn't understand much of what people were talking about. Unless they said 'please', 'thank you','yes', 'no', 'today', 'yesterday', 'tomorrow', 'now', 'how much does that cost?', 'I ate my head', or a few other words and phrases.

Visited at Cihan's sister Canan's house on Thursday, in central Ankara, with her husband Metin and daughter Burcu. Canan prepared a tea for us, which included many delicious things to eat. Cihan is on 24-hour watch back in Golcuk, which he does once or twice a month, for the navy and will be here Friday evening. Metin is an emergency room doctor, but is in the middle of a two-week vacation. His hobbies are computers, collecting DVD movies, dinosaurs, his fresh water aquarium and his parakeet.

Sharon and Tara went shopping in central Ankara (The Kizilay area, alive with students and young people, often sitting at outside tables of coffee or tea shops). {They had a store where they sell items that are made in Turkey for famous brand names such as "Eddie Bauer, Esprit, etc. They had great bargains. I had a great time visiting with Tara's friends Zeynep and Kadryie. They helped Tara a lot when she first came to Turkey as they had both lived in Naval husing for longer periods and could give her ideas. They were shopping that day for back-to-school things for their girls so we all had a great time shopping.}That evening, Cihan arrived on the bus from Golcuk, with all his luggage, Tara's luggage (They are leaving for San Francisco tomorrow morning), and our luggage we didn't take with us on the Black Sea Coast trip.

Saturday morning, some alarm clocks went off about 4am, and Kemal drove Tara and Cihan to the Ankara airport, leaving at 5am. The plane took off at 750am, and next day, we got a call from them saying they made it to San Jose ok. We will do exactly the same thing on Monday morning, until we get to Munich. From there, they took a direct flight to San Francisco, whereas we will take a two-leg flight to Chicago, then to San Jose. Tara and Cihan picked us up at the airport in Ankara, and they will pick us up at the airport in San Jose. What service!

On Sunday, we went with Kemal and Aysel to the Carrefour, a huge shopping supercenter, with groceries and Walmart type items. On the way in, we met people coming out, pushing a big TV carton in a shopping cart such that they couldn't see very well directly where they were going. Without seeing Sharon, they bumped into her, and Sharon started falling backwards like a tree that had been 'timbered.' Luckily, I was right behind her and caught her before she went down. If I had been wearing roller skates, I'd have caught those guys.

{We had a great two days with Kemal and Aysel, with their not speaking much English and our not speaking much Turkish. We all keep our English-Turkish dictionaries close at hand though and manage to communicate pretty well. If you just know a few nouns and simple phrases like "thank you", and "good night", you do well.}


Monday, September 13, 2004. "Back in the Good Old USA"

Up at 4 am (6pm Sunday evening in San Jose). Left Kemal's at 5am. Flew out of Ankara a little before 8am (10pm Sunday in San Jose). Flew to Munich. After about an hour turnaround, we left for Chicago. We went through customs without any problem there, then left Chicago for San Jose, where we landed about 730pm local time.

We slept a few hours, and the "trip" time from when we left Ankara to when the plane landed in San Jose was 21.5 hours. Door to door, the time span was about 26 hours.

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Turkey 2004