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}.

Lutman's Turkey 2004 Report 1. Getting There. First Photo Notification

Merhaba (Hello),

Hos Geldiniz (welcome) to this report.

New photos are up at

on our website, from the first four days of our trip. Go there, and then click on the first line that shows a link.

What isn't shown is the time Tara, Cihan, Sharon and I all got into the tiny elevator that normally carries us up to the 7th floor of the apartment building where Cihan's parents live near Ankara. Cihan must weigh 300 pounds, and we had a lot of produce with us. Sharon took note of the fact that as we got on the elevator and the door closed, Cihan said sort of to himself, "I wonder if this elevator will make it," when it promptly sank slowly about half a floor, stopped and the electricity and lights went off.

It was pretty cute.

I started knocking on the inside of the elevator door and saying "Hello," and some little kids came up and started making fun of us. Cihan had his cell phone, so he called his dad, who called the area elevator man. This man came over in about ten minutes and rescued us, at which time we could see that we hadn't quite sunk all the way to floor number -1.

Needless to say, from that point on, we didn't ride all four of us to one elevator.

Also, what isn't shown is the stupid cold I caught on the plane, but it's almost gone now. And another thing not shown is the stupid spider bite on the back of my leg. Where did THAT happen?

But that's just the bad news. The good news is that we're now in Golcuk, in Tara and Cihan's apartment, about two hours east of istanbul, and we're having a fabulous time.

Hope things are well with you. Iyi Aksamlar (Good Night). Its midnight here and we're still watching the Olympics live. It's 11pm in Athens. I already know who won the women's 200 meter final.

My name is Bob Lutman and I approve this message (from the goofy statements by the presidential candidates at the end of their television ads).


Lutman's Turkey 2004 Report 2. Airplanes and Guns. Rooftops and Ferries.

New photos may be seen at

We toured the outdoor military hardware museum on a beautiful day on the naval base, seeing planes and boats, rocket launchers, anti-aircraft guns, mines, torpedoes and more. It was all out-of-date stuff but was nevertheless impressive, and it made me glad Turkey's on our side.

That night we ate on top of a rooftop BBQ restaurant, which itself was on top of a hill, overlooking the big Ford auto assembly plant, the big shipbuilding facility and the eastern part of the Marmar Sea.

Next day, Tara, Sharon and I took the bus to Izmit, where Tara showed us the building and room where she taught English language to Turkish students. Some classes were in progress (her class is over for the summer), and we talked with those students (not Tara's students) during a break.

We met Tara's students at a shopping center ("The Outlets"), and after we became acquainted,

they helped us find some silver jewelery and other goodies, after which we went to the ferry takeoff point and had some tea. You do lots of things in Turkey while having tea, and I'm finding it enjoyable.

Our ferry ride back featured a 20-25 year old man wearing a tee shirt with the following announcement printed on it: "THESE PANTS WILL DRIVE YOU WILD WITH DESIRE." Yes, that's right, on the shirt.

We also met a woman and her young son. She was dressed in traditional Turkish garb - a long coat reaching to the ground, and a scarf covering her head. She started a conversation with Sharon, and we had fun talking with her and watching her son play. He had this little toy balloon in the shape of a cartoonish 747. It had wings and painted-on seat windows, but it also had eyes with big lashes.

The mother, who turned out to be Tara's age, said casually, "I prefer little girls," when Sharon told her she enjoyed watching her little son play. The mother went on to say that they had just come from her own mother's - the boy's grandmother's, and the boy was upset to leave the grandmother. The mother said that for compensation, she bought the boy that balik (fish) the boy was playing with. Then she went on to say through a giggle, "He thinks it's an airplane."

Tara tried to explain that it really WAS an airplane, but Mom wasn't buying it.

The Olympics - Clarification

I've been talking about how great the Olympics are to watch on TV in Turkey, but the fact is Turkish TV (TRT-3), in the same fashion as American TV, concentrates on Turkish athletes and teams, though there are far fewer commercials. The "impartial" coverage I'm enjoying so much is actually on "Eurosport," a European-wide TV channel specializing in all sports.

Sharon doesn't care for it because she says it's boring to watch virtually every contestant in a given event. (Sharon: "Not so much that, but after you have seen multiple "heats" the final event seems anti-climactic, although, of course, it is the climax. Oh, well.")


Gas prices are about $5.25 a gallon, but we haven't rented a car yet. We have plans (Tara, Sharon and I) to rent a car, drive north to the Black Sea, then east, along the coast highway, returning to Ankara, taking about 9 days to do it. We're expecting it to be fabulous, and we understand that the weather is wetter and cooler up there, something the Turks love, to get away from the hot summers.

Hope you're enjoying our trip.

Till next time.


Navy Ship, Sub Tour. Mountain Trout Hatchery. Report No. 3

New photos of our frigate and submarine tour, and a mountain trout hatchery may be seen at

Son-in-law Cihan, a world class arranger, set us up with 1) lunch with the commanding officer and his staff of a frigate and 2) a tour of a submarine, and 3) a visit with the commander of all the surface ships in the Turkish navy.

The lunch with the frigate commanding officer (called No. 1, and also the C.O.), the executive officer (No. 2, and also the X.O.), the chief of engineering (No. 3), and about twenty other officers was fascinating. The lunch thing is usually available only to mayors and dignitaries, but Cihan served this particular commanding officer as communications officer when he and Cihan were on a ship, and in Cihan's words, "I saved his butt many times, and he likes me." During lunch, we kept hearing a loudspeaker say "Ewch," meaning 'three', and pronounced roughly to rhyme with "pooch." We asked about it, and they described the numbering system for the officers.

The C.O. then asked in our marriage, who was No. 1 and who was No. 2. We all laughed, and lied, saying we weren't sure.

Our tour of the submarine TCG Preveze took place in the late afternoon, and was incredible, contrasting remarkably with the roomy space aboard the frigate earlier.

After our tour, we were invited into a lounge, served tea, and to Cihan's great consternation, the officer in charge presented ME with a TCG Preveze baseball cap. It is way cool.

That evening, we had lunch at the officers' club, and after dinner Cihan introduced us to a two-star admiral, who is in command of all the surface fleet of the Navy. Incredible. I pointed to my cap and said to him, "Look, now I work on a Turkish submarine." This fired up his competitive spirit, and he insisted that we drop by his office the next day and pick up a REAL cap, from the Surface Action Group - his group.

Another cap! Hope it's as cool as the submarine one.

Next morning, we dropped in and chatted with the admiral. Cihan figures that within a few years, he'll be chief of the entire Navy. I indeed got my cap, at which Cihan says to me, "Now I get the submarine one." At which time I say, "Nu-'uh." He's so jealous!

Then Cihan drives us up into the mountains following a thunderstorm passing over, and just as we get there, it starts to sprinkle, then rain hard. But by this time, we've toured the waterfall, stream and trout raceways, and are safely under the tin roof of the outdoor restaurant.

We order bread, drinks and a great dish of mushrooms and melted cheese. It's all I can do to finish this thing off when up comes the waiter with another one, but this one containing a large, nicely baked trout.

I eat what I can of it, have some grapes, and relax as the sun comes out. Sharon and I take off walking back up the road, checking out the birds, and Cihan and Tara pick us up on the road.

A great day.

Next Report
Turkey 2004