Monday and Tuesday, November 17 and 18, 2008. California to Turkey. Days 1 and 2 of 21.

NOTE: Additions to the text in red were added during the report compilation, for the website.
NOTE: Sharon did not review this report before it was sent out. I blame jet lag.


Our friend Bob Ross magically loads us and all six pieces of our luggage into their Nissan. Two of the big pieces are full of goodies for daughter Tara and husband Cihan. We leave our home about 9:15 am to make the 1:48 flight. It's about an hour and fifteen minutes to the airport, so with your calculator, you can see that we like lots of leisure airport time before our flight.

We clear security with no problems. Sharon clears the puffer machine (sniffing for bomb making stuff), and I don't forget anything at the security point. An excellent start.


The United Airlines 747 takes off late, setting into motion our fourth trip to Turkey, having been in 2001, 2002 and 2004. The lateness is to repair a toilet door which somehow got ripped off during the cleaning of this plane. The pilot says not to worry, he'll get us in on time anyway.

We are in seats 34 D and E, just behind a bulkhead, on the aisle on the left side of the center section. Good news is lots of legroom. Bad news is no storage in front of us. But we manage to get the big five done perfectly: eating, sleeping, watching three movies, reading and using the facilities. I toss in a few neck and knee exercises to boot.

It is about a 10 hour flight to Frankfurt (crossing the midnight line in the air, traveling against the sun), with 2 hours between flights (in which I leave my double-insulated water bottle behind), and then a 3 hour flight to Istanbul, all rough numbers.


Sharon, happy to have made Turkish Airlines Flight 1588. The color turquoise is featured in Turkish advertisements and artwork.


At Frankfurt, Sharon gets us this shot of our tail in the mirrored windows of an airport terminal building as we were taxiing to the takeoff line


We arrive in Istanbul on time, about 3:45 pm Tuesday, November 18, purchase two $20 visas, clear immigration where we get our passports stamped, then exit to the real world with our carry-ons and personal items.

Son-in-law Cihan greets us on this rainy afternoon, having just driven from their home to Istanbul. Daughter Tara doesn't come because there won't be room for four people plus all our luggage.

We load up a cart, cross to parking and head out, catching each other up on our life's events during the 3-hour drive to their home in Golcuk, eastward along the Marmar Sea.


This out-of-focus shot from the front seat is a little like what we feel after our trip.


We drive into the naval base, up the hill to Tara and Cihan's apartment, and see Tara, standing in the parking area in the light rain with her parka on and hood up to greet us.

We unload the car, and take the stuff up the six flights of stairs to the fourth floor, with Cihan doing most of the big lugging. This is the first big test of my knee and I pass with flying colors.

It's going to be ok.

Tara has fixed spaghetti and we have some dinner before hitting the sack, in a super-comfortable fold-out couch in the living room.

Good night from Turkey. Have a pleasant tomorrow.


Wednesday November 19, 2008. First Day in Turkey. Day 3 of 21.

We wake up to overcast and rainy morning.

The Marmar Sea, as viewed from their apartment, looking across the submarine berths of the naval base.

Here are some shots of Tara and Cihan's apartment, as it looks today:


The entry way, with the dining room through the door at left. You can just see the left half of the front door, at right, with the door keys hanging from the lock.

Storage and coat hanging area, near the entry. Shot taken from the dining room.

The dining room cabinet, with glassware and ceramic display.

The TV room, showing both fold-down couches and the television. The near couch is the one we sleep on.

Cihan was promoted to Lieutenant Commander, in the Turkish Navy, a couple of months ago. His baseball-style cap has serious "scrambled eggs" now, signifying a higher-ranking officer.


Cihan and Sharon, showing Cihan's gold braided cap and epaulettes, indicating Lieutenant Commander.


Tara, fixing some lentil soup for lunch.


Freezer on the left (mostly for Cihan's spearfishing catch) and refrigerator.

Cihan works only five minutes from home, maybe three minutes. So he comes home for lunch most days, and he likes a hot noon meal.

After lunch, Cihan goes back to work while the rest of us walk down to the Akbank cash machine, on the base, and we withdraw 300 YTL, which stands for Yenni (new) Turkish Lira. A couple of years ago, with their previous money, $5 was worth about 5 million Turkish Lira. Then they converted to new money, in which they basically just got rid of six zeroes in each denomination.

The exchange rate is now 1$ = 1.66 YTL, so the 300 YTL withdrew about $180 from our Wells Fargo account in the U.S. using our debit card.

During the walk we see a Jackdaw, English Sparrows and a Magpie, plus Carrion Crows. We also see a little bird flying with a roller coaster pattern, likely a goldfinch, but that will have to wait.

Later that evening, I talk with Tara and she learns that I'm paying Earthlink about $100 a month for email and website services. She is floored, and tells me about the company they use, ixwebhosting, in which they pay about $15 or less per month. I'm paying about $50-75 a month for that portion, I think.

I think through the tentacles of all the Earthlink services and remember that they also are our internet provider. I have an Earthlink DSL modem in our home, so I have to keep that.

I go to the ixwebhosting website and sign up for $7.95 per month, but they send an email that there is some problem and I need to call in to discuss it.

For several years now, we've been communicating with Tara over our PC-type computers using Skype services, for no charge whatsoever, but I didn't think that was available for the Macintosh yet (The laptop I'm typing this on, in Tara's living room, is a Mac). Cihan says they do have Mac versions now, and sure enough they do. So I download the Skype application for Mac and install it.

I call in to the main phone number, but the right people aren't there at the moment. They must pass my message to the ixwebhosting division that approves new accounts. This new group will call me back. I give them Tara's Turkey phone number and figure they'll call back tomorrow.

Tomorrow we will run around the local town, Golcuk, shopping for jewelry and meeting with Tara's artist friends who make ceramic plates, similar to just calling the Mona Lisa a painting.

Birds: Jackdaw, House Sparrow, Magpie, Carrion Crow


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