NOTE: Additions to the text in red were added during the report compilation, for the website.
NOTE: Sharon's comments will be in {curly brackets}.

Monday, December 1, 2008. Report 13. The Golcuk Shuffle. The Lost Skeleton. Day 15 of 21.

After yesterday's huge day, Sharon and I get up leisurely, have a leisurely breakfast, a couple of leisurely showers, {while Tara does all of her work. Boy that girl is a whirlwind with her housework, cooking a hot meal every lunch and doing her computer work} and at two in the afternoon Tara, Sharon and I get on the local military shuttle and shuffle off for Golcuk. Our goal is to pick up our plates, which are having holes drilled so they may be hung on the wall, with a ribbon.


I call this the Downtown Mosque

We go with Tara to the PTT (pronounced peh teh teh), like our post office, but more. Then we go with her to the Fed Ex-type store to mail some of her items that were sold on the internet. Next is a trip to the Eczane (pharmacy) to get me some cough drops, as I'm developing a wonderful cough, reminiscent of a lion's roar, or maybe a stegosaurous scream.

As we walk around Golcuk, I can't help but notice two things: 1) how solidly packed the buildings are in the city, and 2) there is an occasionally "empty lot", as we would call them in Missouri. These are the telltale signs of a collapse during the 1998 earthquake.

Next it's to the artist workshop to pick up our plates. Meryem is there, and she shows us the plates, but hasn't drilled the holes yet. She calls Sule, who comes a little later too. We don't want to carry the plates around and Meryem needs to drill the holes still, so we take off to do more errands.


Meryem signs the back of a plate for Sharon. Sule is talking with Tara

We drop into a pide (sort of a pizza) place, where Tara puts in our take-out order for dinner. We then go next door, to Cihan and Tara's friend's kofte place.


We actually met him the other day, when Cihan took us there. He is watching thoroughbred horse races from England on TV, and because of my horse race betting background, and with Tara translating, we swap some good horse racing stories. I can't figure out why the race at Wolverhampton, surely in England, is being run counterclockwise, like in the U.S. I thought English races were all clockwise. Hmmm.

Sharon says, "Look at those horses, wearing martingales." All knowledgable and everything I offer, "What's a martingale?" She says it's the strap around their chest, fastened to their saddle. "Oh," I counter. We have some tea and after a while, the pide is ready.

{Then we go back to the little hardware store to get the dog collar we ordered. Oops, they had one come in but it was more expensive than they had quoted us and they didn't want to buy it in case we didn't come back (not much call for these collars in the city and they would have been stuck with it). So they say they can get one in 2 minutes from another store (why didn't they do that last week when we were here before? The mysteries of Turkey.) So we wait and the collar shows up and we buy it. It is pretty impressive with sharp spikes all around, yellow webbing that is a surprise, I thought it would be black leather, but OK, we buy it for on (ten) YTL (about $7 US)}

We go back to the art center, upstairs to say hi to Dilek. Sule and Zeynep are there too. After a bit Zeynep has to go downstairs to the workshop, where she's teaching a class. We talk with Dilek a bit, and Cihan shows up. After a while it's time to go, but it is decided that we must stop in at Zeynep's class. They are doing the ebru thing and a man takes off his apron, puts it on Sharon and insists that she do one. {I protest but not too much as I am fascinated by this art. I know we have to get home to eat but we'll just be a little while, right? Ha, ha, nothing in Turkey takes a "little while"}

The "ebru thing" consists of making a pattern with paint on the surface of some treated water in a rectangular pan, then sliding a special paper across the top, absorbing all the surface onto the paper, exactly preserving the image and pattern as it existed on top of the water. It's pretty remarkable.


She gets into it, but smacks her brush too hard against her hand, and a mist of blue paint drops goes flying, landing mostly on the floor, but for two drops which land one on my shoe and one on my pantleg. Hey, I'm an art work! Wait.... what?


Sharon's ebru pattern

Cihan says Sharon must do another one, and he adds his twist to it also. They set the two pieces in the drying rack and say we can pick them up on Wednesday. Excellent.

Cihan pulls them back out for a photo.



Then we must go, and Cihan needs to fill up the car. The cost is 99.91 ytl, and I pay for it on my credit card, a Master card. After the transaction is totally over, the guy behind the counter says to Cihan, "Too bad you didn't spend 100, because then you would have gotten a free lottery ticket." Cihan has an idea. He has them cancel the transaction, something that takes a couple of minutes. Then I get three candy bars, which will put our total over 100 ytl. Before ringing us up, the guy says to Cihan, "But not with this credit card." Wait... what? {For the Bayran, the Turkish holiday coming up, which is their New Year, they sell lottery tickets and we saw men all over on our trip to the islands who were selling them}

So we put the candy bars back, and re-execute the exact same transaction we did to begin with. You gotta love it.

As we drive home, we do something I'm totally used to now. To get onto the military base, you have to drive through a Migros (like a Safeway) parking lot. Cracks me up. {It's actually a scary process where Cihan comes out of the gas station. You can't turn left from there and if we go right, we have to go into Golcuk to turn around. So Cihan drives on the shoulder, against traffic, through a rocky side yard to get to the traffic light which gets us onto the road where we turn into the Migros parking lot. Then we go around several barriers, around the parked cars and finally get to the gate into the base where they stop every car, open the hood and the trunk to check for (bombs, I guess). Then we are on the way home. Whew}

We go home and while we eat our pide (say "PEE-deh"), we watch a movie Cihan has downloaded from somewhere or other for free - The Lost Skeleton of Calavra, at my request.


Sharon's son Pete told me about this wonderful movie. This extreme tongue-in-cheek black-and-white film makes fun of the outer-space-aliens-coming-to- earth movies of the 1950s, by pretending to be one. By halfway through the movie, my sides are hurting and I can't stop coughing or laughing.

There is one great scene, where this alien couple - a man and wife, appearing to be human, are eating dinner in the cabin of a human couple, who have invited them in. The alien wife says something that almost gives them away, but the alien man attempts to defuse the situation when he says, "Sometimes my wife forgets she's not a space alien." Oh man, and there are another two dozen like that in the movie.

A man needs a "date" to appear to be a normal couple, so he creates a pseudo-woman by merging four forest animals. The woman is slinky and looks a little like a cat, and in fact is wearing black gloves with little pointy claws in them, and keeps saying "Rowr." He says her name is Animolay, but he will call her... Pammy.

He tries to teach her to drink out of a glass normally, after she tries to stick her tongue down into the water and lap it up. He says, "Do it like this." And he tips the glass up slowly as he says, "Tip, tip, tip, tip, tip." Later the guy and Pammy wind up with the other two couples in the cabin. The alien man has said to the alien wife, "If you don't know exactly what to do, observe them and do what they do." Soon, Pammy lifts up her glass and says, "Tip, tip, tip, tip, tip." The aliens look at each other and tip their glasses, both saying, "Tip, tip, tip, tip, tip." So as not to appear different, you see.

Ah I'm so sad because I'm not watching it again, right now.

Tomorrow, Tara, Sharon and I will go to Istanbul for some serious shopping as well as following Tara to meet her contact for a Turkish translation contract she did. And to collect her money for the job.

I can't get over the movie. I giggle myself to sleep. Sorry Sharon.

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