Turkey 2013

NOTE:  When Sharon adds comments, they will be in {curly brackets}.  Comments added AFTER coming back to San Jose are in [square brackets].


Report 5. Day 5.  Wednesday, October 2, 2013. Sharon, Tara to Istanbul to Meet Tara's Friend Kimberly. Cihan and Bob Dinner Out.



A week before we were to leave, Tara asked if we could bring some things with us that she wanted to order online. Sure, bring 'em on, we said. So things started arriving. Like the pasta attachments, some vitamins and other goodies. Then one day an enormous box arrived. I thought, Oh No this is going to use up all our weight allowance, but as I picked it up it was much lighter than I expected.. Huh? We opened it immediaely, and found this big ass rolling pen. For a perspective, I've included a life-size elephant for comparison. Look out Mr. Elephant, or you'll get rolled.

On the right, I present a couple of Turkish coins in the bottom row. Their equivalent to our "cent" is the "kurush." Actually the 'sh' is an 's' with a descender hanging down, but I don't know how to make that with our English typing set. Maybe somebody can tell me. Anyway, the dime is directly above the ten-kurush coin, and the quarter is above one TL, or Turkish Lira coin. Just thought it'd be fun to show you.



I am wiped out and it is clear that I must stay home, nap and let the medicine do its work. Nobody is surprised at my decision. They DID have a jacket for me to wear if I insisted on going -- a straight jacket.


Below the girls wait for a double decker bus in a neighborhood close to their apartment. We walked up to take this bus which is a little slower than the one we take back home tonight, but Tara thought I wouls get a better view of Pendik, the town the ship yard is in.}. At right is a shot at another ferry they meet on the way from the Asian to the European side of Istanbul.


Below is a small lighthouse to show the way in the fog, and at right below is another ferry.


The building used to be the old train station. It had a big fire and it was decided to tear it down and build a new station for the high-speed train that is coming in, being run along the old train tracks. But preservationists ruled, and it was decided not to tear it down but restore it and use it as the new station. At right are the seats inside the ferry.


At left is a very famous piece of architecure called the Maiden's Tower. { The story goes that a King (probably Sheik) feared his daughter would die from some fate so her "protected her by putting her in this tower out in the Bospherous. But one day someone brought her her daily basket of fruit. There was a poisonous snake hiding in the fruit, bit her and she died. Such is the power we have over fate.}It now houses a restaurant, and Cihan told me he and Tara have eaten there. {Below right is a light-rail tram we took from the ferry landing to the museum to meet Kimberly. We are now 3 hours into our trip to European Istanbul. And I am so glad Tara is leading the way through all these forms of transportation. It made me think of the movie, "Planes Trains, and Automobiles" with Steve Martin}.


As you can see, new arrivals are standing in the rain waiting to be met or for transportation, in the rain. At right are wrist straps, and the various city or area stops on the light rail. {Tara says some day this train will run under the water and be an easier connection between the 2 halves of Istanbul. We enjoyed watching an enterprising young man who was selling umbrellas to people getting off the ferry who didn't have them. We find out later from Kimberly who bought one of them that it only cost her 5 Turkish Lira or about $2.50. Tara says in the summer he sells bottles of water. Smart guy.}.


{This is a mosque near the Modern Art muserm. I liked how it looked in the rain}



Sharon shot this photo of Kimberly and Tara at their lunch restaurant that is in the museum.. Tara must be reading a menu or looking at her food. {Kimberly works for ANGEN pharmaceuticals. (Matt, it is the Angen that sponsors the Tour of Calaifornia every year. She is here for a conference of doctors to learn more about some of their products. She travels all over the world with this job. She and Tara lived together in the "green house" at Santa Clara Univ. Great to meet old friends.}


Of course, no report is complete without photos of desserts. Sharon says the one at left is profiteroles in chocolate sauce. At right are baklava filled with pistachio and ice cream on the side.


Below is hot cappichino, and their waiter.


Now this was really cool. In the restaurant, there are holes in the wall in random patterns, and wine bottles are just stuck into the holes. Remarkable. {Almost like an art display here in the restaurant.}



Their destination is a modern art museum. AT left, in Turkish, is the theme "Mom, am I a barbarian?" It is translated, at right, to "Mom, am I barbarian?" Who needs extra letters? {There is the main part of the art museum that we don't visit, and this part that houses the biennial exhibit you see here. We were not certain what this was about but found that it was to illustrate the connection between citizen protest and art. Didn't qute get it but the art was interesting.}

{These are examples of exhibits I liked. The pictures with the cones are "death masks" from an old book that the artist found and the cones represent their voices, I presume. It was a tradition to make death masks of famous people and these are of Liszt, Wagner, and Robespierre as some.}


It is always incredible to see the size of the multi-story cruise ships. {This is the Queen Elizabeth and the Divina. They are inches away from the dock which is leading right into Istanbul.}



Sharon will give you the lowdown on this art. Sharon? {There were many types of art here. I just liked the plant picture. AGain, I don't know what this has to do with "protests" but I guess the artist knows. The other three are from a video presentation that was remarkable. The colors and shapes changed continuously accompanied by voices, some singing, some talking, and I understood that they were are people from Istanbul providing the voices. I loved the colors. It lasted about 10-15 minutes.}



They say goodbye to Kimberly and on the way out of the city, they come across the two photos below. Sharon? {The left one is a University named after a famous architect who designed the Blue Mosque and the Taj Mahal. His name was Mimar Sinan. The one on the right is another mosque next to the Museum, maybe the front view of the other mosque picture you saw.}



Cihan has called a time or two during the day to see how I'm doing. I am sleeping, then reading a little, then resting up from the reading. Still haven't begun the ascent from my little hell. He asks if I'm up for dinner out at this meat store/restaurant. I would normally pass it up, but again, I want to test myself and see if I'm getting better. He comes home, and I put my clothes on, feeling spacey and weak, but I persevere, hoping for a little miracle. I trust it's coming, but it may not be till tomorrow. So I'll just eat the smallest portions. Off we go.

There is a short, dead-end street that jogs off the main road to the right, and culminates in barriers to prevent cars from getting in or out there. It's a normal sized Turkish road, and you can park two cars side by side, and could make probably four or five pairs that way, so could park 8 or 10 cars there. Of course, there would be some serious juggling to get the deep-in cars out, but Cihan says it always works out. Everybody is glad to juggle cars around. Except for the fellow who has straddled the center of the little road. Cihan parks behind him and honks maybe three or four times, with several-second pauses between. It's raining a little, but we see no movement inside the car. Finally, Cihan gets out to find the driver, who walks out of the meat store when he sees Cihan coming. He moves his car over to the right side so we can pass. Cihan's a little pissed at the guy, and I think he's gonna let him have it, but they begin talking and then smiling. Anyway. We're in.

One of the workers takes a photo of us in the doorway, at left, {Et means meat in Turkish}and you see about 2/3rds of the butcher counter at right. At the far end of the restaurant -- the end Cihan is walking towards -- is a big aquarium, with the greenest, ugliest water I can imagine. Well it's a beautiful shade of green, but it's the exact opposite of clear. I walk towards it after we get set up at a table, and can't quite believe what I'm seeing as I approach...


PIRANHA!!! I guess you say I'll have him. And he is thinking, I'll have him, as he looks at me out of his little sideways fish eye.


After dinner, another worker takes a picture of us by the vegetables and stove. I must point out, yes, the TOMATOES! In case you missed them. Oh my, they are good. There were some chopped up in a salad, which had pomegranite juice spritzed over it, like lemon juice. Which I also added. Yummy. Well, not the corn. Corn is a very common component of lots of salads in Turkey, but I don't care for it. So I ate around the corn.



Cihan asks how I'm doing, and you know what? We had a fascinating set of conversations about my memory palace work (memorizing long lists of things, using a new technique I've learned), and the Turkish Navy. My point is that during this meal and conversation, I made a giant step towards recovery. I feel fantastic and say so. I'm on the road back baby, and a big jump up the ladder. He asks if I feel like taking a fresh air walk to see another store they love. OK, I say, you're on. We walk perhaps 5-6 minues, and come to what he calls the Nut Store. There are stores like this all over Turkish cities. They have sweets, fruits, packages, candy, and of course nuts. Below right is the Turkish Delight section.


Here are mulberries, sunflower seeds and more at left. At right are peanuts, walnuts, cashews and more.


A closeup of the Turkish Delight, and something I don't eat any more -- candy bars. In Turkey you pronounce a 'c' like 'j'as in 'jack'. So if you spelled this as it is actually pronounced in Turkish, it would be Jojo Star. "I used to love them, but it's all over now", as the song goes. And I couldn't be happier.


The owner takes a photo of us leaving the store with a big bag of goodies.


We head for home. But wait. The women have telephoned us {We have reversed our path from Istanbul, taking the light-rail, then the ferry, waiting an hour to catch the high speed bus that drops us off at the entrance to the Navy ship yard and there we realize that Cihan and Bob are not there yet. Take it Bob}, and since they don't have an apartment key with them, and since somebody inside has to let you in if you don't have a key, they have stopped in to wait at a friend's apartment. They are Oner and Handan and their two small children. Oner and Cihan went to high school together, and tease each other mercilessly. It makes me laugh out loud.

Handan serves us tea and desserts, and Oner serves me and Cihan small shots of some alcoholic drink.

The atmosphere is warm, friendly and happy. I say I'm going to tell a joke, and after each portion, I ask Cihan to translate that portion. I watch Oner's face as he understands a bit of English. And I watch Handan's face, as Cihan translates. {I love it at the start of this procedure when as Cihan pauses before translating the first line, Handan says forcefully, TRANSLATE, CIHAN!} They both crack up at the punch line. It's a good one -- the one about the man who goes into a bar with a dog, there being a sign hung around the dog's neck saying "Talking Dog For Sale." THAT one.

We keep them up past midnight I think. Anyway, after watching some home photos of their son's circumcision celebration, we all four of us pick up our goodies from the day, and go home.

I feel wonderful. The jump in health during dinner has hit me like crack. The world is wonderful. {A last story. At the ferry building in Istanbul, Tara has to put more money on her transit card. We stand in a long line, and as another line seems ready to open up, she says to me "hold my place in line and I'll see if this next line will open up". As it does and she starts her transaction, I step out of line and one of the transit personnel sees my cane and motions me to come with him to go around the turn stile and through another gate. I protest to him "But I don't have a card"!, (in English, of course). "No matter" he motions, and takes me through the gate. The only problem is that the place is crowded and now Tara has no idea where I am. She looks around and I hold up my cane hopng she can see it above the people. We finally find each other and proceed. I begin to think; when we left this morning, we made sure everyone had each other's cell phone numbers. Bob had Tara's and Cihan's, Tara had Cihan's and Bob's and so forth, but I suddenly realize that if I am separated for some reason (fill in the blank here of worst case senario) I have NO ONE'S phone number or address. So now I go through in my mind "what would I do to explain my predicament and get in touch with any of them". OMG as the kids say. I think I could at least get back to the Naval Ship Yard. But I make up my mind to get those numbers and keep them with me, just in case of ...}

Good night all.

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