Part 3
Day 14; 10th July 2013 (second day of Ramazam)
This is my daily journal of a trip of 5000km by car with my Turkish friend Semih Çağlar, sometimes accompanied with his wife Gülat.
A good friend [TD] gave me a small tablet thing to record bits of "stuff" that she titled Journies with Jay
and on the second page "ABSORB the beginning"
So the boxes are what I wrote in her 'book' and if necessary I will explain further in italics.

New Day, 7AM no 6:30 2nd day of Ramazan. Which in Sinop is only partly observed, not much fasting. At the end of the 1st day at sundown a couple of cannon shots. The city at night everyone out walking, there is a crowd at the center performances, announcer with 5-6 pages tells crowd about each day's (28 of them) events one by one. Also there is free ice cream for children (everyday?, on the special days, don't know).

Today off to northern most point of Turkey which is nearby then along the coast to Inebolu and a night in Amasra, which I've been told is beautiful. This is now becoming more of a vacation and less of an exploring.
Cultural disjunctions; Cover your mouth while [1] olive pits or fruit spitting out [2] using a toothpick, [3] often on the phone. But chewing gum with mouth open - noisily.
On a sidewalk - passing in opposite directions is often opposite of whatever I try.
Swimming men in long leg trunks, women mostly in one piece suits this is for where we are now not not where we will be later however there are traditionally dressed women who go into the water completely dressed as they are on the street.
I sometimes make the mistake that the older traditional (there is a more 'fashionable' kind see 'Urfa' in the first part) clothing = an old/older woman and this is not necessarily true.
If you had the fortune to travel from Seattle to LA or San Diego before I-5 was built and had to use 99/route 66 etc, the coast highway you may have an idea of what the last 8 hours have looked like.
Single or 1½ lane, two way roads with wash outs, through villages that have teepee shaped haystacks in the front yard.

Cows with horns (in fact it is clear there are a range of ancient to modern breeds along the way). Dogs laying in the lane just raise (or not) their heads to look at you. Goats and sheep,and a turtle in the middle of the road [opposite lane], a rather large garter snake slithers across the asphalt.

It is so hot highway crews are spreading light colored clay/sand/gravel to reflect heat & light to keep the road from melting.

And it is green, coniferous forest and deciduous, a field of Eucalyptus trees planted to dry up a swamp, a native blackberry, a wild fig. Trucks in all directions along with tractors, motorcycles, a donkey cart. Big bosomed women in traditional garb - farming people. The men either with a skull cap or a baseball cap and often in long sleeves, the young highway workers in sleeveless t-shirts, young skinny arms that don't show the strength that they must have, or the large bellies their fathers have genetically endowed them for the future.

And the landscape~ rugged sheer cliffs and suddenly a named place ~ a village of 3 houses then a sign 'leaving x" under it 'entering y' etc... the sun at noon overhead, we are heading west so the rest of the day we drive into the sun.

Small scale hydro-electric plants
are being encouraged by the government
if you are a 'friend'

The effect of said plant on the water
for the community

For lunch in Cide we get a double salad which is a huge platter but polished off mostly by Gülat and I. Semih gets chicken wings, Gülat some sort of lamb dish and even though I have been told that they won't be wild I get a thin cut of beef covered in a slightly spicy hot brown gravy with mushrooms. The salad ~ memorable as Karadeniz salads have pickles, cornkernels ,fennel, and pickled red cabbage - along with ok tomatoes and onions with olive oil, lemon juice and salt.
Breads also change with each city even each restaurant. Occasionally we've gotten a sourdough bread, brown or white, most often it is some version of white baked in some shape or another.

Amasra sort of

Inebolu- sort of

The sea is now stronger and Semih & Gülat tell me it's dangerous. I can see how far out the undertow is and the waves are not high so I feel confident I could swim or play in it but I suspect that I won't get a chance.

We stopped just before Amasra a port/tourist-town ~ at a row of vegetable/fruit/nut stalls. Semih has been talking about fındık (hazelnuts) for the last 2 days and they have to be fresh/green; easy to crack with your teeth and the meat is greenish white ~ good but not my favorite- I'm hoping for fresh pistachios before I leave it's too early and I don't. Gülat bought a basket of huge green figs and a bag of green pears that are nearly round but not like Asian pears. The figs soft palm sized, I ate 3 almost one after the other yum, yum, yum.

It's turning out to be difficult to describe the slowness and beauty the familiarity and absolute bizarreness of the day's trip. You are driving (and I did a lot of it today), the road treacherous so my attention is mostly futilely trying to look ahead (think continuous hairpin turns with potholes and opposing traffic that you can't see or hear) and then the view opens up and you are hundreds of feet above the water and can see along the coast into the mist, for maybe 25K, with rocks and, sometimes, villages down below and often there's no road that you can see connected to it and the road you're on. There were a number of sights we were supposed to see on our way but possibly if you were riding a donkey you'd find them. All too often signs are missing or only on one side- so if you're in the 'other' directions you'll miss it.

We are staying in some kind of training hotel (again) there's a double bed a single bed and a TV, a vanity (my desk) plus a window table- very tired/ rinsed off, later will walk in Amasra must stop now......

Day 15; 11th July 2013 (third day of Ramazam)
Mengen; bulgar soup

This could have been a highlight day.

Gülat got very sick, food poisoning, all night up and down - neither S or G got much sleep. Semih said he got a little sick and we spent breakfast time trying to figure out what she ate that I didn't....

The only sign for me was that I wasn't very hungry last night when walking around Amasra or this morning.

Unfortunately none of the photos of Amasra came out well. It is a 'nice' little touristic port with restaurants along the ancient walls and we sat and fed fish watched birds and had a bit of food but were kind of full from the fruit. Batu and Beltir said it was a place I would like - perhaps another day/life/time.

So I'm driving, while S & G, sleep from Bartin to Mengen

A video of Blood a pdf of the final version of the libretto
Many Years ago I wrote an Opera called Blood and had chosen Mengen as the place where the main Character ends up at the end of the opera. What I knew about the place was mostly it had a 'famous' school for chefs and once a year competed(?) to make the longest kebap in the world. It was both a hope and an amusement for me to do this that everytime I was within 100K of the place I wanted to visit.

I had no hopes that Mengen would be the quiet village I had imagined for my opera but it was slightly worse.

First there seemed to be no center to see from the highway and it's less agricultural and more industrial than I had read it was so many years ago.
We stopped at a restaurant (roadside) çorba and a very nice bread, whole wheat 9" rounds, puffy maybe an inch and a half thick. My bulgar soup was flavored with mint and it tasted like oregano and looked like thyme (confused? so was I). The cooking school is still there and this restaurant has surely benefited from that.


Semih takes over as the road is now 6 lanes and he will be able to drive like the speed demon he is... we are on our way to Istanbul and the home of Gülan his youngest daughter where we will stay for a few days before moving on to Sardes and Bodrum.

But ~ ½ an hour later ~ projectile vomiting ~ not much more to say, I managed to get Semih to understand to pull over and got out of the car~ no more çorba or anything else I thought.
I slept in the back or dozed the rest of the way to Istanbul. I know we stopped somewhere for shopping/groceries but don't remember where or when.
At Gülan's home (condo-old-inherited from Semih's mother) she and her fiancé are still clearly making it good for themselves. (TV is still on the floor for example) The condo is on the 3rd floor (4 sets of stairs as the first floor is not counted as a floor) and I am exhausted just climbing them, even though upon leaving Amasra I climbed up to Kuşkaysı easily.

I am to sleep on the couch ~ a different couch as I should have expected as this is a different place than in previous visits. I rest get up and as I am telling Semih that I think it was the figs ~ they hit and once again I am sick (description deleted)
I sleep some more.

Semih wants to take a short walk to the sea ~ Marmara Deniz. "A short walk" he says. A bit longer than I hoped but we get there and .....where the shoreline was is now a fence. Past the fence is 200meters or more of fill.
There is a fault line that runs between mainland Istanbul and the island off shore (within sight), and Semih explains that it is crazy to fill or build on filled in....

Over and over again S & G have been heartbroken to see what damage is being done to their land.

So even if they are interested and committed to industrial agriculture, clear cutting, or recently open-air mining ~ even the massive construction projects that have taken place on a pristine (6 years ago) hillside in Sinop distresses them as it would/does us.

But the country is booming, infrastructure projects everywhere. Toll road and general improvements to highways/roads even in places that have few people.

Day 16; 12th July 2013

Slept badly, aches & pains, too hot, too muggy,but slept. This morning feeling better. Had a cup of çay and a small piece of bread tasted good. Think it will stay down ~ at least I hope so.
Going to barber, to bookstore ,to music store. LATER.

I now have a clean shaven chin...

and a large Turkish style mustache. I found a copy of Invisible Cities in Turkish for Semih but no Homer (maybe tomorrow?- nope and he can't read/understand it if it's not prose) I got another reed for my mey, it was very expensive compared to what I've paid before but the seller claimed it was made by an expert Mey player and of very good quality ~ it's thicker than some of mine ~ we'll see when I get home and I have to use it on 10th August performance.disappointed it didn't 'perform' as well as different ones that I already had
Semih gave me a small notebook and a 'jazz' CD of Turkish tunes This turned out to be a winner (I was doubtful at first) the composers took traditional tunes and incorporated them into more contemporary 'jazzy' arrangements. We listened to it while driving to Bodrum and back and it's in my collection to listen here in Seattle. I found some postcards so addressed those but not yet sent. Need 2 more and an envelope to send a brochure to MC.
Istanbul; Architecture- twins & trios

Only some Turks know an original mosque from a copy

There are moments while driving through Istanbul that make me giddy ~ Starbucks, Armani, Abercrombie & Fitch, Sony, David Jones, English Home, Electrik- at times you can wonder what country you're in.

Çiya Sofrasi I
green falafel

Tomorrow is a somewhat free day but we have reservations for Çiya Sofrasi. There are 3 different restaurants near each other each one serves a slightly different set of dishes. I ate a small dish of green falafel today. My stomach is still not happy (it will be another 6 days before it is) but this generally stayed down and it was very good. So I'm hoping that tomorrow I'm fine so I can really get the whole experience.

The condo that I stayed at in Istanbul the first two trips is being torn down and replaced so the neighborhood where Gülan's home is is called Maltepe. Today we went to the old place to get a few things that Gülan may be able to use. It was eerie, the doors had been removed and put in Gülan's place (I think), it reeked and some of the 'fancy furniture' looked torn (cat?) and peakéd, no longer desirable. Old food and clothing, books (encyclopedias?) brown and aged left to be torn down with the building. Sad old feeling and somewhat repellent.

Gülan is actually observing Ramazan so no food or drink from sunrise to set. Gülat is making food for her tonight. On the first day of Ramazan (as torture I think) many TV channels have programs about the special dishes/food served in different parts of the country. Often a table with maybe 20 dishes and peering over the edge are children looking with hunger at the food. children are exempt from the fast

Day 17; 13th July 2013

Still sick make African prescript

Early- I slept for about 6 hours then rose just sweltering, got up to sit in dinette but Gülat was there and I didn't want to disturb her. So I spread a sheet on the floor and when I was done she had gone to bed.
I had found online something called 'African Cure' which really is just a mix of sugar, water and salt, so I made some with the help of scientists Semih and Gülat, I drank some through out the next day or two. I drank some now and laid down again in time for the 1st call to prayer. That wakes the dogs across the street.
My stomach is better. I still feel nausea whenever I eat or drink but nothing bad happens- so whew!

Finally only a little sick
Koç Museum
Pierre Loti
1st Turkish Coffee

The cleaning lady (then a painter) is coming so Semih and I are going to be out and about most of the day.

Gülat has decided to stay in Istanbul with Gülan and not go on to Bodrum. I am disappointed but this makes sense on 2 counts.
She went to the Doctor yesterday and they (there are no gender pronouns in Turkish so many many times everyone when they speak English mix he/she up so it is better to use "They"- honest) said to stay off her foot for 10 days. She had never been through the Sinop to Istanbul areas and wanted to see it (take photos etc...) and that is now done.
So she will stay and fix Gülan's place up and we are off....

Architecture~ there is some really interesting architecture in Istanbul. Towers of various shapes and duos separated by a few blocks where the lines of one are continued by the other.. Colors on the façades that sparkle, so many variations that one building, which is probably unfinished, had the sides built up and jagged sections of the top in the middle were missing but I took it for a design feature so varied the possibilities seem. Another building, steel and glass superstructure twisted and was roundish. Trump Towers (really?) looked like it was designed by the same group that designed the building behind Union Stations; two slabs upon fatter base then offset to maximize windows for each room and the towers matched as though Hercules had torn them asunder.
Even Mosques (Semih dislikes then as copies) are shocking in their aesthetics with metal work and mosaic/tiles in colorful designs.

Book, envelope, magazine
So much to remember so much to forget
Bağdat Caddesi
There are ads everywhere,
on TV there can be 15 minutes of ads and then 15 minutes of a show
on the street there are ads
in special signs,
on buses, bus shelters,
on the sides of buildings

We went to the Koç (pronounced Koch perhaps you can see where this is going?) Museum. A private museum showing off his collection of "stuff".. Anything that was translated into English was perfectly done. Which made sense when I found out he got a degree from John Hopkins. The 'stuff' ran the gammit from models of various kinds of trains, boats, cars, motorcycles, bicycles, toy versions of them and real trains, boats etc...Every honorable mention, gift or award to this man is here. Hubris? Maybe~ then I thought of the Huntington "stuff" but I wasn't put off by that collection as much as I was by parts of this one. Also again the cool things like all the trains and public transport -buses trolleys many full size ~ RE(another friend) no monographs, not postcards, nothing sorry~ Boats? yep Airplanes? -1, Cars?-2 no TRAINS.
One common thing you get in these kind of displays (like an olive pressing plants, full size, because he likes steam driven engines) are sound effects, in the case of the oil plant the pits cracking under the crushing wheels.

Left there and went above the Bosporus to sit in the Pierre Loti Park where he sat and wrote. Here I had my first Turkish coffee or maybe 2nd but this is the first good one and it has wired me totally. Later- When we returned I laid down (I AM tired) but it's hopeless.

Then to get a book (for the beach) a magazine for the restaurant (explained later) 2 envelopes (now I can mail my commitments) and I bought Semih 2 cds [Elgar and Jordi Savall]. Now home, it's cleaned and a bit brighter.
Forgot about Bauhaus ~ a Turkish Lowes ~ and similar in that everyone we asked where something was (we were looking for cardboard boxes to move the last of the stuff from the old place) gave a different wrong answer.

Day 18; 14th July 2013

Çiya Sofrasi II, bulgar çorba,
Pilav, köfte, fasülye

Semih & I woke early and so get to ferry 2 hours early.
Last night we (S & G & Gülan & I) went to Çiya Sofrasi for post fast meal of Ramazan. On my 2nd trip in '08 on leaving Istanbul for Seattle I picked up (in the airport) a magazine Yemekvekultur thinking I would use my little bit of Turkish and a dictionary to read it. Nice plan, overwhelmed me, didn't happen.

A few years later I read an article about an Istanbuli Chef in the New Yorker. How his restaurant was special and that he also had a hand in a magazine. I sort of remembered his name and pulled out my copy and it was the same. I wrote to Semih about the restaurant and even talked to Batu and Beltir when they were in Seattle and all agreed it would be an interesting place to try...We had made a reservation the day before after 'lunch' of green falafel... Earlier I had found a current copy of Yemek... and brought it to hopefully get an autograph. I originally planned to bring my earlier copy but that was one more thing I forgot at home.

One look at the magazine cover it was a copy of an orientalist period painting and Gülat was critical and this never left. She is a cook and has been in many places in Turkey and did not find anything special and 'I can make it better". So for her the experience was a bust. However we did get full and Semih like a currant pinenut rice (pilav) set in a fried pudding shaped flatbread. The beans dish was fresh and (I thought) very good, salad was only interesting because it had a large leafed mint as an ingredient (which had a strong flavor of basil to me but only to me) but actually wasn't very good i.e. tomatoes weren't really ripe (and they can be so good in Turkey there was no excuse) There was a tomatoes kebap the 'minced meat' was good and less fatty than elsewhere. There was a dough köfte that without yogurt is a cold lump of coarse ground dough (everyone else had yogurt on it and liked it) I can't get into it but maybe yogurtis what "makes" the dish work. There was an eggplant dish it was ok Gülat said it had been made earlier in the day and reheated, and Gülan had a Adana minced meat dish and Gülat had a lamb kebap and both were fine.
I was able to have the owners wife autograph the magazine. Her face brightened and she writes a very long message even though she is at the cash register and the place is mobbed.

There were many foreigners (Americans) here and they would walk up expecting a seat. I'm not sure how they know of the place (I sure didn't tell them) but if a restaurant is famous in the USA you make reservations, yet these people act surprised/offended that they can't get in without one. Turkey is not a poor poor country and Istanbul with over 12 million people is not a 3rd world city...Get a grip people!

Now on to the next day or today

After breakfast (quick light my stomach still isn't settled) on to a ferry to near Bursa. When we made the reservation we had to reserve seats and there were very few to choose from. The diagrams were a bit confusing but when we went above after parking our seats were against a wall and without a window (though that was moot as most of the trip was through morning mist). Once under way the majority of the seats were empty. So we moved twice finally to seats with a table where we read, played the board game and of course çay.

Boring Grape scenery
from the ferry landing to Salihli seemed like
there were vineyard after vineyard for raisin grapes
even Semih thought it was boring

Once we landed ~ somewhat rested and refreshed ~ on to Salihli near Sardes, one of Semih's clients (a cherry orchard), AND Artemisia Temple/city site.

I had read that this place had to be recommended as it was uncrowded. What I hadn't read was that there was an early Christian church built onto/into the temple site

That little brown bit is the church
Behind the column

or that nearby, in the city of Sardes, was a really big ancient (4AD) synagogue ~ there were mosaics, Torah altar (is that what they're called?) seating where the scrolls were kept (large throne looking things and seats and designs on the walls. Archaeologists think the ceiling was domed and 14 meters high. Semih says that Jews from all over the world come to honor this place.

~ ~ ~ At the Christian Church ~ a tour bus full of Koreans clambered out in the parking lot ahead of us. They assembled in the shade of the left hand column near the church....Christians! and during Ramazan! They opened their bibles in the shade of a column of a Temple dedicated to Artemis and read aloud call response & unison and prayed- it seemed really disrespectful in so many many ways.
What I didn't know was that this little 'church' was one of the 'major' early churches mentioned in Revelations as lazy and "the church with a reputation for being alive, but which God announced dead". Now, at least I 'get' it why they were there (sort of) but it still seemed offensive

There is a 4 story building with columns and Greek inscriptions at the city site along with a hot water (thermal springs bath) pool where people came to discuss and decide (politics)

Along one side of the site was a road lined with merchant shops and a restaurant {I wish there was better documentation here so I could know how they know what is what, like the restaurant, but documentation is sketchy and here even more often non-existent.

There was a worker putting wet rags on some stones on a raised platform in front of the temple. I asked what it was and he told us that it was a sacrificial altar (animals).

It's probably true at Ephesus, but here the stones and columns are HUGE, there's a crosspiece that weights 23 tons that once sat atop the columns that are 10 meters tall. Wall marble blocks that are 2 meters long a meter thick and a fat meter wide all moved here from somewhere else. Phenomenal.

Sardes, Sardis, Sart, Sart Mustafa, all the same place (as I can best understand). Nearly everyone has heard something about this place but doesn't necessarily know it.
1] Most of us remember/know the story of King Midas and his golden touch- many do not remember how the 'curse' was removed.....He had to wash his hands in a certain river south of his kingdom. That river ran near/through Sardes. The myth explained why the river was so full of gold, which actually came from ores on Mt. Tomlus nearby.
2] I don't hear it much any more but 'Rich as Croesus' was once a common phrase for anyone with an unusual amount of money. Croesus was the king of Sardes and the surrounding countryside and therefore was exceeding rich. You can check out some of the outrageous amounts of gold he spent on oracles from Herodotus or wikipedia (Herodotus is better).
3] This most people won't know. Sardes was the first place in the world (so it is claimed) to discover a method of purifying gold and silver. The result of this was that Sardes could mint "Electrums" of specific gold/silver content and thus were the first reliable currency in the form of coins again in the world.

I had hoped to see where the smelting of the gold/silver took place but that did not happen, whether because it has not been found (unlikely) or is not considered 'touristic' enough I do not know. I never found a map showing where it might be either.

We are staying in a hotel that has got me overwhelmed - it's loud and way fancy- a pool, hot springs pool, massage, amenities up the yin yang (for a fee) and none of it explained in English except for "don't do this" or "please pay" instructions. I couldn't find out when dinner is served (nothing in Turkish said anything about it either- I could have read that much).
Happily the air conditioner drowns out the disco music from the pool below and the shower water is really strong so I just wait to find out what is what kızmet.

We don't eat dinner here after all and Semih moved to another room without letting me know. Most of the staff doesn't speak any English or understand my Turkish so it was an adventure to find the right room number to call and wake him.

I found the next site to visit for the day after tomorrow Afrodisias and then we will drive on to Bodrum for a 4-5 day stay of swimming and relaxing and a bit of exploring (or so it looked from today). This will make that day very long and an adventure.

We went to this place that was open before the end of the day and also served beer for Semih and ate fairly good food but basically it was a simple Turkish meal.
Day 19; 15th July 2013
Semih's client's Cherry orchard

Kilometers and kilometers of 1½ lane farming road potholes straight horned cows, corn and acres and acres and acres of olives & grapes.

Salihli is agricultural production and industry so the money stays in one place, it is obviously a rich large village (wikipedia says city) public art for once is not Atatürk rather is is of farm workers. interesting architecture for such a small place, parks are large and kempt etc...

We traveled from Salihli, met at 7:30AM by foreman of the orchard who drove us out to the orchard on the road described above.
After nearly an hour driving through a herd of, horns curled around the ears, black goats, suddenly and definitely in the middle of nowhere is a village! How to distinguish, in English, Peasant farmer house, poor rural? The village is old, the road narrow, one mosque 600 meters above sea level, wind gentle but cooling. Another 2-3k and we come to the orchard.

Houses in the village ~ walls are 1st flat stones, mortar between then covered in stucco(?) however not flat (always) but sometimes in a curvy Escher-esque curvy designs in the stucco as though some different stones were underneath.

At the orchard under a metal roof open garage we sit and Semih reviews soil and salt & water usage & reports from the 2 main workers. Small birds chirping overhead, clamber on the metal tink tic clank.

The roads are ditch lined and lower down seems nearly swampland i.e. water is on or near the surface. In the ditches grow a tall cane/reed? I start to wonder if that's what is used to make Mey reeds and since S & G asked if I couldn't make my own, I think of asking RE if reed or cane could go in the Pond but also if a kind of bamboo or a young piece of my own bamboo could not be harvested and used to make them? The Pond probably won't work because I think it is invasive (like bamboo) . However using young bamboo may work for some kind(s) of double mey reeds- maybe.

I have seen a stork flying and today I caught a glimpse of a black- bird that looked so much like a Hittite design ~ it was a shock.

Nardes is a Kale (castle) site on, near and probably under this farm/orchard. Gold coins have been found, many stones probably from ancient buildings or even a road have been reused to build the older buildings here. The walls of which are not always stuccoed but they are 60-80cm thick -the roof beams are 10cm in diameter -timbers, and the roof is tiles (brick-like). There is a large long necked rooster, blackish and nearby covered in plastic is "cooking" a pile of chicken manure for fertilizing the orchard (not a sufficient quantity but still not just discarded) {the farm aspires to a semi-organic certificate}. In front of the old farm building is an older oven.

There were photos taken of this visit to the orchard, I took one especially of the crew in front of a tractor, I don't know what happened to them but I was not given them to bring home. Most of the photos in this journal were taken by Semih or Gülat. Semih generally used a simple little camera, Gülat's was a professional SLR digital camera. Occasionally Semih could get his Iphone to take photos but erratically and most of the time they didn't look good so maybe the orchard photos 'disappeared' into Iphone hell or something

Back at the garage, there is a long new building and under the peak of the roof is a large blue glass disk an amulet against the evil eye which seems more prevalent here than in the northern parts of the country. Semih says no one believes in it, that it is a just in case...The hotel has some too.

The above in green ink was, on a separate sheet, written while at the orchard. Here is the rest of that adventure.....~

Orchard of sweet cherries 40,00 trees, 10TL per tree investment and trees do die. Stones rocks throughout and many are marble I kept a small one it sits on my computer.

An older woman would bring coffee, çay, and at the end of the tour of the orchard watermelon, very sweet and refreshing.

We walked all over the orchard in 30C heat slight wind. While Semih and the foreman Ömers (I'm still not sure I have this right) discussed what should be done nearly tree by tree.

Some of the soil is so full of mica that it glitters.

There are all black storks and then some white ones with bodies, wing bones and the wing feathers are black; The white ones are balikçil (Herons egret dictionary says) the black ones are Karabatak (cormorant says the dictionary) so probably not storks (leylek according to dictionary).

After many trees\discussion\examinations of the data ~ the tractor team arrives parks everyone changes clothes and we take some of them 'home' along a göl (lake) where I saw the birds (çok kuş- big birds). Semih and I are dropped off at a restaurant I have chicken and a dish of white beans and rice, Semih -vegetables and something oh yogurt and? and the salata was the 1st good one since leaving Çankırı because we are back in an area where good tomatoes are available. Additionally the salata has no lettuce and does have red cabbage but it is not pickled. My appetite is better but I am full very quickly, so I am painfully still leaving food on the plate. I suspect that after telling many people how Turkey is the only place I go that I weigh the same on my return instead of losing 10-15lbs that this time I may weigh less(but only about 5lbs).

Ömers takes me to a post office so I finally send the postcards and 2 envelopes however the cost was high so I can understand why Turks don't send letters.

Returning to the hotel we nap a bit then soak in the hot springs, swim in too small a pool and get a massage. The massage was fine but my "liberalism'(?) rose- the masseuse was Indonesian spoke only a little Turkish (she said) a little English (evidence) had a cough and I wondered how/why and if this was such a good thing/ place for a foreign worker? The massages are not expensive and equivalent to a medium good one in the USA. I started feeling guilty.

Salihli is small enough that they have a cannon shoot off to mark sundown so people can eat.

Speaking of guilty, while at the orchard drinking water, çay, eating watermelon in front of at least 2 'observant' people (sometimes more) is not the most settling thing to do, in fact at times it was hard to swallow except that I needed the liquids from all 3 things just to keep going.

Happily all of the workers rise at 4 are at work at 5 and stop at 1 when the sun is hot & the wind comes up making the dusting and everything too difficult, in terms of farm labor.

This hotel actually has a writing desk. However the light for it is useless- dim. There is a leather binder with stationery and of course the only part that is in English says "Please give us your opinion".

Day 20; 16th July 2013
Mountain passes to Geyre

Going to Afrodisias near Geyre then to Bodrum for sun, swim and Halicarnassus the capital of Ancient Caria. It May be a long drive and I hope Afrodisias is as good as my research says.

Semih drove for one hour then I 'took over' the roads varied wildly from 4 lanes (2 each directions, to rough, unfinished or farm village lanes. A great portion of the 1st part of the trip was lined on both sides with eating grape vineyards, acres stretched to the mountains (low) defining this river valley reminiscent of Wenatchee but greener more fertile so maybe Walla Walla? At one point even Semih agreed it ( the landscape the scenery the panorama- what the differences might be in English usage was a trip's discussion) was boring.

Once I began driving it was more mountain roads to Geyre. Due to the archaeological importance and size of Afrodisias the village of Geyre, which was on most of the site, was moved to it's current (outside the grounds) place -the other side of the road.

One of the problems with internet writings and publications about Turkey is Time. There is barely anyway to know how old the information is online. And the info on Afrodisias though in a current years' article in the Guardian UK but old old OLD!.

I bought the newest map (and biggest) of Turkey for this trip. A German publisher, the publish date 2006. Yet the roads have changed and mileages are different and town/villages noted aren't there while others are. Landmarks such as the sites we/I like to visit seem accurate but many other parts can be trusted only in a general way- so the landmark may be correct but getting there may not be.

Then there is Turkish road signage, possibly the most annoying in the world. The erratic nature of when information is displayed is excellent. Directions/mileage signs for a city will be shown 100k from where it is- listed along with other cities further on and then it will disappear from any sign while the other ones don't. Signs to slow down are left up and forgotten. Some/no most of the time when a lane disappears, the road goes from 2 to 1 lane, the signage shows the wrong lane disappearing.

Often a 4 lane highway (due to construction or...) becomes 2 lanes and traffic moves across a meridian- suddenly a sign says 90 (go faster!) then 100m later 50! then 30! then arrows pointing to the opposing lanes. Sometimes the exchange is so short that 30k is too fast others it is ok and sometimes you could only slow to 50+ but because the whole thing is abrupt there is no way to know what is coming and then....sometimes the 90k sign is just a speed limit sign nothing more.

Radar warning signs are very small and most of the time not on the drivers side- I have missed many of them and Semih will shout out 'rahdahr' for me to slow down. I think the tickets must be very expensive and the Polis don't stop you (at least not always) just photo your license plate and send you the bill. In cities there are Polis and in the countryside Jandarma. The facilities/buildings for the Jandarma are usually the largest in the area, surrounded by barbed wire and sometimes have the best looking parks/lawns etc...

Most government building in cities or countryside are big, but the Jandarma stand out to me in their monumental-ism and flat architecture. In Spain the Gendarme are basically left overs (this info is from a visit in 2001 so maybe? things are different? now) from Franco's fascist soldiers and to be avoided at all times. Here they are not particularly friendly and Semih never asks them for directions. He says that they are not familiar with the area as they are relocated every 4 months. The only time I asked them for directions was in Takşim square (yes that one) and I got the answer but they were abrupt and not friendly.

So on to narrow mountain curves - find Geyre and Afrodisias.




On too narrow mountain curves we find Geyre and Aphrodisiacs (Afrodisias same same same). Signage is poor again and after some confusions we park across the street.
br<> Here's a link to a set of photos -better than anything (as a set) amateurs could ever take and even this doesn't do justice to it
The village has discovered the money to be made -as there is a charge to park (there was a large parking lot on the grounds that we are not allowed to enter) and if you come on a tour bus a charge for a tractor drawn 'araba' (wagon with seats and a roof) the seats are slippery hard pressboard, and the ride is maybe two minutes so you could easily walk from the lot (I for once, don't recommend it as you will see why) Then there is a 10TL entrance fee to the site.

Even though I had the impression that this would an isolated, underdeveloped site it is more tourist oriented than that. The descriptions when available are good, signage accurate, and the museum is exquisite.

The museum is HUGE (am I over using this word? Probably, am I incorrect? NOPE) and necessarily so as it holds statues and reliefs from the site some of which are 3m or more high.

We went in the museum first (One of the main reasons I drove was Semih had to be talked into going here as the road was absolutely not the best/main way to get to Bodrum) I think that was wise, and recommend it, as the beauty of the marble reliefs and statues and the information about what they are and where they came from on the site ~ really gave me an idea of just how impressive and large the city was. As at Sardes there was information and a stele with a list of 110names of Jewish men (and male supporters) who lived, worked, and contributed to the beauty of the city and city life.

The site has been worked on continuously since 1961 and research/reconstruction/rehabilitation has continued ever since.

At this time a team from Harvard is working here. The original leader of the dig Kenan Erim died in 1990,was a Professor at NY University. The site had/has been funded by National Geographic but it is not clear who funds the Harvard Team or other teams if there are any. This means that there is probably a pre-1990 article in National Geographic about Afro or Aphrodisias (which I can't find with a quick Search)

We spent 1½ hours in the museum, which I think is a record for Semih. It is not that he isn't interested but his interest flags and his ability to walk for along time is limited. for example at Göbekli after one round he sat in the shade and left me to look longer and further at my own pace. Here in the museum he too tons of photos which allowed me to read and look much closer to my own pace and we were there for a slow long time.

We went for su (water) and discussed (as he was exhausted) what to do/see next. I had a book bought as we entered about the site written by Erim (so it was old and a bit out of date) which I skimmed and said "How about just 4 things?" Hadrian Baths, the stadium, the theater, the temple" he agreed and we set off. As it turned out the place is so amazing in size, in beauty (at moments) that I think we skimmed backwards the entire site. But the Temple

The baths (which I needed/need more explanation as to how this was a bath and how it looked and worked)

and the theater

were the highlights for me.

The Theater is marble against a neolithic höyük which probably can't be excavated as that would ruin the seating of the theater. It is a beauty and I did the EM test i.e. stood on stage and spoke to Semih in the stands near the top. he could hear me clearly as I spoke in a normal voice but could not hear me whisper. I think it seated 7,000(?) people so the acoustics would be different with a 'full house'.

A Section of the temple 'terrazzo" is being restored and the slate and marble, the patterned tiles are gorgeous.

There's more later.....

I drove on~~ winding steep mountain passes, valleys, crazy and sane drivers, to Muğla. Semih drove onto the Bodrum Peninsula and to our Hotel Akça- our place for the next 4 days.,