So, really, this is the first week and couple days that i was in Turkey. So, this will most likely be my longest entry.
With much thanks to Dr. Erdogmus, we got to spend the first couple days in Istanbul. Istanbul was a lot of fun and a lot of good memories come from just those couple of days. Hearing the call to prayer (the adhān) every day from the Blue Mosque is something i hope i never forget. Its like nothing I’ve ever heard. I didn’t understand what they were saying, but it sounded beautiful.
The Grand Bazaar is something i will also probably never forget; people and shops everywhere. And it is pretty easy to get lost in. I remember all of the guys that where just captivated by Karina’s eyes. One was especially creepy, but gave us good deals on scarves. Me and Cody couldn’t do anything but laugh watching this guy hit on Karina. Me and Karina went there a total of 4 times in the 2 days we were there.
At night, the city is completely different. Its like when the Grand Bazaar closes, it heads outside. Vendors show up everywhere. It is fun to just walk around and look. One of my favorite memories of the entire trip was going up to the rooftop of a bakery in Istanbul at night. It was situated between the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque, so we got to see both lit up at night from an amazing perspective and with the Marma Sea lit up by the full moon in between the two mosques.
We also went inside the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia. Both were incredible in their own respect. The Hagia Sophia was just gorgeous. There really are not any words to describe it; not to mention all the history it has. It was amazing to walk through. And it was incredible to walk into the Blue Mosque knowing that it is such a holy place to Muslims.
All in all, Istanbul was amazing. The food was good, the people were friendly and the views were breathtaking. Before our 15 hour bus ride to Gazipasa, we (me, Cody, and Karina) met up with Al and had a nice meal.
The bus ride to Gazipasa was something…it wasn’t quite miserable, but almost. Because of the guys behind me, i couldn’t recline my seat, so it wasn’t that comfortable. Especially since the lady in front of me did recline her seat all the way, so i kept hitting my knee on her chair. Needless to say, i didn’t sleep more than an hour the entire 15 hours. But, finally, we made it to Gazipasa where we showered and slept for a little while before going out for an amazing meal.
The first week in Gazipasa was fun and full of new experiences. We got to sit outside of the police station two different days in order to get our residence permit (ikamet tezkeresi). I remember that the police told us to “be quiet and sit” and to “sit nicer”. We all found that quite humorous. The first week contained my first time going to an actual beach. It was really fun, but all the sand was annoying. I guess that’s what happens when you grow up at a swimming pool, where there is zero sand. This week we also all got introduced to pul biber. Amazing! Its like red pepper, but way better. (I brought home over a kilo of it) We found Cornettos this week. Way better than drumsticks! Its everything you could ask for in an ice cream treat: cone, chocolate, delicious ice cream, and caramel.The first week in Gazipasa also contained Dr. Erdogmus’ birthday. Which, she told us about after she bought us all beers. We also got to meet Dr. Erdogmus’ mom. She is full of stories and it was cool to see her talk about her daughter in the most admiring way.
The first Friday in Gazipasa we stumbled upon a giant farmers market. It was literally a city block. It was cool to just walk through and look around. I don’t think i will find anything like it here in Omaha.
That Saturday night, we played soccer in an outdoor stadium. It was really fun. It made me miss soccer a little. We were all exhausted and dripping sweat by the end. And one other thing, Turks are really good at soccer.
The first week on site was more breathtaking than any other week on site. Being such a big history fan, it blew my mind that I was walking on such ancient history. I can’t really describe it other than it was just amazing. On the first day, it was really fascinating listening to Dr. Townsend describe the entire site and its history. I didn’t realize how big the site was and that there was a lot more than just the temple. The actual work we did that week was trying to get the GPR (ground penetrating radar) working, impact echo testing, and we used the borescope to try and find a vault under the temple through a hole we had drilled. Unfortunately, we didn’t find anything.