Monday, June 19, 2006

More stuff in Turkey

Water! It is so cheap in Turkey. A 20 oz. bottle of good water costs about a quarter...even Aquafina. I tried to buy a bottle of Aquafina water from Target today and it was $1.19! I was shocked. I decided to go thirsty. Then changed my mind and went through the drive-thru at McDonalds and got a bottle of Dansani for a dollar. Wow. We have large bottles of water delivered in Turkey...usually 3 at a time for about $12. And as you can tell from the picture they are the big Ozarka like bottles. And one of my favorite things about the big bottles there is Mr. Pumpy! It is a pump you put on the bottles to pump the water out into your glass. I meant to buy one and bring it here to put on the bottles here but forgot. I guess that is okay because I don't think I could afford the bottles of water!

Our freezer. I love this upright freezer that Brian bought me for my 2nd mother's day in Turkey. The top two compartments have a plastic door that opens and the bottom four compartments are drawers that pull out. It is very handy!

Our balcony! Sitting on the deck off the back of our house in Texas just isn't the same. I was excited to be able to sit outside like we are used to doing but staring down into the backyard just doesn't compare to being able to look up and down the street outside our building. There are usually people walking around, wild dogs in the field across the street, numerous cars, buses and dolmuses driving by as well as many other activities. The weather is also really nice...no humidity to speak of...so we even eat out there sometimes. I will miss the good summer weather for sitting on the balcony. By the time we get back to Turkey it will be winter and too cold to sit out there.

I was going to post some pictures of foods that we will miss while we are in the states but I decided to wait until we actually miss them. So far we have enjoyed all the yummy things we have been able to eat and not really missed any Turkish food items. I'm sure it will come though!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Things we will miss

The next few posts will feature some of the fine Turkish products or services we will miss while we are in the states. These are in no particular order!

1. Public Transportation!
It is everywhere you need to be. The small blue bus pictured below is called a dolmus (dole-moosh) in Ankara. In Istanbul these are called mini buses but no matter what they are called they are wonderful! To take a dolmus you stand on the side of the road and wait for one to come by that has a sign indicating it will pass by where you want to go. Then you just wave at the driver...he stops and you get on. You do have to pay to use them and the fare depends on where you want to go. Almost all places in Ankara cost 1.20 lira which is equal to about 77 cents. Then when you are ready to get off you just have to tell the driver to stop. It's that simple. This dolmus is passing right in front of my apartment.

The Taxi! Taxi's here can be flagged down or you can call the local taxi stand and have one pick you up from your apartment. The drivers at our stand know us and are always very friendly. When we call for a taxi we need to already be walking out the door because the taxi will be pulling up in front of our building in about the time it takes us to get out there...2 minutes! They are more expensive of course but when we are in a hurry well worth it.

And finally the bus. This bus stop is in front of the building next door to us so again we can catch it on our street. This bus uses a bus card which is purchased from a terminal downtown. When you get on the bus you slide your card in a machine and it subtracts the price of your ride. The price depends on if you are a student, elderly, or if you bought a multi-ride card. 20 rides costs 20 lira but one ride costs 1.20 lira. There are also pay buses that have a little man sitting at a desk about halfway down the isle who takes your money. This bus takes me downtown where I can catch another bus, a dolmus, or the subway if I need a second ride to get me where I am going.
I mentioned the subway above which is another form of public tranportation provided. It uses the same cards as the bus and the fares are the same. If I transfer from a card bus to another card bus or the subway within 45 minutes of my first ride the second ride is free! There are two subway lines in Ankara but in order for me to take one I have to take another form of transportation to get me to a subway stop.

The last thing I thought I would highlight is the service vans that most grocery stores have. After you shop you can take a free service van home. You usually have to wait a few minutes for them to fill up and then you have to give them directions to your house. A few of them will do pick-ups as well at scheduled times on certain days.

Oh, I can't forget to say my feet! I walk to a lot of places I never would have even thought to walk to in the states. Everyone here walks a lot! I will miss being able to walk to the grocery store, the tailor, the outdoor food market, and friends' houses.

So you can see I have not needed to drive a car for the last four years of my life which is a good thing because all the cars here are standards, and I don't know how to drive one. I plan on learning when I get back to the states though. But, my dad has assured me that a dolmus will drive down our street in Texas and take me wherever I need to go. And I'm sure the nice Kroger people will take me home if I spend enough money in their store. But it shouldn't be too much of a problem. I will have a car, and it's not a standard. The only problem is I have to share it with Brian!

Monday, June 05, 2006

Go, Go Jonah

Saturday Will, Jacob, and Anna Grace participated in the musical Go, Go Jonah at church. Will had a main character part which he was very nervous about. He had to be sarcastic and not very nice to another kid. It was fun to see him actually be able to do that convincingly. Anna Grace and Jacob were in the choir as Yeoman of Joppa...basically pirates.

Anna Grace and her friend Mikah pose for the camera.

Jacob and his friend Jacob looking not so ruthless!

Will, Sam and Josh are really good friends. Sam played the bully and Will had to act like he couldn't stand him. It was lots of fun because they really love each other!

Soccer 2006

Soccer...what can I say about soccer. The local military base here sponsors sports for the kids. Will and Jacob both played this spring. Will scored two goals and I missed both of them! That's what happens when there are other kids to watch as well. Here is a team picture. Will is bottom, 2nd from right. Brian is top, right.

Here is Will trying to score a goal on his dad. Mr. Greg, a good friend and one of the coaches, tried to stop him.

Mr. Greg giving Will his trophy! They both were making goofy faces at the camera.