Published: September 24th 2010September 24th 2010
Fall color in our neighborhood
The Date Palms are heavy with fruit
Welcome to Bill and Carol's Senior Years Abroad: Month 4. This month's theme is YENI MEVSIN--new season. The klimas (air con) are silent at last. We've pushed back the heavy, solar-reflecting draperies and thrown open all the windows and the doors to the balconies. The fresh moving air sets our newspapers and Turkish homework papers flapping, but it is so very sweet! Bill finds swimming in the Sea cooler and rougher these days. The date palm trees in the park are heavy with vivid orange or yellow fruit, and in the afternoons the sidewalks are crowded with children in uniforms that still bear creases from the shop. The offerings in our outdoor pazar also reflect the yeni mevsin. Apples, pears, pomegranates are appearing--as well as Bill's favorite, the green-skinned orange, called "mandarin."
Of course, for Bill the autumn means another white-knuckle draft for his fantasy (U.S.) football team. This year Bill has named his team after "our" huge, charming (but ill-behaved) official street dog who was featured in previous blog entries. This is Bully Dog, the homeless giant who loves being petted so much that he makes sighs of delight when we touch him. Now he is an avatar: watch
Display on a nearby sidewalk
This year's school uniforms
out for the Antalya Bully Dogs! (Note: the initials ABD in Turkish stand for the USA.)
Fall makes my teacher juices flow and makes us both eager for useful activity, and we believe we've found some. Beginning as soon as next week, we expect to volunteer as English teachers in a public school that serves a low-income neighborhood. We stumbled into this project of the Babelgrup Language Center, which we really like. We will each be assigned to work with a paid teacher, so we can take occasional breaks to host visitors or to travel. Also, our neighbor Huseyin (who works for the City of Antalya) has offered another opportunity. He invited Bill to participate in a task force to improve the experience of foreigners living here. Since one topic is developing maps/schedules of public transit (trams, buses, and minibuses), Bill is really in his element.
Did any of you catch the final game of the Basketball World Cup, hosted this year in Istanbul? To our amazement, the championship game was between Turkey and the U.S! Basketball is just developing as a major sport here, so this was an astonishing triumph for Turkey--even though the U.S. trounced them
Offerings of the new season
The green manderine is very much like the fruit that comes at Christmas in the US. Also delicious peaches and fresh figs.
rather badly in that final game. Our Seattle friends, Jerald and Kate Forster happened to be in Antalya that night, and since Jerald is a huge basketball fan, we watched the game together after dinner in our flat. Happily, Gloria joined us for this momentous showing.
The centerpiece of this past month was the jam-packed 15-day visit of our wonderful Seattle friend, Karen Van Genderen. We rented a car and headed off to Cappadocia, a region with more colorful history and bizaare geology than any I've ever seen. The landscape of a large area is covered with huge, oddly-shaped towers or natural pyramids of tufa called "fairy chimneys." They were formed millennia ago by volcanic eruption. The area has been inhabited since the Hittites lived there from 1800 BC to 1200 BC. (I had to look again to be sure those dates could possibly be correct.) They hollowed out thousands of cavehomes in the soft tufa and lived there protected from extreme high and low temperatures. Later came the Persians and then the Romans. Between the 4th and 11th Century, the Christians enlarged many of the tufa caves to form churches and monasteries and painted spectacular Byzantine frescoes--which have
The Antalya Bully Dog
The Antalya Bully Dogs Avatar.....for Bill's Fantasy Football team.
survived because of their protection from light and extreme temperatures. During the same period, the Christians took refuge from their enemies by creating a vast network of underground cities--some as deep as nine stories down.
Okay, the history lesson is over--but believe me, this place is dazzling to explore. We not only explored caves during the day, we slept in one for four nights! Like many hotels in Cappadocia, ours featured caverooms--yes, carved out of soft tufa. The three of us shared a cave that was beautiful but (surpise!) VERY DAMP. I felt like I had been slathered with vaseline then wrapped in plastic wrap. By the time we left, all three of us had a condition of mucousy lungs that we lovingly called "troglodytis." The photos depict our other adventures in Cappadocia: camel riding, visiting a famous pottery studio, and watching amazing dervishes and belly dancers. The last day the three of us capped our expedition with a ride at sunrise in a hot air balloon. So silent, so lovely! And, at the end, the balloon pilot managed to land our balloon basket back onto its small trailer. And to think I can barely parallel park!
Three Travelers in Cappadocia
On the roof of the cave hotel
Back in Antalya, we had a few days to show Karen our favorite haunts and to celebrate a 75th birthday with our dear friend Gloria. Then the three of us headed back to Istanbul--to uncover a few more of its many wonders. In the course of our adventures, Bill took a Turkish cooking class, and Karen and I braved the labyrinthine covered bazaar. For me, the highlight was a long, glorious ride on a public ferry along the Bosphorus Strait from Istanbul to the Black Sea--with Asia to one side of the boat and Europe to the other. After several hours, we stopped at a little fishing village to lunch within inches of the water. It was the best seafood I've had--ever! The next day, we waved goodbye as Karen headed to the Istanbul airport for her return flight. Bill, Bully Dog and I miss her every day!
As a consolation, I have, three times a day, the joy of Bill's most fervent hobby: Turkish cooking. The meals he prepares are sumptuous, healthful, and gorgeous--made from Turkish recipes from fruits, vegetables and whole grains he buys in the local outdoor pazar. Though most meals are vegetarian, he does buy
They call them "Naughty Boys"
beef and chicken from a trusted butcher in the neighborhood. Though we will include some photos, you have to just imagine the taste and aroma--until you come to visit!
As always, thanks so very much for taking this journey with us! It's enormously gratifying to know that so many of our family and friends follow us through these tales and pictures. Several of you have asked that we continue to include lots of photos, so--even after the text ends--the photos will continue for a page or two. Please know that we are eager to hear of your adventures as well as we all enter this YENI MEVSIN.
Carol Roach--and Bill too, always!
There are more photos below