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Published: October 22nd 2017
Geo: 36.9499, 27.4219
Here is the first part:
Today's favorite part of the day will undoubtedly be the shuttle bus ride from the hotel to the airport. The bus with the driver and another guy showed up about 20 minutes late. This was apparently due to their need to gas up. Luckily, we left ourselves plenty of time. We laughed about this some more as our driver wove over around and through the backstreets of Istanbul, obviously lost. I say obviously because we were revisiting scenes from National Lampoon's European Vacation when Chevy Chase cruised the same streets over and over saying, "Big Ben, Parliament!"
Eventually we got loose and onto the freeway and things were looking good. We were only running about 40 minutes behind. Then our bus sideswiped a taxi. Mike was able to get video of a few pieces of the drama, but really missed the choicest parts. At one point there were 6 police officers stalking back and forth between the two vehicles, taking turns listening to the drivers yell at the top of their lungs and gesticulate wildly in the air and at their cars. The guy who was riding shotgun in the bus let us know that our driver was former police. At one point it got so hot and stuffy in the van that I climbed over into the front seat and let myself out so that I could trot down to the corner store and have snacks with our live theater. Soon after that the scene wrapped up. I'm not sure what the outcome was. I hope it's no reflection on me that both of the times that I rode a car in Istanbul there was significant property damage. It's probably Alex's fault.
Now we are chillin' at the airport. Mike just took the kids to get sandwiches while I watch the bags. Another interesting cultural note: Turks often have moth balls in the sinks in their washrooms. How this helps what is generally a very unclean room to be more sanitary is beyond me. It certainly doesn't help the smell.
And now, a few words from...
Josh: We left the hotel and got on a big shuttle bus to get to the airport. We went on the airplane and got off by Bodrum. Bodrum is in the south end of Turkey and it is its own little spot. On our way to the villa in a rental car we saw planes scooping up water from the ocean and dumping it on a forest fire. It was really cool. You could see them swooping down and the smoke and the water and them dousing flames. Once we got to the villa, it looked really cool. There was a bunkbed for me and Alex and a double bed for Kate and a double bed for mom and dad. We put on our bathing suits and went to the pool. We swam around and there was a super mini waterfall that looked like it went on forever. The shape of the pool looks like a "P." While we were doing that Mom was got us a snack because we had a late lunch. We watched some TV. There were only a few channels in English but we were fine. We had a late dinner of scrambled eggs and toast and went to bed.
We made it to Bodrum and hooked up with the rental car guy. We went with "Blue" rental car which appears to be one guy who owns a few cars. I was cracking up because we were paying in the parking lot next to the car. I thought our rate was 20 euros. He thought it was 22 pounds. I stayed firm on the number 22 and we ended up at 22 pounds, then he converted it to lira. I have no idea how accurate that whole transaction was. I have enough trouble keeping up with the dollar/lira exchange rate. Forget about the pound/lira/dollar exchange. To cap the whole thing off, he took an impression of Mike's credit card by rubbing it with a pencil.
We found our way out of Bodrum airport and started heading toward the villa. After about 5K we notice that there was almost no gas in the car, so we stopped to fill it up. It costs about $75 to fill up a dinky little Fiat here. I expect that we can return it empty, so no harm, no foul. As Josh mentioned, we saw some serious fire-fighting going on as we cruised toward our new home. It has been over 114 degrees here over the last few weeks (nowhere near that today, thank you!) and very dry so there have been a rash of forest fires. It doesn't help that people frequently chuck lit cigarettes out of the window of their cars.
After we got to the villa and got the $.50 tour from the caretaker, Mike took the kids down to the pool which is two houses away. I took off in the car to find a grocery store. I did OK with the driving part, in spite of the very narrow and very-very steep hills, but the grocery store was a little unnerving. Everything was clean and orderly, but I couldn't find some things that I think of staples and I thought I would have no trouble finding like oregano and basil and parmesan cheese. We're close to Italy and Greece, where are they? So I could feel myself starting to panic that I would not be able to feed my children in a way that they could be happy with for 7 weeks. Since that's not really very helpful, I kept plugging along and found a roaster chicken and a bag of potatoes and some carrots. Also, I picked up eggs, butter, bread and cereal. Kathy, the caretaker, mentioned another, larger market as well, so I decided to tell myself that things would be better once I got to "Kipa."
Alex would like to talk about the sunset: The sunset in Bodrum was very, very, very beautiful. There was a light pink, there was some sky-blue and then there was just plain sky. There were islands. The rays of the sun on the white houses made it even beautifuler. I had a good night's sleep.
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