The Harkey Blog

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Purple And More - Turkey, Day 10

Monday, June 6, 2005

We woke up Monday morning and after breakfast we all walked out to the corner of Işiklar and Attatürk to meet some friends who were going to take us out to a poorer area of northern Antalya. When we got there, we prayer walked for about an hour in several different groups. I was with Jay and Jennifer. We were a bunch of white folks walking through neighborhoods that probably never saw white people. We stood out in a major way. As we were walking and praying, there was a point when I could see 4 different mosques from one vantage point and they were all within about 2 blocks from where I was. You could tangibly feel the spiritual oppression in that place.

When we gathered back together, we started to attract a whole bunch of kids. There were probably about 25 kids that had flocked to us – it was awesome. For some reason, it seems like children of all cultures are really beautiful. We had a good time joking around with them and showing them pictures from our digital cameras that we took of them.


After a while, we walked over to a women’s center that was sponsored by the local government (I think). It was basically a place where women of the neighborhood could come for all kinds of classes, ranging from reading to cooking. It was the nicest building in the neighborhood and our friends there were really trying to build a good relationship with the administration so that they could do English classes there. They wanted to do this as a way to build relationships so that they could share the gospel with them. We sat around for a while drinking çay (tea) and talking with some of the leaders there. Then we bought some head scarves from them that the women had made in a sewing class. They had something like 8 scarves and we bought every last one of them. It was probably more than they had sold in the past 6 months.

When we left, there were several boys in a field flying kites… made from newspapers. It was one of the most resourceful things I’ve seen.


We soon left and drove to a place called Düden Falls. This was a spot about 1 mile away from where we had prayer walked. I was caught off guard because I expected it to be quite a ways away somewhere in the mountains. Instead it was in a completely flat area where the earth just gave way to erosion at one point and created a dramatic waterfall. We spent about an hour walking around and admiring the river and the falls.

Then we hopped back in the van and drove to Akdeniz Universitesi. We headed over to the outdoor food court and ate at Han Pizza. After lunch, we prayer walked in groups. My group walked a long ways, but mostly in the vicinity of the medical school and University hospital.

After prayer walking, “T” and I rode the Dolmuş back downtown to meet Metin, the Associate Pastor of the Church while the others walked down to the beach park. Metin wanted to order a computer from Dell and needed some help configuring it, so I offered my assistance. We met him in a smoky internet café (there are no non-smoky internet cafes in Turkey) near his apartment. Ordering the computer took a while because the connection was slow, but we eventually got it worked out. I took the opportunity to check and send email before we left.

We bid Metin farewell and rode the Tromvay to Konyalta (where the beach park is). We walked down to the beach and started looking for our group. After calling them on the cell phone, we found out that they were hanging out at the Nargile Salon. We first stopped at a little food spot and grabbed a snack of potato and cheese filled pastries. Then we walked to where the group was. After we found everyone, we all decided to grab a bite to eat at a restaurant near the beach. By this time, several Turkish friends had joined us. We found a restaurant and ate at tables outside. I ordered a chicken sandwich (cız mayonnaise). When my sandwich came out, lo and behold it had mayo on it. This was kind of funny because in Turkey, they pretty much put mayo on everything. Each time, I requested no mayo and they always got it right. This was the one time that any restaurant made a mistake. I guarantee I wouldn’t have had as successful of a run in the U.S. Half of the time when I order a sandwich without something on it here in the U.S., it comes out wrong.

After dinner, some of us had planned on staying at the beach park to see a great Turkish rock band, Mör Ve Otesi play for free. The others headed back to Kaleçi and to the pansion. On Friday, “I” handed me his iPod and insisted that I listen to Mör Ve Otesi, saying that they were the biggest band in Turkey. They are from Istanbul and their name translates to “Purple and More”. I really liked them, so on Saturday, I went by a music shop and bought their CD. Then on Saturday night, we heard that they were going to play FOR FREE at the beach park on Monday night. Sweet. Free show. Big Turkish rock band. I’m in.

So me, James, “I”, Jennifer and some Turks walked over to where the show was going to be. They weren’t letting anyone in for another 30 minutes, so we hung out and chilled. Finally they let us in, so we headed inside. There was no opening band, but Mör Ve Otesi put on a great show. Other than the fact that their lyrics were all Turkish, they sounded just like any good band from the U.S. I did notice one interesting thing. First, a bit of background. Turkish men are very affectionate with one another. It isn’t unusual to see 2 guys walking down the street with their arms around each others necks. Or even holding hands. So at the concert, several times we would see a line of 5-10 guys with their arms around each others necks. Then they would all jump up and down in unison, keeping the line intact. We tried it with some of our Turkish friends, but apparently it takes special skills that Turks learn at a young age because we Americans failed miserably at it. Oh well, we still had lots of fun trying.


After the show, we had to walk all the way back to Kaleçi because the Tromvay stops running at 9:00 and the show didn’t end until somewhere around 11:00. About halfway there, “I” and I walked Peylin (a Turkish girl that had been hanging out with Jennifer) back to her apartment while the rest of the group headed back to the Pansion. Apparently her neighborhood wasn’t the safest of places for a single girl to be walking by herself late at night. When we got to her building, we met her dad who was just coming home from a fishing trip. He offered to cook us some fish – he was just getting ready to cook it up for supper – at 11:30 p.m.! We kindly declined, saying that we had already eaten. He did insist that we taste his homemade red wine, which he was carrying in a 2 liter bottle. We tried the wine and complimented him on his winemaking skills. He thanked us for walking his daughter home, we bid them farewell and took off for the pansion.

About halfway there, we came upon a beautiful area in Antalya where you could see the old clock tower and two beautiful mosques that are lit up at night. I had wanted to take night shots of these landmarks, but we hadn’t been in this exact spot at night until now. I asked “I” if he would mind if we stopped so I could take some shots. He agreed, so I spent 30 minutes or so taking shots.

Then we walked back to the pansion. We actually sat outside the pansion for quite a while talking about life and such – we probably talked for another hour. Finally, we both got quite sleepy, so he headed back to his apartment and I headed upstairs to catch some shuteye.

Another amazing day.

5 Comments:

  • Hey...you need to hurry up and post more Turkey stuff. I ran out of pictures. From here on out, they're all stolen from you. Ha.

    So, how are the Rockies lookin'? Still tall?

    By Blogger James Miller, at 12:03 AM  

  • Maybe you'll just have to draw a sketch...

    I'll probably post more soon. Maybe after we get back from Colorado.

    And yes, the Rockies are still tall. And rocky. It's a beautiful day here - 4th of July in the mountains is quite nice.

    By Blogger Brett, at 12:04 PM  

  • Oh my Heck you are a great photographer Brett. I guess I really never took the time to soak in all the pics'...but today was the day. MAN...you rock!

    By Blogger Shelli, at 12:10 PM  

  • Hi Brett,

    I found your blog looking for stuff on Antalya. I read the first paragraph and wanted to write a really really abusive reply.

    Instead, perhaps there are some things you should think about. I wonder when you look at mosques and relate it to islam and then to spiritual oppression, it may be that you have been brainwashed by the introverted and totally introspective US media. Just as a theological exercise, read the koran. It is a very inspiring book, as is the bible. However, taken grossly out of context, it produces fundamentalism, as does the bible, and in either case it is unhealthy. In the worst case scenario it leads to wars, such as the crusades or the iraq war.

    I am also offended by you wandering around the streets of my town giving out simit and telling them that jesus loves them. They know that - jesus is one of their prophets. It might have been more appropriate for you to kill a sheep and hand out the meat - this is what the locals do at bayram, in remembrance of Abraham. (yes, the Abraham was asked to sacrifice his son).

    I think what has really annoyed me is the self-righteous way in which you seek to step into a place you obviously know very little about and try to teach them to be like you (in the coca-cola, symbol of free west sense). What makes you so sure you're right? God probably did send you here, but for what reason? Their spiritual growth, or yours? To open their eyes, or to open yours?

    How much oppression did you feel from those people you sat and talked with? In what way did it differ from in the states? Perhaps it was friendlier? Would you approach and chat with an American restaurant or shop owner? Would an American offer such hospitality? Did you notice how little fear there is here, even walking around at 11 at night?

    So, you have offended me. I hope not to offend you, rather make you think a little.

    I will not sign this, but to give you understanding of the author, I am not Turkish, or Muslim, or Christian. I do believe that fundamentalism in ANY form is dangerous and unhealthy. I live in Turkey because I love the place and the people, and I think they both deserve more credit than you give them in this blog.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:55 PM  

  • Dear Anonymous -

    Just a couple of thoughts in response...

    In regards to the village where there were multiple mosques within view and my comment about spiritual oppression. I did not say anything about ISLAM and spiritual oppression. I said that IN THAT VILLAGE, where I could see so many mosques within 1 block of one another, I could sense the spiritual oppression. Since you claim that you are neither Muslim or Christian, and you are clearly offended by fundamentalism, surely you could agree that spiritual oppression could exist when a people group are DOMINATED by one group/religion. This could likely happen in ANY country and by ANY group/religion.

    Just to further prove my point - I've felt spiritual oppression in other places too - even here in the USA.

    As for the Koran... I am actually very familiar with it.

    I'm not surprised that you were offended at our handing out simit. Several locals were offended at that as well. It seems to me that what we did was a classic clash of cultures. In western culture, to hand out food isn't seen as an offensive thing. In eastern culture, particularly muslim culture, it is more culturally appropriate to give MONEY to the needy (alms) instead of food. I'm not sure if I would do that the same way if given a 2nd opportunity, but it is was very interesting experience.

    I think that you misunderstand something fundamental about me. I didn't step into a place that I "obviously knew very little about and try to teach them to be like me." I went to learn, understand, experience the culture. And, when given the opportunity, to share my beliefs with some people, while listening to their beliefs as well. Why did God send me there? I think for my spiritual growth AND theirs.

    I never claimed to feel any oppression in walking around the streets of Antalya. On the contrary, I felt very comfortable and free. You mentioned that you thought that I needed to give more credit to Turkey (Antalya in particular) in my blog. If you read closely, you'll see that I did gain a HUGE appreciation for the place and the people. I thoroughly enjoyed the people, the culture, the friendliness, the food, etc. I agree with you that America and Americans have much to learn from the Turks in regards to hospitality and relationships. That is one of the most significant lessons I learned while there.

    I won't back down from my observations while there. They were just what they were - MY OBSERVATIONS. I recognize that they are biased by my own experiences and home culture. But then again, your observations about another culture would be biased similarly, wouldn't they? We all view the world through OUR OWN lenses. Additionally, I don't accept American culture as fully right, good or correct. There is much about my own culture that I disagree with or am disgusted by.

    I think that the ability to critique a culture (whether one's own culture or a "foreign" one) is a valuable skill. I'm not personally a big fan of Nationalism - whether it be American, Brazilian, British, Chinese or Turkish.

    I'm not offended by your comments. I would hope upon further reflection, you wouldn't be offended by mine, either.

    Furthermore, why comment anonymously? I enjoy the dialogue, but it's hard to dialogue with someone is anonymous.

    By Blogger Brett, at 3:55 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

That's Not Grape Juice, Son - Turkey, Day 9

Sunday, June 5, 2005

I woke up around 8:30, showered and went down to the garden for breakfast. I took my Bible and talk notes with me. After I ate, I spent some time working on the final draft of my teaching for church later that day. The garden was a splendid location to prepare to teach. Warm sun on my face, birds chirping, good food. Maybe next time I teach at The Grove I will request a “study week” in Antalya.

At 10:30, our team gathered in our room for some team time. We started with some songs as usual. Our window was open (it was never shut during our entire stay) and our door was open as well, so anyone in the pansion could probably hear our singing. After a couple of songs, there was a faint knock on the door, startling most of us from our closed-eyes state of worship. There stood Catherine, an Irishwoman in need of medical assistance. Apparently she had been bitten by a mosquito or something and her finger was swelling to the point that she couldn’t take her ring off. I rustled around in the first aid kit for a minute and found an antihistamine. I gave her several doses so she could make sure to take care of the problem. We talked with her for a few minutes, then she left and we resumed where we had left off. After some more singing and sharing, we closed with some prayer time.

I then changed from shorts into jeans. Most Turkish men always wear some kind of long pants, no matter how hot it is. Since I’m not Turkish and since I’m incredibly warm-natured, I had worn shorts every day since our arrival as had pretty much everyone on the team. This (and many other reasons) caused us to draw attention to ourselves. Since I was teaching in church that day, I decided to throw on the jeans.

We met downstairs around 12:30 to head to the church. We saw Catherine again and got to meet her son, Conlaodh (pronounced “con-la”). He was almost 4 years old and a very cute kid. We then walked to the church, long pants on and Bibles in hand. We just telegraphed “we’re not from around here” in about 4300 different ways.

We got to the church, which was bustling. The International Church (made up of foreigners living in Antalya) had just let out and the Turkish Church was about to start, so there were quite a few people around. We went upstairs to grab our seats. Ramazan (the pastor of the Turkish Church) prayed for me. Then it was time to start. The room was full! In all, there were probably 50 Turks in the room. It was very inspiring to see the beginnings of a church in modern Turkey. I was reminded that God’s Spirit had never left this place, Men and women had just chosen to deny him as God.

Zeynep (who led worship at the youth group the night before) led us in worship again with the help of a young man on the piano. We sang quite a few songs and then Ramazan stood up and said quite a few things in Turkish. I have no idea what he said, but I got the impression that he was welcoming them and maybe delivering some announcements. We sang some more songs, then Ramazan called our group forward to sing a song. We had prepared “Holy Is the Lord” beforehand (they had asked us several days before to sing in church). Ramazan read a Turkish translation of the words to the song, we stood up in front of the church, James played guitar and we sang. It is always a very interesting experience to sing a song in English in front of people who don’t speak English. I’m pretty sure they enjoyed it.

After our song, Zeynep led the congregation in a few more songs. Then Ramazan introduced me. I taught on Galatians 5 with Zeynep as a translator. I chose this passage because of Paul’s emphasis on the idea that we are free as Christians and shouldn’t enslave ourselves to the law (legalism) or to sin. I thought this might be particularly applicable in Turkey because Islam is certainly enslaved to legalism and of course, all of mankind has a propensity to enslave itself to sin. It also gave me the opportunity to present the gospel in a clear and concise way.

Afterwards, I was told that this was the first time that anyone had ever taught expositionally through a chapter or section of the Bible at the church. I think typically most teaching there is topical in nature. This person told me that they really appreciated what I did and the style I did it in.

After I finished, Ramazan got up and shared a few words about communion and then we started singing and taking communion. The elements were served from the front and people lined up to go get the bread (cracker) and juice. When I got to the front of the room, I ate my cracker and then grabbed the little plastic cup and downed it… to find out that it was wine. A little surprising, but not necessarily shocking. I’ve been in places before where wine was the standard instead of juice. However, some of the others on the team were quite surprised. James took communion after me and when he sat back down beside me, he said something like “how about that juice?” We intently observed the rest of the team’s faces as they partook. Jennifer was the funniest. Now, Jennifer is famous for funny faces, so when she downed that wine, she made the most hilarious face. It took all of our self-restraint to keep from laughing out loud. We found out later that it had been Jennifer’s first ever taste of alcohol. I remarked that it was actually a pretty cool thing that her first taste of alcohol was while taking communion in Turkey. I have to say that taking communion was quite an emotional experience for me… not because it was wine. It was because I was in the midst of other brothers and sisters in Christ who were doing their best to live for God under difficult circumstances. I was reminded that God’s Spirit is present everywhere and I was grateful that these believers, though they were small in number, had recognized Him as the truth and they had given their lives to him.

After church, we had some fellowship time out in the garden drinking coffee and talking with various people from the church. I spoke with several young men who had questions about my teaching. I was glad to be able to spur them on in their faith.

After a while, our hosts gave us the signal that it was time to leave. We were planning on going to the beach with the youth group to play some volleyball and swim, so we needed to grab some lunch and our swimsuits first.

After a quick trip to the pansion to get our beach stuff, we ate lunch at a little place on Işiklar that served yummy köfte sandwiches. They grilled up our order in a hurry and we wolfed the tasty things down in time to walk the 100 yards or so over to the Tromvay stop. We met several people from the youth group there, got on the trolley and were on our way to the beach. Once we arrived at the end of the line, we all got off and walked the ¼ mile or so down the hill to the beach. We stopped at the first open volleyball court we saw. The name of the beach was Savbeach. For the next 2 hours or so, we all had a great time making fools of ourselves on the volleyball court. Americans and Turks playing side by side was great fun. Ramazan, the pastor of the church played with us for quite a while – I learned that he is really competitive and one heck of a volleyball player. I like to think of myself as quite the volleyball player also, but in truth, I’m pretty average because I’m sho… er, vertically challenged.


"Iceman"


Jennifer took this with my camera... classic

Eventually our paid time at the volleyball court came to an end. Many of the turks had already taken off for home, but we wanted to stay and enjoy the beach for a bit more. We headed down to the water. Some folks just sat and relaxed and several of us jumped in and let the sea toss us about for a while. Now I can’t even remember why, but I do remember laughing and laughing out there in the Mediterranean. After a while, we did our best to body surf on the meager waves (this is a sea, folks, so the waves aren’t really much at all). That caused us to laugh even harder as we mostly only succeeded at filling our pockets with small pebbles.

Wanting to take advantage of our time at the beach, after swimming, we just sat around and talked for a while. I succeeded in filling James’ small-mouth Nalgene full of pebbles almost right before his eyes. He never even knew what I was doing. When it was time to leave, he picked up his water bottle and incredulously asked, “who filled my nalgene with rocks!?” We all laughed hard and I confessed. James and I had a good time on the entire trip joking and laughing with each other.

We walked up to the Tromvay stop and jumped on. After riding back downtown, we walked to a little shop on Işiklar that served baked potatoes stuffed with whatever you wanted. It was a like the Turkish version of Flying Burrito – you would just point to each thing that you wanted in your baked potato and they would put it in. Boy, did these hit the spot! Not only were they really good, but we were all starving, because by this time it was about 9:30 p.m. and we had been exerting ourselves on the beach all afternoon.

After eating, about half of the gang went back to the pansion while the others of us went back to “I”’s house to make phone calls back home. We all hung out in the living room drinking Türkü Cola (basically flat coke – think RC Cola), while each person took their turn calling home. When it was James’ turn, he called and didn’t get an answer, so he left a message. As he was walking back in the living room, the phone rings and “I” picks up. After a bit of a confusing dialogue because he was expecting the person on the other line to be speaking Turkish (she was indeed speaking English), he realized that it was James’ mom calling him. I said “dude, your mom just star-69’ed you in Turkey.” That was a surreal, the world is smaller than I thought it was moment. When it was my time, I had a great conversation with Elise and talked to each of the girls. Elspeth really talked quite a bit – more than she ever had before on the phone with me. I could tell she was growing up while I was 1/3 the way around the world.

After we made our phone calls, we headed back to the pansion. I needed to stop by the ATM to pick up another wad of cash to pay for meals and such for the next couple of days and James went with me. After picking up cash, we started walking back and we both marveled that the ice cream guy’s cart was still open even though it was late – something like 11:30 p.m. I looked at James… he looked at me… I said “you want to get some ice cream?” and he said “you bet I do”, so we walked over to get some. I think James labeled it “Haagen-Dazs II – Turkish Deception”, since this was the second covert ice cream buying operation I had been on while on our trip. This time I had an accomplice. The guy was making fresh waffle cones when we walked up, so when he served us our ice cream, our cones were hot because they had just come off of the waffle iron. That was the best waffle cone I have ever had.

On our way back to the pansion, we stopped and talked to the owner of Ephesus Pizza, Mehmet. He was standing outside his restaurant just chilling. He said hello and struck up a conversation with us. We walked past his pizza place at least twice every day and it was always empty. The building looked really cool, so I’m not sure why noone ever ate there. We talked to him for quite some time about his life and his family. Turns out that he is from Turkey, but lives in Seattle and has lived there for 20 years or so. He owns the restaurant here in Antalya with his brother or something, and was here in town to sell it. He had been there for a couple of months and I think he was lonely and missed his family. It was a little sad – I think he was glad we stopped and talked with him for a while. He said that he also exported stone or tile or something like that from Turkey to the U.S. and then he took us into the restaurant to show us these amazing mosaics that he had made with his own hands. They were phenomenal! There were mosaics on the floor, on the walls and on the doors. After a while, we bid him goodbye and headed on back to the pansion.

When we got to the corner where the Ali Baba Carpet and Kilims shop was, we saw Jay sitting there chatting with the owners. Apparently when he had gone back to the pansion a few hours earlier, they talked him into joining them for a card game that is a little like spades with some variations. He agreed and sat down to win the game (with some help from one of them)! Apparently, it is usually a drinking game, but they couldn’t talk him into whiskey, so instead he got a beer and nursed it for the rest of the night. James and I decided to stop and sit and join in on the conversation. Not wanting Jay to feel alone, I purchased an Efes Dark from the corner store that these guys owned and sat down to nurse it alongside him. We sat and hung out and talked for quite a while. Eventually, the guys started to close up their shop (at 12:30)! They insisted that we stay and chill out while they closed up. It was a nice night and we were in the mood to stay up and act like Turks, so we agreed. After a while, Catherine, the nice Irish lady from the pansion and her son ambled down the street and stopped by to talk with us. We talked with her for about an hour while playing with her son, Conlaodh. Apparently they were acting rather Turkish in their time here in Antalya as well – sleeping late and staying up late. We had a great conversation with her about Ireland. I’ve always been fascinated with all things Irish, so I thoroughly enjoyed our talk. Apparently, she had been teaching Irish (the celtic language) to young children back home in Navan (about an hour north of Dublin) and was here in Turkey learning Turkish. She already spoke German, French, Irish and English, so she was learning her fifth language! She had been in Istanbul for a few weeks and had just arrived in Antalya for a little rest and relaxation. She was considering a teaching job in the country that would start in the Fall, and wanted to really experience the culture before she decided to stay. I asked her the question that all Americans want to ask anyone Irish – “do the Irish like U2?” It was funny, because both James and Jay agreed with me that this was the burning question on their minds as well. Her answer was “I think they’re lovely.” Burning question answered.

At about 1:30, we all decided to walk the 50 feet to the pansion and turn in. It had been quite a day. Great team time, Turkish church, volleyball on the beach, swimming in the Med, Turkish baked potatoes, “Haagen-Dazs II”, Mehmet, the Ali Baba guys, Catherine, and staying up late experiencing Turkish community and hospitality. It was a day that I won’t soon forget.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Simit's Not Meat, But It's Not a Pretzel Either - Turkey, Day 8

Saturday, June 4

This day marked the halfway point of the trip. It felt like we had just arrived.

After breakfast, we walked through the park to meet "I". This morning we were going to serve the poor in Antalya while we prayer walked. We split up into 3 different groups and each group went in different directions. All over Turkey there are these carts where guys sell a bread called "simit". It looks like a round soft pretzel. I never did take a picture of any of it, but here is a picture I found off of the internet:



My group bought some simit and walked through Kaleiçi to Cumhuriet Cadessi, which is the main artery through Antalya. We then walked through the city looking for poor people who were begging for money. There actually weren't very many beggars, so we walked quite a while before we found someone to give bread to. When we did find someone, we would hand them some bread and say "İsa Seni Seviyor" which means "Jesus Loves You" in Turkish. We gave away our first batch of simit and bought some more. Then we turned up another busy street and walked for a long ways without seeing any poor people. Eventually we gave some bread to an old poor man. We made our way back to Kaleiçi to meet the rest of the group at the church.

We then walked to a streetside döner restaurant on İşiklar Cadessi. After lunch we walked over to "I"'s apartment. That afternoon we were supposed to lead a children's program at the church, so we were meeting to plan and prepare. I had been asked to preach at church on Sunday, so I went to "I"'s room to prepare my teaching while the group prepared for the children's time. I popped my headphones in and started working on Galatians 5. James had been asked to share a short message at youth group later tonight, so he also sat out the children's activity to prepare. At around 2:30 the group (minus me and James) left for the church. We each cranked up our iPods, turned on the ceiling fan and went to work. I finished up my preparation at about 4:30 and we weren't scheduled to meet the group for dinner until 5:30 so I laid down on the couch and took a quick nap.

After my nap, James and I walked to Zeynep's Kitchen to meet the rest of the group for dinner. They shared some stories about working with the kids - I think it was a fruitful time.

After dinner, we walked to the church for youth group. It has been my experience that in many countries, "youth group" really means people in their teens and 20's and that was definitely the case here. About 12 Turks came - most of them were in their 20's and to my knowledge, most of them were Christians. A girl named Zeynep (not to be confused with the restaurant "Zeynep's Kitchen") led some worship songs with a guitar. They were almost all american worship songs that had been translated into Turkish, which was cool because even though I didn't speak Turkish, I basically knew what we were singing about. I do wish for them that they had more of their own songs, though.

After singing a few songs, Jennifer stood up and gave her testimony while Zeynep translated. Zeynep is only 17, but she speaks fluent English and translates quite a bit. She even translates theological books into Turkish! After Jennifer shared her story, we sang another couple of songs and then James taught about Ananias and Sapphira and how we should give freely to the Lord while Zeynep translated We then sang a few more songs before we finished. The entire meeting was rather subdued, which I think is pretty normal there.



After the meeting, we all hung out in the garden, drank coffee and got to know our Turkish brothers and sisters in Christ. It was encouraging to hear their stories and see how God had called them to Himself in a place where there are so few other believers.

We wrapped up our hang out time at around 9:30 and headed back to our pansion. It was still early (at least on Turkey time), so we did some shopping at Alibaba Carpets and Kilims. This was a shop that was about 30 yards from our pansion and we had gotten to know the guys who worked there over the past few days. They were very friendly and several of them spoke English, so every time we would walk by, we would stop and speak to them. The 2 owners were brothers and I think everybody else that worked there was related in some way. One of the brothers lived in Paris in the winter (he was married to a Parisian). These guys actually owned several shops all next to one another - the carpet shop, a ceramics shop, a small grocery/snack shop, and a tour company. They were running a first-rate business. "I" had told us a few days before that these guys would be one of the best places to buy gifts because they would treat us fair and give us good prices, so several of us decided to buy some gifts to take back home. Man, those guys went to town showing us rugs and blankets! They were pulling out all kinds of fabrics designs and patterns. Several of us bought rugs/blankets, some people bought pashminas (a cashmere scarf), some people bought ceramics, etc. After a while I decided on a blanket for Elise and a couple of other gifts. We probably spent an hour shopping with these guys and they did give us great deals. After it was all said and done, we all took a picture together with them.

After dropping our goodies off at the pansion, Jay, "I" and me decided to head out onto İşiklar Cadessi to find a cool cafe where we could grab a beer and talk. İşiklar Cadessi is a busy street filled with streetside cafe's, restaurants and shops. We found a nice little place and pulled up to a streetside table. Efes is the name of the most popular beer in Turkey (Efes is actually the Turkish word for Ephesus, a famous city in western Turkey - Paul wrote the letter to the Ephesians to the Christians in Ephesus). So, we thought, "where else could we ever drink an Efes but in Turkey?" Jay got an Efes Normal (light colored pilsner) and "I" and me got an Efes Dark (dark porter). We munched on peanuts and popcorn, nursed our beer and had great conversation. We probably sat out there for a couple of hours just telling stories and enjoying fellowship with one another. It was an outstanding time.

Finally, we decided to call it a night. "I" walked in the direction of his apartment while me and Jay walked back to our pansion and fell quickly to sleep.

4 Comments:

  • Man...you are "wordy." I clicked on your blog a few days ago. When I saw how big it was, I said NO WAY to reading it at the time...but finally found the time to come back and read all of your cool Turkey stuff.

    I'm encouraged at how God grew your heart for Turkey, and your friendship with "I." I'm sure he was encouraged also. I still have never met "Trip Brett," but would like to someday.

    By Blogger Dr. A, at 11:58 PM  

  • I warned everyone on the very first post of this series that it may be long, but it's my blog, so I guess I can do whatever i want!

    By Blogger Brett, at 9:55 AM  

  • Man, I can't stand it when people go on long trips and then write really long blogs about it like people want to read it. (Warning- See my blog to understand the irony here.)

    By Blogger James Miller, at 1:12 AM  

  • Not gonna lie...I scroll to find my name, check the pictures, and save the rest for a rainy day. :-) Acutally, I have read bits and pieces (I'm calling your blog my summer read), and it makes me so thankful for our group and the time we grew together here in Turkey. See you soon!

    By Blogger Jennifer, at 5:02 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The Mountain Of Eternal Flame - Turkey, Day 7

Friday, June 3, 2005

Today was designed to be a chill out day. For 4 days straight, we had been intensively and intentionally building relationships with Turks. Saturday and Sunday were shaping up to be really busy days as well, so we built in a day of rest and that was today.

After the traditional breakfast at the pansion, we arranged to have 3 Taksis (the Turkish spelling for Taxi) pick us up. "I" and "L" met us and we rode in the Taksis across town to a bus stop. There we met "T" and all of us jumped on a bus bound for Olimpos. Not the Mt. Olympos in Greece with the Greek gods, this was an ancient city (2400 years old) nestled in the mountains and situated right on the beach. The Mount Olimpos here in Turkey actually has an eternal flame on the top of it. There is apparently an ancient natural gas leak from the top of the mountain which you can light and roast your hot dogs! Alas, we never ventured up to the flame.

We rode the Havaş (bus) through the rest of Antalya along the coast and up into the mountains. The mountains rise right out of the sea, so even though we were driving up in the mountains, we were very near the sea. The mountains were stunning - lots of pine trees. I remarked that the next time I come to Turkey, I'd like to do some backpacking in those mountains. We rode to a small store up in the mountains which ended up being a bus stop. There we got off of the Havaş and waited for another bus that would take us down into Olimpos. The guys threw the frisbee while we waited. Ralley Türkiye was in full swing, so every few minutes a rally car would go speeding down the road on the way to another checkpoint. We were throwing the frisbee around in the parking lot, and inevitibly, it would go into the road every now and then. Luckily none of us got run over by a rally car on the way to retrieve the bee.

After about 30 minutes, the next bus came and we piled in. This one took us down into a beautiful valley. We entered the Olimpos area, which is managed by the Turkish board of tourism or something like that. There are literally thousands upon thousands of ruins sites in Turkey and they don't really have the budget to keep them all up. As we were driving into Olimpos, there were several vendors selling fresh fruit and vegetables as well as a number of treehouses/bungaloes that you could rent for lodging. Apparently, Olimpos is a haven for hippies from around the world. They rent a treehouse for a few days and commune with nature or something like that, then backpack on down the road to some other hippie haven. When the bus stopped, we got out and purchased a few snacks. Cola, Light Cola (for James!), fruit, cookies, chips, etc. The chips we bought were made by Doritos and were called Doritos Turca, which probably means Turkish Doritos. Ah, globalization... They were basically Doritos with lots of oregano on them - very yummy. One of my favorite things to do in other countries is try their snack foods. Of course, then I always wish that I could get that particular snack food in the states.

We then changed into our swimsuits at a pay restroom and paid our entrance fee into Olimpos. We walked for about 1/4 mile down a trail that paralleled a stream and passed several ancient ruins from when this area was a large city. More on the ruins later... We eventually came to a stunning beach. The stream emptied into the Mediterranean here and mountains rose up on both sides of the stream. There were several large sailboats anchored out in the bay. These were boats that were sailing along the coast, stopping in beautiful places like Olimpos. What a life.

The great thing about the beach here was that it was completely uncommercialized and very uncrowded. There were several people around, but we were all quite spread out so it was very peaceful. The water was a gorgeous deep blue. We settled on a nice little spot on the beach and spread out our stuff. "I" was assigned to walk back to the village to pick up our lunch, gözleme. Jay, James, Dick and I decided to swim out into the bay.



This bay looked exactly like something you would see in a pirate movie, so as we were out in the bay treading water, we had a great time making jokes and acting like pirates. I remember laughing really hard and trying not to drink too much salty seawater.

This brings me to a quick explanation. For years, I have had an alter-ego that many people know as "Trip Brett". You see, sometimes people from church or wherever only really see me on the stage at The Grove or in some "official" capacity. In those settings, I have to be fairly serious - there's just not a lot of room for goofing around when I'm leading worship at church. Well, on trips for some reason, people often get a chance to see the goofy side of my personality for the first time. Many people on trips like this have enjoyed the escapades of "Trip Brett" and this trip was no exception. Prior to leaving for Turkey, several people on my team had only really gotten to know me in our training meetings, which were fairly serious and business-like. So, while we were still in the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport, I had warned my team that there were soon going to get to know my alter-ego. I think it was somewhere in the Amsterdam airport when "Trip Brett" really emerged (maybe it was the Haagen-Daaz). I really enjoy "Trip Brett". Lots of people have told me that they really like "Trip Brett" as well. There is something so enjoyable about laughing an goofing off - I'd like to indulge this side of my personality more often back here in Northwest Arkansas.

So, "Trip Brett" was in full force out in the bay. Now back to our story...

After a while, "I" emerged from the trail with a couple of bags full of gözleme. This delectible treat is known as the Turkish pancake. It's basically this flat bread/pastry rolled up with stuff inside like cheese, potatoes, spinich, etc. I ordered potatoes and cheese (though somehow mine only had cheese in it). So, I settled down with my lunch of gözleme, Doritos Turca and Cola.

After lunch, most of us laid out on the beach and took naps. At least I know the guys around me seemed to be napping. I certainly did. What a great relaxing time - beautiful sights, swimming in the Med, eating yummy food and napping in the warm sun on the beach.

After a short nap, I decided to grab my camera and tripod and explore the ruins of the old city. First I hiked up a steep hill to a place labeled the "acropolis", which basically means "city on a hill". This was a lookout where the residents of this ancient city could keep a wary eye out for pirates. Up on top I met a couple of Aussies who were taking some vacation time riding on a tourist boat along the coast. They were due to sail to Antalya later that day and fly home. I continued exploring the ruins down in the valley. The trees and foliage had long ago reclaimed this large city, so everywhere you looked in the forest there were remnants of old walls, aqueducts, above ground tombs, temples, castles, etc. I kept trying to imagine what this city looked like 2200 years ago when it was a bustling metropolis. I spent a couple of hours exploring and taking pictures.





Unsure of what time we were planning on leaving, I made my way back to the beach. Once I got there, I realized that everybody was still relaxing and in no hurry to leave. I sat around and talked to the guys for a while. Then me and "I" decided to hike across the stream to a castle that was poised on the opposite hillside from the acropolis. We made our way to this spectacular spot and climbed out onto a high wall. We sat down on the wall and dangled our feet over a 100 foot drop while gazing into the bay. We were looking down onto some large rocks that rose out of the bay. Several people (not from our group) had swam out to the rocks and were climbing up on them, then jumping into the deep water. We also saw a number of goats walking around - some of them out on the rocks in the bay. I kept wanting to see one of them jump into the water, but I guess goats have no sense of adventure.

"I" and I had a great conversation about life, church, the poor, the world, anthropology and our dreams. We probably talked up on that wall for an hour and a half - it was thoroughly enjoyable. I had known "I" prior to this trip, but only really as an acquaintance. It was through conversations like the one that we had on this day that we began to build a real friendship. After a while we decided to explore around some more in the ruins. At one point we realized that we were walking on an ancient mosaic that was probably the floor of some cool room thousands of years ago.

Finally we hiked back down to the beach. A few people had already hiked back to the village to hang out in an outdoor lounge area to nap, read and relax. The rest of us packed up our stuff and hiked back to the village to join them. We sat around relaxing, reading, telling jokes, eating Magnum Bars (ice cream bars) and fruit. There was a nice breeze blowing and I remember that the temperature was just perfect. It doesn't really get much better than this. Finally around 5:00 we decided to catch a bus back to Antalya. We jumped on one bus and waited to depart. After a while, some conversation took place in Turkish between the bus driver and "I", then he told us to get off of the bus and get on another one that was behind us. This particular bus would take us all the way to Antalya, so we jumped on, sat back and relaxed.

After we arrived in the city, we walked over to the restaurant where we had eaten on Wednesday, Gaziantep. This time I ordered the Döner Iskender and chowed down. We finished off the meal with çay (tea). In Turkey, they drink tea pretty much all day long whether the weather is hot or cold. It is served in these little tulip shaped glasses on a small metal saucer.

We then walked back to Kaleiçi. After a short stop for some ice cream, we went back to our pansion.

At some point on the bus, I remember having this thought: "I want to come back here." Not just Olimpos, but Turkey in general. I think I was really starting to fall in love with the place. The people, the food, the sights, etc. God had really changed my heart and attitude in the course of 7 days. Before we left I wasn't really looking forward to the trip. Now I was really having a great time. I remember saying to Elise the night before we left for Turkey that I was needing some serious rest and relaxation. I didn't expect to get any of that on this trip. Of course, God knew exactly what I needed and he certainly provided a very enjoyable, relaxing day on Friday.

1 Comments:

  • your blog has been a really awesome way for us to hear in detail about your trip and see pics. it's great.

    By Blogger shauna, at 4:02 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Monday, June 20, 2005

Salt Water and Nargile - Turkey, Day 6

Thursday, June 2, 2005

I woke up at 5:45 a.m., threw on some clothes, grabbed my camera and headed out of the room to take some early morning pictures. When I got down to the lobby at the pansion, there was a middle-aged French guy with curly hair just standing there with a confused look on his face. Apparently he had been standing there for a few minutes because he wanted to go out and walk around also, but the door was locked and the only way out was with a key. We woke Salim (one of the guys who works there) up and asked him to unlock the door. Poor guy probably didn't go to sleep until 1:00 a.m. He was always at the pansion, morning, noon and night.

I walked the streets of Kaleçi for quite a while, snapping pictures. When I walked to the park to look out over the bay, I saw the mountains on the other side for the first time (it had been pretty cloudy every day since we had arrived). Wow. They were huge.



I walked down to the harbor to take some shots of the fishing boats heading out for the day.



It was great to wander about the old city for a couple of hours. The streets were very quiet. Just about the only person I encountered was the curly-haired Frenchman from the pansion. He was wandering the streets too, so we had several different conversations over the next couple of hours. As far as not seeing many other people, most people in Antalya stay up late and wake up late. I'm not sure if that is a Turkish thing, a Mediterranean thing or just happens because Antalya is a resort city. Anyway, it was nice to be the only person on the streets for a while - very peaceful. It's funny, I hate waking up early. But, when I actually make myself do it and I get out to take pictures or walk or whatever, I really enjoy my time.

I made my way back to the pansion around 8:30 for a leisurely breakfast. Then upstairs for a shower.

We had some team time at 11:00. Singing, prayer, sharing, etc.

At noon, we met "I" downstairs, then all of us walked to a little streetside döner place called "Golf." This place was funny because they had astroturf under in the whole area where the tables where. More döner inside a piece of flatbread. And of course, cola. I think it was around this time that we started to call James "light cola." You see, when all of the rest of us were ordering our 100 calorie cokes at each meal, James was using his willpower to order a diet coke (or "light cola" in Turkey). So for some reason, we started calling him by that name. Or sometimes just "LC".

We then walked about 50 yards to the Tromvay stop. The Tromvay is basically a trolley that runs from one end of the city to the other. It is the fastest and most economical route to the beach - our destination for the day. We had planned to meet P, T, L and several other friends at the Tromvay stop, and by the time we got on board, about 8 more people had joined us. We rode to the end of the line and got off. Then it was a short 10 minute walk down the side of a hill to the beach park.

The beach park is actually a series of beaches, all with names. Each beach has it's own lounge chairs, umbrellas, lounge area, sometimes a volleyball court and always a DJ spinning up tunes (which, by the way, are always some version of techno/house music - ask me sometime about the whistling song that we heard everywhere we went). The beach park goes on for what looks to be a couple of miles, though we never walked to the end of it. There are tons of restaurants, coffee/tea houses, bars, shops and resort hotels also. The entire area was very nice.

Our destination for the day was Yiğit (pronounced "Yeeet") Beach. This was about the 4th or 5th beach down the line. We rented a couple of umbrellas and staked our claim to a sweet spot. The Mediterranean is a deep blue color here and the waves are very small by virtue that this is a sea and not an ocean. And there is no sand. Just colorful, smooth pebbles in all shades of white, gray and black. We could see Kaleçi to our left and the mountains to our right. A very sweet spot indeed.



The guys tossed the football around for a while, much to the amusement and curiosity of all the Turks on the beach. I don't think they really see much American football there, so we were an oddity. A couple of times, the ball would land near someone that wasn't in our group and they would attempt to throw it back to us. That usually resulted in an awful pass because unlike most every boy in the U.S. who grows up throwing a football, this was probably the first time any of them had ever touched one. I guarantee that they could spank us in a game of Tavla (Backgammon), though. We also tossed the frisbee and swam. The water was warm and EXTREMELY salty. After swimming for a while, "I" and I threw the football for a long time - probably about 45 minutes. After a while, my feet started to really hurt from running on those rocks, so we gave the football a rest. (Later, I would realize that I had given myself pretty bad blisters from running on those rocks.)

After a while, someone suggested we walk over to a Nargile (pronounced "Nar-ghee-lay") Cafe, so we packed up and headed out. After a 5 minute walk we were there. Now, this was going to be an interesting cultural experience. Nargile is a thing that you smoke. Basically, you have this really elaborate and decorative water pipe that you smoke a mild, flavored tobacco in. This particular Nargile Salon was outdoors, so everywhere you looked there were bean bag chairs that were circled around little tables where people would put their tea or other drinks. Many peoople were playing Tavla as well. Then also in the middle of each little circle was this decorative water pipe and people were puffing away. Apparently Nargile has been around for a long time (possibly even thousands of years) and it is a staple in traditional Turkish life.

We found an area where we could pull a bunch of bean bag chairs together (there were about 16 of us). Then we ordered drinks and a couple of Nargile pipes. Eventually this dude came over with 2 water pipes and began to prepare them for us. Here's how it works. In the top is this canister where they put this mild, flavored tobacco. (We ordered apple for one pipe and banana/mint for another). Then they put these hot coals on top of the tobacco. At the bottom of the pipe is a big, fancy glass thing full of water. Emerging from the side of the pipe is a long, leather tube with a big decorative pipe on the end. Each person gets their own little mouthpiece that they attach to that pipe when it is their turn to puff. When you draw on the pipe, the smoke is drawn through the water, which somehow filters it. Almost all of us took a turn at the pipe. The smoke was very flavorful and smooth. There must not be any nicotine in it either, because even though we smoked those 2 pipes for over an hour, I never did feel anything. It is my understanding that the experience is supposed to be a slow paced opportunity to talk and relax. It was a hilarious thing to watch people take big puffs of smoke from this exotic pipe. Very Turkish indeed. We took lots of pictures because it just seemed like good blackmail material someday.



When in Rome... I mean Turkey...

Actually, this was a tremendous time of hanging out and building relationships. Many conversations were had between people on our team and Turks. I know that the gospel was shared with at least one guy and many other life stories were shared. It was a tremendous opportunity for life on life conversations. Who would have ever thought that we would have shared the gospel while puffing away on a Hookah?

Soon it was time for dinner, so we walked back up the hill to the Tromvay stop. Rally Türkiye was getting ready to start, so the Tromvay wasn't running for the rest of the day. For those of you who don't know much about racing, Rally car races take place over several days and the "track" is on a combination of paved roads, dirt roads, muddy roads, etc. Usually more of the race is off-pavement than on-pavement. Racers drive small, souped up cars with amazing suspension and steering and they are usually all-wheel drive. This all helps them cope with the various terrain that they will be driving on. Rally racing is really big in Europe. Well, Rally Türkiye was a big Rally race that was starting in Antalya on this day.

So, we had to walk all the way back to the heart of the city. It was at least a couple of miles. It was fascinating to walk through the city, though. We finally made it to our destination, "Martı Mantı". Famous for the seagulls painted on their windows. IN DEFENSE....

They served Mantı, which is basically meat-stuffed tortellini covered in a yoghurt sauce with tons of spices in it. It was very tasty. I think it was at this point that I decided that I definitely like Turkish food. I'd probably have to search hard to find any Turkish food in the U.S., though.

After dinner, we walked across the street to Öszüt, which was a restaurant that served amazing desserts. We all ordered different things and shared. Decadent cakes, delicate pastries, rich puddings, sundaes, you name it. We stuffed ourselves silly.

Goodbyes all around to our Turkish friends and then back to the pansion. It was an amazing day of experiences. Shooting pictures around Kaleçi in the early morning light, going to the beach, swimming in the Med, smoking Nargile, walking through the city, eating great food and having amazing conversations with some really cool Turks. It doesn't get much better than that. But it did. More to come...

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

We interrupt this regularly scheduled program...

We found out today that our baby is a girl! (At least the ultrasound technician said that she was reasonably certain - it's never FOR SURE.)

So, I guess we're batting 3 for 3.

We will be accepting donations for the Harkey girl wedding fund. We accept cash, Visa, MasterCard and American Express. Heck, we will even accept stocks!

3 Comments:

  • thats great guys. I know so many families with three girls. I guess they just come that way.

    By Blogger Jason, at 4:56 PM  

  • If you had all boys, you'd blow all your money on sporting equipment growing up.

    With all girls, they either blow all your money on clothes, shoes, or their wedding day.

    It's a lose-lose situation.(monetarily speaking only, of course)

    All to say, congrats on another girl...what fun all 3 will have growing up together!

    By Blogger Nelson, at 5:57 PM  

  • Congrats on getting to live with four chicks Brett. Think of it this way. You've got plenty of years ahead of you of doing the "clean the shotgun" routine while meeting new boyfriends. I can't think of a greater blessing than that.

    By Blogger James Miller, at 1:15 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Künefe For You, Künefe for Me - Turkey, Day 5

Wednesday, June 1, 2005

I woke up and jumped in the shower. Mmm... cold shower. And no water pressure. Excellent. Then down to the garden for yummy breakfast.

After breakfast our team gathered for a team time in our room. We had a great time of worship, sharing and prayer. At this point, I remember thinking that our team was really starting to get to know one another and gel. One interesting note about our team times - we always had our window open in our room, so I'm sure the other guests at the White Garden Pansion enjoyed the serenade when we sang worship songs.

Afterwards, we decided to walk to the bazaar. This is basically a bunch of merchants selling everything from vegetables to spices to clothes to jewelry. Apparently, it travels to different parts of the city each day, and this was the day of the week that it would be in our neighborhood. Imagine the Fayetteville Farmer's Market, only about 100 times larger and without all of the hippies. It was fascinating to walk around and take in all of the sights, sounds and smells. Very old world. It was crowded, to say the least and people were haggling left and right. It also seemed like most of the shoppers were Turkish - this is how they do their grocery shopping. Imagine of the Wal Mart Supercenter came to your street every Wednesday... that would be sweet.





After the bazaar, we met "I" and went to a little döner place for lunch that was just off of Işiklar Caddesi (street). In the U.S., we would probably call this a sandwich place. We sat at one long table streetside. Döner is basically lamb that they put on a big rotating spit and it cooks all day long. When you order some, they just shave some off and at this particular establishment they put it inside a split-open piece of flatbread. I think it was about this time that I started to realize the Turkish fascination with mayonnaise. It seems like they put it on everything. Well, I hate mayonnaise, so I made sure that the waiter got the message that I didn't want any. After ensuring that they weren't going to put any on my döner flatbread/sandwich thingy, I went to the bathroom to relieve my full bladder. Well, apparently I didn't quite get the door totally locked because just after I finished, someone opened the door. Thankfully I was done and all she saw was my back. I think she was more embarrased than I was. Back to the table to eat my tasty döner.

After lunch, we met up with T, L and P and rode the Dolmuş over to campus. We had heard that there was an Archeology Symposium going on and several students that we knew were going to be there, so this would be a good opportunity to hang out and build relationships. We got to the building that the Symposium was held in and basically just milled about inside for what seemed like forever. After meeting several people that P, T, I and L knew, a bunch of us went into the auditorium to listen to a presentation about some kind of archeology site in Turkey. The lecture was supposed to be in English, but instead was in German (and subsequently translated into Turkish). Well, it was dark, my belly was full, and I didn't understand a single word being spoken, so I drifted off to sleep for a few minutes. After about 10 minutes, apparently we decided to ditch the German/Turkish lecture and go back outside. I felt refreshed after my little power nap.

At this point we decided to head over to the food court/garden area to have some tea and coffee and play some tavla (backgammon). By this time we had gathered about 5 Turks who joined us. This was sort of the way things happened on our entire trip. We would go somewhere, start meeting up with people we already knew or meeting new people and by the end of the day, we would have a big posse rolling with us. This was excellent for an extrovert like me. The more the merrier. It kind of me feel like a rock star. They just love community so much that they are always inviting more people along.

We arrived at a smoky (you should just assume that any hangout spot in Turkey is smoky) bar/hangout spot filled with students drinking tea, coffee and beer. And almost everyone was playing backgammon. They say that backgammon (tavla) orgininated in Turkey, and EVERYONE plays it from childhood. So, if you ever meet a Turk and he offers to play you in a friendly game of tavla for money, walk away fast because you are going to lose. These people are serious about thier tavla. We found some tables and the Turks started teaching the Americans how to play. Deniz was at our table, so he started showing us the ropes. It's a deceptively simple game with lots of strategy. I played 2 games - 1 loss to Jennifer (yipes, lost to a girl) and 1 win to Dick.

After a while, someone suggested that we all go to another hangout spot just off of campus. This place had a tea/coffee bar, pool tables, ping pong tables, foosball, internet cafe, etc. By this time, we had gathered even more Turks with us, so everybody set out to play some kind of game. Most of the guys played ping pong and most of the girls played foosball. I decided that this would be a great opportunity to check my email and send an email to Elise, so I shifted into antisocial mode for a bit and checked in to the internet cafe. I was able to get to my email this time, so I read a few key messages and sent a long overdue email to Elise and the girls.

In time, we decided to head back to the heart of the city to eat dinner. We ate at an amazing restaurant called Gaziantep that was recommended by Cemil (pronounced Ja-meal). Cemil is a professional basketball player in Turkey, but in the offseason (which apparently is right now) he works as a steward on an airline and is based out of Antalya. I'm not exactly sure how we met him, but he was very cool, nonetheless. He and Jay really hit it off. I ordered this döner thing that was wrapped up in a tortilla sort of thing. Here's Jennifer with hers:



It was good, but after seeing the various things that everyone else ordered, I wished that I had branched out into something a little more adventurous. I took a bite of James' Iskender Döner, which is a traditional dish in Turkey. It is basically pide (flatbread) with tomato sauce on top, then döner on top of that, then plain yoghurt on top of that. It was outstanding, so I vowed to order it if we visited this restaurant again. After our meal, someone suggested that we try a traditional Turkish dessert, Künefe. We ordered several for the entire table and split it. Künefe is basically shredded wheat (think frosted mini-wheats) with some kind of cream cheese kind of stuff on top and chopped pistachios on top of that. Then it is soaked in some sort of really sweet sugary liquid. So, I know what you're thinking, this sounds a little weird, but let me tell you, that was one of the most amazing desserts I have ever had.



After dinner, we walked to a Türkü bar. This was a place where traditional Turkish folk music (Türkü) was played and you could get drinks or food. And of course, smoke abounded. Türkü music is pretty cool - at this particular place, there were three musicians. One guy was playing a Saz, which is a traditional stringed instrument that looks kind of like a lute, but sounds very middle eastern. He also sang. Another guy was playing a flute kind of thing that actually reminded me of the recorders that we played in fifth grade music class. Think "hot cross buns" and you won't be too far off. The third guy was playing a little handdrum. It was a very cool cultural experience, to say the least. Unfortunately, about 14 of us were crowded into a booth that would have comfortably sat about 8 people, so I'm not sure I enjoyed as much as I should have.


I jacked this photo from Miller's Blog

Later several of us walked to the shop where you could pay to make international calls. I called Elise and the girls. It was great to hear their voices - I think they were excited to hear from me. The only bad thing is that it's hard to summarize 5 amazing days in a 10 minute phone conversation. "So, how is it?" "Amazing - we've seen this and done that. The people are cool... I'll just have to tell you more about it when I get home."

After hanging up, I walked to an ATM on our way back to the Pansion. Because I was leading the trip, I was in charge of the spending money for all of the food and any activities that we did during the entire trip. That meant that every few days I would make my way to an ATM and withdraw several hundred Turkish Lira. Whenever we would eat in a restaurant, I was the guy who would bring a big bankroll out of my pocket to pay for everybody.

Big bankroll from my pocket to pay for anything the posse wanted... it's like I was some kind of Turkish rap star.

Back to the pansion for some shut eye.

2 Comments:

  • i commented further down below, but didn't realize how many days i was behind in reading . . so i'll comment again.
    antalya sounds amazing. it seems like this is one of the most unique trips yet . . . really experiencing the culture in different ways from food to music, to people . . .
    do you think you will go back? if so, short-term or long-term?

    By Blogger shauna, at 3:28 PM  

  • It is a pretty amazing place. I'm sure I'll go back - hopefully sooner rather than later.

    By Blogger Brett, at 9:53 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Friday, June 17, 2005

Storms, Prayers and Musical Feasts - Turkey, Day 4

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

At about 4:00 on Tuesday morning, I woke up to a huge thunderstorm. Big lightning, thunder and rain. My first thought was "I need to shut that open window or we're going to get drenched." Upon further inspection, I realized that there was a roof over the garden that kept rain from coming into our window. Sweet. So I plopped back down into bed to sleep.... wide awake... can't sleep. I tossed and turned for about 30 minutes trying to go back to sleep. This never happens to me - I LOVE SLEEP. Now, it may have been the time change (it was 8:00 p.m. back home), but for some reason this thought didn't occur to me. At 4:30 a.m., the first call to prayer rang out from the minaret of the nearest mosque. There was something really eerie about the call to prayer mixed with the thunder and lightning. I was reminded of Ephesians 6:12, "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood...but against the spiritual forces of evin in the heavenly places." I was reminded that there was a battle going on in this place - not just a battle over ideas and religious dogma - a spiritual battle. It was at that moment that I realized that God was keeping me awake so that I would pray. Imagine that... I was reminded to pray by the Imam at the local mosque! Now, maybe I wasn't praying the same prayer or to the same god, but God did remind me to pray through that arabic chant. So, I proceeded to pray. I even took out my palm pilot and journaled some prayers in the dark. Finally, around 6:30, I drifted off to sleep.

I re-awoke at about 7:30 and took a shower. After reading my Bible for a bit, I went downstairs to breakfast. We ate inside the lobby today because of all of the water out in the garden from the storm. The breakfast spread was the same - just as tasty as the day before. After breakfast, James and I got together for a bit to choose some songs for the "Musical Feast" (aka - concert where we really play mostly worship songs in English). At 10:00, we had our first "team time" in James' and Jay's room. James led us in a sweet time of worship and then we shared for a bit - how we'd seen God at work, how we were adapting to the culture, etc. We prayed for each other to close. As we were talking, we realized that 6 of us had trouble sleeping early that morning and had felt the call to pray for this place. God was certainly going to teach us something about prayer in our time there.

Then we walked to the church and met with P, T, I and L for some more worship time. It was nice for me to not lead the songs for a change. It allowed me the space to really think about the words we were singing. In fact, I really enjoyed having the freedom to thumb through my Bible to find verses that related to what we were singing. After a couple of songs, I felt compelled to read a Psalm out loud. I don't even remember which one it was, but I do remember God really speaking to me through His word. Then we sang another song and someone else read a passage of scripture. This continued for quite a while. We finally closed in prayer. T commented that it was really nice to worship in English again after singing in Turkish for the past 9 months.

We then split up into groups and went to Akdeniz Üniversitesi. Akdeniz means "light sea" in Turkish and is what they call the Mediterranean. Light Sea University. Each group traveled to the campus in a bit of a different fashion. The theory here was that we didn't all want to arrive on campus in one big horde so we wouldn't draw too much attention to ourselves. P, me and Jennifer walked to a bus stop and rode the Dolmuş (pronounced "dole-myoosh"), which is basically a short, cramped bus. We rode to the stop by the University, then walked across this long, blue bridge over a busy street. Then we were on campus.



I'm not sure about other University campuses in Turkey, but Akdeniz doesn't really look anything like most University campuses here in the U.S. First of all, it is VERY spread out. The buildings aren't close to one another at all. Maybe they are preparing for future growth or something. There were palm trees and scrubby bushes all around. And rocks. These really gnarly looking rocks everywhere. We concentrated our time in the area where the University hospital and medical school were. We walked for quite a while just praying for God to move on the campus. As we were making our way to lunch, we stumbled upon a man laying in the road rolling around and mumbling. At first glance, it looked like he was high on something and was experiencing some kind of overdose or something. We quickly realized that he was having a seizure. Thankfully a couple of doctors from the medical school noticed him right away and came to his aid.

We walked to a food court kind of thing for lunch. Basically, it was a bunch of restaurants arranged in a circle. The entrance to each restaurant opened up to this large courtyard that had lots of tables and chairs. Above the sidewalk that went around the circle, there was a trellace that was covered in flowers and vines. Very Mediterranean and cool.



We stopped at a place called Han Pizza. We each got our own Turkish personal pizza. This was fairly close to pizza here in the U.S. The sauce was less spicy and they put different vegetables on it like corn and artichokes. I had the Pollo Pizza which was pizza with tavuk (chicken) and mantar (mushrooms). And a cola. Now when they serve cola (coke) in Turkey, it almost always comes in a can with a straw. Now that makes for some fizzy coke, let me tell you. Also, did I mention that practically all Turks smoke? Smoking is their national habit. Everywhere you go, there is a thick cloud of cigarette smoke. I got sort of used to it after a while.

After lunch, we headed back to the old city. James and I went to the garden at the Pansion and practiced some songs for the concert... oops, I meant musical feast. Salim, one of the workers at the Pansion came out and listened to us sing and play. I think he really enjoyed it. Of course I don't think he realized that most of the songs were worship songs (and he is an Alevi Muslim).

For dinner, we met everyone back at Zeynep's kitchen. We had the exact same meal, except this time, instead of chicken, we had Köfte. That's basically a flat meatball with oregano in it. Well, well... I still like the food. Then back to the church.

We were going to have the concert in the garden at the church, but because of the impending rain, we decided to have it inside at the coffeehouse, Paul's Place. This actually was a much better atmosphere, in my opinion. We set up the sound system and prayed that some Turks would show up. And slowly they did. About 12 in all. James started the night by playing some of his original tunes.



Then I joined him - he sang and played rhythm while I played lead. Since there was only 1 microphone, we couldn't both sing at the same time. All the while our team was hanging out and getting to know the Turks that showed up. The idea was to build some relationships with people and then invite them to join us later in the week when we did fun stuff. After James' set, I played some worship songs and James played lead guitar with me. We played for a total of about 2 hours. At one point, we sang Happy Birthday to a Turkish girl. Then she stood up and sang a traditional Turkish song for the crowd. I think everybody really enjoyed the music. Afterwards, we learned that Jay had the opportunity to share the gospel with one of the guys there. Dick was able to share quite a bit with another guy as well. It was a good night all around.



We headed back to our pansion and I went on the roof of the building to take a couple of pictures. After a bit of quiet reflection, I went back downstairs and went to bed.

2 Comments:

  • That guy playing guitar is hot. I bet he's really talented too.

    By Blogger James Miller, at 3:26 PM  

  • I've heard he's really popular in Germany. There they know him as "Der Sausen Freunden", which translates to "The Breakfast King".

    By Blogger Brett, at 4:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Welcome to Turkey - Day 3

Monday, May 30, 2005

I woke up on Monday morning at about 9:30 to the sound of birds and the soft murmur of people talking outside. No strange smells, no cacophony of horns honking. Many other countries I had been to have all of that and more, but here in Kaleiçi (the name for the old city of Antalya), it was peaceful. This is going to be an interesting place, indeed. After I acclimated to my surroundings, I got out of bed and jumped in the shower. Or, I should say the bathroom with a shower head on the side of the wall. No shower curtain or door. So, you had to be careful where you left the toilet paper so that it didn't get drenched.

Dick and I were on the third floor and when I took a look out of our open window, I gazed down on a lovely patio with tables and chairs. There was an amazing spread of food on one table and several members of our team was already downstairs eating. I went down the stairs to join them. The patio, or garden as they called it, was a nice tiled in area with a wall around it. There was a huge tree that gave shade to almost the entire area. The air was cool, with a touch of humidity. It was very pleasant. I proceeded to fill my plate with food. There was simit (a ring of bread covered with sesame seeds that looks kind of like a pretzel), bread rolls, strawberry jam, butter, honey, fresh strawberries, fresh melon, 2 kinds of cheese, kiwi, oranges, plain yoghurt, some kind of molasses-type stuff (that was made from grapes), olives, tomatoes, and cucumbers. This was to be our breakfast for our entire stay at the White Garden Pansion - and I was going to love it each and every day.

After breakfast, I** met us in the lobby and we walked a couple of blocks to the church. On the way we passed by a ruins site that dates back to 200 B.C. It was at one time a pagan temple, then a church, then a mosque (camii in Turkish - pronounced "jah-mee"). Somehow a couple of centuries ago, part of the minaret got knocked off and so now it is called the Truncated Mosque. The whole area was behind a large iron fence so that people wouldn't take artifacts (of course over our time there, I observed several people inside). Apparently they were planning on doing some restoration work someday. It was fascinating because you could see the building style of each era and civilization. For instance, the Romans built with perfectly hewn blocks of stone, the Byzantines added decorative touches like fancy tops to the columns, the Ottomans used all kinds of stones just shoved into every crack they could find. You could literally tell when each level of the structure was built based on the levels of construction.

Kaleiçi (the old city) has a very old world feel. Narrow, cobblestone streets. Lots of shops. Intricate stone work, stucco and doors. It is against the law to demolish a building in Kaleçi - if a building is in disrepair, they have to restore it. Because of that, sometimes buildings will sit in a dilapidated fashion for quite some time before they are restored. It was a fascinating walk to the church.



The church - St. Paul's Cultural Center, was a beautiful building. Newly restored, it housed a public cafe/coffeeshop called Paul's Place. This was a lovely cafe with all kinds of coffee, çay (pronounced like "chai" and is the Turkish word for tea), and wonderful cakes and pastries. They also served lunch, which we had out in the garden. This was a beautiful courtyard with flowering vines growing all over the walls and large trees in the center.

Our lunch was tunafish sandwiches. This was probably our most american meal of the entire trip, and it was my least favorite. We also had warm chocolate chip cookies and coke. We were introduced to P**, T****** and L****, who are I**'s teammates. Over lunch, we spent some time getting to know everybody and sharing stories of long trip there.

After lunch, we proceeded upstairs to the main meeting room. This is where 2 churches meet on Sundays. Sunday mornings, the International Church of Antalya meets there. This is a church that is made up of 50 expatriateates (people who aren't from Turkey and aren't Turkish, but have moved to Antalya to work or retire - mostly Europeans). Then on Sunday afternoons, Antalya Bible Church (the Turkish church) meets there. We wouldn't really have any connection to the Int'l Church during our time in Antalya, our relationships were more with the Turkish Church.

Our afternoon was to be made up of training and orientation. We learned what you can say, what you can't say. What you can do, what you can't do. What cultural taboos to avoid, etc. How to share the gospel with a Turk. How to relate to members of the opposite sex. Mostly, be yourself, but be sensitive to the culture. We then met Ramazan, the pastor of the Turkish Church, who shared a bit of his story and the history of the church. He told us that there were probably 100 or so people who come, but only about 60 who are regular. I have to admit that I was surprised that there were that many Christians in this city of 1.2 million. You see, the total population of Turkey is 70 Million and of that, there are only about 3,000 Christians. Almost all of the rest are Muslim. After Ramazan was finished, Alper shared his testimony with us. Alper is a student and leads the youth group at the church.

After our orientation, we split up into 3 groups to hand out fliers in various key parts of the city. James and I were going to perform a concert on Tuesday night at Paul's Place, and we were handing out fliers to advertise for it. The flier said something like "2 American guitarists are here to provide a musical feast for you." I was with I** and our assignment was to hand out fliers in Kaleiçi. We walked all over the old city dropping off fliers at some key coffeehouses and restaurants. We walked through Adrian's gate, which the Apostle Paul would have walked through 2,000 years ago. You could see the ruts in the stones from thousands of years of chariots and wagons passing through the gate.



We walked down to the old harbor, which was full of amazing old sailboats and Turkish men offering "boat trip" (say this is your best Turkish accent, if you have any idea what a Turkish accent sounds like). They kept hassling us to take a boat trip. When we would walk away, they would say things like "why do you not want to take boat trip? Do you not want to talk to me? Why do you walk away?" While walking around the old harbor, I felt transported to another time. I could imagine ships coming in off of the Mediterranean thousands of years ago. In fact, we saw the steps that the Apostle Paul would have walked up to get into Kaleiçi in the Book of Acts. Amazing.



The city was founded by Attalus II, King of Pergamum around 200 B.C., but there are archeological finds near the city that date back thousands of years earlier. We also walked past an ancient castle that would have served as a great lookout to see possible marauders coming in to attack the city. From there, we could see most of Antalya bay. There are huge (9,000 ft tall) mountains on the far side that practically rise right out of the Mediterranean. Between them and us are miles of beaches with tons of resort hotels dotting the coastline. I heard that last year, almost 8 million non-Turks flew into the Antalya airport to vacation there. We could also see miles and miles of apartment buildings just outside Kaleiçi. I never saw a single family dwelling the entire time I was there - everybody lives in flats.

After handing out fliers, we met everybody at Zeynep's Kitchen - a nice little restaurant just off of Attaturk Cadessi. We ate streetside. At one big long table (actually several tables pulled together). In Turkey, everything is extremely community oriented. It is very important for the group to be together. So when you walk into a restaurant, instead of asking you to split up your group like here in the U.S., they will quickly pull as many tables together as necessary to keep your group together. The service in the restaurants is amazing as well - always refilling your drink, bringing more bread, etc. At Zeynep's we had soup, chicken with rice, tomato and cucumber salad (very traditional Turkish), fried potatoes and bread. They usually have crushed red pepper available at the table to season with. Water, tea and Cola (coke) were also available. Very tasty.

At dinner, our team really started to bond and we were starting to get along well with I, T, P & L as well. Laughter abounded. Somebody mentioned that we should go get some ice cream because they had been craving it for a few days. It was then that I had to confess to my sidetrip to Haagen-Daaz in the Amsterdam airport. Needless to say, the entire team gave me a hard time because I had ice cream and they didn't. The entire rest of the trip, if I was gone for a few minutes, they would ask me if I went to get more ice cream.

After dinner, we went back to the church to go over the schedule for our time there. Even though we had a schedule, there was a lot of emphasis on remaining flexible. One night we were scheduled to eat dinner at a restaurant called Marti Mantı (pronounced "martee mantuh"). I** mentioned that we had passed it earlier that day and that there were seagulls on the windows. I then said "oh, do they serve fish?" Someone sarcastically said "no, seagulls are birds, Brett." To that I said "IN DEFENSE - seagulls live by the sea and they eat birds!" And everybody busted out with laughter. Of course, I meant to say that they eat fish. For the rest of the trip, all anyone had to say to elicit a chuckle was "in defense" or "look, seagulls." Much fun.

After our meeting, we walked to exchange some money. Then we went to an internet cafe to email. For some reason, I couldn't get to my email, so I was unable to send a message home that we had arrived just fine. They also had a phone bank where you could make international calls for a nominal fee, so I tried to call home. I got Elise's voice mail, which was a bummer. At least she would know that I had arrived safely.

Then we walked to get some Turkish ice cream (dondurama). The guys that sell Turkish ice cream from these little streetside carts like to play this game with people. You see, Turkish ice cream is pretty chewy and stretchy. So after they dip it up and put it on the cone, they attach it to this big metal paddle and hand it to you. But when you go to reach for it, they quickly flip it upside down. Then when you go to grab the upside down cone, they flip it back the other way. This usually goes on for 30-45 seconds. Thankfully they didn't do it to each person in our group, just the first.

Then we walked through a very nice park to the sea. We spent 30 minutes or so chilling and talking. I walked around and took some pictures of the city from across the harbor.



Then it was back to our Pansion. I journaled about the past few days and then drifted off to sleep with the sea air wafting in my window listening to Coldplay on my iPod.

2 Comments:

  • In defense...

    By Blogger James Miller, at 5:07 PM  

  • wow, antalya sounds like a really neat place. do you think you will go back? if so, short-term? long-term?

    By Blogger shauna, at 3:07 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Leaving on a Jetplane - Turkey, Days 1 & 2

Saturday & Sunday, May 28-29, 2005

I'm going to attempt to recount our trip to Antalya & Istanbul, Turkey here on these blog pages. I'll apologize in advance for any rambling. I also realize that sometimes things I write about may be tremendously funny or moving to me (or others on our team), but not to the average reader. Sorry about that, but this is my blog, so I guess I get to do what I want!

So here goes...

We met at the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport (you know, that big runway in the cow pasture) at 9:30 on Saturday, May 28th. After checking in, we spent a few final moments with loved ones. Elise and the girls were there, so I spent lots of time giving and receiving hugs and kisses. After dragging out our goodbyes as long as possible, we went up the escalator, through the metal detector and to our gate.

This would be a good time to mention that in the days and weeks leading up to the trip, I had a growing sense of dread about the trip. It's not like I was afraid or anything, I just wasn't really excited to spend 15 days on a trip to a strange country. I think partly it was because I had a few really busy and hard weeks leading up to the trip. Mostly what I was desiring was rest and relaxation - things that are usually hard to come by on a trip like this. It was also party due to a bad attitude on my part. Well, I hope you will see as I recount the trip in these blog posts that God really did a number on me and changed my heart.

Our flight to Minneapolis was pretty uneventful. I love regional jets. I remember the days when you had to fly a turboprop from Fayetteville. Boy were those things loud and uncomfortable.

Upon landing in Minneapolis, we were hungry and it was about lunch time, so we decided to grab a bite to eat at Chili's - our last American restaurant for 2 weeks. I think that because of that, I put unnecessary pressure on myself to get the "perfect" entree. Translation: I couldn't decide what to eat. It was the Turkey Sandwich vs. the Chicken Ceasar Salad. Add to the decision process the fact that I knew I was about to board a 9 hour flight to Amsterdam and didn't relish the thought of intestinal distress on a crowded international flight. Well, I decided to order the Turkey Sandwich... sans Mayo. I hate Mayo. We were at 2 different tables and while I was waiting for my sandwich, several people at the other table got salads. I remarked that they looked really good and wished that I had ordered the same thing. Well, when my sandwich came out, wouldn't you know it... it had Mayo on it. So I sent it back. Then I got the bright idea that I could possibly change my order to the salad. I grabbed the waiter who gladly complied with my wishes. Excellent. It was very tasty.

When we got to our gate in the International Terminal, we took a seat and soon learned that our flight was going to be delayed a bit due to a "mechanical issue." "No problem", I thought. "We have a several hour layover in Amsterdam, so we should make our flights to Istanbul and Antalya just fine." Well after 30 minutes or so, they announced that the delay was going to be longer than expected. Then 30 minutes later they came over the intercom and said "we apologize folks, but the fuel pump in the wing of the aircraft is malfunctioning, so we're going to perform the DC-10 shuffle." Ha. I was imagining the Super Bowl shuffle with arms outstretched to the side like airplane wings. In fact, I did a short impression for our team of this new dance. My next thought was "better to do the shuffle than have a fuel pump malfunction over the Atlantic." this meant that our delay was going to be more significant.

In the meantime, I called home and Elise told me that a huge chest of drawers had fallen on our girls. She wasn't exactly sure how it happened, but while she was in the other room she heard a loud crash and then screaming. She ran into their room to find them pinned underneath the chest. Now, this is no ordinary chest. It's huge. The thing probably weighs 250 lbs. and is about 5 feet tall. Somehow my pregnant wife managed to lift the chest off of our kids (isn't adrenaline amazing?) to find that they were completely unharmed. Wow. When I was talking to Elise on the phone, the reality of the situation hit her and she became quite emotional. Of course, only God could have protected our girls from major injury or death. It seems that there were forces already at work trying to keep me and our team from arriving in Turkey.

In the end it was about a 3 hour delay. That meant that we were going to miss our next 2 flights. Northwest/KLM promised that they would re-book our flight from Amsterdam to Istanbul. That meant all we had to work out was our flight from Istanbul to Antalya. I tried to call Turkish Airlines to figure that out only to find out that they aren't open on the weekends. Excellent. "Stay flexible", I told myself.

We boarded the KLM flight to Amsterdam. Big plane (3 seats by 5 seats by 3 seats). Totally full. 9 hours. There is no way a flight like this can be comfortable unless you are up in first class with the footrests, hot chocolate chip cookies and warm washcloths to wash your face with... oh sorry, do I sound bitter? I can take solace in the fact that a Ukranian man didn't throw up on me mid-flight. That did happen to Jennifer. She was definitely leading in the hardship points column so far.

I did sit by a nice guy from Bergen, Norway. Of course, you would never have guessed that he was Norwegian - perfect American English accent, American clothes, etc. He had spoken English since the 2nd grade and was attending college somewhere in small-town Iowa and was traveling home for the summer to work as a cleaner/maintenance guy at highway rest stops in Norway. Surely those guys get paid more in Norway than in the U.S., right?

We finally landed at Amsterdam Schiphol airport at about 8:00 a.m. local time (midnight back home, which means we had been traveling for about 12.5 hours so far). I proceeded to the transfer desk to work out our ticket fiasco. After printing me a huge stack of indecipherable documents, they told me that I would have to go to another transfer desk later in the day when it opened at 3:00. So we were stuck in the Amsterdam airport still unsure if we could catch a later flight from Istanbul to Antalya. We contemplated our options and decided to leave the international terminal, pass through customs and go to the Turkish Airlines desk out in the arrivals section of the airport. When we got there, they were on a lunch break so we hung out at a nifty little place called the "Color Cafe", where Jennifer snacked on her contraband Beef Jerky (she was supposed to declare any meat products in customs, but choose to be a scoff-law instead).



After the Turkish Air desk opened up, we worked out our flights so that we would indeed arrive in Antalya, just 6 hours later than planned.

Then we proceeded out into the mall / shopping center at the front of the airport and used the vouchers provided by KLM to eat a very average lunch at a place called the Juggle Bar. Then over to our gate to wait on our flight to Istanbul. I decided to try to call I** (full name withheld for security reasons) in Antalya to let him know that we would be arriving later than expected. So first I had to exchange some dollars for Euros. While waiting in the line to do this I was behind 2 guys who were in this really crazy religious garb. Black robes, crazy hats, major gold chains with icons of Jesus or the Virgin Mary or something hanging off of them. Bling bling. I wasn't sure what religion these guys were a part of, but I sure knew that I didn't want to look them in the eye for fear of some crazy consequences. After they left, I exchanged my money and then went to buy a phone card to call I**. Right next to the phone card place was a Haagen-Daaz ice cream shop. Mmm. Ice Cream. I had a few extra Euros burning a hole in my pocket, so I couldn't resist a fresh berry ice cream cone. So tasty. More on this later.

I proceeded to a Multifoon (phone/email thing) to try to call or email I** to alert him to our delay. After wrestling with the darned thing for about 20 minutes to no avail, I gave up and decided to try to call I** from Istanbul when we landed.



We finally boarded our Turkish Air flight. As I was walking towards my seat, I noticed that lo and behold, I was sitting right next to the dude in the crazy religious garb. Excellent. "Let's see where this leads", I thought to myself. I sat down, popped in my headphones and cranked up some great tunes on my iPod. For some reason, I thought that if I ignored the guy then it would make for an easier flight. Later, when our meal came by, I turned off the iPod. After I finished eating, I decided to talk to religious garb dude. Come to find out, he was an Archbishop in the Syrian Orthodox Church and his name was Julius. He was originally from Turkey, but had lived in Amsterdam for quite a few years and was responsible for all of the Syrian Orthodox churches in Northern Europe. He was heading to Damascus, Syria for a meeting with other Archbishops and the Patriarch (kind of like the Pope) for the Syrian Orthodox Church. I had a thouroughly enjoyable conversation with him. By the end, I told him I would pray that God would use him (and I did pray several times later).

When we landed in Istanbul, Jennifer introduced me to a guy who she sat next to and he offered to loan me his cell phone to call I**. He was a Dutch jeans designer sent by the Dutch government to speak with Turkish textile producers. Apparently a fascinating guy. The next 45 minutes were a blur of calling I**, paying our Turkish entrance visa, going through passport control at customs, rushing over to the domestic terminal and flying out to Antalya.

1 short hour later we landed in Antalya, Turkey. We went into the terminal to claim our bags only to find out that they weren't there. Excellent. After speaking with a guy in the terminal, we discovered that because our bags had been checked through from Amsterdam to Antalya, they were in the International terminal. They put us on a bus and drove us about 30 yards to the Int'l terminal. There we happily found our bags. It was now about 1:30 a.m.

We met I** outside the airport and jumped into taxis for the ride into the city to our pansion. The cab driver in our taxi apparently spoke extremely fast, so I** had a bit of a hard time talking with him (this was the only time I really saw him struggle with Turkish the entire time we were there). We sped through the city, through the walls of Kaleci (the old city - over 2000 years old), through very crooked and narrow streets to the White Garden Pansion.

Now, I have to say that I didn't really expect our pansion to be much. I was actually expecting 1 large bunk room with bathrooms down the hall. Sort of like a hostel. I think my expectations were low because we were only paying $11 per night per person and that included breakfast. Well, I was very surprised to find a very nice, but humble 3 story building with about 15 rooms. Each room had its own bathroom and was nicely furnished. We all stumbled to our rooms and fell into bed at about 2:30 a.m. About 30 hours of travel!

7 Comments:

  • heard about the large chest of drawers, WOW.

    glad you were able to indulge in a salad.

    robes, crosses, and hats, hmm . . . interesting.

    3-storey, 15-room building. NICE!

    hope you write more about the trip.

    By Blogger shauna, at 11:09 AM  

  • I'm going to do my best to chronicle the entire trip. I'll be adding pictures soon as well.

    Thanks for reading!

    By Blogger Brett, at 11:41 AM  

  • For the record, it was my idea that you could switch to the salad after the sandwich-mayo mistake. I'm not asking for much here...just credit where credit is due.

    By Anonymous James Miller, at 1:30 AM  

  • Duly noted. Thank you for your salad suggestion, LC.

    By Blogger Brett, at 9:09 AM  

  • LC? That better not stand for Light Cola.

    By Anonymous James Miller, at 2:17 AM  

  • Lucky...

    By Blogger Brett, at 8:43 AM  

  • ah....boy, do I miss you guys... Its so wonderful to recount all the memories through your blog. By the way, the beef jerkey is still holding out. I only eat it in desperate situations (like every night when I realize I've really only had bread and bi-products of bread all day). I also brought Easy Cheese. Yum. Its a perfect topping for, yes, you guessed it....BREAD! I thought about sharing it with Turkish friends, but what they don't know wont hurt them... I miss the White Garden. I might just go back and live there for a month, seriously. "It is THE best pansion I've ever stayed in. I'm pretty sure its my soul mate..." (Kip)

    By Blogger Jennifer, at 9:24 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home