Tag Archives: Travels

Tips for Turkey

Today’s tours were cut short by lots and lots of rain and thunderstorms. We did make it to Assos where Paul was at least twice, meeting Luke once. Aristotle was also there. And you can see the island of Lesbos across the way, from which we get the word “lesbian”… No really!

We missed Alexandria Troas because of the rain.

We made it to Troy, where I visited the model horse of ancient lore, the museum, and the restrooms. I’ll have a better visit sans rain someday with my someday children after we’ve read the Iliad together. Haha.

Since today’s sites were brief, I thought I’d offer vocab lesson.
hello: merhaba
good morning: günaydin
good night: iyi geceler
good bye: güle güle
thank you: tesekkür (the s sounds like sh)
yes: evet
no: hayir (pronounced hire)

There’s no use in learning “how much?” or “how many?” unless you know all your numbers too.

$1 is about 1.76 Turkish Lira

Tip is generally 10%

If you are a lady in line for the restrooms and don’t mind using a hole in the ground, you can cut in line. Sometimes you have to pay 1TL to use the restroom.

There are cats and dogs everywhere and they are very friendly, well mannered, and well cared for. Those of us with pets back home have been grateful for the love these animals offer us at the sites.

I’ll add to this list later if I think of more tips…

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Silly Romans

Our guide, Gülin, told us that someone once asked on one of her tours, “Why did the Romans build so many ruins?” (Chuckle…)

After five days of visiting ~15 ruins, we find ourselves facetiously asking the same question. But the cool thing about seeing one Hellenistic/Roman/Byzantine site after another is that you really start to picture where the church was born—not just the Christian parts, but the whole of society that early Christians took part in. It’s like going from translating English to Spanish one word at a time, to thinking in Spanish. I can feel my mind starting to “think in” Early Christianity.

In the past two days we have been to:
Pamukkale the “cotton cliffs” of mineral deposits and thermal pools.
Hierapolis 2km of tombs in a necropolis on the hillside… As strange as it sounds, playing around in this graveyard was one of my favorite stops yet!
Sardis the first place to mint coins, biggest synagogue up until the Jews were driven out in 600CE, most grand “YMCA” we’ve seen (and we’ve seen a lot!)
Temple of Artemis not to be confused with the Artemisian temple from Saturday.
Acropolis at Pergamon the most magnificent view of the Turkish countryside from the highest ruins—just amazing. It was especially cool to hear simultaneous calls to prayer from 5-10 minarets in the village below echoing off the mountains.
Asklepion with healing waters and a temple to the God of Health (of course I had a sip…)
The Red Hall a church with Egyptian influence.

And something purely cultural we did today… A visit to a rug making co-op in Bergama. We watched how they make wool yarn, how they make silk threads, how they make various colors of dye, how they weave different types of rugs—it was amazing. I wish my dad could have been there with me. I bought a rug that I think Jay and I will hang on the wall of our next home. What a day.

And now I’m sitting in our hotel along the Aegean Sea, ready for bed.

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going… going… ghana!

yes, i made the trek from benin to togo to ghana yesterday. my good friend, the doctor (she’s ghanaian but working in cotonou as the doc for peace corps volunteers), was good enough to let me tag along in her ailing mercedez. she is headed to a wedding for her niece, who happens to be a model and was once the ghana nominee for miss universe. the groom is a tv personality. so while i initially thought i’d go to the wedding, as african weddings are BIG fetes, i’m now thinking i might just watch it on tv, considering my only friend there will be quite busy with her family!

the drive was interesting. for one, it turns out the doctor was at hopkins in b’more for a bit, at which point she attended grace fellowship church. ah! small world. most of my friends go to gfc, though i only braved the drive out the burbs once every month or so. we had fun reminiscing together. i love b’more.

border stops are also interesting… albeit a hassle. stop at benin border, get visa stamped, stop at togo border, get visa stamped… drive… stop at togo border, get visa stamped, stop at ghana border, get visa stamped. the cumbersome process went pretty smoothly, though, despite the fact my ghana visa looks fake.

the only problem we ran into was well into ghana, on our way to accra. there are police stops everywhere! which could be because the africa cup (soccer) is being hosted here (my students in benin are convinced that’s why i traveled here!) anyway, one guard took my passport and told the doctor he wanted to copy some information from it, and that i was welcome to accompany him (which i wasn’t too eager to do, as the guard beside him kept winking at me). she responded coolly, “that is fine, only, i’m not usually stopped for such formalities, given i have diplomatic plates.” the guard took a few steps back, looked at the license plate sheepishly, and handed back my passport apologizing. score one for the doctor! too bad i’ll be taking the non-diplomatic bus home next week…

not just a whole lot of differences to note between ghana and benin yet. they drive car taxis instead of motor bikes, for one. the biggest difference, though, is they speak english. or some form of english. this is hard for me to get used to, as i’ve now been conditioned to speak french to every african i see (i’ve heard stories of peace corps volunteers switching to french every time they see a black person back home, and now i’m not a bit surprised!) also, no one sings the “yovo” song when i pass by.

i’m hoping to get out and see some sights while i’m here, but the truth is i’m utterly exhausted, and i may just take this time to rest a LOT. we’ll see. i’ll keep you posted.

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