Thursday, August 29, 2013

Aquarium and Museum

Here lies the most beloved loyal dog..
Today we had a big breakfast again because it is the most important meal of the day.  Every morning, it’s cheeses, jams, bread, olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, sausage of some kind or some other yummy treat , AND Cay (tea) of course!  Every morning, Suha and I walk to the corner store for a sparkling cider drink.  I have been wearing my fuel band and don’t know how to change to goal, but days we go out, I blow my goal within the first half of the day.  Today, Anne decided to walk to the corner store (unheard of!!!) and was proud to show me her STEPS number.  It was so cute, she is adorable in every way.  We also then take a family nap…aka, too hot to stay upright.  AnnAnne called today!  I got to speak to her, my Turkish is limited but I said “Merhaba, nesselsun! …..(unlumudum)….sen seviurum Annanne!”  (not sure about all the spelling, but “Hi, how are you….(I don’t understand her response)….I love you, grandma!”  She was so cute and SO very happy to hear me AND she understood me!!  Even more important, for I had to yell due to her hearing.  She cried and said she wanted to see Suha before she dies.  That was the plan before we got here but Anne said we didn’t have to so Suha said we weren’t going.  Needless to say, no we are!!  I am very glad about this as I was upset when the plan changed in the first place!)

Suha took me to the aquarium and the museum today.  We wore ourselves out!!  First we took a mini bus (otobus) to the aquarium.  It was a first for both Suha and I.  It was an adventure as the doors were broken and one driver was hanging out it trying to fix it while the other was driving…Then they switched.  The driver left and the other changed the bus number in the window…I thought, does this mean we are still going to the museum??  Suha got nervous and asked, we were still on the right bus. 
We arrived and the building itself is an architectural masterpiece!!  It also contained a water park, a natural science cinema and a snow world (yes, an entire floor dedicated to making its own snow to play in!!) and an Aquarium.  We decided we were only interested in the Aquarium since it was very touristic and very expensive.  60 lira EACH, which is $30/person, but he got us in by saying I was his wife for a small fee of 35 lira for both of us, Turkish prices.  Eyes down, keeping quite and handing him money goes a long way, I guess I look Turkish!!  As soon as we were in, I became typical tourist, camera came out and I couldn’t stop pointing and exclaiming with the rest of them.  It actually wasn’t that busy, thankfully, we had perfect views of everything.  It was the best aquarium EVER, each tank had a theme for the fish and area of the earth it was highlighting.  The music was very awe inspiring and the whole experience was rather dramatic.  There were giant eels, sharks, sting rays, tuna, sturgeon, and all kinds of colorful reef fish.  The tunnel was the coolest thing I have ever experienced.  You seriously feel like you are underwater, though the shape of the tunnel made me sea sick a few times do to the movement of the fish and the distortion from the glass.  I sat and sketched for 45 minutes , we finished the tunnel and decided to go back upstairs to the bathrooms before we left.  HA!  We literally waded through people to get back and I couldn’t believe how many people could actually fit in the halls!!  How could they see ANYTHING!!  It took us a while to get out.  Then we hit the money maker, the REAL tourist trap!  They had 4 guys photo shopping pictures of us and selling them for a pretty penny.  Of course we bought some, grin!
When we walked outside there was a parking lot FULL of tour buses!  We were happy to grab some cay and ice-cream and get off our feet for a while.  Next we crossed the highway and walked the “boardwalk” back up the beach to downtown.  It was a great walk!!  It was also 40C outside, so our energy was sapped by the time we reached the museum.  We decided to re-enter the AC and keep going just cause it was cooler inside than out.  I couldn’t keep up with the audio guide as not everything was numbered, so I randomly pressed numbers and got myself familiarized with the different “ages” of tools and artifacts, different ways of life and death and gawked at the small details on even the oldest pieces.  There were amazing sculptures that I just cannot get enough of EVER.  I could visit that place again and again and stare for hours.  I wish we had had time to sit and sketch!  We saw some tash mezar (stone grave box?) that were beautifully carved, sometimes with different Roman gods, sometimes with a geneology, sometimes with epitaphs like the one that was made for a lady’s beloved dog that had a poem on the side.  “here lies, fido, the most beloved dog…”  Some people had too much money, even back then!
Notice the guys in back photo shopping away!!
We saw some of the oldest coins made, treasures captured and later returned, a painting of Sante Clause, beautifully and intricately cut paper, Aribic words painted by writing tiny words inside and more very artistic and wonderfully executed pieces.  Their clothes, “high heels!!”, purses , wooden doors, intricate ceilings, gold rings, jewelry, blown glass bottles and oil lamps…the wonders were endless!!  We bairly got out before it closed.  Again it was practically empty as the buses were leaving as we arrived.  We just hit everything just right today!  Suha said, did I save the day?  He means was the day a success, and yes, EVET!! It was a great success!! We were so tiered we caught the trolley to our favorite tea garden and gave our feet a rest before the trek home.  I noticed a bone in the floor near one of the tables and exclaimed, “IS THAT A BONE??” and in true Suha fashion, he responded, “yes that’s what we do with tourists who can’t pay.”  He cracks me up.
Mado - very popular ice cream
We stopped at our favorite spice store as I told the shop keeper we would be back to by some of the tea he made up for me.  The one that was so strong it would clear the worst cold with one whiff.  We spent 80 lira!!  I had no idea it was going to be THAT expensive!!!  Next time we send anne, she always argues them down.  They definitely know I’m American and even my 20% discount for coming back obviously didn’t go very far.  I will love the tea though.  Its potent!!

10km of pebbled beaches
We came home to Ege yelling off the balcony, “uncle Suha!”  We ate a lovely dinner of leg of lamb and a fresh tasting bulger salad that you stuff in lettuce leaves with homemade pickles…Gah!!  I love this food!!  Baba taught me how to play Tayla a board game we call Backgamon.  Never play a counting game with a university math professor!!  Basically he played himself 4 games in a row and we were tied.  My feet, hands and feet hurt so bad I was sent to bed early and don’t remember falling asleep.  I woke up early to a beautiful sunrise and everyone still asleep.

Santa Clause

Our favorite cay place

"This is what happens to tourists that can't pay."  ~Suha

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