Saturday, August 7, 2010

Bodrum and Izmir

"I left a piece of my heart in the pingos, deep in the permafrost of the earth and I, I will go retrieve it someday, and maybe I'll see you, and we'll know that we're home."

I was hoping to be able to give an update on my last days in Turkey while I was in transit flying home, but I had no free wifi to pick up in either the 8 and a half hours in Frankfurt of the 2 hours in Reykjavik so that update never happened. I've now been home for a few days and will finally give you guys an update on my last 7 days in Turkey, which I will split up into a few posts.

So two updates ago, I was on my way to Bodrum. That was Friday, July 30. I took a ferry to Bodrum, and it was a very pretty trip there. Upon arriving in Bodrum, I called an archaeologist friend, Rebecca, who was working in the city to ask if she could recommend a place for me to stay. She mentionned one place, but then offered a bed at her dormitory, which just so happened to be at the Institute of Nautical Archaeology, which is connected with Texas A&M. The price to stay was minimal, so I gladly accepted. I met a few Canadians at the Institute who were from Brock University and the tour of the place Rebecca gave me was fantastic, especially seeing the shipwrecks they were processing from Yenikapi. After settling in, I headed back into the city centre to check out Bodrum's famous Underwater Archaeology Museum. People seemed to get really excited when I told them about my visit to the museum. Now,the museum is not actually underwater and I was disappointed that most of their excitment disappeared when I clarified that. The museum was very interesting since it was located in a Crusades era castle (I believe) and the exhibits were a mix of castle and shipwreck related artifacts within the castle buildings. My favourite definitely was the Uluburun shipwreck exhibit, a shipwreck that's right off the coast of SW Turkey. Some very cool artifacts. I then met up with Rebecca and Jessica (another Texas A&M grad student) and we explored the local market before grabbing some supper and returning to the Institute for an early night.

The next day I was up bright and early to catch a bus to Izmir. I was told that once I arrived at the bus station in Izmir, there would be a free service bus that could take me to the neighbourhood of the friends I would be staying with. After some confusion, I eventually got on a dolmus (not a free service bus) that ended up dropping me a few kilometres from where my friends were expecting me. After waiting at this spot for their son to pick me up for about 30 minutes, I caught a taxi and spent a 5 lyra taxi trip getting to their house. I spent the Saturday, Sunday and part of Monday with these friends, and joined them in going to church on Sunday morning. I had a fantastic time with them, and felt very refreshed after I had been starting to feel a little tired of travelling.

On Monday morning, I left my friends and took a dolmus to the centre of the neighbourhood I was in. I had talked to my friend Ilkay a few days before, and we were going to meet in Izmir so I could see Ulucak Hoyuk, the second site I was supposed to be joining and I would also have the opportunity to meet his supervisor who is also the director of the Ulucak Hoyuk dig. The site was absolutely amazing! Getting to see mud brick and wattle and daub walls dating back to the Neolithic was pretty awesome! Ozlem (the director) gave me a very detailed tour of the excavations which I very much appreciated. I ended up spending a few hours hanging out with the crew at the dighouse and at the site, chatting and inhaling the second-hand smoke from countless cigarettes smoked by all the crew. Despite there being only a few english speakers, I had a great afternoon with the crew and chatted quite a bit with a phD student from Boston University. He seemed excited to have an english speaker to talk with. In the evening I was dropped off at the bus offices where earlier in the day we had purchased my ticket to Istanbul, and I bid farewell to my friend Ilkay.

I must remember for future reference never to take an overnight bus again. I can't sleep on them, and it turns out I get super irritable. When you add to that me getting hungry, you've got a horrible case of hangry (being hungry=being angry, but only in severe cases) and I want to viciously wake up the young woman sleeping beside me simply because she's sleeping so well (I didn't though; I restrained myself). Anyways, I left Izmir at 9 pm and arrived in Istanbul at 5:30 am.

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