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Monday, June 2, 2014

Ankara - Katrina - Week 4

What happens when you stay in Ankara

After three nonstop weekends of traveling in Turkey, I decided to take a weekend off and explore Ankara a little more. Thursday after work my friend took me to the bazaar in Sıhhiye. It's a covered area with lots of stalls selling mostly clothes, bags, shoes, and lots of socks (some with fringe, I might add). A lot of the clothes had brand name tags, but I couldn't tell exactly where they were from. I bought myself a new bag to carry all my crap around (you never know what you'll need in Ankara). Unlike at Kapalıçarşı (the Grand Bazaar), you don't bargain at the bazaar in Sıhhiye, but the prices are pretty good and the lira-dollar exchange rate is still about 2 lira per dollar (so it's all good).

I spent the first half of the week trying to figure out the residence permit I was told I needed, only to find out I didn't actually need one. To celebrate, my friend and I went to Anıtkabir, the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. He was the founder of the modern country of Turkey, having led the Turkish National Army in the War of Independence. He died in 1938 and his tomb was finished in 1953, when his body was moved there. The mausoleum is on a hill overlooking Ankara. It was cloudy on Friday, but the views of the city were still great.

 The mausoleum has the main building which contains the symbolic coffin, and then in another area Atatürk's belongings--weapons, clothes, desk, photos, medals, library books--are on display. On the lower level there are large mural depictions of the War of Independence, with life-size models of what would be right in front of you and a track of battle sounds. There are many paintings of Atatürk and his army. There is also a hallway that wraps around the lower level that contains an exhibit of the creation of the country of Turkey and the different reforms that Atatürk instituted.

 These were taken just before Berat and I got caught in my second hailstorm in Turkey. I thought the hail was legit in Kapadokya, but the Ankara hail was even worse. They were the size of gumballs and they HURT. I think I'll buy an umbrella one of these days...

After a late night out Friday for a friend's birthday, I slept in and went to the ethnography museum. I've figured out the bus and the metro for the most part (but google maps and the internet in general are still my best friends).

By late night out, I mean 6am. The students aren't allowed to enter the dorm between 1am and 6am, or the security guards call their parents (still confused as to how this is a punishment), so after we left the club we went to a 24-hour soup/pide place. That was possibly the only time I missed American food (a milkshake and fries felt a little more appropriate at 6am than lentil soup, bread, and tea).

 Saturday after the museum I went back to the bazaar I had gone to Thursday, and found that on the weekends, it's actually a farmer's market, selling everything fresh fruit, veggies, eggs, etc. I got some cherries and ate them in the park by Sıhhiye metro. 
Later I walked to Kızılay to meet up with a friend for dinner, and I saw lots of people gathering to protest and LOTS of police. Saturday (May 31) was the one-year anniversary of the beginning of the Gezi Park protests. I saw water cannons go off for a second but I hurried with everyone else into the mall, where I found my friend. After dinner when we were trying to get back to TOBB Etu, the police had surrounded Güvenpark to ward off any protests, and rerouted the buses which usually start in Kızılay. From what I saw it was more a prevention of protest than an actual protest, but I didn't see much, so I'm not sure.

 Ending the weekend with (more) Turkish coffee and sütlaç (rice pudding), which is becoming one of my favorite desserts here. We went out again last night for another girl's birthday, here's to never sleeping in Turkey. 

1 comment:

  1. Katrina,

    This is a wonderful post! I really enjoyed your descriptions/explanations of the mausoleum. It's great that you took the time to explore a historic site. The market sounds great. How do you know you aren't supposed to haggle here as opposed to the Grand Bazaar?

    It seems that sleep is overrated in Turkey! 6am is quite the night out. The dorms having that rule seems to make matters worse because students just end up staying out all night instead of coming home at a decent hour. The last picture you shared of the rice pudding looks absolutely delicious!

    How is work going? Any news? I would love to see pictures!