Welcome to Science Jim on Tour!

Hi folks, welcome to the Science Jim and family travel blog. We're touring Turkey! Why Turkey?!?!? It has housed civilizations for over 6000 years!!! Have you heard of Troy...it's in Turkey! Constantinople...it's in Turkey! The eternal flame of Olympus...it's in Turkey! That's just for starters!

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Friday, September 23, 2011

Turkey Thoughts: Bunch of Nuggets

Here's a bunch of things that don't merit an entire post so I thought I'd just jot them down in one shot.

Smoking- Just about everyone smokes. I remember it used to be that way here too, so it was interesting to see the contrast. It really struck me how few folks still smoke here. Smoking is so rare here compared to Turkey.

Full Service Gas Stations - Really! They still exist! Most of the gas stations we saw were full service. Check oil, do the windows, the whole nine yards!

Can't Look Lost- Several times we stood on street corners looking confused, checking maps, reading books etc. Not for long though. Within a couple of minutes someone would wander over to us and ask us if we needed help. Sometimes the help was helpful, sometimes not so much, and sometimes it came with an invitation to see a carpet shop!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Turkey Thoughts: Games

Turks love games!! You was very common to see men sitting at tables in cafe's or coffee shops playing games. Two of the favorites were backgammon and okey. You are probably familiar with backgammon. Okey is basically the card game rummy but played with tiles instead of cards. If you've ever played RummyKub it's pretty much the same thing. They play all games fast. The dice, cards and tiles fly around the table!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Turkey Thoughts: Napkins

Turkey apparently hates napkins. Not quite sure what the deal is here but a real napkin was almost impossible to find. Even in the fanciest restaurants the only napkins were those tiny little things you find on tables in fast food places. Apparently, Turks are just very careful eaters!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Turkey Thoughts: Men

Something that was a little hard to get used to in Turkey was that men are very touchy feely with one another. It was very common to see men of almost any age walking either with one fellow having his arm over another one's shoulders or around another man's waist or arm in arm. In the U.S. it's not too unusual to see woman doing something like this but very rarely men. These, by the way, are not homosexual men. It's just the way men relate to one another. Honestly, it's kinda neat once you get used to it.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Turkey Thoughts: Cats

Cats are everywhere! Everywhere you look you see cats. If you hate cats...don't go to Turkey! These aren't pet cats either. These are wild independent kitties! Curiously, they are fairly well behaved. Like I said, they are everywhere, which means picnic areas and outdoor cafes (which are also everywhere). We had several cats watch us while we ate but there was no begging or aggressive behavior. That's not to say they were all pristine show kitties. Some of these little furballs were a little bedraggled. Most were in good shape though. Dogs were fairly common as well but mainly in public parks.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Turkey Thought: Driving

AHHHHH!!!! That pretty much sums it up. Driving in Turkey is bonkers! Curiously, we never saw or heard an accident while we were there. Drivers were very attuned to other drivers and pedestrians. We never drove ourselves. There's no way we'd survive. But we did take bunches of busses, taxis and vans and it was often a harrowing experience! Rule of thumb, the smaller the vehicle, the more insane the ride! In Istanbul, the roads were often only wide enough for one car. That, however, did not mean that they were one-way roads. Nope, somehow cars going both ways would navigate up and down the road. I think there may have been some rules of physics broken on that one! The use of horns is different then here. Usually, here a honk is a cars way of swearing at another car. But in Turkey, quick short honks usually mean "Don't forget that I'm here" or "Excuse me, I'm coming through". One last thing, traffic lanes are more of a guideline than a rule.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Turkey Thoughts: Salesmen

This just about drove me crazy the first few days we were in Turkey. Salesmen are everywhere. All over the streets selling food, toys, souvenirs, water, tea, ice cream and more. One guy was even selling fortune telling provided by his (apparently psychic) rooster or rabbit! Another older woman graciously offered the kids food for the pigeons, only to later charge us a lira for it! Also, everyone apparently has a cousin that owns a carpet store and he just can't wait to show us the amazing deals...today only! GAAA!!! Here's some tips. Hier means "no" in Turkish...however...it has no meaning to salesmen. Well, wait, I take that back. It means apparently, "please tell me more" or perhaps "I would like you to ask me where I'm from". Asking you where you are from gets the conversation started and tells them, since they set prices by what country you're from, how much they can charge you for stuff. Sonra means "later". That works, except that these folks have amazing memories and they WILL remember you if you happen to pass the store again! Istamiyorum means "I don't want" That works pretty well and they are usually impressed enough with your command of Turkish to realize your not a complete dupe.