Thanks, Nancy! (How has your summer been?)

SO yes, I’ve been out of touch; but now I’m back in touch.

In fact, the past month has done wonders for letting me “get in touch” with the state of my nation, Turkey.

So (thanks, Nancy), as I started to explain to a friend of mine in NY when she wrote and asked, “How has your summer been?….

“Summer has been, well, just google, “Turkey, attempted coup, witch hunt” and that pretty much tells you how my summer has been! In fact, setting out on our planned vacation only hours before the declaration of a national state of emergency let us “check the pulse of the nation” as we drove more than 5,000 kilometers over a 1-month period that took us from the very southwest of the nation up to the very northeast of the nation and back again. Although we avoided the very northwest of the nation (too far) as well as the very southeast of the nation (too messy), we did manage to go abroad to one of the few neighbors with whom we have, as far as I know, zero problems. The Republic of Georgia.”

We’d been planning on this holiday for about a year. Harun had gotten it in his head that Georgia would be a fun, cheap holiday. Since I was going to start teaching a couple university classes in September  – as part of our gradual move “up north” to Foça (Eski), we decided it would be best to take off towards the end of July and stay away from Bodrum (Turgutreis) for a month. I would sketch and plan my classes, and Harun would… fish

But as they say in Turkish , “Evdeki hesabı çarşıda uymuyor” – i.e., “Neither mice nor men ever succeeded in making plans in Turkey”…

And thus it was that we packed up the Yarıs (our less funky replacement for the Twingo) and headed out into the great hinterlands of Erdoğanastan, 4 days after an event hence to be referred to as “the unsuccessful coup attempt”, unaware that before nightfall we would be travelling through not just a state of confusion, but a state of emergency as well.

Here then, to the best of my ability, and in light of my promise to my mother to stay out of jail (inşallah), I heretofore (or something like that) begin to relate some of the interesting people, places and things we encountered during our trip. With pictures.

Picture Number 1: At Aphrodisias: Harun’s Feet and the Hand of History

Foots

 

Picture Number 2: At Aphrodisias: The Many Faces of the People of Anatolia

Faces 2

An appropriate way to start our tale, I think. Our feet set out on the road, and we encountered many faces.

(Note: In fact, our first stop was just outside of Muğla on the road to Denizli, on the way to Aphrodisias, where we stopped to escape the 35C heat and have a little gözleme. Yummy. Really, really yummy! Best gözleme ever!)

More to come…