This is the country with Mount Ararat where Noah’s Ark was said to have landed. It has the area called Cappadocia, the community of some of the earliest Christians; and Ephesus, where the Virgin Mary lived out her life.
Some will tell you Turkey is part of the European Union, and there are others who will spit on the ground if you suggest such.
We finally flew into Ankara and was picked up by my boss at the airport. By the time we arrived to our new apartment, it was about 1 AM. We were dead to reality and just had to de-compress. It took four flights to go from Texas to the capital city of Turkey. The flights included a nine hour layover in Frankfurt.
Our apartment is on the 7th floor of a 15 story complex. We face the morning sunrise in the East, watching the fog and clouds which blanket the mountains. Even with the prominent apartment buildings all around, we can still see the sun as it awakens and rises up and over the city. It is a site we will enjoy for the next three years.
A boss I had years ago who served three years in Turkey, will tell you this country is a second world country that is trying to become a Third World. I never knew for sure what he meant by that until I arrived. It is a country that refuses to rid itself of the aspects of a Third World country, but wants to be modern.
Even though there are traffic lights that work, as opposed to Addis Ababa, and several places in the city you can find Starbucks or Burger King, you will still see young kids sorting through the garbage looking for trash with value. It is accepted and normal. It’s as if the Country does not want to move ahead.
We have been here since the 17th of September. Our household effects will not be here for another month and if our vehicle gets here before the New Year, I will be surprised. As with most countries overseas, they enjoy being able to “lord” over the United States. They will take their time on dealing with the Customs on any item coming from the US, because they can. Years ago, when we were in Moscow, I learned we just have to play the games.
So, to get to and from work, I have to hitch a ride with someone else, or use the public transportation, which is actually safe and efficient. I just need to learn how to use the fare cards. Several times we had to rely on the local taxis. Since Turkey requires all taxis to be metered, it is more difficult to cheat the passenger; unlike Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and New York City. But to say the taxi rides are uneventful would be incorrect.
I worked in Turkey for several weeks, a few years ago and was shaken up a time or two with the taxi drivers. Since then, Ankara has installed video cameras at many intersections to catch speeders and those who run red lights. They just send you a fine in the mail. But the taxi drivers will still inject their cab into points of traffic where there should be no cars. Today, I saw a taxi pull from the far right hand lane, across all the lanes of traffic, during red light to do a U-turn. All we could do was laugh.
Our apartment is nice and modern. The kitchen has about three times the counter space and four times the cabinets than our kitchen in Addis. The kitchen itself looks like it came out of the IKEA catalog. The Swedes are experts on finding ways to save space. We like this place and will enjoy. Throughout the rest of the apartment, are ample closets and storage places. Down in the underground garage, we have two parking spots and a small storage closet.
The compound has 24 hr guards patrolling the area. Every vehicle that is questionable, will be stopped.
We have very good Internet, especially after being in Addis and plenty of cable TV. Only thing is, even though English is used in many countries, Turkey is one where you will find only rare signs and instructions in our language. I fear I will have to learn some of the language. My wife will disagree, but to me, it has similarities to Russian.
Work has been busy and I will be doing a lot of travel in the next month. Terese will pick a time to go back to Addis and get the damn cat. To prove to her I miss the animal, I named the wifi connection after it. (damn cat wifi)
This Friday we will be attending Oktoberfest at the German Embassy which is right next to the American Embassy. It promises to be fun. Then we will have a week long holiday and I hope to get more thoughts down. In the meantime, kick butt. D.