We were eagerly awaiting the Oktoberfest celebration but the week before, the horrible attack on the peace-protest at the train station in Ankara took place.  The German Embassy decided that it would be inappropriate to have a celebration the following weekend.  Also, Andrea Merkal arrived to pay her respect which consumes resources.

My boss was in the States for about 6 weeks leaving me to be the man of the house.  Finally, after his return, Terese and I took a trip down to Antalya with two other couples.  One of them was the couple whose wedding we attended last year.  She is an American and he is a Turk. The resort we stayed at was one of those which has everything inclusive.  Pay for nothing except the initial daily fee.  It was expensive, but we needed to get away for a few days.

Now, the interesting part of this story is the Turk who married the American.  His name is Serkan.  Her name is Allison.  Full of energy, he cannot sit still more than 60 seconds.  He speaks so rapidly and often, I swear I lose weight standing next to him.  So, what I will do is post several pictures taken during the few days to get a better idea of his personality.  The first is him with Allison.

IMG_3318IMG_0103Quick stop at Starbucks on the way out.  Then fuel.  (For those who are going to comment about my smile, it’s on the inside.  As always)

SAM_4412IMG_0119 IMG_0124SAM_4445SAM_4419SAM_4417The other couple are interesting people.  Arturo and Rill.  Friendly and easy to laugh with.  I don’t know who’s worse, Terese corrupting Rill, or Rill corrupting Terese?  But as a group of three couples, there was always something to laugh at.  Especially with Serkan around.

The last night at the resort, I was joined by Serkan and Rill as I enjoyed my cigar.

SAM_4421Serkan is one of those rare individuals who wants to stop and talk with everyone. Allison told me if he sees a flock of sheep near the side of the road, Serkan will stop and visit with the shepherd.  So on the way home, when we took a rest top near an apple company, Serkan and Allison saw mounts of apples in the distance and went to investigate.

IMG_3342That is truly a mound of apples in the distance.  Most will be made into apple sauce.  And yes, that is Allison in the distance.

As we continue on our return home, Serkan found a small town on the side of the mountain that looked like it had some interesting things, so he decided to stop.  I was able to get some beautiful shots of Turkey.  Notice the aqueduct in the distance on the first one.

IMG_0152 IMG_0142 SAM_4504At one point, Serkan stopped to ask an old man about the street ahead, and the two carried on a conversation.  Afterwards, the old man gave us a couple of berries as a gift.  May sound silly to us, but to him he was giving us a bit of the town and himself.

IMG_0153 IMG_0139There are so many jokes that can be said about the picture above, but it typifies Serkan’s energy and not just his love of Life, but the thrill of it.

As we continued home, we stopped at a small cafe along the road and had chai.  Terese sat down and some little cat knew right away she is a good woman and jumped in her lap.

SAM_4471IMG_3328SAM_4472 SAM_4461 SAM_4460Traveling further, we stopped at a small parking area on the side of the road to take pictures.

SAM_4492SAM_4482 Turkey is an amazing country with incredible resources.  But one thing this country suffers from, is the careless way its people treats it.  Below is the garbage that was thrown out.  This not an isolated instance.  It is everywhere.  We can look out from our apartment window and see trash strewn all over the area.  I have seen a car pull up to a curb near some trees, and open his doors and toss out all the trash in the vehicle and drive off.  It’s sad to see this.

IMG_3337We continued on and stopped for fuel and food.  Always good food in Turkey.

SAM_4527 IMG_0155As you travel along the highways, even small farm roads, you will see stands selling the local produce.  A lot of produce.  At some places, these stands were less than a mile apart.  We decided to stop and get a pumpkin for Halloween, and I had to take a few pictures of these amazing places.

IMG_0161 IMG_0157I will forever be moved by the beauty of this country and all it encompasses.  I was not expecting its people to be so friendly and helpful.  They will give you anything you need with a smile.  And they will always take compensation, but not without a smile and a heartfelt thank you.  Just like every country I have set foot on, I take a bit of it away with me.  We placed our bid for our next post and look forward to finding out where we will be placed.

One more thing to say.  It was one evening that we were all sitting and eating, that Serkan commented about some answer to a test he took in the States this past summer.  What I didn’t realize, though everyone else did, he took the Citizenship test and is now a US Citizen!  My respect was already high for this man, and now it has been elevated.  I am truly glad he is a friend of ours.  He considers himself not only American, but also a Texan, plus I think I got him voting Republican, perhaps to Allison’s chagrin.

Serkan, I plan to stay in touch with you the remainder of my life.  Stay genuinely happy, and since you are now a Texan, don’t hesitate to kick butt.     D.