Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A Few Random Things

Sydney has always loved the sky here. When we first got here it was the ONLY thing she liked. Since she got her own camera she spends a lot of time chasing sunsets.
Here is one of her better ones.

Happy St. Patrick's Day, late.
I love this official notification.
Get out of his way.

Antioch the Last One

Here is a castle that Doug captured from the tour bus. Like I said, these old things are everywhere.
I forgot to mention on the trip to Antioch we passed through a town on the Mediterranean Sea and the tour guide told us that this was where Jonah was spit up by the whale. I had no idea that Jonah was here, too. There is so much history here!!

Antioch Part 5

Sydney took a lot of great pictures as we walked along the trail. How about this multi-colored duck?

Urns in a waterfall.
A curious montage of furniture in a waterfall. I couldn't tell if it was supposed to be art or just a pile of junk.
This was by far my favorite. In the middle of all this natural beauty, we find this old sofa. But it is not just any old sofa, it looks like a valuable , hand-carved piece of furniture just set outside to rot. Or set there for special people to sit on while they are appreciating nature, perhaps?
Again, I report, you decide.

Antioch Part 4

Just down the road from Antioch we stopped at was once the Greek city of Daphne. Legend has it that Apollo fell in love with Daphne and chased her around the city. She didn't feel the same so she begged Mother Earth to hide her. So she was turned into a laurel tree. Apollo took some of her branches and made himself a crown and started a fashion trend that lasted a couple thousand years. This city used to boast several Greek temples but they have all been lost to earthquakes, fires, and wars.
We walked around this little nature trail and enjoyed the waterfalls and nature. The tour guide called it a little piece of paradise.

The ducks were enjoying life.
A cool little colony of mushrooms.
I think Doug could have a future career as a nature photographer. Leapin' lizards!

We noticed all these little crabs tucked away in holes near the water.

Antioch Part 3

The tour included lunch at this nice little place. We were serenaded most of the meal by happy frogs making lots of noise. Halfway through the meal a man drove a truckload of rocks up the dry bed of the canal and buried the frogs. Kind of a downer. The menu was set and we were served bread, unnameable greens, grilled chicken and this dessert.
It turned out to be fried cheese covered in honey and pistachios.
Dessert cheese, we dubbed it. We also didn't eat it.

Antioch Part 2

The main attraction in Antioch is what is known as St. Peter's Grotto, it is basically just a cave in the mountain. But it is said that Peter headed up a congregation of followers of Christ there. This is the place where they were first called Christians. Unfortunately, the actual chapel was closed due to landslides so we couldn't go inside. Kind of disappointing.
Still, we were led up the mountainside by a man named Mehmet who showed us various caves carved into the mountain that were used as tombs or hiding places for the early Christians.

This a view of the city of Antioch. I especially loved this trip because of what I have been studying in Bible Study. We are learning about Antiochus and Ptolemy and the wars fought over Jerusalem. The king of the north referred to in the book of Daniel was from Antioch. Also, in addition to Peter, of course, the Apostle spent many years in Antioch. So did John and Luke. It is so cool to be able to walk where the apostles walked and try to imagine what it was like back then.

Mehmet told us that these large carvings are of Peter and Mary. But two books I bought on the trip each call something else. I guess it is open to interpretation.

History Rocks! Antioch Part 1

For Easter this year we took a day trip to the ancient city of Antioch. It's now called Antakya, you can see on the map how close it is to the Syrian border.
It was a great trip full of amazing things to see. On the way we saw old Hittite ruins, thousands of years old. They are just part of the local landscape. It is one of the strange things about being here. You drive down the freeway and you see tall cement apartment buildings, mosques, Ford dealerships, and ruins of a Roman Colosseum.
Anyway, we stopped on the way at this old castle. All I know about it is that it was built in the B.C. It's just there and you can climb all over it. So we did.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Beauty Shop

OK, here's one. Getting your hair done in Turkey is somewhat of a challenge. There is one salon in the Alley owned and run by a Turk who was trained in the States and used to work in Texas. He is a great guy, speaks English perfectly, lots of fun to be with and good at the trim. But I color my hair and it is long and he charges the same price as they do in the States. Now where is the third world discount in that? But he has put the fear in me about getting my hair cut on base. He says they have no training there. Of course, they are his competition. So my solution has been to get my hair colored on base and stop cutting it. I figure I will donate it to Locks of Love when I get back home. In the meantime it is getting long.
So let me tell you about my trip to the beauty shop last week. It is quite fun most of the time, I get a manicure and a pedicure, my eyebrows plucked (more on this later), and my hair colored and styled for about $50 plus tips. Dude. It's all good except for the plucking. I keep meaning to bring a camera with me to capture this interesting process as it is hard to describe. The girl puts a long piece of string in her mouth and twists it up and uses it to pluck out your eyebrows. It makes waxing feel like a massage. I know it is hard to imagine, I will take pictures next time. So this last week the girl who plucked my eyebrows pretty much insisted that I dye them to match my hair. Now I can say I have had my eyebrows dyed. Can you? The real fun part of the experience was while I was getting my pedicure, the eyebrow plucker asked me if I had any Tylenol. I asked her to bring me my purse so I could check. Instead she got my purse and proceeded to rummage through it herself, helping herself to gum and sharing it freely with the other people there. Now that had never happened before. I should say that I go there at least once a month and they know me, better than I thought, apparently.
Always an adventure, driving or otherwise.
I didn't have any Tylenol.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

We had another Branch Conference this month and I thought I would post a picture of most of the members of our branch. What a good-looking group of people. The conference was held at the Adana Hilton. I played the keyboard for all 3 sessions I am sorry to say. I really need to practice more often. I am actually playing in Sacrament Meeting every Sunday now since the other pianist was released. It is always amusing slash mortifying to me to see how badly I can screw up each week. No matter how much I practice. This past week, for example, I picked a song I was not 100% familiar with but it went along with the theme. So all Sunday morning I listened to it on so I could get it in my head. I am not so good with counting, it should be noted. Anyway, it was the opening song and I messed it up timing wise for the first three verses. I am sure the guy leading the music was cursing me under his breath. What a mess!
The third photo is one Sydney took in the car of the entrance to our little home away from home. The area just outside the base is called the "Alley" or "Incirlik Village." Don't you wish you were here?

San Antonio Here We Come!!

So it's sort of official, we are headed to San Antonio, Texas this summer. We don't have orders yet so nothing is set in stone, but Doug's new boss in Texas called last week and it looks like we are headed back to Texas. The kids were not too happy at first but it's growing on them. We were stationed in Del Rio, Texas from 1995 to 1998. It is about 3 hours west of San Antonio. We escaped to S. A. on a regular basis so we know what a cool city it is.
The bad things about going back to Texas, in my opinion, are the heat, my gosh, the heat! And the fact that this is probably our last assignment and it would have been nice to go somewhere we have never been. But compared to Turkey, S. A. will be like a slice o' heaven. The restaurants alone will do wonders for us after two years of nothing but Taco Bell, Burger King and Turkish food.
Also, there is a temple there now which was not there 10 years ago. I have really missed going to the temple. I would say it will be nice to be in an English-speaking country again, but come on, it's Texas. Where yeeha meets ole! I'm not sure Meghann's two years of Turkish will come in all that handy. But, heck, I learned all the Spanish I need to get by from watching Sesame Street.
So we will see you all back in the States in August!!