Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Jill & Me

Fatih & Oytun

From September 24 to October 25 this year is Ramazan (The Turkish name for the Islamic Ramadan). Since Turkey is 98% Muslim, Ramazan affects a lot of people here! In the area where we live in Istanbul the traditions are less strictly followed, but eating, drinking, and even smoking in public during daylight hours is not encouraged. During Ramazan, Muslims fast from the rising of the sun until it sets at the end of the day. Calendars and timetables for the five prayer calls are distributed, and they correspond to the path of the moon. Observers who want to eat breakfast have to get up around 5 am this year to eat before the first prayer call, and cannot eat again until around after 7 pm. These times change about a minute each day - but it's still a long time to fast.

At the end of the day, there is a big meal "Iftar" to break the fast. This Monday, Jill and I got invited to share the dinner meal with some of our Turkish friends (they even cooked it at home!) and learn some of the things that are practiced at Ramazan - like beginning the Iftar with everyone eating a date. While only Fatih is fasting this Ramazan, it was really interesting to learn about some of the traditions and the culture of the country we are living in.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Live Troy

The winds of time blew pretty hard at Troy...

Because of an interesting schedule of times for dolmus arrival and departure due to it being a saturday, despite our careful research prior to our Troy visit we ended up waiting at the bus station for over an hour and then took less than an hour and a half to tour Troy. That wasn't too big of a problem since the site is less then impressive, especially after places like Ephesus, but it was very cool to "soak in the essence of history" (Jill is a history major) while running through the marble outcroppings.


We found a Greek goddess in the theatre at Troy...

More stones!

Most of Troy looks like this -

The slightly pathetic archaelogical site that is Truva

Did you know there were at least 7 different Troys on one site? Troy VI is purportedly the Troy of Homer's Iliad but here you can see the separate walls of each excavation.

LP is my Hero

Our self-service speed tour of Troy made possible once again by the one and only Lonely Planet: Turkey!

Fighting Troy

Hector and Achilles with really bad form

Helen of Troy

Helen re-enactment du Jill.


Run! It's the Greeks!


It's the REAL Trojan horse! No joke!


Eceabat's most enthusiastic dolmus driver

We took a ferry from Çanakkale to Eceabat, and then caught a dolmus from Eceabat to Kabatepe. We had a hilarious dolmus driver who we had a lot of communication issues with, but he picked us up again at the end of the day with perfect timing on a random road up in the Memorials and saved us another 12 km of walking.

Lone Pine Cemetery

Lone Pine

Beach Cemetery

There are 31 cemeteries on the Gallipolli Penninsula dedicated to the battle between Allied and Turkish forces during WWII. This is one of many for the troops from New Zealand and Australian forces, giving the area the name Anzac Cove (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps).


We walked for over 6 hours on roads like this all over the penninsula - it was so beautiful!

Beautiful Day

Jill & I on the pier before walking all day all over Gallipolli.


Walking on a dock on Gallipolli with our two canine walking companions

Gallipolli Penninsula

Memorial to WWII on Gallipolli at Kapatepe Müzesi

September 22, 2006

Jill walking along a coastal road on the Gallipolli Penninsula looking for more memorials and enjoying the perfect weather.


The sun setting over the Sea of Marmara during our 3 hour bus ride from Bandirma to Çanakkale.

Saturday, September 23, 2006


Jill at the Ferry Dock in Bandirma on the South side of the Sea of Marmara after the 2 hour ferry ride from Istanbul before catching a dolmus to the Otogar (bus station).

Beginning our Trip!

Honey Nut Cheerios and our travel Torah/Bible - Lonely Planet: Turkey on location in Yenikapi Ferry Dock, Istanbul

Jill and I took a trip together for three days from Istanbul to Çanakkale to visit the battlefields on the Gallipolli Penninsula and the ruins of Troy.

Wednesday Night

L to R: Oytun, Jill, and Fatih at dinner

Oytun was an exchange student at Arizona State University that I met when I was back in the States, and Fatih is his friend who also studied in the US at the University of Washington. We randomly met Oytun on the street and talked, and then later he called and they took us out to dinner at a good, cheap ($2.00 each - normal Turkish price for a meal) place near school.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


A Greek student majoring in Turkish Studies tries to smoke like a Turk


Me, Jill, a Turk and three Greeks

As the second half of our exchange student orientation evening we were bused to Tophane, a strip of Hookah bars in Istanbul filled with couches, bean bags, backgammon boards, tea, hookah, smoke and late-nighters.


Jill & me in a nargile bar in Tophane for Orientation


A harbor in Istinye outside the restaurant.

For part of orientation, the Exchange Committee of Bogaziçi Univeristy took all of the 100 or so exchange students out to dinner in Istinye on the Bosphorus.



My first cooking experience in Turkey cooking on a hot plate in our matfuk (kitchen). I succeeded in cooking enough rice to feed 10 people, only I was the only one there and I got to experience the joy of discovering how the ancient Turkish hot plate worked all by myself.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Erin, Jill and Megan at lunch

We ate a traditional Turkish lunch - bottled water and 3 Lira Et Döner Dürüm ($1.75 meat wraps) yummy!

More Istanbul

Looking west over Istanbul from Superdorm - you can see 7 mosque minarets in this view if you look closely.

Concrete Turkey

The view from Jill's window onto classic Turkish concrete block construction. This is what most of the buildings in all of Turkey look like - plus or minus some walls.

Outside My Window -

There is a school right behind my dorm for elementary school kids. They play soccer all of the time and run around in uniforms, which is very entertaining to watch - the only thing is the bells start going off before 7 am and it feels like they go off several times every hour until about 3 pm. It's not traditional bells either - it sounds like a very, very loud cell phone ring. At least I don't think I'll ever sleep through class!

The Hill

Amy and Megan glowing on "The Hill"

After dinner in Ortaköy, we were all so full we decided to walk back to school. We went a few miles along the Bosphorus to Bebek, a ritzy neighborhood on the water below the school. Then we took on The Hill. The Hill is about half a mile straight up - or close enough. The only way we kept going was to get to dondurma (ice cream) at the top.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Jill & I

Two American girls in front of Ortaköy Camii.

We walked all the way to Ortaköy from Yıldız Parkı in Besiktas to get something to eat. I walked to Besiktas from Metrocity a few miles away and it took us several garbled phone calls to find each other - it didn't help that I thought a mosque was a palace and a palace was a university.


L to R: Jill, Erin, Megan, Amy, and Max

Eating Kumpir (baked potatoes with everything) in Ortakoy Sunday night with other American exchange students from UNC, Brown, and U of Oklahoma.

Where I live

This is the Superdorm - I live on the third floor of this beautiful building on Ucaksavar Campus.

The View!

The Bosphorus as I can see it about 500 feet down the road from where I'm living at the Superdorm!

My Room -

I have my own room, in a four person suite where we share the living room, bathroom and kitchen space. My roommates are all 3rd and 4th year Turkish girls who are great!

Day 1: Friday Sept. 15

Today I saw at least four separate iPod knockoffs, spent almost three hours on buses, moved in, registered, got a cellphone, met Americans on the street and slept for the first night in my own room in Turkey!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Turkey Phase II!

So I began my travels to Turkey again today - this is me checking out the inside of my eyelids in London Heathrow airport during my 4.5 hour layover between San Francisco and Turkey.