We have now been in Turkey for 3 weeks and two days. In some ways it seems that the time has flown by, in other ways two years seems like an eternity. I have been exploring the Base, and have found a few things to do and a lot of very nice people. Life is what you make it, and we will be very happy here. Mostly because we really do want to be here.
One of the first things Maryn discovered was the Taco Bell. We were all quite thrilled because we hadn't had one close to us in three years. The bad news is, it is the only fast food on Base. So we will see how thrilled we are with it in a couple of months! =)
My latest adventure happened this last Sunday. A friend, her visiting mother, and I decided to try to go to the fruit market in Incirlik Village. Now before you judge me about keeping the sabbath day holy - let me defend myself by saying it is the ONLY day there is an available fruit market because the Muslim holy day is Friday, and we were all really tired of eating canned produce. But as you are about to see, Heavenly Father didn't like my justification either.....
Angie and I were told to just go to the front gate and wait at the corner for a dolmus. (Pronounced - dole mush. It is basically a VW van that you pay 1YTL (80 cents) to climb into and squeeze between extremely strong smelling old men, and then hang on for dear life.) So here we are waiting, and one pulls up. Well, we climb on, pay our lira, and we are off. We were told that the market was a 10 min walk from the gate, so after about 8 minutes of driving, Angie looks at me and goes, "I think we are on the wrong dolmus." I look out the window and notice signs for Adana (the city about 30 minutes away from the village). We look at eachother and try not to panic. Angie asks the Driver where we are going, he looks at her blankly. "English?" she says. He shakes his head, rattles off in Turkish, and then says hopefully, "Deutch?" (Where is my oldest brother when I really need him!? Or Kyle for that matter?) So Angie says loudly to the entire bus, "Does anyone here speak English? We need help." Everyone looked at us blankly except for the couple of women that tried to scoot discreetly away from Angie.
Then we try to ask the Driver to let us off. At this point we are thinking - lets just get a Taksi (exactly what it sounds like) and take it back to base. More expensive, yes, but definitely more direct. The driver decided that it is not safe for him to let three women off half-way to Adana. (At least that's what we surmised from the gestures. Oh, and guess what? It is not just arrogant Americans that yell louder in thier native language thinking it will make them understood somehow)
Well, he wouldn't let us off, but he did keep saying "Incirlik, Incirlik" and pointing back at the village. So we figured he was going there eventually. We were right, as soon as he had emptied the bus, we were on our way back. Whew... Except for now we had to try and communicate that we wanted to go to the Market. Luckily, while getting a smoothie two days earlier, I had learned the words "elmar" and "amut" "apple" and "pear" respectively. I said these words while making eating motions and waving a 5 YTL. He got the point eventually, but I think for a little while he was just enjoying watching me look silly.
SO - we arrive at the market. He stops the bus and asks for more money. I hand him a lira. He shakes his head "no" and motions for more. 5 YTL. Still not enough. So I hand him 20 YTL. He keeps it, and asks for more.
At this point Angie and her mom have rounded up someone who speaks English. Who also just so happens to be a policeman. He asks what the problem is, I tell him we aren't sure what the driver wants. They speak in Turkish, and the policeman says (a little confused) "He says you owe him 40 YTL?" I about fell over! I told the policeman what happened and finished with "I will gladly pay him something for his trouble- but I am NOT paying 40 YTL for a dolmus ride!" The policeman's jaw dropped when he heard my story. He said, "He is crazy! You made a mistake! Besides, he had to come back here anyway to get more passengers!" So then he turns to the driver and they had some pretty heated words in Turkish. I am glad I didn't understand. Anyway - the driver threw the 20 YTL back at me and stormed off to his bus. We kept apologizing to the Policeman, (I am definitely NOT in the business of ticking off locals) but he waved us off. "He is crazy, that was his problem not yours" We thanked him, found our amut, and went running back to the base with our tails between our legs.
Yes, what started out as a 1 hour trip to the market, ended
as a 3 1/2 hour lesson in dealing with abandonment fears in 102 degree
Moral of the story- don't shop on Sunday- even if you think you have a good reason. Canned fruit is tasting pretty good at this point. =) Although I must say, finally getting safely back to Base helped me see the humor in the situation. And the story gets funnier as each day passes. It may sound corny, but I really have more sympathy for immigrants now. It is SO frightening to feel so vulnerable. We had no idea what was happening. We couldn't read any signs, understand any words -nothing! It must be how a child feels. All these words around you, and you know they mean something, but you have no idea what. Anyway, all is well that ends well. You live and learn. Now I know not to leave with out my phrasebook. =)
Next time, I will tell you all about my rockin' rental car....