June 18, 2014

A Trip to the Capital

I had some meetings in Ankara this week and Lady Hiva was not about to let me go there without her and the baby. So we made it a family trip! (I am always happy to have them come along anyway).

The flight is rather short from Istanbul and thanks to Mickey Mouse and some snacks Lucky Dragon was a patient little guy.

Our first impression of the city is how calm it was. It is still a city, but compared to Istanbul the streets felt empty and life was at a slower pace. Instead of as much packed into one area as possible, the roads were wider and had less traffic. There was quite a bit of construction though, that reminded us of the Philippines.

I had meetings while Lady and Lucky explored during the day. At night we went out to find things to see.

We went to the one big tourist attraction in Ankara after work one day—Anitkabir. This is the resting place of Ataturk, or the Father of the Turks. Ataturk was the man who led Turkey against the Ottoman Empire  in 1923 and it became an independent state. He is also the one who gave women rights, changed the language to Latin alphabet from an Arabic alphabet  (hallelujah, Ataturk! You made my life at FSI so much better!), and gave all Turks last names.

It is an ENORMOUS space. There is an inner courtyard, one big mausoleum, a museum, and all surrounded by gardens. The high marbled walls are lined in gold and red shiny tiles. The only thing in the room is a marble coffin where Ataturk is resting.

There is a museum under the mausoleum that covers the period Ataturk was president. The reforms he instituted were revolutionary. He changed the alphabet and everyone learned how to read and write again (although this increased literacy rates exponentially), he made it so everyone had a last name and gave women rights in the country. It is an impressive square dedicated to an impressive man.

It was a short, but great trip, but we are glad we went. Lady Hiva was most excited about being able to shop at the commissary for American food and cleaning items! She is already plotting a return trip when we have Mongoose to “load up on everything!”

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