Sunday, April 29, 2007

random additional photos

I have more space on here than I thought - so instead of deleting photos, I'll add a few -

A great little chai (tea) house in Antep. All across the courtyard there are wisteria (sp?). I can't wait to go back when they are in bloom! (Hopefully this Saturday we'll go - ). The group at the table is us.

Erica, Laura, Misty, and Alice - don't mess with us! (Photo: Safak)
Me and Nuri. Typical! (Photo: Safak)

Me implanting a transmitter in a little hamster. Mert took this photo, and I really like it. He actually got a great series of the entire surgery.

Friday, April 27, 2007

More Istanbul photos

Ok, I know this is cheating, but here are some photos from Istanbul that I took last year. Enjoy!

AyaSofya; and SultanAhmet, or Blue Mosque

Inside of Blue Mosque; and woman in Blue Mosque (this is a lucky lucky shot - I didn't want to obviously take a picture of her but she was so beautiful, so I held my camera down at my side, looked the other direction and snapped several frames - and this came out of it.)

Hello from Elbeyli

Hi all,

Here are a couple of travel photos - again, I don't have many good ones, so these will have to do.

(L) Mary on the Bosphorous in Istanbul
(R) the tomb of Osman Gazi in Bursa (he is either the founder of the Ottoman Empire or the father of the founder - in any case, he died in 1392 (!) and is a pretty important fella in the scheme of world history).

Life in Elbeyli certainly is quiet compared to Istanbul. But I have to say, I love it here, too. As much as I enjoyed the city, it feels great to be walking the fields again with the green, blue, breeze, sunshine, birds, etc.

Since I've been back, I have been playing catch-up - and finally feel like I'm there. So today was going to be my "read journal articles" day, but I'm posting here instead. Life here has been very quiet. The day I flew in from Istanbul, Laura and Safak went to Ankara. Laura is on her way home, and Safak is due back here on Monday. Then on 24 April, Benjamin flew to England for a job interview and returned this morning - and he got the job! So for the past few days, it has just been Erica and me, which has been delightful. A couple of days ago, after we came in from the field, we went to Mustafa's because E had never milked a cow before and wanted to try. (Mustafa is one of Cumali's friends who owns one of the tea houses and the small market where we do our local shopping.)

Then last night she and I went with Cumali to Mustafa's tea house and we played cards and hung out for an hour or so. Also very delightful - though we do cause quite a stir being the only women in the entire place.

Erica milking the cow; Mustafa and Cumali.

Erica and Mustafa riding M's motorcycle back to town.

Random Elbyli shots taken on the walk from Mustafa's back to our house.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Istanbul adventures - revised

I just got back from the most spectacular week. I have so fallen in love with Turkey - I may never come home. Mary flew over from DC and I met her Istanbul. There is so much to tell, that I'll say very little. In sum, we explored the major sites (Blue Mosque, AyaSofya, Topkapi Palace, Grand Bazaar, Spice Bazaar etc.) and wandered in random neighborhoods.

We also spent two days (one night) in the city of Bursa. Marvelous! Bursa is in the mountains, so is stunning. It also happens to be the end of the silk road and the beginning of the Ottoman Empire. We saw the tomb of the founder of the Ottoman Empire. I'm still trying to wrap my mind around that one!

In addition to amazing sights, we ate a never-ending stream of delicious foods; and everywhere we went we met fun and interesting people.

On our last night (Saturday) I was so bummed about leaving that I told Mary I was going to stay up all night because I didn't want to miss a minute of Istanbul time. When I said that, I didn't know if I was kidding or not. But I wasn't. We went out to a performance of the Whirling Dervishes (how do they do that?) then had dinner. After dinner, we went dancing with Erol, our adorable bellhop and one of his friends. At about 1ish, Erol and his friend left because Erol had to work the next day. M and I stayed at the bar chatting with some very cool New Zealanders - one of whom is a vet who works with international animal regulations and can possibly put me in touch with the appropriate Turkish authorities for sending hamsters home! Then, we actually closed the bar. Old stodgy me - closed a bar. So the four of us wandered Istanbul at 2:00 in the morning - and found another open pub where we sat and chatted until 4am, at which point I needed to get back to the hotel to get ready and catch my 4:45 shuttle to the airport.

P.S. My photos from the trip aren't so good so I've included some wikipedia links for more information and some photos.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Tomorrow I'm off!

Today was a good day. This morning spent several hours in the field, then this afternoon Erica and I went for a 5K run. Of course I made sure to eat lots of chocolate to counter any beneficial effects of the run and field work.

I can't believe it, but this weekend marks the halfway point. As a treat to myself, I am flying to Istanbul tomorrow to meet my best friend from 7th grade, Mary. We are going to explore and enjoy the city and its environs for seven glorious days!

I'm sure I'll have plenty of photos to post when I get back, so check back after 22 April. As a warning, however, I'm running out of room on here, so I will probably have to delete some of the older photographs.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Happy birthday, Erica!

Today is Erica's birthday - so we went to the zoo in Antep for a sunny day of non-hamster viewing. It was delightful! The zoo itself was quite nice with huge enclosures for everything but the primates. The primate house was incredibly distressing, but the rest was marvelous.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Spring is here!

I don't know if this is true for the rest of you, but spring has arrived in Elbeyli. It is a beautiful warm day, with blue skies, larks singing continuously, and incredibly green fields. Add to this the colorful shepherds with their flocks and the marvelous Turkish and Syrian villages that dot the countryside, and you have something out of a storybook.

Yesterday, as I was watching a hamster burrow, an orange, black, and white moth/butterfuly (I don't know which) sunned itself next to me on a mottled gray rock. We just sat in silence and watched nothing happen at the burrow.

And today, the flowers in our courtyard are starting to bloom. Any time now, our rose bush will burst forth.

I hope your days are as lovely as this!

Friday, April 6, 2007

Yes, I'm still here!

So much time has passed since my last post that I'm sure no one is checking anymore. Anyone out there? Let me know if you are - I'd love to hear from you!

Life here went through a pretty rocky period, but we are now settled again. We're getting lots of good data on hamster activity - and are getting ready to start a couple of field experiments. So the science is progressing. Yesterday we went on a run - I ran 7k! I think I'm going to keep my runs to below 7k, however - I don't want to ruin my knees, and I can sure feel the effects of running on our paved road.

Unfortunately, Alice had to leave team hamster today. She is meeting some friends in Capadoccia and then she heads back to the States to start a new job. We are really going to miss her.

So on we go to the next phase of our hamster adventure!