Sunday, December 28, 2008

Malatya Day 7

I got really excited when I flipped on the TV the last morning in Malatya. On the kids’ channel, Looney Tunes was on! I was really excited, because Looney Tunes hasn’t been on TV for several years. I watched for two hours straight, until Mert came to get me for breakfast. After breakfast, we packed up as we had to check out of the guesthouse by 10am. We left our bags near the front desk and went to waste time downtown. Mert, Canan, and I just wandered around downtown. We met up with Beril and her husband. Beril is another grad student from METU. I sat next to her and her husband on the bus ride to and from Mt. Nemrut. Her husband was really interesting to talk to. As he and Beril are slightly older than everyone else, they were great to talk to about more socio-economic issues in Turkey.

He explained to me that Turkey’s largest problem was their refusal to dissolve the class-based society. To become a politician or businessman, you need to know be a part of the upper class, or be closely associate with someone who is. Another problem is that men will own large areas of land, becoming self-appointed governors of small areas, probably about the size of counties in the US.

We all got lunch at the same restaurant. By this point, they had recognized me, not only as an American but also as the guy who only eats baked potatoes. I knew I couldn’t eat for a while because of our flight at 6pm, so I ordered too. They were kind enough to scoop out the potatoes and arrange them on a plate for me. It is just another example of the kindness displayed by the Turkish people.

After lunch, we walked over to the tourist information booth, so I could get a Tourist Ministry poster from Malatya. The tourist information office was located inside a beautiful garden lush with palm trees and fountains. It was very much an oasis in a broiling and dry city. We sat down and enjoyed cool drinks for a few hours until we had to grba our bags and head to the airport.

Beril’s husband had negotiated with a taxi driver to take us to the airport for the amount it would cost us to take the Havas bus. We picked up our bags and all crammed into the taxi. I had forgotten how far the airport was from the city, but I guess they can’t position air force bases too close to city centers.

After getting into Ankara airport, we took a Havas to the Asti, or Ankara bus station. They dropped me off at my dormitory at around midnight. I was completely exhausted, but it was a spectacular trip. I wish I could have visited Urfa, a city near the Syrian border, but at least I got back safely.

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