9 July 2014, Wednesday (RTW, Georgian and Turkey Part, by Merrill Glos)
Wednesday is museum day. Emel and I take the bus to city center and visit the first two Parliament buildings from the ‘20’s, then take the metro (modern Chinese built underground rail) to Ataturk’s Tomb. If you don’t know, Ataturk was Turkey’s first president after independence (1920) and he’s a REAL national hero. His picture and books are everywhere; people have his signature on their cars…. he’s their George Washington to us white folk and Abe Lincoln to black folk.
He’s the reason Emel, a Muslim woman, could be a fighter jet pilot in the Turkish Airforce. Turkey has the first woman fighter pilot in the world (1927) who becomes Emel’s hero and inspires her to realize her dream of becoming a fighter jet pilot. Not an easy task in a Muslim man’s world. I’m so proud of Emel.
Ataturk’s mausoleum is fitting and impressive, many Turks visiting. There’s a War of Independence Museum in the basement, it’s cool down there…. I buy some Ataturk stickers in the gift shop. Heard of the Battle of Gallipoli? against the British? The ragtag Turkish army defeated the Brits and their mighty Navy. Di and I visited the museum on the Dardanelles in 1999. Another gruesome war.
Next it’s back to City Center and a hike to the old Roman fort/castle and the ‘antique section’. Fifty antique shops in old wooden houses along the old shaded streets.
I spot an old anthracite heater like the ones we have….probably made in Ohio. No old locks, so we retire to a terrace café for iced tea….with ice and lemon. Emel looks hot, life is good.
This is the end of the 12th day... and the next day I awake to say ‘Goodbye” to Ahmet; Emel and I walk to the bakery for fresh bread… I leave teary eyed around 9 o’clock, heading southeast for Cappadocia and my last Teacher’s House.
Thank you for your support... and thanks to Merrill...