Last night I returned from Ankara and here are some random tidbits of the trip:
– Was wonderful to see Emre and Betul again. Also brilliant to meet Beyza, Ozgur, Deniz and Reyhimi (spelling?) for the first time.
– Middle East Technical University has an expansive and wonderful campus.
– Drinking fresh, pasteurised milk from a carton again was a pleasure. In Mersin the only milk sold in the supermarkets is long life, although fresh, un-pasteurised milk is available in some specialist shops and by people selling it from the street.
– The Iranian visa is applied for! The same double-sided form completed twice, 2 photos and a photocopy of my passport is all it took. I was told to call the embassy 10-12 days after applying. If the government official in Tehran is happy the day he receives my application he should approve it. Then I will have to fork out USD$50 to the embassy and pick the visa up. One of the officials was kind enough to lend me a book on Iran.
– I asked the Australian Embassy officials many questions when having a signature witnessed by a diplomat. It was good to have the close access to them although they didn’t give me many brilliantly enlightening answers.
– The Turkish military owns a huge amount of prime real estate in Ankara.
– Some ‘exotic’ foods like coconut juice, rice noodles and sweet chilli sauce were in the local supermarket near where I was staying. They were at exotic prices, too. The Thai sweet chilli sauce was on sale for over 8,000,000 TL. The exact same bottle used to cost less than AUD$1 (1,000,000 TL) in Australia.
– On Sunday the central city streets were teaming with life in the spring sunshine.