Random Thoughts From My Weekend Trip

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.

– I made a new personal record for the ‘Snake II‘ game on my Nokia phone: 1597.

– 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.