Last weekend, we went to the city of Adana near the base. We hopped on a dolmus (taxi bus) with several other folks from the base and headed to the city! Riding the dolmus was better than I anticipated. I expected standing up in a huge, cramped bus. Rather, we sat on padded seats in what felt more like a large van than a bus. Yes, it was cramped...and yes, it was a little smelly...but considering it was public transportation in the heat of August, I'd say it was pretty good. We passed our coins up to the driver and went on our way.
Driving in Turkey is quite the experience. People drive in packs, rather than lanes...zipping back and forth, in and out. It's always impressive to count the number of Turkish people that can fit on one tiny motorcycle. I've seen families with children and babies all squished onto one. Honking is used more liberally here than in the states as if to announce "Here I come! Watch out!" I was so happy that I could let the bus driver take control and I could just watch the excitement out the window.
Adana is a city of 1.5 million people, which felt pretty big for this Nebraska girl. It reminded me a little of New York City with all the busy, crowded streets and sidewalks, the smells of car exhaust and food sold by street vendors, and something interesting to see around every corner.
We did a quick paced, walking tour of the city. Peter was a very good traveler. He was entertained by all of the sights and sounds. He's gotten good at sipping water in this heat and staying hydrated.
We did a lot of window shopping, saw beautiful Turkish gold jewelry, experienced a smelly outdoor meat market (yikes!), stopped by a charming candy store (and tried Turkish Delight for the first time!), saw an ancient Roman bridge, saw the largest mosque in Turkey, ate our first Turkish ice cream, saw a colorful spice shop, and finished with lamb and chicken kabobs for lunch. It was a full and exhausting day.
Peter fell asleep in the dolmus on the way home. Dan almost did too. It was quite the adventure and we were smelly and exhausted. But it was also exhilarating. Diving into a culture that is so different and unique is such an adrenaline rush.