Welcome to Ankara

25 Jan

I know I said I wouldn’t blog, but think of this as the non-blog blog.  It is the easiest way for me to share our experiences with you.  I expect it will be pretty mundane stuff, but at least it will look pretty.  This first real post is your introduction to our new home.  We have been in Ankara almost five weeks now and are fairly well-settled.  Many people have asked, what’s it like. 

Climatewise, it has been very cold and very snowy.  We have all enjoyed the sledding and the dogs, in particular, can’t seem to get enough of leaping through the snow.  I think I am almost over my love affair with the stuff- walking the dogs on alternately icy, snowy, and slushy sloping streets is not much fun. 

Geographically, the city is fascinating.  Imagine a steep edge of a mountain range, where every few hundred yards there is a deep rift separating one ridge from the next ridge over.  These rifts are steep and narrow and not buildable.  Now imagine every other buildable inch covered with anything from a two story shanty looking house to a 40-floor highrise.  So essentially, you are walking along a cityscape until you get to the end of the block and shocker-you are looking down a precipice.  So to get to the otherside, you have to walk up the ridge to a pass and then back down.  And mind you, the sidewalks are crap if they exist and if there isn’t a car parked on them.  That, my friends, is Ankara.

Interesting  and random observations:

  • There are a gazillion malls.  One of which is still being built and is supposed to be the largest in Turkey.  It will have an aquarium and indoor snow skiing when completed.
  • There are a ton of parks.
  • There are wild dogs (often in the parks).  Some are nice, some are not.  Most are large (mid-thigh height on me).  Right now the government is shipping them into the city from the outskirts so that they can survive the winter by scrounging off of the urban food waste.  This is causing an uptick in attacks on humans.  You should not go into wooded areas without protection.
  • There are seemingly NO driving rules.
  • There are taxi call buttons everywhere.  This is genius.
  • The escalators and most lights are motion sensor activated.  This is also genius.
  • Most “western” toilets have built-in bidets.  The non-western hole in the floor toilets have a bucket with water and a ladle – not sure what to do with those tools.
  • Surprisingly, despite the abundance of mosques, you hardly hear the Muslim call to worship, and when you do, it is a nice reminder you are someplace different.

Perhaps the most important thing about living in Ankara, is that we are all expanding our horizons in one way or another: the kids at the British School, Kevin in his globetrotting position, and me, baking and sewing (for real!).  We are fortunate that is so easy to live here and that we have already met such fun and interesting people.  In the words of another redhead, Annie, who found herself in a whole new world, “I think I’m gonna like it here.”




One Response to “Welcome to Ankara”

  1. David Zolot January 27, 2012 at 3:45 pm #

    Hi guys!! Miranda – love your intro… Makes me want to pack up and move somewhere really cool too!! Also love Ella’s picture gallery. The (non)blog is a great idea – look forward to following you guys!! Love, David (and Jen and jack)

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