Today was another travel day, this time heading to far, far Eastern Turkey to the city of Kars (pronounced Karse). It is not a city that is renowned for its tourist trade as evidenced by the hotel worker’s query…..when we said that we were going to Kars, he immediately asked“WHY?”…..
Our flight was easy and almost on time. We have seen how angry Chinese women get when planes are delayed and today we got to see some angry Turkish men!!! There was a lot of yelling, the time on the board was changed to show a 45 minute delay and then almost immediately the gate opened and they started boarding the bus!!
I had one sweet interaction with an older woman when I motioned for her to come and take my chair. She smiled and touched my arm as we passed.
Flying into Kars showed a rough looking country with snow still being seen on the distant mountains. We were met at the airport by Muhammet and his son Mirsa. He told us that security was tighter today because the Turkish Secretary of Education was in town and was about to come to the airport. Sure enough, we saw his convoy entering the airport as we were leaving.
We drove thru Kars and to Kafkas University where Michael will be teaching and setting up some research. We are staying at the Guest House which is a 6 or 7 story building with an atrium lobby in the center. Muhammet signed us in and bought us Turkish tea while we waited for the room to be prepared.
I say room, but it is actually a suite with a balcony that looks out over the University and surrounding mountains.
Muhammet told us that the normal main dining room was being used for a graduation party tonight so we were eating in the second dining room. However, the food wasn’t quite ready so we stood outside while Michael and Muhammet talked science and Mirsa scavenged for plants…..
As they talked science, I watched the arrival of the Graduation Party guests, many in taxis. I was very much reminded of Senior Prom night as many of the girls wore gorgeous dresses, with stiletto heeled shoes and perfectly coiffed hair. I giggled as I watched them tugging and pulling at their dresses to keep themselves decent!!
The arrival of this gentleman made me wonder how our sleep would be…..
We were told that our dinner was ready so we headed to the dining room. The first course was a combination of four items……a towering plate of bread, a bowl of spicy chicken and rice soup, stuffed grape leaves and a magnificent salad of cucumber, tomato, parsley and onion……
I needn’t have worried though, there was plenty of food to fill me up!!! The main course was a platter of vegetables with spicy meatballs…..
As we were leaving we were met by a waiter who had glasses and extra water that we could take up to our room…..they think of everything!!!
Before Muhammet left, he told us that he had received permission for us to go into the Graduation party to take photos. We were hesitant about entering the closed room, but our waiter opened the door for us and ushered us inside. He even walked me right up to the dancers so that I could take photos…..
At this point, the live band wasn’t playing but they had a DJ set up.
I did take a short video which is fairly dark, but I think that you can get the idea of the energy of the evening……
Now, back to the “why?” question at the start of this post. Even though Kars doesn’t have the hustle and bustle of Istanbul, we are greatly looking forward to exploring this peaceful and historic part of Turkey.