Friday, August 27, 2010

The Outside World

Living on an overseas base, you can easily forget that you are not in America. The grocery store and BX have all familiar items and your neighbors are Americans like you. It is a nice little bubble I live in.

Today, we went off base for the first time to buy paint. The base will give us basic white and brown, but I wanted something different, so the guy here on base recommended a paint store in the "Alley". The Alley is a big circle of store fronts and restaurants right off base that sprung up to cater to the Americans on base. Most people in the Alley speak at least broken English, and many places take the dollar.

So, off we went. To get off the base, you must have a gate pass and then have your car searched by the (armed) Turkish guards. Same thing when you come back. Once off base, everything instantly becomes totally different. The buildings look like they are made of cardboard and could topple on each other any minute. Driving is a daunting prospect-traffic rules and lanes are a suggestion, not a rule, and people weave in and out and around as they please. We drove around until we found the paint store. There are men hanging out in groups everywhere. I guess in this culture, women don't socialize as much outside the home, so all you see is men. That will take some getting used to.

Anyhoo, we found the paint store and the owner was, as usual for the Turks, very nice and helpful. We paid him in Turkish lira and loaded our goods. I saw several restaurants that people here have talked about-so maybe soon we will try one. I think our next off base adventure will be to the Sunday Market. More on that to come......

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