Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Turkey Day 7 End of Conference

Phil and I walked over to the hotel to hear Jane Prey give her talk on diversity. Afterwards I talked to Banu a bit, and then arranged a meeting with Amber, Tiffany and Susan Rodger. It was quite intense, but fun. I took a cab to the Bilkent Center where I got wine and chips at the Real grocery.

Later I went back to the apartment to explore the Bilkent campus with Phil. We got as far as the main plaza where there is a statue of the founder. Then we headed back by way of the campus market where we bought a 1.5 liter bottle of water for .55TL.

After returning to the apartment for a short while, we walked down toward the shopping center where I took a cab to the conference and Phil headed to go shopping for duct tape.

I went to the wrap up where Reyann and John thanked me and Henry for our service and gave us a small gift of a miniature covered platter similar to the one that the lamb was served in the night before. Henry and I drew for the wine door prize, one of which May Anne Egan won.

Guido gave a great presentation about Darmstadt, the venue for next year’s conference. Annemeike and Catherine had a small party in their room where they modeled the leather jackets they had purchased in Istanbul – they are going to share them, trading off each year!

The Buteras went to dinner at the home of someone they had known at Rice, while I went to the conference banquet.

The food was plentiful and was followed by entertainment. First there were folk dancers who showed off dancing of five regions complete with costume changes. There was also a very good female singer who was also a dentist! There was a lot of Turkish dancing in which almost all of the attendees participated. I got hot and exhausted participating! I tried to leave, but Reyann forced me to stay. Turns out there was a belly dancer who was really entertaining. I took a cab back to the apartment about 11:30.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Turkey Day 6 Day Tour and Banquet

A special shuttle bus picked me up to go to the conference. The opening session was really good, The son of the founder of Bilkent welcomed us and the keynote was by an incredible woman who heads the Turkish version of the NSF.

I skipped the opening and sort of slept in, getting there about coffee break time. Phil and I grabbed out box lunches and went on the ITiCSE tour with the group. We went first to Ataturk’s Mausoleum, Antikbar. Then we went into Old Ankara and toured the oldest mosque in Ankara. We had to take off our shoes. On the way down from the mosque, Phil spotted the yarn shop where we went in and got yarn for Camille. (Although when we got back, it turns out the yarn said “Made in Turkey for Hobby Lobby!”) We had a short shopping break where Phil got a pocket knife which was made in the US! We went to the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations.

Then it was time to head to the conference committee banquet, though we had to wait for the folks from the other tour. The meal was at the citadel right where we had just returned from! The Washington Restaurant had a gorgeous view.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Turkey Day 5 Bilkent ITiCSE Official Opening

A special shuttle bus picked me up to go to the conference. The opening session was really good, The son of the founder of Bilkent welcomed us and the keynote was by an incredible woman who heads the Turkish version of the NSF.

At the coffee break we had Turkish coffee and watched a demo of the Turkish art of marbling.

I talked at length with Mats Daniels about future ITiCSE site selection and then went to lunch (stand-up).

Harriet and Boots had decided to take a cab to grab a geocache and I went along to the ODT Teknokent Museum.

Back at the conference, I went to the gender diversity session and then chaired one on laboratory tools. I was so sleepy I went to Alison and Tony’s room afterwards and took a nap before the reception. Lots of food. Finally returned on shuttle bus that had had 30 people in the morning and only 4 at night!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Turkey Day 4 Bilkent, Ankara, Turkey

Phil walked me to the conference venue in a light rain; then he returned to the apartment for a day of adventures with the Buteras. I checked-in on the working groups and tried to meet up with Gwyneth and the others, but they had already left.

Atanas Radenski asked me if there were anyone going into the city so his wife could accompany her, so I said I was going to find a geocache and would be glad to go. We took the bus to Sıhhiye in Ankara and it left us off in a weird place – the exit ramp of the highway. A nice man, a Brit, from the conference showed us the way to find the park where the geocache was.

Ruomi helped me negotiate to buy a scarf from one of the stalls in the Sıhhiye Market we went to next to. Then we walked through Abdı Ipekçi Park and went the wrong way on Tuna Street ending up walking through an enclosed market building that had a big parking garage on top. We found ourselves in Kurtulus Park which is where I had hoped to find a geocache. We saw lots of bridal parties exiting a building labeled Çankaya. Then we stopped for lunch at a café where we ate the traditional pancakes, Gözlemeler. Ruomi’s mother-in-law in Bulgaria makes similar pancakes in the old style, so they had a conversation through the waiter acting as interpreter.

We walked back to the Tunus stop because we were afraid to find it near where we were left off.

Phil and the Buteras explored the old citadel and had the same pancakes at a café where the server gave them each a small geode as they left.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Turkey Day 3 Bilkent, Ankara Turkey

I woke about 5. Phil and I had boiled eggs and toast from over the propane stove flame. We walked over to the conference venue by going uphill this time. I picked up my registration materials and true to my promise to him, came right back without chatting much. It was a gorgeous walk. But we tried the bus coming back. It was good and we saw a lot of the campus

The Buteras slept late – Gwyneth was the first up. We decided to check out the bus to town. We had to wait nearly 45 minutes – a bit long for Chloe. But the bus was a coach and worth the wait. It left us off at Tunis, but we didn’t know what that was. Turns out it was a street that parallels the main avenue, Ataturk. We got a map from the Midas hotel and found lunch at Simit Sarayı where we all had sandwiches.

We walked up Ataturk Boulevard and through the flower market before heading back to Tunus and the bus. I made grilled cheese sandwiches for our supper. Phil, Rob, Chloe and I went for a walk afterwards.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Turkey Day 2 -- On the rails and Bilkent (Ankara)

We slept to the steady bump, bump of the train headed into the night. Phil and I woke fairly early. The scenery was beautiful – lots of farm land and then rocky hills.

On the Istanbul/Ankara Train

Rob and the girls joined us for breakfast in the dining car. We tried both kinds of tea – Turkish tea (Çay Aroması) and regular tea (Çay). We also got one Turkish breakfast to share – egg, cheese, olives, and bread.

Turkish Breakfast on train

We were greeted at the train station in Ankara by a driver from the ITiCSE conference who took us to our apartment.

Greeted at the Ankara Train station

A kind gentleman carried my bag up the stairs to the third floor and we settled in. Our refrigerators were stocked with milk, bread, cheese, juice, olives and jams!

Getting the computer set up

As is our usual traveling mode, we explored the area. We are a short downhill walk to a large shopping mall complete with Marks and Spencer as well as a huge grocery (Real), rather like a super Wal-Mart. We ran into Alison Young and Tony Clear who were also shopping, We bought a ton of food and us girls took a cab with the groceries back up the hill, while Phil and Rob walked. We had snacks and then rested a bit. Small catastrophe – I succeeded in opening a bottle of red wine without a corkscrew but sprayed myself and the kitchen with red wine, including the white painted wall and the grout behind the sink!

I walked down to the shopping area and took a cab to the conference venue, the Bilkent Hotel for the meeting of the working group leaders. This allowed me to scope out the area there. One of the Bilkent professors, an American named Lori, dropped me off at the shopping center where I picked up a couple of things, including a corkscrew!

I cooked dinner – tortellini with tomato sauce and salad. Camille had a slight fever, but Tylenol, juice and a nap revived her. We ate, and then turned in for the night.

See pictures

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Turkey Trip Day 1 Berkely, California to Istanbul

The plane from Chicago was two hours late landing, so I barely had time to get to my next plane to Istanbul. It took a while to go through security. And then it was way past time to board. I couldn't find a departures board until I went downstairs. Then I say that plane was delayed. I checked my email and then ran into Kate Sanders and Robert McCartney who were headed to Stockholm. We had a good conversation about SIGCSE. When I finally boarded my plane, it was more than an hour late. I sat right behind Monica Gill and Michael Kolling! Michael helped me with my bag at both ends of the trip which was lovely. I ate the lamb casserole and lunch and then slept the whole way.

Immigration was very frustrating. Monica and I needed visas, and didn’t know we had to go get them in a separate line until we had waited 15 minutes in the passport line. Getting the visa was just paying $20 and a person pasted the stamp in my passport. They didn’t even enter any info from my passport so the transaction probably took less than 5 seconds. Once again we had to stand in the long passport line.
First view of Istanbul in airport
Gwyneth, through a series of text message exchanges, convinced me to take the Metro to the tram to the ferry. Everything worked fine. I was able to get money from the ATM, and an attendant helped me get my tokens for the Metro and tram. My only confusion was in getting the correct train when I got off the Metro. But it was fun to ride the tram and see the sites of Istanbul. The train went right past Topkapi and the Blue Mosque. I crossed the bridge on the Golden Horn and got off immediately spying Phil’s robin’s egg blue shirt. I was very happy! Gwyneth had come with him and took my bag to where Rob and the girls were waiting. We just missed the ferry to Haydarpa which was a good thing because we were confused about the tokens for the ferry because they were different from the ones for the metro.

The girls wanted the top level on the ferry to the train station where the view looking back at the Europe side was super. I got my Bosporus cruise!

Getting on the Ferry

We ate dinner at the railroad station. The waiter was super nice and we chose a whole bunch of mezes (appetizers). Phil and Rob each had a grill main dish – Rob hat kofta (meatballs) and Phil had kebobs (lamb) but they both got lightly grilled tomatoes, onions and hot green peppers plus macaroni and French fries! Rob tried raki and Phil tasted his.

Rob tried Raku Mezes and Waiter/ Haydrarpasa Station

We found out sleeping car rooms without a hitch> The girls loved the bunks.