Buying Avas Birthday gift

Trip Start Apr 29, 2006
Trip End Nov 15, 2007

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Flag of Turkey  ,
Thursday, August 17, 2006

Buying Ava's gift
Otopark Cankiri Cadessi, Ankara, Turkey

Toys'r'us was surprisingly poorly stocked when I went to buy a gift for my grand daughter's birthday. Lynn and I took the taxi to Megros where there is a big shopping centre but I was disappointed with the quality of toys. I chose what I thought Ava would like and took another taxi to the Ulus post office where it was quite a business getting my gifts sent. I was told to go next door to the tobacco kiosk to buy 2 large post packs. I went back to the post office where I had to unwrap all the gifts I had wrapped in pretty paper, and bring them to the counter in the unsealed post packs, for inspection. The attendant was about to put an ink stamp onto the packs when I asked if I could have real Turkish stamps instead. He went away and brought back 2 sheets of stamps. They were all a low value so each parcel had 2 long strips of stamps on them which he then rubber stamped. Going well so far. Some of the stamps then started to lift, so the attendant stuck 2 great, long rows of sticky tape over the stamps! Doh! So much for stamp collecting. At this point a man came into this large, major post office shouting and ranting at the top of his voice at length and gesticulating with wild sweeps of his arms. I got a bit frightened but the attendants seemed unperturbed, so I figured it wasn't a bomb threat. Then I thought it must be a madman. A few moments later the man left with another close behind. It appeared the first man was a mail delivery driver and the second man's car was in his parking spot.

Lynn and I gingerly went outside and prepared to cross the road. This is a life threatening business in Turkey if you are not near a crossing. We spotted a local a bit further along so went over and stood by him, when he went, we went. He knew exactly what we were doing, smiled, said something, and waved as we went our separate ways. At the major intersections they have a count down light. The traffic gets about 120 seconds, (which counts down in a green light) to drive through the intersection. Then the pedestrian green light shows 30 seconds and counting down, with a figure of a person walking in a green light beneath it. Of course the Turkish people are very brave and when the red standing light has 10 seconds remaining, they already start to cross, forcing the traffic to stop anyway.

Fueling up in Turkey is different to what we're used to. The petrol stations all have attendants. When you enter the station, he enters your registration number into the pump computer. In our case, with our foreign plates, he presses an over ride button to enable the entering. He then fills your tank and cleans your windscreen. You pay in the office and bring one of the receipts back to him. He gets paid by the amount of fuel he tanks in a day.
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