Sunday, October 4, 2015

Dale's visit to Izmir

If you'd like to subscribe to this blog via email, please insert your email address in the box to the right of this post to ensure you never miss an update.

I think, after this post, the blog will finally be caught up to date on stuff.  Everything I've been posting up until now has been at least a few days late, so I'm glad to have finally caught up. 

That being said, we are enjoying a quiet Sunday after our first week of school.  Dale, the Olmsted scholar in Istanbul was here for the weekend, so got to hang out with him all weekend, which was fun.  He was here to take the language test (DLPT) for the Army.  Mike took it in the spring and said it was tough and Dale said it was hard even after living in Istanbul for two years. 

So, anyways, after he finished the test on Friday, we met up with him for dinner and drinks to celebrate an increase in his score. We showed him the local Peruvian chicken restaurant, which might be Mike's favorite restaurant in Izmir.  It's a hole in the wall place, but it is really good and very very cheap.  I think Mike likes it because it reminds him of his friends in DC and their Tuesday night date to the Peruvian chicken restaurant by our apartment, but it is delicious.  

After dinner, we hit up a bar that we've been to multiple times.  They have an extensive beer menu, so it's a nice break from Efes and Bomonti. Plus, I can get Sangria or a Margarita, so I always leave happy.  The bar is also cool because the walls are filled with stuff.  One room has license plates from all over the world while another has a whole wall of bookshelves filled with different artifacts, as well as a map of the world.  I could sit in there and just stare at the walls for hours. 

We had a few drinks there before venturing out to our favorite spot on the Kordon (the boardwalk).  There was a soccer game playing and Mike and Dale enjoyed hookah while we all drank some tea.  It was a relatively early night, but I think Dale was pretty exhausted after his six hour test and Mike and I are accustomed to a 10:30 bed time since we're an old married couple (jk jk jk...but really), so it worked out well. 

Saturday was pretty laid back as well.  Mike and I slept in and made pumpkin pancakes for breakfast (thanks Mat and Jordan for the waffle maker!).  It's still 80 degrees here and doesn't feel much like fall, so I've been making pumpkin food to get in the spirit.  Pumpkin is healthy, right?  

After a lazy morning, we headed out to go pick up the car and make our way to the winery.  Dale ended up staying at the hotel because he was still tired, so Mike and I went by ourselves. When we went wine tasting with Kelly, we heard that Urlice winery makes pizzas on the weekends for their guests, so Mike and I immediately added that to the list of things to do on the weekends. Good pizza is hard to come by here, so we're always looking for a good pizza place.

That didn't last long :) 

When we got there, we grabbed a seat at one of the tables outside and ordered pizza and a glass of wine for each of us.  When the pizza came, we were so excited because it was pizza like we're used to.  In Turkey, they don't use what I think of as traditional pizza sauce.  Don't get me wrong, the pizza isn't bad, but this pizza was actually good.  Apparently, the owner used to live in Michigan and work at an Italian restaurant, so he knows how to make American/Italian pizza.  Needless to say, we'll definitely be back! 

We got back around five and waited for Dale to meet us at our apartment.  College football was on (thank you AFN!) so when Dale got to our house, we all just hung out, watched football and drank some beer.  I think both Mike and Dale were glad to have another guy to hang out, drink beer and watch American football with.  Mike was hoping that we'd have time to bring out his corn hole boards on the Kordon, but it was getting dark, so we just opted to watch football instead. Such a sacrifice :)

After a few hours, we decided to grab a late dinner before the big Navy/Air Force game.  Since Dale lives in Turkey, we didn't feel like we needed to eat Turkish food.  In fact, we all agreed that we're kind of tired of it. So, we brought him to the one Chinese restaurant in Izmir.  It's actually pretty good and they serve American Chinese food (which I know is probably not authentic).  I got Sweet and Chili chicken, which is kind of like General Tso's.   It was delicious.  

Since the base here is an Air Force base, we were really excited for the Navy/Air Force game. We had even talked to the base about leaving the little restaurant/club they have there open so we could watch the game on the big screen.  Unfortunately, even though CBS Sports said we'd be able to stream the game online, we were unable to get it to work.  I think Mike was pretty bummed. He was able to listen to it on the radio, but it's definitely not the same.  We watched the Alabama/Georgia game on the projector screen though, so at least we got some football.  

We headed home from the club at half time and got back to our house in time to listen to the second half.  Well, Mike did.  I fell asleep on the couch while he was listening. It ended up being a great game for Navy though with a big win, so Mike headed to bed happy. 

Dave left this morning, so we didn't get a chance to see him today. Mike has a lot of work to do and I have some stuff for my second week as well, so it's been a slower day here, but definitely relaxing.