On the evening of the 26th I found a shuttle to the airport and waited for Matt, my friend since 1st grade, to arrive in Ankara. Lauren waited in the hotel room and worked on her several writing contracts. Without thinking, I had brought a pocketknife to the airport with me. Even worse, they had a security check at the entrance – something that is refrained from in the states if you are simply waiting for someone to arrive and not flying. I slowly, and somewhat hesitantly, walked toward the security officers with my unopened pocketknife in one hand. I did this before I went through security and we stumbled through conversation. First, they tried to kick me out, but after a while, one of the guards came over and inspected the knife. I opened it for him and he jokingly put the knife to his neck and pretended to act as if someone – possible me – was cutting his throat. I dramatically shook my head and explained I just wanted to wait for a friend and would not go further into the airport.
I thought for sure it was going to get confiscated so that is why I approached them so it didn’t appear I was trying to sneak it in. To my surprise that had me walk through the metal detector and one of the security ladies came up and slipped the knife into my pocket and told me to keep it in my pocket and not let anyone see it. Although I was surprised, I walked in and nervously waited Matt’s arrival. I was worried he would miss his connection flight because of customs in Istanbul. After waiting for about an additional 40 minutes after his flight landed, I was starting to think he would be on the next flight. Suddenly, I heard a faint yell from behind me. Matt was outside the airport and they wouldn’t let him back in. He was quickly shouting my name as the sliding doors opened and closes for exiting passengers.
It didn’t take us long to find the cheap shuttle, local bus 442 back to Ulus – where we were staying. We were so busy talking and catching-up, also in disbelief the strange location we were meeting each other, that we missed out stop entirely. Luckily we quickly got on the subway back to where Lauren and I had booked a room earlier. After dropping Matt’s stuff off in the room, we went down the street and bought a few local beers – Efes – and then walked toward the Citadel in Ankara, which is the oldest part of the city and the inner walls and foundations were first set by the Galatians. We walked up the steep alleys and streets until we reached near the summit. There was a cul-de-sac with a great panoramic view of the city at the top. We walked over to the wall and kicked our feet over the side of the wall. I think it was a fitting intro to Ankara and it was great to share the experience with Matt and Lauren.
The next morning, after a small breakfast, we went to the impressive Museum of Anatolian Civilizations. It was full of pre-historic, early ages of human settlement, Greek, Hittite, and Roman history etc. The center of the museum housed some of the most interesting collections, several of which have been purchased by the Turkish government from private collections. These comprised of wall frescoes and carvings most of which were from around 9 BCE. After enjoying the museum, we quickly rushed back to the hotel, I repacked my stuff into my old bag – which Matt brought along. (My Chinese knockoff was not going to last another week.) As we had already purchases tickets to Cappadocia, we barely made out 1:00 bus to Goreme, Turkey.