Continuing in my college campus/air base comparisons, I’ve decided that the area of shops, restaurants, trinket dealers, and bars clustered outside the gates of the base is Incirlik’s equivalent of UVA’s Corner. Nearly every university that I’ve visited has its strip of businesses run and owned by permanent residents that caters to the constantly fluctuating college community. Incirlik is no different from a medium-sized university in this regard, as well. And, once again, J and I walked around with the same slightly dazed expressions as incoming freshmen along with the same timid enthusiasm over our first “off-campus” excursion.
Incirlik Village, or, more specifically, “The Alley” (the street just outside the base gates), has many of the requisite businesses and amenities designed to entice young students/airmen, including barber shops and salons, stores that sell cheap knock-offs of designer clothes and bags, a bakery, multiple bar/restuarants with plentiful rooftop outdoor seating, and food stands galore. At the same time, many of the businesses were also uniquely Turkish and featured carpets and pottery and any number of things that the store owners probably think that Americans would want.
According to our guide for the afternoon (the guy J will be replacing in a week or so), most of the shops are not necessarily the places we’d want to patronize… EXCEPT for a particular carpet shop. It was nearly straight across the street from the gate with a modest store front compared to many of the other shops and carpets that looks a bit more muted than some of the bright colors we’d seen. Inside, however, we discovered that the store owner, besides being super friendly (i.e. NOT pushy), was genuinely passionate about carpets. He could probably have told us inumerable details about the quality and story of nearly every carpet in the store if we had asked. He had chairs and a table near his desk where a few other Americans seated themselves to sit and eat lunch and just chat–about their day as well as carpets. J and I watched as his assistants rolled out carpets for J’s colleague to look at, layer upon layer.
We didn’t buy anything, but I’m sure we’ll be back at some point! 🙂 (J says, maybe several points…) Nothing too big, though. See that blue rug on the wall in the image below? $12,000… Yep…
We grabbed dinner at one of the upstairs restaurant. I believe it was called the Moonlight cafe. We sat on the second level which was actually on the roof of the building with open walls and sheltered by simple corrugated roofing. Every meal seems to come with a plethora of salads whether the place is upscale or every-day, like this one. And bread too…sigh… Look at our full table! They also bring plates of mint and parsley to accompany the salads.
Tomorrow we move in to our house. Well, “move-in” might be an ambitious term. We can bring our suitcases there and we’ll have some basic loaner furniture to use until our stuff finally arrives. But, Sadie will have a little yard of her own for the first time! She’s been asking to be walked at 2am for the past couple of nights, so a yard will be most welcome! Next up for tomorrow, pictures of the house and yard!