Posing with my mentor at the Faculty of Science building after a series of lectures.
After the long day at the conference we went to the downtown area of Eskişehir to buy dried fruit, nuts and of course, lokum (Turkish delight).
I pose for a picture by the scenic river that cuts through the downtown area. Along either side of the river are many shops and cafes making this area perfect for an afternoon of relaxation.
I had the very special honor of being invited to a real homemade Turkish dinner prepared by organizers of the conference. On the table was chicken, Turkish meatballs, bulgar, eggplant dishes and salad. It was a great opportunity for me to advance my cultural knowledge (and culinary knowledge).
The 22nd Turkish National Biology Congress is being held at Osmangazi University in Eskişehir. The conference program includes talks by international invited speakers, oral presentations, poster presentations, and more!
A view of the faculty of science building on the Osmangazi campus.
Dr. Ali Dönmez presents the work that he completed during his time researching in the Beilstein lab.
In the late afternoon the opening ceremony began. Here you can see çiğ börek, a sort of turnover filled with meat and onions, being prepared and fried in oil. This cuisine isn't Turkish in origin, instead it's from the Tatars in Crimea. There was a large diaspora of Tatars to Eskişehir over the last few hundred years.
My çiğ börek and the quintessential "water cup", what more could I ask for? How about some şalgam.
The students of Osmangazi University can be seen around the congress helping to set up and organize. They even put on a special concert for the congress during the opening ceremony.
Today I traveled from Turkey's capital, Ankara to the progressive and modern city of Eskişehir. As an added bonus we were able to make a day trip to the city of Yalova just north of Bursa to explore the region and visit cultural sites.
Boarding the high speed train from Ankara to Eskişehir. The train had wonderful amenities and arrived at our destination after only about an hour.
A traditional Turkish kebab dish, delicious!
What would you do if you were informed that a large branch of your favorite Sycamore tree was threatening the structural integrity of your house? Atatürk decided to have his house deconstructed piece by piece and moved about five meters away to circumvent the need to damage the enormous Sycamore tree that was dear to his heart. Since then his house in the town of Yalova has been called the "Moving Villa", and it's now a cultural site in Turkey.
Atatürk was Turkey's highly revered president of the early twentieth century, who was responsible for massive social and political reforms that shaped Turkey into the country it is today.
"Tabiata saygı, aklın vicdanıdır."
Respect nature, it is the conscience of knowledge
- Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
A view of the Sea of Marmara outside of the city of Yalova.
Today was a fantastic day in Ankara. I had the pleasure to attend a Turkish wedding ceremony of my friend and collaborator, Zübeyde Uğurlu. Zübeyde conducted research at the University of Arizona in the Beilstein lab, in addition to providing field expertise for us during previous collection trips in Turkey. I wish her and her husband best wishes going forward with their new marriage.
In attendance were students and researchers from Hacettepe University and my foreign mentor, Ali Dönmez, as well as Richard Primack of Boston University.
This traditional Turkish line dance was fun to watch but truly an extraordinary experience to participate in.
I learned many traditional dances during the wedding. My favorite involves raising your arms and rhythmically snapping your fingers while swaying across the dance floor.
Evidently, Turkish weddings work up quite the appetite. We stopped for some late night barbecued corn at a nearby street vendor.
Tonight was an unforgettable experience; tomorrow I will board the train to Eskişehir to attend the biology congress.
In my free time I've been exploring Ankara, Turkey's capital and second largest city.
Beware the traffic in Ankara, where drivers take the right-of-way and pedestrians must carefully navigate the treacherous traffic to simply cross the road!
Most of Ankara is accessible via the Metro system and Ankaray (Ankara's light rail). These are inexpensive and efficient methods of traveling through the sprawling city, however they are often quite crowded.
Kızılay square is a major hub of Ankara, it includes a large mall and many businesses.
A pleasant view from the mall's top-floor cafe.
Merhaba from Turkey!
My first order of business was to order Turkish tea, or "chi", one of my favorite Turkish drinks and a perfect pick-me-up after a long day of traveling.
A hotel that I frequently stay at in Ankara called Pembe Köşk Otel, translates to the Pink Mansion.
A typical Turkish meal with many appetizers. The purple drink is known as Şalgam suyu, which literally means turnip juice! Turnip is a member of the Brassicaceae family (Brassica rapa), which must be the reason I'm crazy about this drink. It's made from fermented carrot and turnip with added spices and salt, resulting in a drink that is sweet and sour but also spicy due to the glucosinolates found naturally in turnips (and much of the family Brassicaceae).
For dessert I enjoyed künefe, a sweet dish made with a type of soft cheese topped with many extremely small noodles and then steeped in a sweet syrup with a hint of orange.
Field Blog 2014
Undergraduate researcher, Jordan Brock, is headed on a new adventure to Turkey in search of Camelina, a genus which includes the emerging biofuel crop C. sativa. Follow Jordan on his quest to collect new populations of Camelina from across central Anatolia. In addition to field work, he will be presenting his research at the 22nd National Biology Congress. Funding for this trip is provided by the University of Arizona's Biomedical Research Abroad: Vistas Open! (BRAVO!) program.