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Excitements Travel Work

A Trip to İYTE, Part IV

Again a new day and the last one in İYTE. After finishing all the relevant duties, a car brought us to the city centre of Izmir. Being that close to the airport hopefully makes getting to the airport it easier for us.

The tem­per­at­ure’s still well above the average I’m familiar with. However, it seems that I slowly adapt to the quite different envir­on­ment­al con­di­tions including not being under­stood well enough. Con­sid­er­ing the kind of summer we currently have in Germany, getting used to the heat is quite insane. Improving com­mu­nic­a­tion abilites where possible, at least to get some tea, in turn, should be a well-thought idea and seems to work out somehow. Except for this Wednesday evening: we decided to walk along the water front, looked out for some nice res­taur­ant, and even­tu­ally passed by one of these nice-looking seafood places. Ok, less nice-looking than clean and organised but the menu read quite well. And as I thought of having some appet­isers which the menu promoted in a really tasty way, we dicided to risk it. In the end it really was risky, though.

Looking at the dishes promised something really worth the prices — price-wise, they’re all well above what we found elsewhere in Izmir. We started with some appet­isers for 6 TL each, as we found out later (2 TL relates approx­im­ately 1 EUR). Quite expensive for what we finally got. Water was obviously not included as they charged another 8 TL (refill, I suppose). The cover charge was 6 TL per person. Then we wanted to eat some fish, which actually was the reason why we hung around that place. I called for the waiter and asked him how to order fish; the main dishes seemed to have nothing to do with sea or food or seafood. He explained to me that we would be charged 100 TL per kilo of (fresh?) fish and that the fish weights quite exactly 1.25 kg. Being charged by kilo is perfectly ok but not that price for that fish. So I told him that we first have to discuss and that I’ll come back on him or his colleague later. He looked like being a bit annoyed and threw the fish back into the box.

We finally decided to only have some salad for 9 TL and 19 TL respect­ively. Not that cheap but still not that expensive either. And it really was enough. Just in the middle of our green meal, a waitress approaches with two pices (halves) of fish, grilled and plain without any side dishes. Quite aston­ished I told her that we didn’t order fish but salad. She, looking quite confused, took the fish and called for the other waiter. He approached, again with the fish. I again told him that we did not order fish but a salad. For­tu­nately, he vanished imme­di­ately, though with a quite fierce look. From that moment on, he always looked very annoyed when passing by.

We finished our salads and ordered the bill. Something around 70 TL (including an already added tip of 10%) for a salad with some appet­isers. Well done, tourists!

A photo and the name of this place with the not-so-friendly waiters will follow. By the way, they even only offered paper napkins, so really no high-class place but something with exclus­ively high-class prices (also food-wise). I’d guess that there are many res­taur­ants in the centre of İzmir that offer good service and quality. So try to look out for these or maybe give me some hints? Don’t actually know when I’ll be back ™ but who knows? :)

Except the fact that I was almost knocked over by a taxi (taksi) because I just didn’t notice that something very fast approaches me just as fast, nothing else worth to be mentioned happened that evening.

Tomor­row’s the last regular day in Izmir. We’ll start preparing ourselves for Germany and try to buy some nice sweets that might help bridging the gap between 16°C and 36°C.

Categories
Excitements Travel Work

A Trip to İYTE, Part III

This moring I realised that leaving my shoes outside is really not a so good idea. It seems that something (probably a dog) took one of my shoes and … well, it’s gone. Thank­fully, I still have one pair. When going back to the City of Izmir, I’ll have to have a look at the bazaar in search for shoes. The ones left are defin­it­ively not suited very well for the weather in Germany — about 26°C less than here in Turkey.

Tuesday again was a warm day, even though it would have get a bit “colder”. Even though we only had around 36°C, the afternoon was reserved for my book. In the morning, the air con­di­tioned computer engin­eer­ing depart­ment helped for­get­ting the dry outside and even­tuelly, I also didn’t see the sun that often. A dis­cus­sion about some ideas for joint projects and a possible erasmus cooper­a­tion almost concluded that second day at İYTE.

One thing still open on my todo list for that: pay the guest house. Seemed to me like a quite straight forward idea but again, the language problem showed up. Almost nobody I met on and around the campus is able to speak or under­stand the English language. With a little bit of gesturing, however, things get man­age­able again. The very nice guy from the security in the dean’s office tried to guide me into the right direction and offered me a bagfull of Turkish words I really wasn’t able to translate into something more useful to me. Ok, I admit that one should probably be better prepared when trav­el­ling to a foreign country. As it was only one week, I decided to go with only English, though. Finally, after talking or gesturing to two more persons (to be honest, I just showed them a post-it with the depart­ment and the name of the respons­ible person written to it), both of them very, very nice and very helpful, I reached my des­tin­a­tion and was able to pay. Ten minutes later I let the building, headed towards the computer science depart­ment and again stayed there for some minutes to enjoy the well-tem­per­at­ured air and use a free internet access.

Con­sid­er­ing the WLAN thingy, there’s something to say here. In one of the previous posts I mentioned that there is free WLAN available on the campus. Well, yes, there are open access points but the one I used in the beginning was shut down on Monday. The second one I spotted worked quite well except that the signal was much worse. Yesterday evening, after having placed a phone call where I had to stand quite still in the middle of the street in order to have a well-balanced signal to no signal ratio, a guy from the security approached slowly. I decided to end the con­ver­sa­tion and leave.

During my first day on the campus, I spotted several other open networks, each of which would have required me to walk more than thirty minutes one way. Yesterday, I spotted another two, one on the campus and one in a bar right next to the campus. But as I’ve decided to go to Izmir on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday it’s now obsolete anyway. But more on that tomorrow, once everything’s finished and packed again.

Categories
Excitements Travel Work

A Trip to İYTE, Part II

The second day is over and still, it was again a bit warmer than it is in Germany right now. The lab tour in the DIVE labor­at­ory at İYTE had to be postponed to tomorrow, so no news here. I had nice a little chat with a colleague from Hungary (who was invited last week and leaves İYTE today) and staff from İYTE. That was basically it. Over noon, doing something outside was defin­it­ively no option, so after leaving the institute, I decided in favour of reading a book. For the evening, Bora has invited us for a BBQ which was really, really good (espe­cially the appet­isers).

İYTE and the area around is really a nice place to stay, even in Summer if you can manage to avoid working around noon. Many insects can be seen every­where around houses, such as crickets or grasshop­pers. A lot of dogs are around on the whole campus. Just some ten years ago, as Bora told me, (wild) dogs were spread all over the cities as well. To fight them, the gov­ern­ment dis­trib­uted toxins. Just about ten years ago, they started using a less deadly strategy. As of now, dogs are mainly seen outside the cities and towns where cats have taken their places. But still, when you first come the die İYTE campus, you’ll have to get used to being followed by at least one dog. And I’m not talking about bag dogs that are more like a rat than a dog! They’re real dogs and very lovable animals. We also spotted some tortoises (turtles) right next to the entrance of the flat.

Categories
Excitements Travel Work

A Trip to İYTE, Part I

It was around January when I was invited to give an Erasmus lecture at the İzmir Institute of Tech­no­logy (IYTE) in İzmir, Turkey. The campus is located near Urla at the Aegean Sea. Now in July, one of the hottest months of the year in that medi­ter­ranean area with tem­per­at­ures around 35°C in average, it would be the best to just stay in or near the sea, lying under and be shaded by palm trees for the whole day. But as this is no holiday but a working trip, I’ll probably be in air­con­di­tioned rooms more often than at the seaside anyway. Be assured, I’ll try to optimise this time schedule towards the latter option :) For a guy from Germany, the tem­per­at­ures are defin­it­ively much more con­veni­ent in Spring or Autumn. This week, the weather forecast announced around 40°C.

On Saturday evening, my plane arrived at İzmir airport (ADB). A car from İYTE waited and took me right onto the campus near Urla and the small town Güzel­bahçe. Having some guest room on the campus is much more con­veni­ent, I thought, so I booked it for the week. Having a cab to take me to the institute every day would defin­it­ively be annoying. The lectures were scheduled for three days, Monday to Wednesday but only for half a day each. The topic of the whole course is “Beha­vi­our­al Robotics” whereas my part covers cooper­a­tion in that domain. The slides will be made available soon.

The DIVE Lab headed by Bora İ. Kumova is a well equipped place to study robotics. A bunch of NXTs are available for labs and students to play around with — given they prefer doing stuff like that instead of hanging out with friends in some bar near the campus. I’ll cover more on that topic (robotics, not the bar) later today, as Bora will hopefully show me around his lab and the institute.

Yesterday was my first day at İYTE. We drove around the campus and had a look at the buildings and insti­tutes, the small town of Güzel­bahçe, and the beach. It’s only about 2 km away from the guest house and well reachable by foot; you only have to take care not to step over the dead fox lying somewhere on the trail. The location gives a quite impress­ive scenery, lying on a kind of small peninsula between mountains and the Aegean sea. There are res­taur­ants and super­mar­kets available in Güzel­bahçe, offering fresh fruit grown in the region, so you don’t need to be afraid of starving. A drawback: the sea is not that refresh­ing as the water is just as the air around it, warm.

For­tu­nately, several open WLANs (and therefore free) are available on the campus, so it is possible to check mails or even place a call. The mobile phone costs would otherwise ruine the callee for sure.

Today, I’ll be in the computer engin­eer­ing depart­ment at İYTE and maybe can provide more inform­a­tion later today. Some pictures will also be added once better suited Internet access is available.

Categories
Excitements Travel

Bahnfahren für Akademiker

http://www.spiegel.de/unispiegel/studium/0,1518,769886,00.html

So sieht’s aus :)

Categories
Excitements Travel

Schwarzfahren

Attract­ive­ness at a very high price — desirable not only for women; nice toy! :)

Mobility Bahncard 100

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Travel

Panorama: City of Erfurt

I finally managed to stitch together the images I took during my visit of Erfurt, Thuringa, last month. I’m actually quite happy with the result.

Panorama of Erfurt, Thuringa, Germany

City of Erfurt, Thuringa

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Excitements Private Travel

Short trip to Graz

Last weekend I visited a friend of mine in Graz, Austria. It was really great: great City, great people, great weekend. Thanks a lot for putting up with me! :)

I’ll upload some pictures during the next days. However, I’ll be on the road (better: in the air) again next weekend, dropping over to a friend in Bristol, UK.

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Travel Uncategorized

Ireland Trip

The photos of my trip to Ireland are online now. Some are quite nice, some are not.

http://gallery2.npw.net/main.php/view/Ireland2004/