Merhaba from Gaziantep
Merhaba from Gaziantep,
We were unable to find a bus from Aleppo to Gaziantep so started out with Thomas early this morning on a small bus and traveled to a town near the border. From there we took a taxi across the border to Kilis and a small bus from Kilis to Gaziantep. Our taxi driver was very helpful and professional as we crossed the border, much better than the driver from Turkey to Syria.
We arrived in Gaziantep at about noon so decided to rent a car, find a hotel and travel to an Iris sari population that we had located when we visited Turkey in early May of 2004. We were hoping the plant was in full flower as it was almost finished when we were there in 2004 and we also wanted to visit with the family who lived at the site. We had a Turkish/English dictionary for their two daughters and prints of some photos we had taken in 2004. We were able to visit the family and show Thomas I. sari. The species was in flower but would have been more photogenic a week earlier. This year the plants were taller than during our previous visit. Possibly the later plants are smaller as was apparently the case with the single I. bostensis we found still in flower in Syria.
The father has a more supervisory position at the cement plant near the house and the family was doing well. Their son is attending high school in Gaziantep, the two daughters are in a local primary school and life seemed easier for the wife as she looked rested and energetic. When we were there in 2004 she was tending their sheep as well as minding their home. I assume that this time their sheep were out with a herder although I was not able to clarify that. They had a new water tank, a solar panel and had planted some pistachios within their orchard so were making improvements to their home. This is a family that Clyde and I thoroughly enjoy and wish our communication was better. We left with walnuts and a bouquet of lilacs. Thomas leaves tomorrow morning for Syria and we will travel east to Sanliurfa.