Our friend Jake invited us off-Base at the last minute. He actually had found a sort of garden market where you could buy herbs and vegetable and fruit plants. JB's soul was so blessed to see this. He's really been struggling a bit with the lack of "outdoors" here in Adana. The lack of ability to even find plants or find seeds or find the types of things he loves. JB is an outdoor enthusiast in every sense of the word. If he asks our gardener for a certain type of plant, the gardener finds it, and plants it for JB. JB just misses getting in the dirt himself and sharing it with the boys. Seeing these plants opened up a whole new summer experience for him. He's been able to do a little bit of stuff here, but it's nothing like in the USA.
(Okay so the market was on the side of the highway and was anything but "peaceful" but just to see strawberry plants for purchase lit JB's face up like nothing I have seen in quite awhile.)
Afterwards, we decided to go to the brand new mall downtown since we were right there, and we were out, and we had heard everyone talking about it, but we hadn't seen it for ourselves. It is smack-dab in the "poor" section of Adana, and appears to be an attempt at the rejuvenation of the downtown. It is quite a place! Even has an escalator, and we couldn't help but grin as we watched a group of Turks take pictures of themselves on the moving stairs, obviously having stepped on a set of them for the first time.
The food court came complete with, yes, an Arby's! And there was a KFC there too. It seems so silly to get so excited over food, but just these little touches really do a body good. I have mentioned before, but one obvious difference between Turkey and our U.S. culture is the absence of a variety of food. You cannot just stop and pick-up fast food on the side of the road like you can in the U.S. And while we really think Turkish food is quite tasty, there is very little variety in the food. It is a kebap, it is tomatoes, it is bread, it is mostly the same. We just miss variety!
We ate outside with an amazing view of the huge downtown Mosque. It was a beautiful (albeit a little chilly) evening. We also let the boys play in a little playground in the middle of the food court while we sat and watched. I am also so fascinated to watch how children of all cultures are exactly the same, and how the boys manage to communicate with these children despite the fact that they do not speak the same language. So interesting to observe.
Anyways, our night out was good for the soul. Truly. Just a time to get away from Base and experience a different "something" for a little bit. Lovely!