First few days in Ankara, Türkiye (Part I of II)

**READ THIS POST ON MY NEW BLOG**

I arrived in Ankara, Turkey a few days ago, and I’ve been having a blast so far. It’s an extraordinarily clean, modern, and welcoming city with attractive young people who smoke, drink,  hang out, and have a good time. Anita is here with me for the same internship, and am stoked to have a friend here! [By the way, a lot of my readers complained that my posts were too text-heavy, so I’ll try my best to post more photos!]

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I was invited to be someone’s plus-one to a Turkish wedding, so I happily attended. It was so fun! During the wedding, my friend leaned over and whispered to me, “aside from you, everyone here is Muslim.” His comment aside, I couldn’t have felt more welcomed. Everyone was in good spirits, and the DJ played a combination of American pop music (including Pitbull!), Alawite traditional songs, and Turkish folk music throughout the night. It was so nice to see the groom unable to stop smiling throughout the evening. Congratulations, Alev and Bayram!

A government officer who works for the mayor of Ankara (in the red) came to join the wedding ceremony

A government officer who works for the mayor of Ankara (in the red) came to join the wedding ceremony

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Wedding celebrations!

Wedding celebrations!

After the wedding, my friend (anonymous government official) and I snacked on the veggie, nook, that we bought from a street vendor and walked over to Aşgabat Street (7th Street in Ankara), which is a really popular street around here with tons of shops, cafes, bars, and businesses.

My friend and I snacked on the veggie, nook, post dinner. Look how fresh they are (note the roots!)

My friend and I snacked on the veggie, nook, post dinner. Look how fresh they are (note the roots!)

While having Efes Pilsen (a Turkish beer) and grilled meatballs, a peaceful protest walked past us, and my friend was able to capture part of this on my camera. The cafe instantly put on a national song in support of the peaceful protest.

After drinks, we headed over to Kizilay, where we happened to come across a huge peaceful protest with an estimated 7,000-10,000 protesters. People were chanting, singing, and generally in good spirits. (Sorry, I was filming on my tippy-toes, and so the video is a tad shaky)

We went to Kizilay, and came across a peaceful protest (estimated 7-10,000 people)

We went to Kizilay, and came across a peaceful protest (estimated 7-10,000 people)

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The streets of Kizilay where the protest took place

The streets of Kizilay where the protest took place

People hanging out at the protest. Note the guy on the left picking up trash. He was one of the dozens of protesters who voluntarily cleaned up the streets during the protest

People hanging out at the protest. Note the guy on the left picking up trash. He was one of the dozens of protesters who voluntarily cleaned up the streets during the protest

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It was a wonderful, spirited evening and learned a ton from my new friends here in Ankara. Stay tuned for more!

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