Here are some highlights of Turkey so far.
1. I have been here three days and have yet to actually *eat* turkey. Grin.
2. I have, however, been LOVING the Mediterranean way of eating. I have had loads of dried fruits, fresh veggies, different cheeses, fresh milk, eggs, and honey-covered desserts. Yum. I could eat this way the rest of my life.
3. I can see the Mediterranean from my balcony. Heaven.
4. To the untrained ear, Turkish sounds an awful lot like a scandinavian language.
5. When language barriers can't be crossed, hand gestures and pointing works great!
6. The Turkish people are very hospitable and nice.
7. You know you are not in America when *everyone* smokes and it is done *everywhere,* even in the dining room while you are eating by the dining room workers!
8. Turkey is an odd mix of different cultures. I have seen some Indian influences, some Arab influences, and some Western influences.
9. There is a mosque not too far from the hotel. The call to prayer, five times a day, is an eerie sound.
10. Turkey does not appear to have much of an Islamic fundamentalism. I listened to a Christian radio station on my way to the hotel from the airport. Much of what is on TV looks and feels very American (some are even American shows dubbed in Turkish) and European....some skin, tight clothes, etc. Only the older women wear head scarves. I have only seen one burqua and that was at the airport.
On a few personal notes:
1. This is the second international trip where jet lag has been little or no consequence. I have been able to pretty seemlessly transition into Turkey time. The first day I arrived at the hotel at 1. By this time I had been away more than 24 hours (I cannot seem to sleep on planes.....anyone have any hints on HOW to?). I took a couple hour nap, woke up, took a shower, ate, tried to get some work done and then was in bed by 9pm. I slept until 6 the next morning. I was dragging by about 4pm the next day, but took a brief nap and then stayed awak until 10pm. Today, the third day, I woke up at 6:30 and seem to be fine so far.
2. I really do not like traveling alone. My friend who was supposed to accompany me on the first leg of the journey had to cancel due to the volcano ash from the volcano erupting in Iceland (don't even ask me to pronounce it...Eyjafjallajökull, anyone? anyone?). I was the first to arrive in Turkey from the crew working the conference. Sigh. Being here alone three days has been lonely and not so fun. If the hotel was closer to downtown Istanbul (instead of over an hour away), it might be better because then I could actually go somewhere and see some sights. Maybe the extra day at the end of the trip will make up for this if I can make it into downtown Istanbul.
That's all for now!