SuterAN's Travel Journals

SuterAN

 
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  • 27 years old
  • From Washington, United States
  • Currently in Florida, United States

May 12th 2012

5th Day in Turkey

May 12th 2012

Turkey Istanbul, Turkey  |  May 17, 2012
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Turkey 2012

Log Entries May 12th 2012

Amanda Suter

Spring 2012

Istanbul, Turkey 2012

May 12th 2012

          Today was the most relaxing day we have had in Turkey thus far. The day's activities began with an intriguing lesson, courtesy of Professor Oldakowski. This lesson occurred in order for Hannah and myself to not only further understand Turkey but also the 'Middle East' as a whole. This helped sum up the many different combinations of religions, languages, ethnicities, etc. of the 'Middle East.' After the lesson, we boarded a boat that took us on an hour and a half venture to one of the prince's islands. There are  nine islands off the coast of Turkey in the Sea of Marmara and five of them are inhabited. The island we visited is the largest of the nine islands, is one of the five islands which are inhabited and is named Buyukuda. The island had many merchants, similar to every tourist location in Istanbul, seafood restaurants, expensive wooden houses, wild horses and cows, and multiple stray cats and dogs. Here in Turkey, the stray animals look decently healthy due to the fact everyone in collaboration helps to feed the stray animals so that no food goes to waste.  In addition, on the island, we were given the opportunity to take a horse carriage tour to the top, and on the way were given a tour of what wealthy Turks use as mostly their summer homes. The houses were extravagant and  only emergency vehicles such as police and ambulances were allowed on the island; therefore, it was a nice break from the city. Once we were to the top, we hiked a little more uphill to get a better view and to take some pictures. Buyukuda had much vegetation, a very mild climate, and not many people living there at the time; therefore, most everyone were merely tourists like us. After the carriage ride, we were treated to a very nice lunch on the water consisting of fish, chicken, bread rice and other items we have had most other meals. Following lunch, it was then time to venture back to Istanbul by boat. On the boat, I found it hilarious that even there the Turks' persistence as salesmen did not cease. There were about three or four business men working to sell gadgets and gizmos that we in America would see on infomercials. It entertained me at least for some of the journey back to the mainland. It was a nice relaxing day which was great since Hannah and I would be up late that evening.

          At approximately 7:30 Hannah and I made our way to the location we were told a driver would take us to a belly dancing show. This was my first belly dancing show and it was very fun and entertaining. At the show, we were served dinner and drinks, were able to watch belly dancers, watched dancers which represented the commoners of the Ottoman era, and even were given the chance to dance up on stage ourselves. At each table, there were flags representing where every group of people were from; of course Hannah and I were the only two from the United States, but we still had a lot of fun with it. Even with a broken leg, I went up on stage with Hannah and took part in the dancing, the small skits the performers incorporated us in, and just the overall participation of the show.  Each country had a song to represent them and appropriate individuals were coaxed into coming on stage and dancing. For America's song, the played 'Oh When the Saints go Marching in.' Other countries which attended the show were from Greece, Italy, Morocco, Brazil, Spain, Denmark, and a few others. This was a culturally enriching and overall fun night, but what followed was what really gave us a taste of what Turkey and its people are all about. 

          The driver had to drop Hannah and I off a small distance from our intended location due to the madness going on in the streets. I honestly have never seen anything like it. People were waving flags, setting off flares, hanging out the tops and sides of cars while laying on the horn, standing on top of buildings, and also climbing on the main monument attraction that was in the vicinity of our hotel. You would have thought an on-going war of thirty years had just been won, but instead it was a soccer match between two Turkish teams. The streets were very crowded and run with trash; therefore, it was a little more difficult to make our way home, but it was very fun and interesting to be a part of this experience. I was not fearful for my safety in the least because, whilst this celebration was occurring, there were police everywhere and people were generally very nice and not pushy or too drunk to control themselves. To walk the streets at midnight on a night where a Turkish team wins a soccer match is something I will undoubtedly never forget.  

Answers to previous questions:

1.   Wealthy Turks tend to live on the prince's islands whether just for the summer or all year-round. They live in extravagant houses and prefer quiet locations to relax just like most Americans.

Goals for tomorrow:

1. Sum up everything I have learned in Turkey thus far and get any miscellaneous unanswered questions addressed by Delik, our tour guide. 

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  • May 12th 2012

    May 17, 2012
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