SuterAN's Travel Journals

SuterAN

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

May 13th 2012

Last Day in Turkey

May 13th 2012

Turkey Istanbul, Turkey  |  May 17, 2012
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Turkey 2012

Log Entry May 13th 2012

Amanda Suter

Spring 2012

Istanbul, Turkey

May 13th 2012

          Today was our last day in Istanbul and we finished everything on our list that had wanted to accomplish throughout our stay in Turkey. Firstly, we were able to visit a local bazaar where goods were much cheaper and there was much more variety than the regular tourist trinkets we have seen in other markets. It seemed as if baked potato stands and waffle stands were popular. There were about six of these stands right in line with each other, but separate vendors were operating them. To continue, at this local shop there were many artists and local attractions such as a glass blower, painters, and jewelers. This market was located right on the water and had a great view of the Bosphorus Bridge as well. Furthermore, we continued the day by driving across this bridge for the first time. We were then considered to be on the Asian side of Turkey. On this side of the country, we saw the Turkish Prime minister's house and went to the highest point in Istanbul to enjoy the scenery and view. This was most definitely a place where tourists and/or local families went to enjoy a relaxing afternoon with their families and friends. There were not too many vendors or shops, rather there was more nature such as walking trails to enjoy. On our next venture, we strayed away from the nature surroundings and went back to the city.

          Downtown was our next stop and we drove through what was a very advanced and more developed part of Istanbul. Skyscrapers, financial institutions, large malls, and much construction were all prominent features of downtown Istanbul. We chose to shop at a local shopping mall. This mall had large fountains, many stories, and expensive shops. For lunch, Hannah, our tour guide; Dilek, and I ate sushi at one of the restaurants in the mall. At lunch, we had many conversations on women's roles and how they are viewed in Turkey versus other places in the Middle East like Saudi Arabia. I was very interested in this topic and enjoyed hearing it first hand. Also, as a result of our discussions, I discovered that the first female military pilot was Turkish. Since I want to be a Navy pilot, this was valuable information for me. Before traveling to Turkey, I had no idea this country was so westernized and grouped it with other countries where mostly women do not have a right to choose their dress, to drive, to vote, or to pretty much make their own decisions. I was undoubtedly wrong and am so very glad I have traveled to this region of the world to somewhat better understand the complicated mixture of languages, religions, customs, and ethnicities.

          Following lunch, we made our way back to our hotel district and shopped for a bit before attending the planned show. On the street were Ecuadorians dressed as Native Americans playing instruments. I am amazed at globalization every time I stop to think about it; I had Japanese sushi for lunch, saw Ecuadorians acting as Native Americans playing instruments in the streets, and had Italian pasta for dinner, all in Turkey. Next, the highlight of our day was the Mevlana Sufi ceremony ensemble. This ensemble depicts the Sema ceremony which represents Turkish custom, history, beliefs, and culture, and it symbolizes the different meanings of a seven part mystic cycle to perfection. I learned that the Sufi are Muslims which basically are laid back and are more worried about their personal relationships with Allah rather than adhering to strict rules. Moreover, how interesting the idea of the show was and how intrigued I was for the first fifteen minutes, I honestly could have done without the extra forty-five minutes of the repetitive display of the practiced ritual. All in all, the show was a good experience and I will most certainly never forget it. We ended our day with dinner, packing our luggage, farewells, and an early night since we have to be up and out of the hotel by 5am the following morning.

           Turkey was an educational and unforgettable experience and has revitalized my inspiration to continue to travel the world learning about various customs, cultures, beliefs, and traditions. This trip was very beneficial and I am very happy with the way the program turned out.

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  • May 13th 2012

    May 17, 2012
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