Monday, April 09, 2007

Talking Turkey

I’m going through a sort of reverse culture shock here in Turkey. No longer do I see cows and motorbikes in the streets, but large European cars and clean non-polluted cobblestone paving. I’ve traded in my shorts and flip-flops worn in humid south India, for warmer clothing and a sweater courtesy of Andy Ristaino (which he will never get back). After 7 months in Southeast Asia and India, I’m finding myself adjusting to a place without chaos. Istanbul is very European in feel, only with mosques instead of churches.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the beautiful Blue Mosque
And when you look the other direction, there is this, the Hagia Sofia. It’s a former church, then a mosque during Ottoman rule, and now just a museum since Ataturk’s cultural revolution in the 1920’s and 30’s.
It’s one of the first buildings we studied in architecture school when I was a freshman back in 2001. I was incredibly excited to see it in person. I remember being told about how it has some of the most incredible light coming into it, and an incredible column less, domed ceiling soaring into the heavens.
Unfortunately heaven is under repairs.
It’s nowhere near as noisy as India, but here’s a tip, do not stay anywhere near a mosque. Allah needs to be woken up every morning at 5:30 AM through prayer calls and chants bellowing from every minaret in the city. Why is religion need to be so loud?
The most popular man in Istanbul, moustache man Andy Ristaino. Here with his friends Mustafa and Mustafa whirly dervishing his moustache.
Glad to be back in western culture and western fashion.
Two cheerful Turkish workers enjoying their everyday jobs.
Do not trust this man. Ever.
With the advent of Global Transmission, there has been an upsurge in popularity for making film and video. This includes the Islamic world as seen by these burka wearing videophiles.

An Easter Entry for Mom
My mom always sends emails that end with statements such as ‘love and prayers’ or, ‘I pray for you everyday’, etc., etc. With this being Easter, I’m sure she’s been on a 24 hour prayer watch. Well mom, your prayers have been answered.
In a country that is about 95-98% Muslim, we’ve managed to find lodging in a Catholic Monastery, the Sancta Maria, here in the Black Sea coastal town of Trabzon. It’s incredibly clean, with new private rooms and baths, full use of a brand new kitchen, and the cost is a donation that you feel is adequate (so you should pay more if you want to go to heaven first-class). They had an Easter service that I almost went to for nostalgia sake. But similar to eating street food slowly when entering a new third world country, I didn’t want to push myself too hard and shock my system with religious overdose. However, we did have to walk through the church to get to our rooms, so technically mom, I did go to church on Easter.
.......and, I made sure to definitely not miss the easter feast after mass.

If ye hath faith, ye shall find salvation through the words of our saviour, Dónde está Ché Pelotas?


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