Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Day one after The Great Race

On our first day after The Great Race we were able to see some different parts of the city than we visited last year. These "neighborhoods" were in older, less affluent parts of the city. We were able to engage many people in conversation even though we only came across 1-2 people that spoke any English at all. It seems this segment of the city was more open to receiving the gifts that we offered, and I believe that we handed out 20+ gifts (which is by far the most we have been able to hand out in one day including our visit last year) to various locals. So much thanks to Dad that opened doors, broke down language barriers, and softened hearts in advance of the team visiting this area of the city.

I have discovered that each of our team members has different talents when it comes to engaging the people we meet. Chuck is a warrior, he is constantly thinking of the people we are meeting. Chuck keeps his (and the team's) focus in the right place, as it would be easy to become discouraged otherwise. Greg has the talent of "sneakiness." Yes, that IS a talent! Remember the MacDonald's "Hamburglar." That's what I think I'm going to call Greg for the rest of the trip. He has knack for slying getting into conversations and engaging people that would seem next to impossible to accomplish. Jessica is full of joy. Her beaming smile puts most people we encounter as ease. Jessica "disarms" those that might otherwise put up a barrier to our obviously foriegn group. Leigh's talent is boldness. She seems to be the most easy-going, quietest person in the group. But when we "tour" the city, Leigh is the first to say, "Let's go in that store," or "Let's go talk to that person over there." She shows no fear and little apprehension on the streets of this huge city. I'm not sure what my talent is, you'll have to ask the rest of the team when we return. I think I have two talents - eating and encouragement. Speaking of eating, we are headed out to dinner. I'll post more later with pictures. Until later......

This picture is actually from the day before. We asked the waiter where to find the restroom so we could wash our hands. Well, he brought out what we thought was a bottle of hand sanitizer and squirted some in each of our hands. We proceeded to clean our hands and thanked our kind waiter for his help. We quickly noticed through our keen olfactory senses that the liquid did not smell like typical hand sanitizer. In fact it smelled like lemon-scented Pledge, but about 20 times stronger. Our hands smelled like Pledge for about four hours after our meal. We found out later that it is a Turkish custom and he hand given us perfume, not hand sanitizer. Needless to say, we will never forget our lemony-fresh meal that we enjoyed on this day.

I saw this man on the bus and had to take his picture. Someone notify Robin Williams that his long lost uncle is alive and well and living in central Asia. Joking aside, this man had a pleasant countenance and gave me a welcoming smile after I snapped this picture. I think I heard him say, "Nanu-Nanu" or maybe it was "Shazbot" as he got of the bus.

Chuck got a haircut from this kind and gentlemanly barber. He even stopped halfway through the haircut for Chuck and him to enjoy a glass of cay (tea). My question is, "How does Chuck have enough hair to require a haircut?" Chuck tried to get Jessica to sit in his barber's chair for a little trim, but surprisingly she refused.

I included this picture of me standing in front of the Batman Bufe (Buffet) for the sake of my older brother, Eric. He is somewhat of a Batman fanatic. I would say I have blackmail pictures of him bouncing on a hippity-hop (that was his Batmobile) in full Batman regalia from when he was a child, but he sees nothing remotely embarrassing about those photos. I wonder if Bruce Wayne has ever eaten at this establishment?

In this picture Greg, myself, and Chuck are standing guard at the old city wall that surrounded then "Constantinople" and dates back as far as the 7th century BC when the city was known as Byzantium. Many parts of the wall have been knocked down, rebuild, or fortified over the centuries as this ancient city fell under different rulers throughout the last 2,ooo+ years. This stretch of wall that we are on is still 17 kilometers long and looks as if could last another 2,000 years.

Here you see Leigh and Jessica standing at an opening in the wall that was used to shoot arrows or launch other weapons down upon invading enemies. It is hard to tell in the picture, but the opening sits on an angle which made it extremely difficult for enemies below to get anything in through the opening and kept those men on the wall extremely safe.

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