Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Istanbul Meanderings

During a break from walking, I sat on the rooftop desk to have a nice Turkish coffee. I heard incessant cackling and I realized there was a fight between crows and a cat breaking out on the 20th level of scaffolding. The birds were the aggressors. They simply did not like the cat resting in its space and it tried to chase the placid cat away. I have a feeling the crows would win out.

A Syrian came to talk with me. He was one of the hotel workers. He is enjoying Turkey but his heart is still in Syria. He cannot believe what a mess it was become. He said, “we had everything there. Now we have nothing.”

I had another talk with a Turk who wanted to speak more frankly about the situation between Turks and Arabs. He was becoming passionate. He cares for the future of Turkey and is not sure it is headed in the right direction politically and he knows that it needs some invigorated economic help. However, he cannot understand how Arabs have not progressed like other peoples in the history of the world. I simply listened.

The hotel staff offered me some nice soup and salad. It was very kind of them. I have never had a hotel staff be so friendly and hospitable. They are only open for four years and they have quite reasonable rates, but the kindness is beyond compare. I’m well pleased.

I took a walk through Gulane Park as I wanted some quiet time. For some reason, being a single traveler, I had more conversations. Gulane Park is adjacent to the Topkapi Palace and leads down to the Galata Bridge and seaway. I returned there to take one photo of the open book that had a water wave wash over it. A friend asked for the inscription so I returned to the area.

The park is expansive. I toured the lower portions, especially to the place where they had flower nurseries. There were quite pleasant people there. Then I walked the perimeter so I could get glimpses of the sea. I will not walk the upper route again because this is the area where young people have sex – right out in the open, even people who are covered. I hastened along to get to the lower pathways.

One observation I have about American travelers. They are the ones who smile, wink, and simply say hello. Many other people want to speak with you so they can get something from you. It is nice just to hear a “hello” because someone is enjoying themselves and connects, if even briefly. A smile can do a lot for people.

I wish I was around in another week because many Hydrangea will bloom.

Faith: I’m very American-centric in my faith. After having two years of experience of a different faith in Jordan, I’m certainly evolving in my beliefs while becoming stronger in my faith in Jesus Christ. Having visited a modern Islamic state, I’m confronted with new thoughts and ideas that will continue to challenge what I believe. I’m glad for it and I realize we have to do a better job of respecting one another in the world, while also holding to clear and distinct boundaries on the international level. More will come on this.

Upon my arrival to Queen Alia International Airport, I notice again the new construction of the expanding airport. This makes me feel good. Jordan has a lot to offer visitors.

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