Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Turkey Trip

It is strange that for a man as traveled as I am I hate to travel. I hate planes. I wish it were a law that you had to travel by ship or train. But, then I'd have to have a month to take a 6 day tour in Turkey from Hong Kong.

I just spent 6 days in Turkey on a death march tour. A death march tour is one that you do in 6 days that should take 9 days. We stepped off the plane and onto the tour bus with no time to recover from jet lag or get acclimated to the climate or country.

In 6 days I saw Ephesus, Pergamon, Parmukele, Heropolis, Izmir, St. Johns basilica, The Red basilica, swam in the pool of Cleopatra, shopped at a Gypsy market in some small town, shopped the Egyptian bazaar (Twice) toured the Blue Mosque (actually I stood outside while the rest of my group went in), the Sultan's summer Palace, St. Sophia, the Underground water cisterns, took a cruise up the Bosporus, spent two evenings in Taksim (A restaurant and night club area), The spice market and generally saw the sights of Western Turkey and Istanbul. There were a total of 4 three-hour bus rides on this tour.

I came home with a kilo of olives, two-kilos of cheese, a big box of Turkish Delight candy, a kilo of mixed nuts, and big bag of Turkish coffee.

I can almost without reservation recommend Turkey to anyone looking for a really unique vacation. The people are friendly, the food is good and most things are reasonably priced. The mass transit system is usable even if the streets are unpronounceable. It is the best of Europe without the European snobbiness and attitude.

Both my wife and I are academics and one of the nice things about being an academics is that you can often find work on a one or two year contract. Turkey is a place, the only Islamic place that I would feel comfortable working in.

Not that everything was perfect and I'll talk about my experiences more in another post but, considering that I was thrown into this trip at the last moment when another teacher had a family emergency I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Reluctant Tourist

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