Love the acoustic version of this song and love these girls.
Nice views #turkeyspain2014 #latergram (at Montserrat, Catalunya, Spain)
A little backwards, but a list of the foods from my Turkey Food Tour (7/9/2014):
Çay, simit, zahter (wild thyme)
Menemen (omlette), kaymak (clutted cream) and more çay
Borek (savory pastry with spinach, feta or minced meat)
Pastrami and tulum cheese (goat skin cheese)
Stuffed and deep fried mussels
Helva (sweet tahini), candied fruit and vegetables, lokum (turkish delight)
Pickles and pickle juice
Various nuts including dried mulberries
Meze platter (croatian, creetean, spicy tomato spreads, samphire, stuffed zucchini blossoms)
Deep fried red mullet fish
Mixed fruits (unripe plums, cherries, figs, apricots)
Lahmacun and cheese pide
Tantuni (taquito like wrap) and ayran (yogurt drink)
Kokorec (sweetbread and intestine sandwich)
Kelle paca soup (head and trotter soup) cig kofte (raw meatballs) and kunefe (cheese and thin dough desert) and more çay
One of the highlights of my day today doesn’t involve the amazing architectural feats of those from an ancient civilization. It involves a quick, all too brief, 15-minute interaction with a group of high school students.
If you walk around any of the mosques in Istanbul, you will quickly notice students in primary blue polo shirts emblazoned with the text “Ask Me.” I was visiting the Blue Mosque and beginning to feel claustrophobic inside, so I stepped outside and sat in a shaded area of the courtyard while I waited for the rest of my family to finish looking around. These two girls with the blue polos were nearby and saw me, and immediately asked if I needed any help. I said no, but for reasons unknown they felt compelled to stay, and we had one of the sweetest conversations I have had in a long time.
We started off with the basics: they learned that I was a Chinese born American (most Turks are surprised to learn about this), and I learned that these students were volunteering for the government over their summer break to help tourists. In exchange, they get the opportunity to improve their English and eventually be able participate in an exchange program. I learned one of the girls wanted to go to Italy and that it was her birthday today. We then talked about my trip and why I chose to visit Turkey (flights were cheap and I’ve had several friends go with rave reviews). They learned that I’ve eaten a lot of the local Turkish foods already (and were pleasantly surprised), and I learned they had never had sushi and felt that chopsticks were impossible to use.
As I continued to talk to these 2 girls, a few more students from their team came, and I suddenly found myself talking to a group of 6 students. They were all so sweet, so curious and so nice. I was really tempted to give them all my email so they could write to me if they wished to continue improving their English. Thinking back, I really regret not getting a photo with them—it didn’t even occur to me until it was too late. All I have left is this memory.
It’s only been one full day in Turkey, and I’m feeling so, so glad that I decided to go on this trip. Today just reminded me that I still have so much I need to see in this world…with so few obligations tying me down, I should be traveling abroad more often.
And because I like lists…a summary of my experiences thus far:
1- Turkish Airways, on a Boeing 777 non-stop from Houston to Istanbul. Great food with a wide range of movie selections. Updated aircraft includes automatic faucets and mood lighting to match the sky outside. My only complaints are zero subtitles on movies (I have terrible hearing) and luggage handling. Turkish Airways has a weird system of unloading checked luggage; we had to wait for nearly an hour before ours came out and then, we discovered that one of our luggages was missing.
2- Kapadokya is a region of Turkey that contains a number of small cities known for it’s unique landscape. Parts of the landscape actually remind me of Arizona with plateaus of limestone and red rock. The number 1 industry in this region is tourism, so it is difficult to find out what the locals do around here. Most of the shops and restaurants cater to tourists. There are even a number of Korean restaurants here (i’m guessing a lot of Korean tour groups go through the region). Despite all this, I would say both the hot air balloon ride and Green Tour were worth it. It was a good way to see the landscape and explore the natural caves of Kapadokya.
3- The food. Lamb here is amazing! Turkey has actually changed my mind on 2 things I generally don’t love to eat: lamb and baklava. The lamb is tender without a gamey taste, and the baklava is just super flaky and crispy. And of course, the Turkish coffee: smooth.
4- The people. Everyone has been so genuine and nice. I haven’t run into anyone who isn’t willing to answer a question or push a product on to me. Of course, this may just be because everyone works in the tourism industry, but still. It’s really nice to be able to go up to a stranger on the street and ask a question.
Kicking off my 2-week vacation in Turkey/Spain! Can’t wait to experience all the beauty and culture from these 2 countries
You know you’re old when…
…No one can stay up past midnight on a weekday to wish you a happy birthday.
And I haven’t written anything new regarding my trip like I promised.
I did, however, go out and celebrate Pride this weekend. #priorities
The countdown to my summer vacation begins now!!! 10ish days until my family trip to Turkey/Spain, and I’ll be losing my virginity on a few firsts:
My first foray into Europe.
My first international vacation in 2 years.
My first family vacation since college.
Ok so the last 2 don’t really count as firsts, but it has been awhile since I’ve gone on a family vacation! I’m already panicking, but don’t you worry, these panic attacks will definitely be translated into blog posts later (like what/how to pack, personal travel tips, obligatory playlist etc). I also have full intention to try to be an even BETTER, more CONSISTENT blogger than I normally am, and document at least one thing from my trip onto this tumblr once a day.