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istanbul reflections

i've been in istanbul for a few days now and am having an excellent time. i've already hit the main tourist sites, made a pledge to myself to get a history book on the ottoman empire in the next bookstore i go into, and drink with random backpackers until late in the evening.

evenings involve glasses of efes pilsner with other backpackers are usually accompanied with a game of backgammon on my portable set with a somewhat unwilling backpacker whom i rope into a game or four. all generations of the turks seem to be in love with the game of backgammon -- i will have to play with a turk at some point, but given my relative lack of skill at the game, i will no doubt get demolished in the game unless i roll lots of double-sixes.

it's a cliche to say that istanbul is steeped in history, and yet it's absolutely true. from the stalls in the grand bazaar (whose food stalls yield some of the best kebabs in town to the crowds of locals) to the basilica cistern (one of my favorite places, since i love underground feats of engineering and waterworks), this city has a rich past and both the local sights and culture reflect this.

as part of seeing the major sights around istanbul, i went to aya sofya. i'll never forget standing in aya sofya for the first time, amazed by the history and the design, and in shock realizing that all those history classes i never paid attention to in high school were all actually quite interesting and relevant in ways i never fully comprehended at the time and maybe never even fully appreciated before now.

i'm headed out to tokyo in a few days via almost 24 worth of flights and connections, so this will be my last post until then!

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 16, 2006 7:19 PM.

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