Day 25 – Istanbul

I woke up at 6AM.  I couldn’t believe today I had to be at the airport.  WHY!??!!  I need just one more day to say good-bye properly.  As I plotted ways to miss my plane, to figure out a way to wash dishes and afford an apartment, I said my goodbye’s to the lucky remaining students bound for Greece and Italy, and boarded the shuttle to the airport.

Luckily, I had company on the bus to talk to to keep my eyes from wandering off to look out the window at the Bosphorus, Mosques, Palaces, Businesses, and people.  I think now in hindsight, I would have teared and went into a mad frenzy in order to be deemed un fit to fly so that I could have another day or two there.  :-p

At the airport, I checked my bags.  It was official, I was leaving and had no other way out.  I hugged our tour guide Deniz, telling her not necessarily goodbye….

Somehow, I know I’ll be back…

Day 23 – Istanbul

The day started with a visit to Starbucks.  I needed coffee for some reason, but food that wasn’t necessarily good for me more so than anything else.  I ordered a huge chunk of Lemon cake, that guess what, was good for me!  Turkey and their healthy fresh food, it’s not fair.  :-p   I looked around the starbucks and noticed that it was just like home.  People piled in on their computers and drank coffee, secretly being their own way of social by people watching.

After I ate my delicious yet healthy cake and drinking my white mocha, I met with my MBA comrades and we headed to the Chamber of Jewelry where we met with the Vice President.  Hold your seats – She’s a woman!  We sat down with her and asked her as many questions we could about being members of the Chamber and found out that Turkey has 153 Chambers for its separate Industries not to mention the main Chamber of Commerce.  Her English wasn’t that well, but she worked hard to translate as much as possible in order to help us.  I felt as if we walked into any Business office in America, the Vice President wouldn’t be sitting down to talk to us.  So I was very humbled and grateful for this opportunity.

MBA's at the Chamber of Jewelry in Istanbul

We then headed to the Sultan Ahmet Cammi (The Blue Mosque).  The beautiful cascading domes in the courtyard made this mosque unique along with the interior design that reminds visitors that they are small in front of God.

Blue Mosque's Cascading domes in Istanbul, Turkey

Afterwards, we headed to the Grand Bazaar where we met with Professor Koc.  He was patient enough to sit with us for almost 3 hours and answer all of our questions individually so that we could fill in the gaps with a lot of the information we needed that was only found in Turkish.  Thus far, the Turkish people have been extremely accommodating in helping when they can and that’s something that I feel everyone should do.  I can’t even fathom what a call to Customer Service is like in Turkey!

We then realized he was getting a bit weary from all the questions and decided to give him rest.  The rest of the day would be filled with compiling the remainder of our information and research. 

But not until after a trip to Ciya across the Bosphorus and on the Asia side of Istanbul.  The food was really good and I had lamb kebap that I didn’t want to share. 

Ciya RestaurantLamb SIRLOIN Kebap at Ciya in Istanbul

On the ferry back to the hotel, I captured a ferry performer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zi5c9qukhew&feature=youtube_gdata

Turkish street music – Not bad at all

Day 22 – Istanbul

Today would be our presentations, but also a rare opportunity to survey Turkish University students and find out the answers to burning questions about Business culture and practices.  So, we missed out on visiting a Mosque (Cammi) in order to prepare the survey.   We spent the morning compiling questions for the Professor we be-friended and a survey for his students.  We had a limited time span to get the questions over to him as school would be out today!

The time flew by.  When we finished the questions, I headed down from the terrace restaurant at the Golden Horn and got dressed for this afternoon’s presentations.  By bus, at 2:30 we headed to Taksim to meet with the Turkish Cultural Foundation.  We arrived at 3pm and were greeted hospitably with the offer of beverages and cookies.  If I didn’t know any better, I’d say the Turkish people were trying to make me fall in love with them.

Shortly after, we were treated to 2 presentations.  One by a representative at Armaggon who educated us on the textile patterns currently in use and the natural dye techniques.  Then, by a top Professor and famous expert in the area of Ottoman textiles and art history.  She gave us an indepth presentation on life in 1582 and if I didn’t know any better, she’s a reincarnation of a person who lived during these times.  The past 3 weeks exposed us heavily to textiles, motifs, and art that links to the Islamic and Ottoman traditions of Turkey.  So by the time we sat down to her presentation, we had a nice background to really appreciate her lecture.

We then had dinner.  It was peda time!  Yum!  After a short dinner break, we all started our presentations.  There were 14 of us that were supposed to speak for 5-10 minutes each.  But sometimes, nerves get the best of you and that time is shortened or extended.  🙂  Watching the presentations made me quite sentimental.  I had memory replay’s through the other students presentations.  The tulip motif’s, the water systems, the domes all brought me back to the cave pottery store, Ephesus, and the first time we entered the Hagia Sophia.

Wow!

This had been an amazing trip and I felt like my presentation on Intellectual property was random against the background of so much art, history, and culture.

Luckily, my presentation went well enough that I was recommended to go to law school afterwards.  I don’t know if that was because it was long and boring or if I showed my passion for IP.  :-p  It’s quite funny as I have been debating becoming a lawyer over the past couple years…

Regardless of the next step for me, I know that my time in Turkey is greatly appreciated.  Around 9:40pm, it was time to head back to the hotel.  The pressure of presentations was off our shoulders and the reality of leaving was upon me.  But we needed to celebrate in dance for the presentation being over and a drink of sorrow to say goodbye to the country that’s been so amazing for us to visit…

We went to a nearby bar where the Aussie’s were determined to out dance us.  We held our own, but were out numbered.  Oh well, we have a couple days left to leave a positive American stamp in Istanbul…