One interesting thing about living in Europe is that it completely redefines the idea of a “short trip.” Bob gave a talk last week in Istanbul, Turkey. The plane flight was about the same length as the ones we used to take from New York City to Georgia. Another way of looking at it is that Constantinople was the original eastern capital of the Roman Empire. Sure, it was more than a two-hour trip back then. But it was the same Empire, at least for a while.
At the moment, it’s a booming business city. On the European side, it’s something like other European cities, an interesting mix of European-looking and Middle-Eastern-looking faces, clothes, and habits. It has mosques, synagogues and churches. The languages at the conference were Turkish, English, and Russian. The Asian side of Istanbul, though, was much more traditional. Bob said he felt a little conspicuous there with his red hair and American accent.
He traveled with three associates from his firm, one of whom had lived in Istanbul before and spoke Turkish well enough to order food and talk to the cab drivers. Although all three of Bob’s co-workers speak English very well, there would be times when they lapsed into Italian. I can only suppose that he felt very far from home at such times.
Bob has been traveling more than he has been home since March. But this is the last business trip until next fall. We’re glad to have him home.
Since I wasn’t on the trip, I can’t comment very much on the photos, except to say that the dinner photo above wasn’t the only one I received via e-mail during the trip. And Bob has no idea what the leeches were for, but they were on the Asian side of the Bosphorus.