We saw dolphins on our way into the city! They were jumping in the wake left by the cruise ship...
Welcome to Istanbul, where it's only a matter of time until you feel the gleasure... (my dad and Cindy also got pictures of a restaurant menu that had "fired eggs" and "green papers" on the menu... I shouldn't laugh, though -- their English is WAY better than my Turkish... :))
The traffic in Istanbul is crazy... so on our way to the Hagia Sophia/Blue Mosque (Ayasofya/Sultanahmet) area, we sat in front of this sign for a while. We could've just followed the sign and walked the rest of the way... it would've been faster...
Minaret... (we learned, by the way, that the call to prayer is now a recording broadcast over the loudspeakers -- someone just pushes a button five times a day. Well that's no fun at all -- I expect REAL people to run to the top of minarets all over the city five times a day... none of this "recording" nonsense...)
Inside the Blue Mosque... it was beautiful, but it was SO hot and stuffy. I'd worn long pants and brought a long-sleeved cardigan so I could cover up, and the combination of heat, too much clothing, and not very much for breakfast was making me feel rather woozy. So I was anxious to get back outside before I passed out... but I still managed to get some decent pictures:
Actually, Rick may have taken some of these... I was too dizzy and food-deprived to remember. :) Incidentally, we were in Turkey during Ramadan, so I thought perhaps some shops and restaurants would be closed, and not everyone would be eating during the day. But nope -- EVERYTHING was open, and EVERYONE was eating. Not that I can blame them -- I was wondering, as the room spun and I began to black out in the mosque (I MAY be slightly exaggerating), how anyone could fast all day in that kind of heat. I had, at least, had a small breakfast and was taking sips from my mom's water bottle. I suppose the people who WERE fasting were holed up in dark, cool houses... that would be the smart thing to do. (That would also explain why everyone I saw outside was eating and drinking...)
Where are we again? Oh yeah -- Turkey! (Turkish flags were all over the place when we were there -- they were about to celebrate a holiday similar to our July 4th. So, just like we always bring out a plethora of American flags in July, they adorned everything with Turkish flags for their holiday.)
Walking through the Grand Bazzar, where the shopkeepers were very pushy. I did eventually buy a set of purple ceramic bowls, but I was so flustered by the ever-present shopkeeper that I forgot to haggle. My friend Cindy managed to talk down everyone's prices on everything she bought, and I was like, "awwww... I forgot to do that!" I'm sure the shopkeeper was thinking about how great it is when stupid Americans visit his shop and pay more than they should... sigh... Oh well -- they ARE great purple bowls... :)