Thursday, December 21, 2006

We see the Blue Mosque from our hotel window here at the Arcadia in Dr. Imran Oktem Street. It is just two blocks southwest outlined against the Sea of Marmara and the Asian shore. In case I fall back asleep after the 6AM telephone ring, the call of the muezzin wakes me back up again...five times a day the Muslims of Istanbul are called to prayer.

Up close and inside the Blue Mosque is a wonder of open space, space for more that 8000 to worship.

The streets are a mixture of the familiar and the utterly different; rather like this Turkish keyboard I am using to write this post. To see Hotmail in Turkish demands a mental translocation. Familiar brands are here. The UPS store in the next block not only has the familiar brown and gold logo but two giant plastic figures of the brown uniformed deliverymen suspended from the second story of the building.

If you wonder at the strange punctuation, it is because the keyboard does not seem to want to deliver the normal marks in the right places. As we run up to Christmas here in the Near East, I hope to figure it out but I am not holding my breath.

If you are attracted at all to Turkish carpets this is definitely the place to be.

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