Istanbul!!!


Arrived, safe and sound, and on-time. Bus ride to our hotel, in the Sultan Ahmet area, was a bit surreal - we left Amman and thought we were heading to a "fellow Muslim city" and instead we had entered Europe. We were "not in Kansas anymore", nor Amman. Istanbul is simply stunning - it's European, Muslim, secular, Asian, modern, historic.

And it's a tourist trap, which I discovered on my leisurely walk to the Haya Sofia and Blue Mosque, a mere 7-minute walk from our hotel. We may just have to be rude back to those who will not stop when it comes to hassling us for visits to their restaurant, their coffee shop, their jewelry store, and whatever else it is they're hustling. Luckily, we have many full academic days, plus a couple of tour days, planned. Otherwise, I might end up with the reputation of the "Ugly American" as I go from feigning deafness to their blathering all the way down to verbal push-back.

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