That’s right…for the first time in history, we award 2 GUTV Lanyards of the Day in the same day. Forget that the history of the award goes back only 5 days. It’s a big deal to us. We began by splitting our crew up into two teams. The first assignment went to Levi, Matvez, and Feryade. Their homework: provide a digital media tour of Istanbul’s Blue Mosque.
For two hours, they combed the inside and outside of this beautiful structure built by Sultan Ahmet 400 years ago. But even today it stands as one of the most iconic buildings of a city filled with icons. Impressive from the outside, and even more striking from within. Visitors–Muslim and non-Muslims are welcomed inside. Most stay in the rear, since the front is reserved for those who have come to pray.
Anyone can pray in front if they choose, so I did. It just so happens that my dear friend Phil Taylor is battling cancer back in Spokane, and battling well, I might add. His doctor is from Turkey. It just made sense to check in at the mosque and ask a special blessing for them both. It may have been a different venue for me, but I’m pretty sure I was talking to the same God.
Next up: a visit to the Grand Bazaar. Matt, Ana and Meral will take you on a tour of a shopping center still hopping after 600 years. Picture the most crowded mall you’ve ever been to. Now add about 300 thousand customers a day. I’m not kidding. If crowds bother you, stay in your hotel room. This place is packed. And this is where our students decided to practice a time-honored bazaar tradition: haggling.
Ana learned when the opening price for a decorative bowl is 40 lira, a 2 lira counter offer gets not much more than a laugh and a smile. Meral, our new friend from Istanbul’s Yeditepe University, put her native skills to use
and got one of our trivia winner’s a great deal on a shirt. Pretty soon, AnnaMaria DiPietro will be sporting this number all over Gonzaga…at a tremendous bargain to GUTV thanks to Meral.
Our first GUTV lanyard of the day was awarded to a helpful carpet salesman…a part-time salesman at that. We met Mert in front of his father’s shop where 4 generations of his family have operated in the same location. Mert is a Mechanical Engineering major at Istanbul Technical University and helps his dad in the Bazaar on weekends.
What earned him the lanyard honor? According to Ana, it was his cute eyes.
Lanyard #2 went to Aydin Aygun, a dear friend I met in Spokane while he was getting his Master’s in Religious Studies at Gonzaga. Aydin owns Eon Tours, the company that’s footing the bill for us while we’re in Istanbul.
Despite an incredibly busy schedule, Aydin took us all to dinner, then sat down for an interview until almost midnight. In the morning, he was off on a 7am flight to show off his country to another tour group.
As one guide left, we found another right within our own group. Fr. Peter, our Jesuit friend from Slovenia, amazed us with his historical lessons on the area. Next blog: Fr. Peter helps us explore the Christian influence of Istanbul.
Comments are now closed.