A 2-Lanyard Day

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.

photo by: Matevz Cerar

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.

A Muslim at prayer inside the Blue Mosque

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 practices haggling in the Bazaar

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. ┬áMeral, our new friend from Istanbul’s Yeditepe University, put her native skills to use

Meral, a 10 lira shirt, and a beaten vendor

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.

GUTV Lanyard of the Day #1

Lanyard winner #1

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.

Matevz gives Aydin lanyard #2

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.

Matt and Prof Dan interview Aydin

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.

  1. Di Taylor’s avatar

    Hi all…Di (Phil’s wife) here We felt your special prayer for Phil and Dr. Kaya all the way back in Spokane…yes indeed God did hear you….just another AMAZING quality of Him! After a rough few days at midnight (Sunday) Phil was beginning to feel better and the blood cultures are coming back clean so that means improving health. As soon as Phil’s up to it, I will read him the latest on the blog…course I’m not going to give him a heads up on that special prayer (I know there will be one teary and blessed engineer). We will share this with Dr. Kaya as well. He indeed is a huge blessing to our family…out of all the doctors in the world and the Spokane region (and us) are so very blessed to have him…God’s love and hands fully at work….it truly shows how small of a world it really is and how much we may be different culturally and in beliefs but fundamentally we are same in heart…in the end that’s what matters. I’m a bit behind in the reading of the blog but have thoroughly enjoyed it. Phil and I and the boys and of course Chloe pup send our love and blessings your way. Take Care and God Bless!

  2. patrick olson’s avatar


    what a recovery …. not a conspiracy of accidents but the remarkable-concurrence of providence.

    your narrative idea’s rocked and assistance seems to be popping out the the ancient roadways.

    always nice to have a Jesuit around.

    soo happy Phil got Eastern – transcendent airtime!

    Best, best, best,


  3. Sean Ryan’s avatar

    You guys are kicking ass and taking names!

    Looking forward to seeing more v-blogs… and Garrity next to bald children :)

    The Bazaar looks like it would be a pretty video shoot… ala the “Hot Dog Stand at Jack and Dan’s” videos (you can find them on reel-2-reel in the GUTV archive room)…

    Keep it up!

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