Hi from Rick: Divides and Bonds
|"Zuzu" stops the world from spinning, to the delight of Lale and Granny.|
I recently flew home from Istanbul...but I'm still there. The city's vivid images blow like snowdrifts against my mind. I can't leave until I dig out.
Each night during my six-night stay I'm drawn to the Ramadan street fair — the rollicking food fest after the fast. Six floodlit minarets rocket into black sky above hordes of people. Sticky treats shine under swinging lamps. Young girls make head scarves fashionable. Turkish coffee cooks in copper kettles buried deep in red coals. Small, hourglass-shaped tea glasses perfectly fit fists — Anatolian hand-warmers. All the little children know two phrases in English: "What is your name?" and "How old are you?"
Standing on a ledge overlooking the jammed mosque courtyard, I talk with a brother and sister. Their dad is an imam. I say, "Where I come from, pastor's kids are trouble — we call them PKs." The sister said that would not be her...but it would definitely be her brother.
Travel teaches me how we are so different, yet essentially the same. For instance, out of all this Turkish wonder, my friend, co-author, and guide Lale drove me to her home — down an eight-lane American-style freeway to a gated community of condo-dwellers that could have been suburban Dallas.
Lale's mother (in from Ankara to help with Lale's new baby) greeted us with five-month-old baby "Zuzu" in her arms. Workaholic Lale took the baby, turned to me, peered over her glasses, and said, "I'm a very logical woman. I know how to separate facts from emotion. But when it comes to my baby, the world stops spinning."
The hunger to see exotic sights is what motivates us to buy that next plane ticket. But as soon as we return home it's our memories of people — and that deeply resonating tangle of cultural divides and common bonds — that keeps drifting through our minds, enriching our lives.
Whether you feel a pull toward Turkey, Rome (this month's featured destination in Tour News), or anywhere else in Europe, we're here to help you prepare for your next great adventure.
Join us, and bring home lasting souvenirs like these.