Tuesday, April 08, 2008


Several years ago, I was taking a History of Civilization class at a Los Angeles community college. The class was long and kind of dull and I spent most my time daydreaming while staring at a map on the wall behind the teacher.

The map had a title like "The Ancient World" and it had shadings for various empires that had sprung up throughout the ages. While contemplating the map, I noticed the Black Sea and the rich growing areas that surrounded it. Then I noticed the Mediterranean, and the population centers associated with that. Then I noticed the Bosporus river, which connected both those areas. At that moment, I had the same "ah, ha!" moment that people have had for some 3,000 years: put a city right on that river, and you can control just about everything.

Obviously, a lot of people have had that idea, and a great city has been built on that site. And ever since that moment in that stuffy classroom, I've wanted to see that city. That time is now. Tomorrow we are leaving for a trip to Istanbul. Actually, there are some hoops to jump through first. We have to drop the kids off in Phoenix (we're adventurous people, but not that adventurous), then Julie has to continue on to a trade conference in Los Angeles before we both head off to Turkey.

But the point is we're going, and we're leaving tomorrow, and I'm very excited.

I'm a little apprehensive about a few things as well. The U.S. approval rating in Turkey is 9%. That's the lowest of anywhere in the world. More people in Iran like us than in Turkey. More people like us in North Korea. We're even more popular in Iraq. That's really saying something.

There's some freedom in that low approval rating, though. If everyone thinks you're awful, well, you can only get better from there.

But now I've got to go back and finish packing. I just got my passport out and almost wept with joy. I'll check in when I can.

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At 3:03 am, Blogger Birchsprite said...

Hey great stuff! Hope you have a fantastic time and come back with tons of photos!!!

At 6:59 am, Blogger thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy said...

Safe travels — and have fun!

At 2:12 pm, Blogger Reluctant Kerry said...

Why should you guys let the American approval rating get you down? You get to spend your vacation as Canadians, eh?

At 12:51 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a good time to pose as Faeroese???

At 11:00 pm, Blogger Workman said...

This would be a good time to try to pass as Faeroese.

At first I was worried that I would get caught as I can't speak a word of the language. But it seems unlikely I'd run into anyone who could speak Faroese while in Turkey anyway. So who could tell me that line of gibberish wasn't Faroese?


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