I travel the world and am truly amazed with the sights, cultures, and people but in my eyes there is no place like home.


04 December 2008

Thanksgiving and the big 30th Birthday

My 30th in Istanbul was great fun. Although without my family it didn’t quite seem like it was my birthday or Thanksgiving. Unfortunately I woke to rainy weather and you all know I hate rain. I soldiered on and met up with the group to head out. We ate breakfast at a very local joint near the bazaar where English was slim to none. I had to randomly pick and point to the menu. I ended up with a tasty pastry and meat creation that I tried again later in the week.

Then we tackled the Grand Bazaar. When they say Grand in Turkey they mean it! This place was massive, there were over 4,000 shops here selling everything imaginable. Mostly evil eye items, rugs, typical Turkish souvenirs, teas/spices, and knock offs galore (purses, shirts, etc…). To say it was overwhelming was an understatement, especially as everyone here was very aggressive and you were hassled nonstop. I quickly learned how to be rude and/or ignore.

The big purchase of the day was a rug that my wonderful parents agreed to buy me for my 30th. The shop owner fed us apple tea (yummy) and displayed loads of rugs before I finally selected one.

I also managed to pick up a few fun traditional clothing items to add to my children’s hope chest for the future nieces/nephews.

All this hard work was cause for refreshments and a snack, Baklava and Efes (the locally brewed beer). Rick even braved his first Raki (black licorice flavored very popular local drink).

Then more shopping in search of the perfect items that we just had to have of course. I did buy a cute birthday dress, although buying of said dress involved the shop owner dancing with me and hugging on me. Just what I wanted. Don’t worry I didn’t wear the tiara out that night!

The hotel left me a birthday cake & card.

We ended my birthday – and Thanksgiving – with a very gourmet Thanksgiving dinner at the Four Seasons. This particular Four Seasons was once a prison and has been converted to a five start hotel. It was amazing and gorgeous as expected. Our dinner was a 5 course creation and very yummy. It didn’t measure up to the home cooked Thanksgiving dinners of my parents but it was very tasty and the presentation was wonderful. They even served us mulled cider spiked with Rum upon arrival. I was impressed that the tables were decorated for Thanksgiving, nice to known anywhere in the world an American holiday can be celebrated.

Overall a great 30th Birthday and Thanksgiving. The 30th Birthday will be celebrated again when I am home over Christmas break.

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