So I must start this post by saying…..”Amazing, Absolutely Amazing Day!
Today we started off the day with a fantastic buffet style breakfast. Then we are off to the location of our product fair. Three large tour buses wait to transport us in comfort for about a 15 minute drive out of town.
We arrived at a local high school where booths were set up in what looked like a commons area and set up our booth for presentation of our product. Once the booths were set up, we left the area so that we could listen at the opening session. I think this is where the significance of this trip set in. The Minister of Education spoke, and several other high profile business individuals too. The U.S. Ambassador welcomed the students from Turkey. He then welcomed us indicating that we are the first group to attend such an event and mentioned the significance of this. We feel very special to have been a part of something so special. After the ribbon cutting the Ambassador went to each booth. The Ambassadors wife spoke very kindly to the students and liked their product idea.
The opportunity to present at this event was amazing! Oroville students did an outstanding job. While they presented (all students, all booths at once) each student could take a little break and go visit other product presentations. This was very cool as there was a lot of very good products presented. The Oroville students met numerous students and though I am sure they would like to remember them, they might have a tough time remembering their names (hard to pronounce…:>)
Our group was happy to present, and they indicated they liked the competitive marketing that they other groups were using and felt they would like this too. Each one of them had some part in the numerous times the product was presented. I love that our student group wants to be competitive. This also was a great opportunity to exhibit business communications skills also.
After the presentations carried on for a couple of hours, we were bussed to the Ambassadors residence for a Barbecue in the back yard under a cover on the tennis courts. It was a cool opportunity to go to the Ambassadors home. Here the students became celebrities as the students were interviewed for a spot on TV, in the center of the tennis court while the Turkish students were waiting in line for food. This was such a surprise to us, but it was great. There was also an individual from Vermont who told the students that she plans to write about them in her journal publication in Vermont.
The winners were announced for the product fair by the Ambassador after lunch. I do not have the names at this point, but we did take pictures. One group won for making flexible steel for tires for non blow out tires, and the other for creating an innovative idea for womens shoes. A removable heel piece to allow the wearer to either have a pair of heels or a pair of flats.
We would like to sincerely thank the Ambassador and the U.S. Embassy for the wonderful opportunity they provided to us. The kindess, consideration, support and this overall experience has been an opportunity of a lifetime for Oroville students and myself.
As I mentioned our product above, I forgot to mention that numerous people wanted to invest their check points in our product and thought it was a really great idea. A couple of businessmen asked extensive questions about our product. This was really exciting. We were however, guests and were not competing so respectfully declined on the investment tickets.
Back at the hotel we met with our new found friends. We exchanged gifts with Tulin Unganer, our earlier product partner from Izmir, then walked around and found an ice cream/coffee shop to visit. There was lots and lots of laughing and ice cream etc. Then back to the Hotel to crash.
Pictures to follow, as well as more in a second post today. It is 2:19 a.m. here, so have a good day and good night. :>) T.
Today we woke early to prepare for our departure to Ankara. We left our 5 star accommodations with a bittersweet feeling…such a nice place to stay and so much to do. Istanbul was amazing with all it has to offer. Wow!
We boarded our flight to Ankara and had a short flight, up to 29,000 feet long enough to have a sandwich and a drink, then back down to Ankara’s airport. There was no one at the airport it seems. It was almost empty, but what an amazing structure. Was very nice.
We started to leave the airport and Reinna remembered her scooter just in time. There was a bit of a language barrier with our driver, but again, very patient and helpful. He parked his van at the road and we walked back in through security with no problems and found the scooter away from the baggage area hmmm think this might have been the reason we forgot it. :>) That and Reinna came from a different direction as Burcu ordered her first class chauffeured wheel chair service.
On the way from the airport as well as when we were landing we notice the roads are new and very much like our freeways (just a lot smoother). As we traveled, we also noticed housing was fairly sparse, but then became more dense as we entered the city. Ankara has mountains around it from what we can see. It is overcast today but warm. Leaves and grass seem to be similar to home.
It is interesting and rather enjoyable to watch the drivers 7 stories below as they show their road rage or irritation for one another. I think you could probably just call it survival skills actually. Less traffic here it seems than in Istanbul or at least where we have been so far.
Met with Seyda (pronounced shayda) and she is very nice. We chatted for a bit and she then needed to go to her 7 year old (he has homework :>).
When we walked to go to our room a young student looked at Luke and swirled her finger around by the side of her head and said ” English”. I got the chance to Visit with her and her friend while with Seyda. They are so excited to spend time with “your students”. They said “We teach your students Turkish and your students teach us English”. All smiles and beautiful. So friendly.
Friday the students and I will be picked up by bus to go the the College maybe…we are not sure just yet where the conference is, but like we heard before leaving, from our friend Rustin, we are ready for anything. The day will be from 7:30 to 5:00. During this time we will have the priviledge of attending a barbecue with the Ambassador.
Will post pictures of the Innovative Product Fair later…
Thanks for following our amazing trip over here, and for your posts, it is great to hear and read your questions and comments. All I can say about this opportunity is “Wow”!
Today we started our day with a couple of students missing their alarm…I cant imagine this…as fast and furious as we can go, we have and so is very understandable. We lucked out though as some here say we are on Turkish time. Our 8:15 tour guide did not show until 8:30 so the girls made it in record time. ;>)
The events for today involved a full day tour including the Blue Mosque, Ayasofya Museum, a trip to Asia (very beautiful park on the hill) and then to the Beylerbeyi Sarayi (summer palace) by the Bosphorous. All of this with a four star lunch at the top of Otel.
The Blue Mosque or Sultan Ahmet I is called this partly because it has blue tiles. It was built in 1603 to 1617. Very nice work done by architect Sedefkar Mehmet Aga. The mosque (built 1603-17) is the masterwork of Ottoman architect Sedefkar Mehmet Aga. It’s built on the site of the Great Palace of Byzantium. The is what is called a working mosque, so it is closed to non-worshippers for a half hour or so during the five daily prayers.
The museum trips to the Ayasofya Muzesi and Beylerbeyi Sarayi were both informational trips with amazing architecture and history. In the Beylerbeyi, we were again not allowed to take pictures inside, but did see the Admirals rooms and the Queen Mothers Rooms, as well as a beautful 1.5 Ton Chandilier for just a few items to mention.
The trip to the hillside park in Asia was after we crossed what they call the Golden Gate of Europe. We took a breath of fresh air here with all of the fresh flowers.
We did get to have a carpet sales presentation from a gentlemen who went to high school in Seattle. Hi mother being American and father being Turkish, he has dual nationality. This was all before lunch. We were shown one rug (hand made) that took 4 years to complete. The question was asked “how much” and we were told $39000 delivered to your doorstep. Whew, what a beautiful rug, amongst many others.
Pictures of the day:
Tuesday brought a bit more rest as was a very enjoyable, but late night on Monday. This morning, our coordinator, Burcu Alar, arranged for us to have a very kind individual Necimi to accompany us around Istanbul. Necimi is a student at University studying management. He was a super nice young man who also was very helpful to us with our discussions at the Grand Bazaar and the spice market. April Chapple and her husband and little guy also joined us for the day.
We started off with a fairly long walk to visit the Galata Tower. This day was a bit rough for Reinna, but at the end she was still putting on a smile for all of us. A trooper for sure. The walking today started with going through an area where they decided to tear out the cobblestone and pave, but when they tore it out, they decided to put it back in, according to our guide. You will see in the photos that it was a bit rough going for someone on crutches.
The Galata Tower, one of the oldest and most beautiful towers in Istanbul, was built in 528 during the sovereignty of the Byzantine Emperor Justinianus. The tower is measured to be 61 meters from the ground and 140 meters from the sea level. The tower was captured by the Turks in 1453. By going up in the tower, we were greeted with beautiful sunny day and the opportunity to see 360 degrees around Istanbul. Taylor waited with Reinna as she opted not to go on this tour (too many stairs and a bit risky for her). When Katie, Luke, Meagan, Necimi and I made it up to the top, we were glad that Reinna opted not to do this one as the bit of stairs for the last two floors would have been almost impassable.
After the Galata Tower, we walked down through more construction to get to the Bağcılar (tram) to take us to the Grand Market. This market seems about the size of Oroville…lots of shops, oh and did I say lots of shops. Necimi, our guide for the day was so helpful. He seemed to just kindly say a few words and the shopkeepers dropped their prices. He did wait for the students to try a bit, then helped with the prices. It was very enjoyable visiting with Necimi. In the hustle and bustle of the city and the market, he seemed a quiet pillar with kindness all about himself. He was very caring toward the students and smiled a lot. He admitted his English was as he said not so good…I mentioned that my Turkish was not so good…:>) we had a wonderful day with him and will remember our time with him. April Chapple (from Oroville) and her Husband were with us as I mentioned before. What a great couple…very full of energy and so excited to see us. Necimi seemed to get along well with April and here husband and they spoke easily to each other. After a bit of time back at the Otel we met with them again to experience the Turkish subway and a trek to the largest mall in Europe (so they say) which was a beautiful structure. Meagan can now say she is probably the only student in Oroville that has flown thousands of miles for a burger at McDonalds. ;>) This late evening trip on the subway to the mall had us present for a local singing celebrity at the mall center court. We tried to find out the name of the singer, but were unsuccessful in our attempts. We found it interesting that at the spice market and grand bazaar their were more english speaking shop keepers than at the mall. :>) Not much shopping here, just the eats and the experience.
The students and I find it very special that we can now say we have traveled to both Europe and Asia several times a day for the last few days. Pictures of our day follow.
Today we walked to a breakfast shop a few blocks away from our hotel. Lots of different breads and pastries, cheese and drinks of choice. Then back to the hotel to meet with our Tour Guide. Transportation for the day is very nice with a narrated tour.
1st to the spice market (we want to go back here before we leave)
2nd on to our cruise on the Bosphorus. It was a bit cool for some but very pleasant for others of us We were able to help Reinna to the top deck with us and had a great time taking photos and hearing about the different homes and buildings. Lots and lots of history here. Overcast today, but very pleasant temperature to walk in.
Along the way we see nicely planted flowers and some grass freshly mowed at the tour sites.
After the cruise tour, we stopped at an active worship location. Learned how and why the people worship here and how it is done. You can see the apparel the students are asked to wear for this exercise.
After this, we ate a very fine lunch on the top floor of a hotel so we could look out at the city while we ate a large meal of specially prepared salad, lentil soup, specialty chicken, egg rolls, rice, appetizers of peppers and tomato, lots of bread, a chef prepared fancy dessert and of course a cola that was 6lira or right around $4.
On to the Topaka palace!
An amazing place of history…with its three large court yards, a library, huge kitchens (being renovated). The kitchens at one point had over 400 cooks. We learned of the Sultans and there lifestyles, their Harem, viewed the amazing articles of great value such as swords, helmets, clothing etc. Amazing the amount of diamonds, rubies and emeralds that were so artistically placed. Oh, and don’t want to forget viewing the 3rd largest diamond in the world…wow. It was found in the garbage. Someone thought it was just a crystal, can you imagine that?(no pictures of these as not allowed, sorry).
After pictures at the palace facing the Bosphorus. What an amazing opportunity, thanks so much (can’t say this enough).
Here are some of the pictures of our whirlwind day.
After a couple of hours in Seattle at the airport, we all weathered the storm with something to occupy our time on the 9 hour flight to Amsterdam. After departing the Airbus A300 330 in the middle of the tarmack, taking a long bus ride around the huge airport, we found out that we needed new boarding passes. We ran (Reinna Scooted :>) to the transfer station and then ran from Gate E4 to D55. Got there just in time. Yes! This leg of the flight was on KLM airlines. Kids are wiped out…me too. Istanbul here we come. All of the flights were very good. We are well taken care of!
When we arrived at the Airport in Turkey, we were checked through customs and came out of the airport to a huge crowd of people with signs looking for there travelers. Thanks to Luke’s good eye we found our transfer ride into our Hotel.
Upon arrival at our hotel we were told there were no reservations…You should have seen the look in my eyes. Middle of a city of 20 million and no room? Hmmm as I said before though we are very well taken care of as our coordinator showed and took care of things.
After a quick freshening up we walked with Burcu and Jada for a wonderful opportunity to Turkish authentic Turkish cuisine. Was amazing. $150L for all of us. Had a great visit. Everyone is doing very well. We did get to see some political activity in the streets…interesting…Also a great visit with our coodinator’s who are wonderfully friendly.
Here are more pictures of the day, More tomorrow…
Up and at em! Saturday Morning brought about a travelers wake up call for departure to Istanbul. The day brought about a departure at 6:30 a.m. with a very nice drive by Mr. George Thornton. What a beautiful sunny day. With a quick stop at starbucks in Wenatchee, George waited to make sure we were all checked in before he took off… A few small issues with ticketing slowed our our check in, but here we are getting ready for the first leg of the Journey…Then coming off the plane in Seattle.