We’re here

Hello, Dear ones!

We arrived in Istanbul at 10:30 on Sunday morning after a long and arduous flight from New York. We flew over Spain and the Mediterranean due to the ash in the Northern route.  We were met by the Pasketts – the local missionary couple – and taken to the President Hotel and then to church.  It was a very international meeting with everything that was said in English being translated into Turkish. Visitors there from Finland, Germany, and America plus regular Turkish members as well as a sister from Ethiopia and the Phillipines. We met in an office building.  The elevators here hold about 2 people but usually 4 squeeze in – claustrophobia.  About 40 people in attendance.

Came back to the hotel and I went straight to bed.  Had only had abut 4 hours of sleep in 48 hours.  Dad went to get something to eat and then came to bed also.  Awakened about 5:30 with the call to prayer.  Daughter and daughter-in-law, you would love this incredible city!  Beautiful domed mosques everywhere as well as the minarets that stick up like needles all over the place and where the call to prayers are broadcast 3 times a day for about 10 minutes.  Beautiful flowers along the boulevards – mostly tulips. Street vendors with fresh produce, etc.  Crazy taxi drivers who honk at the people who are all over like ants, but the drivers do not stop for them.  On the way to church ours got in an argument with another driver on a narrow cobblestone street which had room for only one car at a time – ours won.  We are showered and ready to head up to the 6th floor of the hotel for breakfast.  No real high rises that I have seen here, which is probably good because Turkey is definitely in the earth quake zone.  From there we will look out over a sea – not sure which one – maybe Bosborus? Will go to the Grand Bazaar later.

We would not be able to afford a hotel like this (about 200 -300 Euros per night) but the Pasketts worked out a special deal for our conference this week.  Even with the doormen and all other amenities it isn’t America’s standard.