Dear children,

We have enjoyed a lovely day here.  Went with the Holmes (area welfare managers) to the Grand Bazaar which is not too far from our hotel.  Everything you can imagine there and the sellers are quite aggressive about hawking their wares.  There is one seller somewhere in the heart of the place (you can’t see it all) that the Holmes took us to meet named Jimmy.  He has a BYU sticker on his little kiosk where he sells silver and gold jewelry and speaks broken English.  He told us that he has been friendly with the Mormon missionaries for 6 years and at heart he is a Mormon, just not baptized but willing to help us in any way that he could.  Later when were at another place Sister Holmes tried on a skirt (no dressing room) and ask the vendor if it was washable but he couldn’t speak English so she called Jimmy on her cell phone and let him translate.  He told the vendor to treat us well because missionaries live here and they will come back if you treat them well.  I bought a light, cooler dress which I needed and spent the afternoon in the hotel room putting a hem in it.

We have seen some women in the complete black burkas with only their eyes showing but not a lot. All the local women wear headscarves, though, so they sell a lot of those at the markets.  This is a very international city and the Holmes said that if you get out into the country most of the women are in burkas.

This evening Dad and I walked down to the water (Sea of Mamara) through a narrow cobblestone street and the sidewalk restauranteurs were quite aggressive about getting you to eat at their establishments so after we walked along the seaside walk a ways we decided to go home another way. Saw part of the old wall that was part of the original fortifications for the city and some monuments and obelisks for different rulers dating back to 390 AD.  We eventually ran into the Holmes and another couple who flew in from Moscow today and had dinner with them at an outdoor cafe.  Just as we were finishing, there was a loud blast and Elder Holmes said we needed to hurry away because missionaries are to avoid crowds and trouble.  As we were walking away there was another blast and police with sirens blaring and an ambulance headed in that direction.

An interesting side note, daughter, is that we had traditional Turkish fare for dinner and your Dad and I knew what the hummus was as well as the stuffed grape leaves because of you. They brought pottery jars to our table on a bed of fire and then artfully cracked them open and poured out the mixture of lamb, chicken and vegetables.  it was very good.  Hope all is well with all of you!  Hugs and kissed to the grandkids!  Love,  Mom and Dad

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