Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Monday, December 10, 2012

Gobble gobble

Within the span of a few days, I purchased plane tickets to the US, Turkey, Bulgaria, Thailand, Romania and Nantes (don't even bring up my current credit card bill).  It was one of those times when I sat there and thought "How on Earth did this end up being my life?"  Not in a bad way by any means, but there are times when I remember my roots in small-town MN and I marvel at how I ended up where I am today.  I always thought I would live abroad, but from the the age of 10 onward, I assumed I would grow up to marry a Finnish man and live in Finland. France was never anywhere in the picture. So I can't help thing about all the forks in the road over the years, and how they have (randomly?) lead me to Paris.

I particularly felt that way last week in Turkey.  I have wanted to go to Turkey for some time now, but C was a bit off-put by the idea after trips to Egypt and Tunisia (the man can't stand crowds of people pulling at him). Given all the attention my blonde hair attracts, I have to admit that I was a big worried about going to Turkey on my own, especially as it involved a rather-complicated itinerary including a ferry and several rides with drivers provided by a potential customer. **

I unfortunately didn't get to see much there, besides gigantic apartment buildings being built everywhere. And I mean everywhere.  No matter where we went, they were popping up like flies left and right. I think it says a lot about the Turkish economy right now, especially since a lot of them were really fancy-looking (miles better than all of those awful towers going up along the Seine). 
Based on what I'd heard from friends, I was expecting the Turks to be a bit more friendly than they were, but there was certainly no outright hostility like there sometimes is in France.  And the food also wasn't as great as I was expecting, but maybe my customer didn't take me to the right places. I also got stared at everywhere I went, but I never felt uncomfortable and not a single person harassed me, so I'm pretty sure C and I would be left fairly tranquil were we to visit.  I was also surprised by how modernly the women dressed - it might not be the same in Eastern Turkey, but at least in all of the places we went in the west, I didn't see a single woman wearing head scarf or a burka.  I tried asking my customer and the interpreter some questions about the history of the country, and they didn't really know that much, or at least didn't want to share.  Overall, it was a very intriguing place, and I would love to go back someday and explore more of the country. 

My boat ride across to my client did provide for a little bit of scenery:
 Though I had to laugh when I woke up from my nap and saw this:
For a minute, I felt like I was in one of those movies where the heroine realizes she is the only one in the world not frozen in time. 

**This actually ended up being a really funny experience, because I spent most of my time there being driven around by these random men who would just show up in the lobby and say "Ksam" and then I would follow them no questions into their car and hope they were taking me to the right place. None of them spoke English, and it crossed my mind on several occasions that this could make for the start of another funny movie...

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Blogger Anon said...

Excellent career,love reading about your travels, and the schooling is inspiring.
Merry Christmas, Sam!

December 11, 2012 at 3:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been working in Eastern Turkey and not had a chance to visit Western Turkey yet.

Eastern Turkey is apparently quite different and I was a little apprehensive about working there in 45 deg C heat if I had to be completely covered up. But it seems quite mixed. Western style clothing in our small village (majority are Alevi people), with woman wearing scarves and long clothes/coats in the city (Suni muslim) and some rural villages. Burkas were a definite minority.

The only thing I found really difficult was not being able to eat or drink (even water) in public during Ramadan. Our village was an exception where life carried on as normal as opposed to restaurants being closed during Ramadan in the city and no one was drinking tea in the teahouses.

As a blonde I felt more stared at in Sth America. I was unimpressed by the food also!

I love hearing about your travels!

December 11, 2012 at 10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I assumed I'd marry a Finnish man" - had to smile at that. Funny how some things turn out in life, hey?

December 12, 2012 at 12:26 PM  

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