Someone (likely Rick Steves) once said, “Don’t tell me what books you’ve read, tell me where you’ve been.” I have to say books are important, but traveling does open up your horizons in ways that books don’t. Traveling allows us to become more open minded and tolerant. It allows us to see Mother Nature’s best creations, and it entices us to be more curious about our surroundings. Traveling never ceases to amaze (books can sometimes put me to sleep). Traveling will reveal plenty of little surprises – good and bad, to show us how different the world is, and that what we have in the US isn’t always the norm. At the same time, it reminds us to cherish what we do have back home that the rest of the world doesn’t.
Our two weeks in Istanbul has already provided several examples. Here they are in no particular order.
1. Turks smoke a lot. Smoking has really gone down in the US ever since Bloomberg banned smoking in NYC restaurants a couple of decades ago. Smoking has since become uncool in the US, and the rest of us have benefited from that change in mentality. We take our cigarette smoke free air for granted, and being in a country where smoking is rampant takes some getting used to.
2. In restaurants bread is free, but water is not. Whereas water in the US is free. Tap water in Turkey (similar to Mexico) is not safe to drink. It takes time to get used to the notion of paying for water, but it also reminds us to conserve water. Just because water is free doesn’t mean it’s limitless.
3. Universal masking. Everyone wears a mask. A few people wear it on their chins, but the great majority do cover their nose and mouth. There is no protest about masking, and there is no animosity between people. The US is behind the times in this regard.
4. Contactless menus. The US has clean air and water, but why haven’t I seen contactless menus in US restaurants?
5. Wet naps. You’re given disposable wet naps after every meal to clean your hands with. I have a love hate relationship with this. I love it because you can clean your dirty/oily hands after meals without going to the bathroom, but hate it because of the resources required to make these disposable napkins.
As for today, it was another day of rest. Today’s lunch was Reyhun Iranian for $33.
We had laundry picked up, done in 3 hours, folded, and dropped off for 90 TL. Price is based on weight, and for 2 weeks worth of clothes, I guess it’s reasonable?
Total for today $46.