Making history real

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Flag of Turkey  , Cappadocia,
Sunday, April 15, 2012

When you come from such a young country it is hard to get your head around the depth of history a country like Turkey has. We have just been through the archeological museum. There are the relief mosaics from the gates of Babylon, an intricate sarcophagus depicting Alexander the Great in battle and one of the earliest writings by King Heziakiah (sic) about some plumbing in Jerusalem. There are artifacts from people I thought were made up, like King Midas and underground cisterns from the Byzantine era. The Hagia Sophia even has a small section of graffiti writing by some Vikings.......vandals!

But unlike Rome, the history does not seem to 'weigh the people down'. The Turkish are very forward looking and positive about their future. Maybe it is this optimism that make them so like Aussies. I know you should spend time getting to know people and not jump to conclusions but, damn it, I instantly liked the Turkish people. It's like Aussies and Turks  fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. Here are a few examples.....
Example one
There is the carpet selling man. On day one we met him and took pictures of his cat. Every day we pass him and exchange greetings. On our last day I was walking past all one and...
Hassan (carpet man): 'on the first day you say you would see my shop but you do not come' 
Julie: 'no not today'
Hassan:'but you have two minutes now'
Julie: ( thinks for few seconds) ' yes, I have. But I am not going to but a carpet'
Hassan: does not matter
I went in and he made me tea and we sat down. At first the conversation was about rugs but when I leant forward and and said ' you know, I am NOT going to buy a carpet' he said 'doesn't matter' and from then on we just sat back and discussed family. I told him funny stories about my travels and we laughed. We called in the next day and showed him pictures of our family, again with a cup of tea. He did not attempt to sell us carpet but was happy to have a chat.
Example two
On the train to the airport it was once again raining and the tram was crowded. I sat next to a nice guy who turned out to be a movie star/actor. (picture Joey from Friends.) We connected when he found out i was Australian. ANZAC was his first response. Seems he had played a turkish officier in a film about the ANZACs. He even played me a scene from another of his movies on his phone. (it was a blatant rip off of Home Alone.) He whipped our a page from his CV showing himself in various roles and then proceeded to sign if. I assume it says 'to Julie, with all my love, Vulcan Tan' but I don't really know. We then had a somewhat heated discussion when I admitted to supporting Inter rather than his Turkish football team but we got on like good friends. All this on a crowded tram in the rain.

I have a lot of respect and close feelings for the Turkish people.......and I think they have a similar place in their hearts for Aussies. 
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stephen on

If the carpet guy was really like an Aussie carpet guy his shop would have a “70% off closing down” sign out front.

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