Modern Day Wardrobe Malfunction.


So I have been traveling this week for work.  I love to travel. I love meeting and working  with Customers – I love to hear their stories, understand their goals and aspirations, and relate to them in a personal and professional way.  When I am able to make a difference in their work life, it makes me feel really good. I gain great pleasure seeing them “get it” – when they learn that there is a different, better way.  Makes my day.

This article is not about my work travel and adventures, my passion for travel, or how much I love my customers.  It is about picking the wrong clothes and packing too lightly- aka a modern day wardrobe malfunction.

Having been through hundreds of airports, on thousands of flights in the last 20 years,  I like to be comfortable when I travel (who doesn’t?).   I used to travel in my business wear – skirt, high heel, silk blouse….  no longer.  I like to look fashionable but be comfortable.  So upscale “active wear” (if you haven’t seen the Active Wear video, stop everything and watch it. Bookmark it and give yourself a good laugh on tough days).

Anywhoo, being on the curvy side, I love the Curvy Fit at Ann Taylor and The Loft.  Honestly, if you are a woman with substance, check the curvy fit out …  pants that actually fit without having to nip, tuck, hem… no tailoring!  They actually carry the Curvy fit in Petite.  I discovered this about 4 years ago and have not purchased another pair of pants since.  They fit my body and my short stature.

Well, I was with a friend a few weeks ago and we stopped into an Ann Taylor.  I find these lounge pants that have elastic at the waist and the leg bottoms.   The material is so soft… and they are more form fitting (not sloppy).. fashionable right?!?!  They definitely fit The Do of Jogger pants fashion.  I fall in love. I buy them (I never pay retail for anything!).  My vision is that these are my stylish travel pants.. with a pair of comfy sneakers or short heel, a nice t-shirt/top, a casual jacket.  I will own it – My vision is stylish AND comfy.  I. Am. The. Boss.

Nope. Vision vs. Reality.  The pants, well they stretch out.. a lot.  I purchased a Small. Based on the amount of stretch after one flight alone, I should have purchased a Petite XS.  Wow, these things went from stylish and sexy, to sloppy and frumpy in 2 hours… This probably wouldn’t be that big a deal, except that I chose to ONLY bring these pants on my trip (along with a dress and a skirt)…   I look like I’m wearing my pajamas when I wear these pants.  I tried to find a picture of a fashion fail like the one I have made, but alas, there are none. Apparently no one else makes these kinds of faux-pas.  But I did find a very long article on the right vs. wrong way for men to wear suspenders. Fascinating article. 😉

Needless to say, I recommend that you do not pack a brand new pair of pants as the ONLY pair of pants when traveling. Your welcome.

What are your favorite places to purchase clothing?  @Greygoose – You are tall (I am short).. I always think about what it’s like for you to purchase clothing..  I’d love to hear your story!






Lovely Lady Land Yacht Bits.

pehrump - drive through mtns
enjoying the open road

So the Lady Land Yacht was purchased from a dealer in Pahrump Nevada.  Pahrump is about 50 miles West of Las Vegas Nevada.   When I tell people about Pahrump, they all tell me about legalized prostitution.  I had to look it up, they are right, it is where the Chicken Ranch is…  Why did I not know this???

Lady Land Yacht was sitting on a lot of what I call the “auto graveyard” – where autos go to die.  I wished I had taken a picture of this.. I think I was in shock when I first saw the whole scene.

Onto the Lady Bits and her “under the dress” bits.  The mechanics.  She has been with the mechanic for a few weeks now and they have assessed her… and it is not as bad as I thought.  There are 5 major areas that need fixing,  most of which are turning out to not be that big of a deal.

Now, I share all this with you because when you buy a used motorhome, you just don’t know what you will get.  Yes, you can have a mechanic check it out (I did), but unless you are in the same location as the apple of your eye or you know the original owner…  you take a risk.

So, on with the assessment.

First, the good news.  Brakes, belts, tires are all in good condition.  Engine is in excellent condition (with only 87k miles on her, she will last a lifetime!)..

Now, areas of improvement:

  • Generator – is not getting fuel due to burned up wiring to the fuel pump. Replace these and a few carburetor parts.  The generator only has 56 hours on it.. so essentially its brand new.  Should last forever.  Now she/we can go boondocking!
  • Air conditioner blows hot air – yes, I drove this beast home from Vegas (to SLC Utah) NOT only without air conditioning, but BLOWING HOT AIR.  In July. Yes. You read right. This is story for another day.  The reason for the hot air? There was a “crack in the cap”. The cap was replaced and cool air is now blowing.
  • Steps not operational – the stairs that get you into/out of the motorhome through the main door were not working. Or rather, I could hear them working, but they were tied up, which I didn’t untie because I thought they were probably tied up for a reason. Yep. They were.  Bad wiring. Wires have been fixed and steps go up and down as needed.
  • Leveling jacks not functioning- the things that are used to level the RV when camping. You have to keep the RV as level as possible – for sleeping, but more importantly to keep the refrigerator working properly.  Gotta keep the drinks food cool while RV’ing!
  • Missing battery  – bought this lady from what I call the “car graveyard”. When I drove up to the lot, it looked like the place where cars go to die.  Seriously.  Anyway, It makes sense that a battery was missing.  He probably took it out to get another car started/sold.  It was clearly missing – the battery cage/holder was empty and there were wires that were hanging out that clearly where meant to be attached to a battery.  Anyway, I got myself a new battery which should help. 😉

So there you have it.  Not so bad. Not as bad as I thought it would be anyway.

Once I get her back I am planning on taking her to her first RV park so I can gain some new skills – RV Hookups.  Once I’m done I’m ready for the open road!

Do you live near a beautiful park you can recommend?  Have you been somewhere you would highly recommend?  Share your favorite, memorable, or bucket list places so I can check them out!!



Speak Up or Shut Up (or as my mom would say: Please Share Your Opinion).

airstream in driveway


So my intention since my last post was to write every week on Wednesday. You can see I’ve failed miserably…… but in all fairness, I’m writing now, and it’s much more timely than my last last post.  So treat me like a millennial and give me some kudos.  🙂

After my last post I received several emails from folks asking if I was dying.  My response:  Yes, we are all dying and we should want to take care of those we love.  No, I do not have any disease or illness that will shorten my expected life expectancy.   Summary: Don’t worry, I am not dying prematurely, or if I am, I am not aware of it.

Why do I write today?  First to calm your fears about the length of my existence. But I also have some exciting news.  I BOUGHT A MOTOR HOME. Yes, you read right, I purchased and old school 1997 Airstream Land Yacht.  It’s in need of renovation. Yes I still work full-time so, No, I do not have the time to fix it… But I gone and did it anyway – she is mine. The lovely lady is all mine.  I see great adventures in our near future.  I named her Rosie (from Neil Diamonds song Cracklin Rosie), but when I picked her up, she isn’t a Rosie.. she is something else. I’m holding off naming her until she is all gussied up.  No matter what, in all her perfectly imperfect wonder, she is mine and we will have wonderful adventures together.  It cannot wait to travel the USA, meeting new people, and see all the amazing natural wonders of our great country.  My first big adventure – Mt. Rushmore!!

Soooooo… my friends are saying I need to start an entirely new blog to speak to my new adventures to come – in the Airstream. They tell me that this blog is stale…. and I should start anew.  I don’t see why I need to do that.

What are your thoughts?  Your opinion matters.. reply or direct message/email me with your thoughts since I cannot figure out how to insert a Poll plugin for free (free being the key word here)..  speak up now or forever hold your tongue.

Tell me what you want


Wow, Has It Really Been a Year?

So I am on vacation again, feeling inspired to finally share. But when I finally figured out the password, I realize that it has been over a year since I’ve written! I think about writing all the time, I have a lot of clever half written blogs. This just proves that thinking and doing are two very different activities.

So the title of this weeks post WAS going to be Watergate vs. Trumpgate. Now its “what the fuck have I been doing”.

Why Watergate vs. Trumpgate as the title? Because I love history, I love truth, I love a great story. So when people started comparing the current Trump Russian Influence covered up with Watergate, I wanted to understand more about what this meant. My research included:

What I learned I can sum up quickly:

  1. One of the single biggest political breakthroughs/stories would have been missed altogether had The Washington Post and Ben Bradlee just let sleeping dogs lie.
  2. Both the company, Ben as the editor, and the storytellers fought hard to bring the story to the people… they even went up against the federal government and the Supreme Court… and won. They were all partners in bringing the truth forward…
  3. I believe that without this major event in our history, the USA would be much like other countries where governments control the news. So I do believe this is a BIG DEAL in our history.

The dedication of these journalists is admirable, but I will say that this kind of journalism and work could not have been done without the support of the business. What could regular employees due if they were also supported by the company they work for? IMHO I believe that a bad experience could easily be turned around if a Customer Support/Service person was empowered to do the right thing when I called the first time. Tell me you don’t think the same thing.

So why am I writing now? The movie Newspaperman, Ben Bradlee’s autobiography, has inspired me.

I love to write, I think about it everyday. But I don’t do it. I cannot believe its been a year. I literally have a clever saying or blog move through my mind every day.. but I don’t post it because I am unable to “perfect it”… Yes, I am busy with work, travel, family, exhaustion…. All just excuses that stop me from doing what I love.

O.k. So How do we get from Politics to Me? Great question!

I am inspired and I want to be consistent. So help me. From here on out, even if I cannot write a long blog, or I cannot sum up an experience with succinctness, I will still write. Because It is what I love to do – it is what helps me keep tabs on what I’m doing (my memory is really bad these days).. and it is a public record of my activities, adventures, thoughts, and ideas for my family.

Other Random Thoughts I feel compelled to share.

Now that I am back at it, here are a few deeper thoughts.

  1. I think about death all the time (If I haven’t explained why tell me, I’ll add a new blog entry) so making sure I get the most of life is important to me. And sharing a bit of adventure with my friends under an assumed name is also fun. I’m not going to be alive much longer(we are all dying), so I have to make the most of life. And making sure that I have it documented for my friends and family – well it gives them fodder for my funeral.
  2. BTW, for the record, I want to be cremated and have my ashes spread across the Mediterranean Sea… Which sounds great to me (I wished I had a recently deceased relative would have wished for the same thing, I would be the first to arrive and last to leave)… but AbFab’s husband, who has no legs, says to me “god damn it, why do I have to go to another country to spread your ashes.. that’s a lot of work”… yes. It is. So why am I going to make a grown man with no legs go to the Mediterranean Sea and spread my ashes? Because I want him (and everyone else) to have an adventure on me. See a part of this world that is like no other…. maybe the travel bug will bite. I believe that once this happens, this world is a better place for everyone. Every person who travels will all have a greater appreciation and understanding of cultural differences, will become more understanding and empathetic of our fellow humans and their struggles (and delights), and maybe, just maybe, this world will become a more gentler, kinder place to be. That is my wish. So, to you, and the man with no legs, get on a goddam airplane (and bus and train to be fair) and spread my ashes in the Mediterranean Sea.
  3. Oh, and I am currently flying to Italy (from SLC) for my Amalfi Coast vacation. It is a 31 hour journey just by plane (NOT taking into consideration the time change… for all you number crunchers). I departed SLC at 11am MT, arrived Naples at 5pm. I still have a 2+ hour shuttle ride to the hotel. Is it worth it? Hell yes. And you will know why when you show up for my funeral. If you want to go prior to my death, check out Villa Scarpariello on Amalfi Coast.
  4. This one is going to be hard to believe, but really try hard to know this is the truth. yes I’m drinking… I am on the plane, yes, I’m seriously ON THE AIRPLANE now. I am sitting next to a couple who I have not spoken to, but they don’t smell and don’t seem to mind me, so that’s a thumbs up. Anyway, the drink cart came by before the meal. I ordered two glasses of wine.. I got the side eye from the couple which I expect from inexperienced travelers. (It is to be noted that I DID NOT get side eye from the flight attendant, he knew I knew what was up).  So what does this mean for you?
    • A) That there is a huge gap between when the first beverage cart comes out and the second beverage cart,
    • B) flight attendants really don’t care to keep the cart going when people are asleep (over night international flights).
    • So the question to ask yourself — ADVICE ALERT — How long can you/do you want – to wait for another beverage?  Me: Not that long.  So serve me two at a time please.  Thank you.

O.k. I have to go to bed now…  and the Ambien is kicking in. I’m sleepy, very sleepy….

I am chock full of stories AND I’m on vacation so I will write more (expect nothing).

Mwah, Mwah, Mwah (kisses with the french sound)… yes there are 3 of them.

Currently Unemployed.

my name is unemployedYep.  Last week I was going about my business at work when I was called into a conference room by the president of the company.  The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the reasons why customers are not renewing their contracts with the company.  I have shared this information with the executive team for months… so it was odd that he wanted to meet with me to discuss.

Apparently the executives didn’t hear (or want to hear) the truth. Based on the feedback I received (which is ironic because the person delivering the news NEVER spoke with any of my customers) was that the customers churned because they didn’t get the “attention they needed”.  They certainly were not – the company did not support any initiatives to improve customer issues.  I was terminated on the spot.  My computer confiscated.  I wasn’t quite walked out, but the closest I’ve ever been to it.

This company was horrible – the worst working experience I’ve had to date from a company perspective (Man Hands was the worst colleague I’ve ever worked with).  It had a terrible company culture, the leadership was significantly lacking in integrity, SaaS experience, and product delivery.  I knew something was wrong 3 weeks into the job but I didn’t want to admit I had made a mistake.  I put my head down and did what was necessary.. I didn’t want to give up, I wanted it to work.  The lesson I have learned – trust my instincts.  

I will write more later on this topic as it’s a juicy one.  I just wanted to provide an update to my friends out there that I don’t speak to on a regular basis.

What is next for me?  Right now I’m taking some time off. I am in Utah helping my very pregnant niece and her family. … I am spending some quality time with my grand nieces Mayonaise and Shanaynay.  Right now  I want to take 6 months off, re-evaluate my career, and find something that I’m going to love.  I definitely do not have the means to do this so I’m am thinking of ways to make enough to cover my expenses while I think through what I need, where I want to live, and what I want to be when I grow up.   I’m seriously considering obtaining a TEFL certificate and returning to Turkey to teach English.  Why not?

I’d love to hear from anyone who has taken a hiatus from their regular work, who has shifted careers in mid-life, or that has taught English abroad…

Istanbul – Day 6 – Farmers Market, Fatih Mosque, and Kadıköy

Day 6 – Wednesday – was a long day for me. I was out and about the entire day – from 10am to 7pm…  I did ride the tram once – which was excellent – but I spent the rest of the day walking. As it turns out, Old City Istanbul isn’t as big or as overwhelming as it may look on a map.

I was told by the chef at Cooking Ataturk that there was a small farmers market in the Hippadome area on Wednesday mornings. First, I couldn’t find this area on the map. The best way I can describe how to get there is for you to go to the back of the Blue Mosque and turn left and follow the curved road down.. You can’t miss it.  This was a very small farmers market – maybe a dozen farmers showcasing their beautiful fruits, vegetables, and herbs. I purchased some mint and went on my way.

I then walked to the tram and took it to the Aksaray stop. The tram is sooooo clean. So modern. It was 4 Turkish Lira – you purchase a token and use the token to get into the waiting area.  I was pleasantly surprised how civilized everyone is… when I was in Paris a few years ago, it seemed that all the locals would just hop the turn-styles. In San Francisco, no one pays any attention to others.  Not here.  People are friendly, they say hello to one another, and even let the older folks and little kids have the right-of-way. No pushing. No shoving. No jumping of turn-styles.  And this was the natural way – there were no police officers with guns. This is just the way it is.  Respectful, kind, genuine.

2015-11-25-fatih mosque door.3Once I got off the train I walked to the Fatih Mosque.  I was told there was a much larger farmers market there. There was nothing but another gorgeous mosque and beautiful grounds. Here is one of the many doors that invite you to the center courtyard.  Because there were no tourists there and it was out of the hustle and bustle of the Old City, it felt very peaceful.  I sat on a park bench for 30 minutes, soaked in the sunshine, observed my surroundings, and watched silently as regular folks went about their daily business.

2015-11-25-fatih mosque tree1

2015-11-25-fatih mosque tree3 Here is a tree that bewildered me. This is a Çinar Tree – they are long living trees, can live anywhere from 700-1000 years.  The Turks have a great respect for these trees, and some say they are marked as historical landmarks – Even after they die their trunks are left standing, protected, and thus continue to exist in the cityscapes and architectural complexes. This one, which exists on the Fatih Mosque grounds, is alive and well.  It is absolutely stunning.


Because the walk from the Tram station to the mosque was a short 10 minute walk, I decided to walk everywhere…  I meandered through the small winding streets from Fatih district to Eminönü where I planned to take a ferry to Katikoy – a city on the Asian side of Turkey.  I didn’t have a set path, I just headed in the direction I needed to go and let the side streets of Istanbul lead the way.  2015-11-25-fatih rubleI was definitely out-of-place in some areas… I felt safe, and was in no way in danger.  It was just clear to me and others that a)  I was the only woman, b) I was white, and c) with my new Louis Vuitton Tote, I was a tourist.  I didn’t want to do anything offensive so I was careful to not take many pictures.  There were blocks and blocks of buildings where there were openings like this one – where homes and buildings destroyed in the last few earthquakes.

2015-11-25-suleymaniye mosque When I finally got to somewhere I recognized, it was the back of the Süleymaniye Complex.  Somehow, unexpectedly, I stumbled across the tomb of Mimar Sinan.  Mimar Sinan was a major architect during the Ottoman years and is responsible for the creation of the Süleymaniye Complex.  Every local Turk knows who he is.  Anyway, his tomb is behind an octagonal sebil that occupies the corner of the site. Behind the sebil is the architect’s tomb and a little garden, sheltered from the streets on each side by a stone screen.  Here is a picture of 3 locals standing in front of the tomb.

FYI – I received my 4th marriage proposal since arriving in Turkey from the gentleman in the hat. 🙂

2015-11-25-yeni camii near Eminonu-1I was getting hungry so I worked my way to Eminönü to catch a ferry to Kadıköy for lunch.  The walk was wonderful. Of course there was a mosque near Eminönü – Yeni Camii – the New Mosque… 2015-11-25-yeni camii near Eminonu-Plazayes, the new one.  It was completed around 1660…  So yes, the newest one of them all.  I did not go inside (again, I was hungry), but here are folks washing up before entering the mosque and a quick snap of the courtyard area.  I just love how everyone hangs out, taking time out of their busy day to soak up the world around them, give thanks for what they have, pray for others…

2015-11-25-galata tower from ferry2The ferry ride to Kadıköy was nice.. about a 15 minute ride.  Here is a picture of the Galata tower from the ferry.  I didn’t like Kadıköy much.. nothing to really see there. Lots of little streets with shops… but nothing special.   I had lunch at a great little spot – Çiya Sofrası – food was excellent.  But outside of the great meal, I would not go back.  If you are traveling and have fewer days to see everything, Kadıköy can definitely be skipped IMO.

I got back onto the ferry and walked back to my hotel.  On my way I passed a small local mosque with the following message hanging on a sign outside for all to see – “None of you will believe until you love for your brother what you love for yourself“.  In doing a bit of research, I found that this – Hadith 13: Love for Your Brother What You Love for Yourself.  It completely speaks to how the Turkish people are and my experience of them to date (outside of the Rose Water incident during- Day 4).. That to reach the highest level of spirituality and selflessness, they have to love their brother in humanity, Muslim or non-Muslim.

I also am really digging the call to prayer.  Why?  Because it sets a reminder to everyone in the community to think about these things. To stop what you are doing, remember what is important, and go about your day with kindness in your heart.

All in all I walked 6 miles today…  and I felt it.  I went back to my hotel, grabbed my bottle of wine, went upstairs to the rooftop terrace, and reflected on my day while watching the sun set.  I was so tired I feel asleep by 8pm… it was a great day.


Istanbul – Day 4 – Süleymaniye Mosque + Spice Market

I know, I know, what happened to Day 3?  I’ll get to that later.

Monday – Day 4 was a busy day for me –  a lot of walking. 5.5 miles of walking to be exact (thank you fitbit!!).  Because one of the grand mosques was closed (either Blue Mosque or Hagia Sophia), I decided to wonder the Old City and soak in the energy, the people, the streets, the City as I moved towards Suleymaniye Mosque and the Spice Market via the University of Istanbul.

First and foremost, mosques are everywhere, and even the small ones are grand in my opinion.  Here is me, covered up and doing my best impression of Carrie from Homeland.  I was in the mosque for 5 minutes, soaking in everything… the people, the prayers, the space… I was in awe.. I had not expected such beauty and peace.

Instanbul_11-22-FirstMosque - Carina

The mosque is an unknown mosque – its in a small neighborhood where local people stop in and pray…. it’s not on a tourists map.. it’s just there, in plain site for everyone to use. Look at the beauty of the stones, the craftsmanship, the architecture.  These pictures do not do it justice either – you have to see it to believe it.

I left the mosque and meandered through the neighborhoods and finally reached the University. University of Istanbul was founded in 1453. That is 39 years BEFORE Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue and stumbled upon America.  There is some history for you.

So my target mosque – Süleymaniye Mosque. Istanbul has 4 historical preservation sites, and Süleymaniye Mosque and its associated conservation area is one of them. Truly the site is something to behold – not just mosque, or the grounds, but the views and the story of the architect that pulled it all together.   Great story, beautiful place, and I’m glad that it will be protected for others to see and experience it for years to come.  Here are a few pictures that do not do it any justice but do give you an idea of what it’s like on the inside.  I also received quite a bit of literature from a volunteer at this mosque.  A lot of FAQ’s about Islam, Muslims, Allah, etc..  Once I read through the materials I will share what I learn.

Istanbul_11_22 -Süleymaniye Mosque-side Istanbul_11_22 -Süleymaniye Mosque2Istanbul_11_22 -Süleymaniye Mosque 1

IMIstanbul_11_22 -Süleymaniye Mosque-carpet






My next stop was the Spice Market.  The Spice Market is synonymous with the Spice Bazaar and Egyptian Bazaar.  They all mean the same thing..  I didn’t like the Spice Market. It was way too crowded.. and the stores that surround the spice market are cheap kid toy stores….  I just wandering around and I didn’t see anything appealing at all –  I was glad to wander out of the Spice Bazaar.  I went to storefront 55 – a recommendation from Turkish Carpet man – they are friends. He would give me a good deal.  I didn’t bother to negotiate – I handed him Turkish Carpet man’s card and purchased a few items.  The next day I saw what I purchased for 1/2 price somewhere else.   Specifically, I purchased some Rose Water for 30 TL… I saw it the next day at a pharmacy for 12 TL…   I did not negotiate with the owner of storefront 55 because he was good friends with my Carpet Man…  I definitely didn’t get a “friends and family discount”.  The lesson learned here – ALWAYS negotiate. Never settle for the first price they tell you.  Even if they come highly recommended and you have a “special” connection.

My last activity for the day was a cooking lesson from  Rocco, our host, and the chefs were amazing – I learned how to make some of the more popular and two of my favorite foods – Red Lentil Soup and Lamb and Beef Stuffed grape leaves. Yum!  The secret ingredients – red pepper paste and equal parts of mint, parsley, and dill.  I am going to bring home the red pepper paste and this Z knife to chop up my herbs (since I cannot find it on Amazon).  Here is a great site to see the Zihr in action.

I finally got  back to my room at 10pm.. I was exhausted.  I brushed my teeth, put on my pajamas, and went to bed.  It was a fabulous day…

There are 2 lessons today:

1 – Cover your blue eyes.   The day was not sunny but cloudy and warm. It was a perfect day. But I still had to wear my sunglasses. I found that I was not approached to purchase items or enter stores nearly as much when I had my sunglasses on vs. off.  I think that blue eyes are a bit of a rarity here in Istanbul (maybe all of Turkey I don’t know), so the hustlers see blue eyes and assume tourist.  Just a FYI for those of you blue-eyed folks traveling to Turkey… take your mirrored sunglasses and wear them. You will be glad you did.

2 – Always negotiate.  As with the rose water – even a friend of a friend will try to take as much money as possible. The Turks love to negotiate…  so give it to them.  Educate yourself on the cost of something then go for it.  If you are not a negotiator, well then, you will need lots of money.  🙂

O.k. I will do my best to catch up on Day 3 AND finish up Day 5 with a bang so there is something really fun to write about.  Day 5 is my day with Turkey Carpet Man…  all day…  I did also learn that he is Muslim.. so that is something. A very different culture, I’m surprised he is even interested in spending time with a Christian (although not all that Christian IMO) American…

Last but not least, I love the Call To Prayer.  LOVE IT.  I’ve recorded a few that I’ve heard.. I’ll try to share them. I don’t even know what they are saying, but it sounds great.  O.k. I have to go now…


Istanbul – Day 2 – Grand Bazaar and Kumkapi

2015_11_21_Grand Bazaar- entry Gate 1Wowza… yes, it’s some ridiculous time in the morning of Day 3 (Day 2 is way over, Day 3 has officially started)…

What a day.  I enjoyed breakfast at my hotel, went to the Grand Bazaar, then had dinner with a local.  Each of these experiences was like a lifetime in a good way… I am going to write an entry about what to pack/wear at some point (please don’t hold your breath), but this entry is just about my experience on Saturday Nov. 20th.

First, I went to the Grand Bazaar. It’s like an US Outlet Mall on super steroids. Halls and halls of the same thing – jewelry, bags, shoes, carpets, etc.. Don’t forget to look up, the ceiling in the Bazaar is incredible.  Before you go, practice saying “no” a thousand times. The shop owners are not shy, they really really really want to show you their goods. Often times the store front in the Grand Bazaar is very small and to see more items they will take you to a spot that has a lot more of what you are looking for. I went to the Bazaar looking for a few silver bowls. I walked out with a Channel purse.

Channel has never been my style, but when I saw this bag I fell in love.  The kind of love that makes the heart skip a beat, or stop beating all together… the kind of love I’ve not felt in a very long time.  Yes, I know, it is a thing (vs. a person or experience), but now it is in my possession.  I have a small, super special bag for all those formal events I never go to.  🙂


2015_11_21_musicians - google translateSecond, experiencing Istanbul with a local is very different from experiencing the city as a tourist.  Tonight I had dinner with a local at a place that isn’t touristy at all.  We went to Kumkapi – the locals call it the “fish market”.  It is an area with lots of restaurants, musicians, and singing and dancing.  My local, let’s call him Carpet Man, is very well-known in the community – people just love him.  He owns a carpet store (who doesn’t right?!?).  Here is a picture of the his friends, a few musicians, hanging out at our table. None of them had a sheet of music – they would pick a song and they would all start playing.. they looked at each other and felt the music.. Yes, the men here play instruments, sing, AND they DANCE. No, they are not gay. The are super manly men who cherish the important things in life –like friends, fun, and music.  I’m even more convinced that confidence is super sexy.  While I was there having a great time, it made me sad that music is no longer a part of the American education system.  It is not just about learning to play an instrument, it is also about sharing a passion with others, learning to listen and feel the music.. Never to late to learn right?!!?

So the way I’m getting around and communicating with locals is via pen and paper and Google Translate.  You can see in the picture above the gentleman is writing down the name of the instrument that he plays – It is called the Kanun. To see how it is played and hear some lively street music go here.  Simply amazing.

O.k… so that is it for my second day in Istanbul – first full day.  Hard to believe that I have only been in Istanbul for 24 hours.. I feel like I am at home.  And one more shout to the wonderful folks at Hotel Sari Konak.  I LOVE these people .. so helpful, so kind.. My room is awesome.  But it is the people who make this hotel so special.  They get great reviews – Trip Advisor Hotel Sari Konak… You cannot go wrong staying here.

Lesson for today:

1 – Go ‘Old School‘ and carry paper and pen.  It is the best way to communicate – the Turkish Language is complicated and doesn’t translate one for one into English.. I found that writing the words down helped when I couldn’t understand what was being said… and was very useful to spell the word correctly when using Google Translate.


Istanbul – Day 1 – Arrived Safe And Sound.

2015-11-Turkey_Smokers Die YoungerI just arrived in Istanbul earlier today.  My plane landed at 4:30… I picked up a bottle of wine at duty free.  Above is a sign taped to wall that leads to the cigarette display. See how simple the message is when the Tobacco industry and government isn’t involved?  The only improvement would be a picture of a 50 year old smoker who looks 80.

I arrived at my hotel around 6:30pm. I took a quick nap then went out to eat.  I flew United because I wanted the points so that I could gain my Premier status back (and get points to purchase a ticket to Utah)..  I would never fly them otherwise – they truly do not care about the customer experience. Planes are old, seats are old, wireless doesn’t work, the flight attendants are rude (and must be union because they act so entitled).   I will do a blog on United Airlines experience.. and it won’t be good for them.  So many small things they could do to improve their service that would GREATLY improve the customer experience.  In simplest terms, they should just follow Virgin America’s lead. O.k. enough of that. On with the good stuff.

The city is so much quieter now than when I was here in September.   I’m staying in the heart of the Old City – at a very small hotel named Sari Konak. I found it on TripAdvisor… a great little boutique hotel, off the busy roads yet centrally located.  The room is nice sized (I’m in room 201), bathroom is nice, and the folks are super friendly and helpful.  I will not spend my entire trip here as I want to get out of the tourist hustle and bustle, but this is a GREAT little spot to stay while exploring the Old City.  The only bad thing I can say about the hotel right now is that the wireless is either spotty or very poor.  There aren’t many tourists around so I’m surprised that the wireless internet isn’t blazing fast.

2015-11-20-Dinner with cat

Above is a picture of me at dinner…  Here I am with wine and cat…  as Jon Kabat-Zinn would say, “Wherever You Go, There You Are“. Yes, I am half-way around the world but I’m doing what I love – enjoying great food, good wine, and the companionship of a furry friend.  This is why I LOVE Turkey – I feel so at home here.  It is safe, people are ‘old school’ in the sense that they care for one another and for other living creatures (vs. tech, money, what school you go to, etc).  Example – at dinner I was going to have my meal packaged up so I could feed the strays but there was no need to do this. The restaurant puts all leftovers out for the strays…  There are no homeless (that I have seen) and the strays are well taken care of – they are spayed/neutered and well fed by restaurant and shop keepers.  It is in their culture to take care of all beings.

My plan is to organize my days in Istanbul and go to the Grand Bazaar tomorrow and just browse… I hear you feel the history just by being there.  I am looking for a few items –  a couple of small silver bowls to store jewels and such…  and a nice necklace for my friend Jewels who is going through tremendous heartache right now.  I don’t have much money but I hear the Turkish merchants love to negotiate so there may be many winners tomorrow.  🙂

O.k. I’d better go to bed.. otherwise I may not get up and enjoy my free breakfast and a full day at the Grand Bazaar!

If you have been to Istanbul and have tips for me please share them!  I have 8 days and would love to see/do things that aren’t currently on my radar.