First of all Eid Mubarak to my friends out there in the world! I was fortunate enough to have visited Turkey in the holy month of Ramzan/ Ramadan this year and visited the impressive Sultanahmet Mosque also called the Blue Mosque. I was so touched by the devotion and dedication of Muslims who were fasting during those long days (17 hours!). Our driver for two days would not even touch a drop of water as he drove us from one destination to another without a murmur or complaint. Of course we were never wanting for food- any attempts to resist or avoid food was only met with hosts thrusting ever more food at us (you don’t want salad? Try this Pilaf!) When we were at Kusadasi one evening we heard a loud noise- like a canon going off- our friendly neighbour explained that the sound marked the end of the fasting period. Amazing!
I also met a Turkish friend of mine who I had first met on my first ever trip to Paris (and France and Europe!) exactly 10 years ago in July 2005. She also stuck true to the principle of Turkish hospitality- treating me to a lot of amazing things without ever allowing us to pay for anything.
Which took me back to my first ever life changing trip to Paris in July 2005. Thanks to the Lions Club a group of students (studying or teaching French) from around the world were gathered together for a month (for free- we only had to pay for our airfares) and taken around Paris. We had lectures in the morning and then visits in the afternoon- I had a blessed, amazing month visiting fantastic museums, government offices, performance spaces and other monuments. I also had the good fortune to spend a week with a Belgian couple (who were Lions) at Paris.
That visit (incidentally in 2005 I still had a camera that I used with film- I didn’t get a digital camera until later in 2006) heralded the start of more travel to more countries and in a couple of years I was no longer the person I was before I left for Paris. Of course we are all evolving and I’m no longer even the person I was in 2007! I wonder where I will be in 2025??
Incidentally last week also held a surprise. Chennai Live 104.8FM featured me on their travel show “Boarding Pass”. Went well overall, except I wished I had been a bit more well prepared- oh well! the next time!