News & Events

Dispatches from Istanbul

Our EVP checks in from the Alliance Civilization Forum in Turkey

My arrival for the Alliance of Civilizations was predictably unpredictable. After I left the plane, I met a wonderful man named Christian at the Visa counter. Hemade a film for the AOC, sports a great ponytail, and makes horror films in real life. We found the information booth for the AOC but the wait for a ride to the hotel was 45 minutes. Since we were going to the same one, we decided to split a cab.

The cab driver told us there was a lot of traffic, so he was taking another route. It gave us a chance to see the dualities sides of life in Istanbul. We saw stores selling mannequins in the window, and people with a little table by the side of the road selling lettuce. We also women dressed in traditional Muslim dress and women dressed in secular, high fashion.

After a while, the driver had to turn around to try another route because of all the traffic. He said it was because of President Obama. Christian and I didn’t see Obama, but we heard people talking about him – one woman was speaking Turkish but suddenly inserted the word “Obama” = clearly exasperated with the traffic. After about an hour and racking up a bill we hadn’t expected, the driver suddenly stopped and told us to get out. “I can’t go there. The hotel is one, maybe two, kilometers.”

So, Christian and I started to walk, dragging our luggage on cobblestone streets. Most people had not heard of our hotel but after another 45 minutes or so, we made our way and actually found it. (And it was far more than two kilometers!!) We laughed a lot and it was a good way to feel this bustling city. And an adventurous way to start on this important trip.