Monday, October 16, 2017

Friday, October 6, Georgia USA

I made it to the Boston Airport with Athena and said Goodbye to her there.  My customs photo as we went through automated kiosks took such an unflattering photo of me after our 11 hour flight from Istanbul.  But it was a very accurate representation of how I felt at this point.  My diarreah was really taking a toll and when I hit the Atlanta Airport, it was really getting out of control.  I got my rental car. One of my first thoughts was, "Oh dear. Those are not leather seats."  But I made it to Mom and Dads. I only got lost once or twice and it did take longer than expected . I had poor Mom all worried.  I dropped my phone off my lap and was too stubborn to pull over, stop, and fish it out from under the seat. But I was mostly on the right track. I came in the back way because I was looking for "Perry Parkway" not "Thompson Road" . Oh well.

Arrived at 3 am. Slept fairly well till morning, but ended up having Mom take me to the Emergency room. The Diarreah was totally out of control and I'd had it for many days already.  Made several trips to potty while at the ER for those few hours.  One with disastrous results. I ended up wearing home paper hospital scrubs. Oh dear. What a day.  I had blood and stool testing done. No indication of infection. Just a virus that would need to run its course.  Ugh.

I didn't have TIME for it to "run it course." I needed to get home.  Rain was expected on Sunday, so Mom and Dad didn't attend Church. I did get to visit with Donna a bit. She came by on Saturday and Sunday. AND on Sunday when it was obvious that I wasn't going to be able to travel home that day, she was a sweetheart and her family took my rental car back to the airport in Atlanta for me . Otherwise, it would have cost me about $500 more. Yikes. I had to cancel my return flight, my shuttle in Las Vegas (or maybe I Had Mike do that...I don't remember). I just rested and slept and rested and slept Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. By Tuesday I was doing not too bad, so I booked my flight home for that evening and Mom drove me to a shuttle to get to the airport.  I was there plenty early, so I got some soup at a restaurant.  And some Sprite and some mashed potatoes. I didn't want to sit at a bar or tall table, so I waited for a regular table and felt bad for taking up so much space for just lil' ol me. But I could only eat part of my soup, a few sips of soda and a couple of bites of potaotes. I wanted to eat a lot more, but just didn't dare.

I made it to Las Vegas sitting next to a very chatty lady and a guitarist from "LA Guns" rock band--who travels with two Pekinese dogs. ha! Mike came to Vegas to pick me up at 10 pm and we were home by 1 am our time.  What a long day  .  But I was glad to make it home with no incidents.  I felt fairly good on Wednesday after sleeping in, but decided to rest up at home that day.  And I did. My sweet Relief Society President brought me some chicken soup for dinner and that was a lovely treat.

Now, almost a week later, I'm still kind of not quite back up to snuff, but I'm definitely on the mend. That was a long haul!  And then the little complications that we woment frequently get when we take an antibiotic that kills good bacterica along with the bad...been treating that and a possible bladder infection/flare up . I've had a gallon (literally) of cranberry juice and that has helped a lot.

So, the worst of it is over. I'm home. I'm safe. I'm healthy. And I'm VERY happy--happy to be home in a relatively safe environment with good water to drink and nice co-workers who did a great job of holding down the fort in my absence.  My lawn, on the other hand, is another story.  I just need to hire a gardner when I leave next time, I suppose.

Thursday, October 5. We depart Istanbul

We had breakfast at the hotel, figured tips and left them in our room, made arrangements for a taxi to take us to Ataturk Airport.
Some last minute shots of our room.  I really loved our room. It was so comfortable and nice.





And we really enjoyed the sweeping views from the rooftop garden. It was just so pleasant up there.




OH! There was a bee on the rooftop garden!!




Driving out the the airport, I couldn't help but take a few photos as we were leaving.  I snapped some of the ancient Roman walls that surround this ancient city.


Little pieces of antiquity everywhere you look.  

 So different from our country.

But then, some things are the same:
Yep, there was KFC right there in Old Town Istanbul. I think I saw a McDonalds, too.
I don't know if you can see it, but we were driving past this body of water (Marmara Sea, technically--just before the Strait of Bosphorus)  and it is FILLED with ships.

 Ship after ship after ship. I am guessing that Istanbul and Turkey have all control over this teeny strip of water that gets ships between the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea--which has seaports for many other countries besides Turkey.
Turkey is BIG.  We saw but a tiny part of Istanbul. Turkey is supposed to be America's ally.  We didn't feel like there were friendly feelings towards American's in general. As a matter of fact, Turkey quit issuing travel Visas to American citizens shortly after we returned to the states, so we feel like we got out just in time.  We met some amazingly nice people--the ones at our hotel, our cute guide on Saturday. Waiters were always a bit too friendly sometimes.  Gee, they just needed business! They had to make a living, too.  The bee people were all nice.  We felt lucky to find as many English-speakers as we did. It's a big place. The architechture and history is phenomenal. Their antiquities are impressive.
I'm glad I got to go. Thanks to Athena and Athena's generous friend, Anne, I was able to go on this grand adventure. Thank you, Ladies! It's one trip I will not soon forget!

Wednesday, October 4 In Istanbul. Bee Day!

Today was the day of our "Field Trip."  Although I believe the official name was "Technical Tour."
We had to get up early and since it was before breakfast time in our hotel lobby, we just grabbed a bite on the way. Athena did. I didn't want anything. I just needed to make sure I took plenty of water so as to not become dehydrated since I still have...er...very loose bowells.  But still manageable.

We walked up to Takskim Square. It's about 5 to 7 blocks from our hotel. We waited around (after getting inside to use the bathroom, of course) outside until we could board one of SEVEN bus loads of people that were headed over to Sile, near the Black Sea, where we were to visit a bunch of Bee things.

First stop was a big plant and marketing place by Balparmar. They were one of the major sponsors of Apimondia. Their reception was big and loud and very Hollywood-ish.  Video presentation, speeches, light snacks served by waiters (and a very orange-colored bathroom in that place).  We listened to the speeches, took a walking tour past their laboratories where they test the honey. Very scientific and informative.  Then we boarded buses again and recieved a nice parting gift from them. A hard-back book on flowers and a plastic bottle of their honey. Yum.

Our next stop was over the rive and through the woods to an exhibit they'd set up of different hives and types of bees. Interesting. My interest was the port-a-potty on a truck.  Very clean. Like a camper, but only with bathrooms instead of the rest of stuff you'd put in a camper (like beds and kitchen stuff).  Boarded our buses and headed over to

The the town of Sile itself.  Here we were taken to a farmer's market area where they had lunch prepared for us. It was not very tasty. The bathrooms there were pay ones, BUT no western toilet!! Yikes.  I didn't eat much.  A little soup. A few beans and a bite or two of rice. Some very good bread...I even took my big hunk of bread with me and nibbled on it the next morning.  Long lines for the food. Not much time to shop at the market.  Had a bit of a time finding our bus after the fact.  But we found it and headed on to the next place:

The Black Sea!  The sea port was pretty, complete with a castly, but since it was late, we merely drove by and took pictures from the bus windows.

We stopped at another place and had a little ceremony with speeches and presentations in a partially-completed building that was to become an education center for beekeepers and students.  It was a tiny village (one more potty stop here for me...outside the mosque)...Getting to be a challenge, these squatty-potties!!

Back on board the bus for our ride back to Taksim square area near the conference hotel.  Which was blocks from ours. We had to make a stop at Starbucks where we bought hot chocolate (so I could use their bathroom, too). Then we meandered home to our hotel.  Was I ever glad to be inside!!! Ugh. Challenging day, but I made it.
Looking at the many displays of bees. Different types of bees were introduced.

There was a lot of hiking around that I avoided. I just wasn't feeling up to hiking about more hills. So I stayed close to the port-a-potty.


Hives, tourists from all over the world, checking out the hives, etc.

Beekeepers, and tourists and VIP's.

These are skep, the original type hives.



And there is really bees and honey inside there!

More touring people. They did a lot of infrasturcture improvements, accomodating the many people they expected to attend. I think there were over 200.




Hives, hives, and more hives.  And lots of bees!

This was the typical forested area that we were driving through most of the day. Trees and shrubs.

This was the long line, and the videographer who photobombed my picture. He was documenting this grand field trip for Apimondia or for the sponsors. Not sure, but I saw him filming everywhere we went.

The Sile castle on the Black Sea. Sile is pronounce "Sheila"

See the happy (or surprised?) face on the castle?

There were fish markets on the pier that we drove out and around on.

The town of Sile, perched on the side of the hill.

The harbor full of fishing boats of all shapes and sizes. Nets and floats were piled everywhere. I thought it looked kind of messy, but Mike claims most fishing harbors look like this. I guess I just go to yaght harbors. ha.

Hills. Hills. More hills. I just about cried when I looked at the street we had to walk down for the presentation there in this little outlying town near Sile. "If I walk down that hill, that means I have to walk back up it..." ugh. But I did it.

We were quite the site, hundreds of people trooping up and down your little streets.  Everyone came out to see us pass by.


Ladies standing on the porches and looking out the windows. I thought it was rather quaint.

Even more people on balconies, watching the parade of us go by.

Tuesday, October 3. Istanbul, Turkey

Happy Birthday, Mike. I didn't call and wish you a Happy Birthday, but I was thinking about you.

I was also thinking about how the medicine that Athena had been so kind to find at a pharmacy, with help from an English-speaking hotel clerk, was not doing much good for my tummy troubles.  I was doing okay, but felt like I had a low-grade fever and I definitely had some lower-GI issues that caused me to wonder if there were enough bathrooms close enough to where I needed them!  And I find that I'm willing--more than willing--to pay the 1 Turkish Lira to use a pay toilet.  They truly are cleaner and usually one can find a western-style toilet to use.   But the best one was in our hotel room.

We had kind of a "light" day since we'd accomplished most of our desired "List of things to see and do."  We took it easy in the morning. I tried taking immodium, but thought it must have been too old to be effective because it didn't really stop things.  But it was manageable.  After we had breakfast, we headed down to the shore area near the fish sandwich boats across the Galata bridge.  We wanted to take a little Bosphorus cruise up to the second bridge over the strait.  We found the boat dock place our Saturday night guide had told us about. We got there right when the boat was ready to depart, so we quickly paid our 15 TL and hopped on board the passenger ferry-type boat.  There was a lot of noisy narration at the first. In spanish, of all things.  We stopped to pick up other passengers. The weather was lovely. We cruised past a lovely palace right along the shorefront on the European side. We saw big fortress-type castle structures, but have no idea what they were or who buildt them.  There were large manor houses, hotels, and then there were some really trashy areas, too, that looked like demolished houses or restaurants. And all the junk was still just laying there on the pier.  It was rather strange.  There's some construction going on near the shore, too, on the metro line or something.  Lots of pilons being pounded down...(I like watching construction)  We saw lots of other tour boats, lots of ferrys and big freighters.


Most of the Galata Bridge is very low to the water with the restaurants and shops on bottom with roadway and fishermen on the top.  There is just one span in the center where boats can go ito the  Golden Horn water way past the bridge, and it is through this passage.

Looking up the strait as we headed away from the docks.


I think this is lookng across at the Asia side of Istanbul

Castle/Fortress was on both sides of the strait.

Large Hotel or manor or palace or something on the Asia side. I really should go look those up.  But they were pretty , so I snapped a photo. :-)





The palace whose name escapes me. I will have to edit this later when I have my guide book handy. 




Approaching one of the towers on the bridge.  There is no way to cross the bridge on the lower level. You have to climb the stairs up to the top, walk across the top part of the bridge, then go back down on the other side through the tower of stairs over there.  It was almost too much.  "More stairs??!" Ugh.

Blue Mosque in distance.


If you zoom in you can see them grilling the mackarel on the boats.

There were so many vendors with carts of roasted corn and chestnuts.


I thought the corn looked like field corn, not sweet corn. Not appealing to me at all. Lots of people seemed to be buying, though.  The chestnuts were popular, too.

There were carts of these pastries, too.  They were circles of dough. Never bought any, so I don't know if it was just plain bread or a sweeter dough. It usually had seeds on them, too, so I'm guessing it was more savory than sweet.

Stopped for some soup for lunch one day. My poor attempt at a selfie.

And resting.  Having to be on the lookout for bathrooms all the time was trying!
For some reason, the photos I took of the Grand Bazaar didn't end up in a file I can find here on my tablet. I only took two photos. It was HILLY inside the Bazaar!  I just cannot avoide them anywhere. We hiked up a hill to find the Grand Bazaar, hiked further into it, sill going up hill, but once inside you could turn and go down hill. Or up hill. Small alley-ways you could barely squeeze through between the merchandise.  Wider avenues.  All with lots and lots of shops selling all kinds of merchandise.  And all were vying for your money and time.  Walking, looking, shopping. Not my thing. I was only looking for some Turkish Delight. I found it. I found a bathroom. And we went back to the hotel. I think we just snacked on stuff in our room and didn't go out that night. Or maybe Athena did, to find some soup to share.  But I was beat and just needed to get some rest. So I did. Our bed was very comfortable.  I really liked our room.