TEACHING SUMMER SCHOOL IN TURKEY SUMMER 2000
In the summer of 2000 I taught summer school in Istanbul. I had been invited to do so by an alumna of Whittier College who had married an international student from Turkey, and they had gone to teach in Turkey after obtaining their doctoral degrees in the US. My wife and son came with me, and my daughter joined us later. This journal is very long, since it covers most of the summer. It was written in a series of emails about our experiences in Istanbul and our side trips to Ephesus and Cappadocia. When summer school ended, we flew to Bulgaria then went to Hungary for a music festival with our daughter, before returning to LA, but that is described in another journal.
MONDAY JUNE 19 - GREETINGS FROM ISTANBUL!
In the past, I've been a little anxious whenever I've set off on a new adventure. But Saturday it felt perfectly normal to be flying to the other side of the world on a German airline. We changed planes the next morning in Frankfurt, and then arrived in Istanbul at 5 PM on Sunday, where we were met by a graduate student in psychology.
We changed money and became instant millionaires! The exchange rate is 620,000 Turkish Lira to the dollar, so each dollar is worth 1.6 million lira. At the tourist center we picked up a map of Istanbul, which was only available in French, and a map of Turkey, which was only available in German. But then Istanbul is an international city!
Geographically, Istanbul straddles two continents, Europe and Asia. And since it is a secular Muslim society, I expected it to straddle Europe and the Middle East culturally as well. As we rode across town on the freeway, the city looked like a modern European city, with two important exceptions. Instead of cathedral spires there were the minarets of mosques, and there were remnants of 14th century Byzantine city walls and fortresses. I felt totally at home.
I came here to teach summer school at Bogazici University (Bogazici is Bosporus in Turkish). I was invited to do so by a colleague who was an alumna of Whittier College, and who taught one year at Whittier while she was on sabbatical from here. I will be teaching Social Psychology and also Multiple Identities. On the flight from Frankfurt we met a young woman who will also be teaching summer school here; she is a graduate of Bogazici who is doing graduate work in sociology at ULCA. From her business card I learned that she is living in the same small apartment building in West LA as my daughter who is also a graduate student at UCLA!
We are staying in a guesthouse on the campus. It has three flats (apartments), and we have the flat on the main floor. It has a living room, a kitchen, two large bedrooms and two bathrooms. It's a huge old house with hardwood floors and lots of windows, but the bathrooms have modern fixtures. It is surrounded by beautiful trees and shrubs -- it feels like we are living in a forest hideway instead of in a city of ten million.
The campus is set on a steep hillside with spectacular views of the Bosphorus, one of the series of waterways which separate Europe from Asia and which run from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea. The campus is just north of the second bridge on the European side. It was founded in 1860 by Americans from New England, and most campus buildings are made of stone or brick just like colleges in New England. It is now a state university, but the classes are still taught in English.
After unloading our luggage, the grad student gave us a brief tour of campus, and then we walked half a mile up the hill to the entrance. We found street vendors selling shish kabobs, and a small grocery store where we bought some food for breakfast.
When we went to bed at midnight, my body thought it was 2 PM after being up all night, since Istanbul time is 10 hours later than LA time. But in spite of the jet lag I slept well until 6 AM without waking up in the middle of the night!
This morning we went to the psychology building and met my colleague and the department chair, who took us to lunch. They gave me an office with a computer which has Internet access, although the keyboard is laid out with Turkish letters. Where I expect the small letter "i" to be, there is an undotted "I" which is pronounced more like "uh" instead of like "ee"!
Across campus we found the two classrooms where I will be teaching, and an ATM machine which accepted my ATM card and dispensed Turkish Lira. Only certain banks will accept Traveler's Checks, and none of the stores will, so having ATM machines is great! We also went to the computer center and requested an account so I can dial up the Internet from our flat; I brought along a laptop. We then walked up the hill and another half a mile to the North Campus, where the library and bookstore are located. We found three books to buy in the bookstore and three books to check out of the library!!
This evening I revised the syllabi for my courses incorporating what I had learned today about campus resources. So we are settled in and ready for an interesting and delightful summer!
WEDNESDAY JUNE 21 - MONEY MATTERS
Turkish Lira has the following bills which are worth about the following amounts: 10,000,000 = $16 5,000,000 = $8 1,000,000 = $1.60 500,000 = $0.80 100,000 = $0.16
Needless to say, it is very easy to confuse these bills. To help distinguish them, the last three zeros are a faded color on some but not all of the bills. Even so, it's still easy to give someone a bill that is either too large or too small. So I keep the 10 million and 5 million bills along with my passport hidden away, and keep the smaller bills in a wallet in my pocket. That makes it easier to access small bills, and if my pocket is picked I only lose a few dollars.
The coins have the following denominations, where bin=1000: 100 bin =$0.16 50 bin = $0.08 25 bin =$0.04 10 bin =$0.016
It would be nice if the bills had bin on them too, instead of so many zeroes. But the coins are confusing too, since the 100 bin coin is smaller than the 50 bin and 25 bin coins since it is made of a different metal (just as an American dime is smaller than a nickel or a penny). So you learn to pay attention to the color of the metal.
To add to the confusion, prices are often marked with the last three zeroes missing, sometimes replaced by a dash and sometimes not. While you are figuring all that out, you are confused even more if you have to convert the price to American dollars. So it's best to learn what is reasonable in Lira, and forget what it is in dollars.
There is a shopping area at the top of the hill across from the entrance to the campus. There are several small grocery stores (where we shop everyday), a bakery, a hardware store (where we had keys duplicated), a telephone store (where we found a cable for our modem), several other kinds of small shops, and many small cafes.
Yesterday I met some college-age Americans on campus from Atlanta who were here for an International Sportfest next weekend. They invited me to join them for dinner. We rode a bus about 15 minutes to a mall called Akmerkez. It had very expensive shops, and the largest food court I had ever seen, including many American fast food chains. While they had hamburgers and pizza, I ate Turkish food.
We then the rode the bus another 15 minutes to Taksim. It has a huge square which also serves a bus terminal. A Turkish student with them showed me how to buy an Akbil, which means "smart ticket." It has a computer chip which keeps track of how much money you've paid and deducts one fare each time you push it against a device upon boarding a bus! Very convenient and cool!
While the others walked to their hotel, the Turkish student showed me a walking street heading off from the square. There were record shops, bookstores, clothing stores, sidewalk cafes, and nightclubs extending about a mile. A side alley had a farmer's market, with stalls selling beautiful fresh vegetables, fruit, nuts, or fish. Interspersed between the stalls were small sidewalk cafes. At the end of the alley was another street which was filled with tables for sidewalk cafes extending three blocks long plus a block to the left and a block to the right at the end. The student showed me which bus to take back to campus, while he took another bus to commute home.
This morning after revising my syllabi again and having them xeroxed, I walked with my wife and son down the hill to the shore of the Bosphorus. Along the way, we passed huge single family homes with beautiful views in an area known as Bebek. Most people in Istanbul live in apartments. After eating lunch in a small cafe, we walked along the water and saw a fishing boat with a grill on board and a long line of people waiting to buy fresh fish cooked right on the fishing boat! My wife and son then explored the Rumeli Hisan, a huge fortress built in 1452, while I walked back up the hill to campus to hear a couple of psychology students present their master's thesis.
This evening my wife showed me a park at the top of the hill which she and our son had discovered last night. It has a beautiful view of the second bridge across the Bosphorous, which is just north of the campus. We then loaded our backpacks with groceries, and walked back down to our flat. This time I was able to give the cashier the correct amount of lira immediately!
On the way back, my wife and and I remarked that we will certainly stay in shape this summer, walking up and down the hill!!
SATURDAY JUNE 24 - OLD ISTANBUL AND CAMPUS LIFE
According to the guidebook Let's Go Turkey 2000, people have lived in Anatolia (central Turkey) since the 8th millennium BC. The area has been invaded by various groups, including the Hittites, the Phrygians, and the Greeks. The latter established city states along the coast including Byzantium. After the area became part of the Roman Empire, Constantine (the emperor who converted to Christianity) established Constantinople on the site of Byzantium in 324.
In the 11th century, tribes of Turks came from central Asia, bringing the Muslim religion. In the 13th century the Mongols occupied Anatolia. The northwestern area was claimed by a Turkish general named Osman, whose successors were called Ottomans. In 1453, Mehmet the Conqueror captured Constantinople and renamed it Istanbul. The Ottoman Empire grew, especially under Sulleyman the Magnificent in the 16th century. The empire disintegrated during the 19th century. After World War I, Ataturk established the Republic of Turkey, and instituted reforms to make the government secular, abolishing the religious courts.
The battle over religion continues today. Although 90% of the population is Muslim, the Muslim religious party was banned. The latter formed a new party, which elected the mayor of Istanbul. The mayor was sent to prison for reading a poem which stated that minarets are our bayonets. The government has tried to ban the wearing of head scarves in the universities. Muslim beliefs require that a woman be covered from head to toe. Showing any flesh besides the face is assumed to arouse men, who are believed to be unable to control their sexual urges.
My classes started on Thursday. My morning class, Multiple Identities, is a senior-level class and all of the students are psychology majors. All 12 of them are also women. (Among the graduate students in psychology, only one is male). In contrast, the math class meeting in the room next door has only men. One of the women in my class was wearing a headscarf and a long dress. One other woman was wearing a long dress, but it was made of denim. The other 10 women were all wearing pants, either blue jeans or black slacks. When we talked about various identities and which were most important to them, most said that religion was not very important.
The students are very bright. The university accepts only the top 1% of all high school students. They appear to understand English very well, although some speak with an accent. They are willing to participate in class discussion, and they are knowledgeable about psychology, which is ideal for teaching a senior-level class.
My afternoon class, Social Psychology, is a sophomore-level class. It has 28 students, with a variety of majors. About two-thirds are women. I suspect that the engineering majors are men, but I can't tell gender from the Turkish names! These students also are willing to speak up, so both classes should be fun to teach. I expect to learn as much about Turkish culture from them as they learn psychology from me.
My son is sitting in on my Social Psychology class. Since he is not taking it for a grade, I don't need to worry about the ethics of grading my son! My wife is sitting in on a beginning class in Turkish for foreigners. She brought along a statistics book to study too, and both are reading for pleasure as well.
After class I attended a lecture on consciousness by an American philosopher. I was pleased that he was knowledgeable about research in cognitive psychology. But his talk made me realize that even the specialists in the field have difficulty explaining what consciousness is.
In the evening, a giant screen was set up in the middle of campus. A cable TV company showed the film The Matrix on DVD. Several hundred students sat on the lawn watching the movie and drinking beer. Since I had already seen the film, I decided not to stay up late to watch it.
Friday morning we decided to do some sightseeing, since my classes meet on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. We took the bus to Taksim Square, and then another bus to Sultan Ahmet in Old Istanbul. On the way I discovered that my camera had quit working, and putting in a new battery didn't solve the problem. I was frustrated, but found a souvenir stand which had instant cameras. He was asking 8 million lira ($12); I offered him 4 million, and he accepted 6. At $10 per instant camera, it is cheaper than buying a new regular camera!
We visited the Aya Sophia. It was a huge Byzantine Church built in 532. Twenty years later an earthquake caused the dome to collapse. It was rebuilt, with huge buttresses sticking out, and has survived the last 20 earthquakes. The church was plundered by Catholic Crusaders in the 13th century who ridiculed the Eastern church. When the Ottomans conquered Constantinople, the church was converted to a mosque. The mosaics of Christ and others were plastered over, since the Muslims consider images of people in mosques to be idolatry. When Ataturk created the Republic, he made the mosque a museum. For centuries, it was the largest building in the world.
Nearby we saw the Blue Mosque. It was built in 1617 and has blue tile inside. It is still used as a mosque. We had to enter before noon because it is closed to tourists during Friday (holy day) afternoon prayers. Men wearing shorts and women wearing short dresses were required to wrap a piece of cloth around their legs like a skirt before entering. Everyone had to take off their shoes; we carried them in plastic bags.
After lunch we went to the Topkapi Palace, where the Sultans lived who ruled the Ottoman Empire. The Palace is huge, with four courtyards. Most interesting was the Harem. Muslim beliefs allowed a man to have four wives. The sultan had four wives and 400 concubines, guarded by 70 eunuchs brought from Africa. The concubines were selected when they were preadolescents, and most were servants. The most beautiful ones became the Sultan's favorites; he had eight. They were selected by the Sultan's mother, who controlled the Sultan's wives, concubines, and everyone else in the Harem.
The Palace also contained dormitories for preadolescent Christian boys who were brought there from all over the Empire. They were converted to Islam, and educated to be military leaders and civil servants. Like Jews, Muslim boys are circumcised, and there was a special room for doing that. Both Jews and Muslims claim Abraham as the father of their religion, believing that they are descended from each of his two sons. Genetic studies confirm that the two groups are related.
It was hot riding the bus back. The temperature was in the high 80s, and the windows didn't let in the cool breezes from the water. As we passed a small fountain, there were a couple of young boys swimming in the fountain. One was in his underwear and one was naked; we were surprised due to the modesty of Muslim culture. I had read that romantic kissing is not supposed to be done in public, but I've seen several couples kissing on campus. Modern Turkey is a mixture of old and new customs.
We stopped in Taksim Square and I showed my wife and son the walking street and the farmers' stalls. We had dinner on the side streets that were full of outdoor cafes. I tried some Turkish white wine, which was similar to Italian white wine. We had some fresh fish, and the food was delicious. I thought how cool it is to be in Istanbul, something I had not imagined until I was invited to come here.
When we got back to campus I went to a dance that was part of the International Sportfest. It was on a large parking lot above the campus. It was supposed to start at 9, but students were just arriving when I got there at 10:15. I had a beer while waiting for people to start dancing. In dance clubs in America, people don't dance until they've had a drink or two, and men usually won't dance unless women are on the dance floor, even if they are not dancing with them; the exceptions are few men who are showing off their fancy steps. Usually three women or one couple will start, then others will follow. Here no one danced until 10:45 when a wave of about 200 people came onto the dance area together -- I think it was the song that attracted them. As at home, people danced in couples, in groups of women, groups of men, and mixed-sex groups, with lots of mixing around.
Soon there were about a thousand people dancing and another thousand milling around nearby. The dancing was the same as in America, China, and other places where young people are dancing to the same modern music. It was fun! But the music stopped soon after midnight, and the crowd was surprised and unhappy about that. I had heard from students that dance clubs in Istanbul opened at midnight and closed at 4 AM; due to jet lag and teaching I hadn't explored them yet.
Before the dancing started a student asked me where I was from (the question everyone asks in Istanbul, from students to carpet salesmen). He was from Kosovo and his friend was from Bosnia. After the music stopped I saw a student who looked Japanese and so I greeted him in Japanese. But he was from Turkistan, one of the republics of the former USSR in central Asia. He introduced me to four of his friends from central Asia who looked Russian. They considered themselves Russians, even though they weren't from the Russian republic. One of them told me that some of the dance clubs open at 9 or 10, including a Russian disco!
In spite of being initially frustrated about my camera, Friday ended up being a very interesting day, and I was even more pleased than before that I was in Istanbul. This morning, it occurred to me that the film might be jammed in my camera, so I rewound it, and the camera started working again! That will save me the trouble and expense of buying another camera! Yea!!
JUNE 26 - DANCING ON THE WATER
Saturday morning we relaxed a little. We managed to figure out how to start the washing machine! In the afternoon we walked down the hill and south along the Bosphorus to Bebek. It's on a bay, which is full of yachts. You can rent one for the day, but instead we paid 80 cents to ride a ferry. We rode across to a town on the Asian side, then north to two other towns. Along the way we saw many large mansions on the waterfront, some new and some very old.
At the last stop we explored the town of Kanlica, where my wife found a pair of used pants that fit for 2 million lire (about 3 dollars)! For lunch I had a sandwich made of deep fried mussels. We've been eating food from street vendors and haven't become sick yet. At first we ate only cooked food, but we've slowly added fresh fruits and vegetables after giving our systems time to adjust to different bacteria that might be here. Food is generally cheap, about 80 cents to $1.60 for a sandwich, and it's very good! But we've been drinking only bottled water or water that we've boiled, even though we've seen some locals drinking the tap water.
The Sportsfest had advertised a boat party for Saturday evening. When I walked to the campus quad, I saw a hundred guys sitting on steps watching soccer on a small TV. I was greeted by a group of wrestlers from Istanbul who recognized me from the dance the night before. They invited me to go with them to the boat party, so I rode with them on the bus for athletes. On the way, one of the wrestlers who didn't speak English taught me a song in Turkish, and as I sang each line, the others laughed. I asked someone else if the words were bad; the answer was no, just bad teaching!!
We rode for an hour to the ferry terminal in Eminonu, by the Galata Bridge. This is at the opening of the Golden Horn, a finger of the Bophorus that separates Old Istanbul from newer sections on the European side. We boarded a huge car ferry, which had counters selling beer and scotch as well as doner (others call it schwarma --meat on a vertical spit) sandwiches. There was a DJ playing American and Turkish popular music.
It took about 45 minutes to load the ferry, since there were about a thousand people on board. We then sailed up the Bosphorus and out into the Black Sea. Near the shore there were beautiful views of the mosques and other buildings with lights. When the lights became distant it didn't matter since I was dancing by then anyway! Besides the wrestlers, I also talked with the students from Turkistan that I had met the night before, and two pilots from the Turkish Air Force Academy.
The cruise lasted three hours and was a blast. As the bus was coming down the hill to the campus, we met two other buses coming back up the hill, but there wasn't room to pass! So we walked the rest of the way down and left the drivers to sort out who was going to back up. When I walked through the central quad, I noticed that there were foam mats scattered about for visiting athletes to sleep upon. Some were sleeping, but others were talking and drinking beer even though it was 3:15 AM!!
I slept in Sunday morning, and then my wife and son and I took two buses and a tram to Old Istanbul to see the Archeology Museum next to the Topkapi Palace. It had some beautiful sarcophagi (stone tombs) with carved figures, as well as statues from many ancient historical periods. From there we walked to the Grand Bazaar, which has 400 shops. We were surprised not to see any other tourists walking there, and then discovered why - it is closed on Sundays!
We took the bus to Eminonu and walked along the shore by the ferry terminals where I had been the night before. There were many sidewalk stalls selling food, shoes, clothing, and trinkets. We had to walk through a tunnel under the highway to get from the bus stop to the shore, and on the way a guy in front of me was pushed back into me by another guy. At first I thought they were angry, then I realized that it is a pickpocketing ploy. I had read about a similar ploy in which a woman backs into a man, and while he is startled a guy behind picks his pocket.
Fortunately my valuables were hidden and my backpack had a small padlock holding the zippers closed. The two guys in front of me plus a third were still hanging near me, so I quickly moved away from them. This was the first time that I had felt uncomfortable in Istanbul. My guidebook had warned about pickpockets and about going to a bar with a stranger where you could be drugged or stuck with a huge bar tab.
Back home I cooled off for two hours, then went to the third dance of Sportsfest, which was in the parking lot like Friday night. On the way to the parking lot I saw a group doing a folk dance on the quad. A coach from Romania asked me in German where the group was from, and I asked them in English and found out that they were from Lebanon.
When I arrived at the parking lot at 10:30 there already a couple thousand people inside and a long line outside. I walked past the line to another entry gate and they let me right in since I was a professor. The big attraction was a popular Turkish band, which played some great dance music.
Most of the crowd left when the band stopped playing at midnight, but some of us danced another half-hour to recorded music. I again saw some students from Turkistan, and met others from Istanbul. I'm tall and older, and have some fast dance moves, so I attract attention when I dance. As I passed the quad on the way home, I was greeted by a group of students who complimented me on my dancing. They were from Paris, Zurich, central Turkey, and Rhode Island!
Fortunately I'm over my jetlag so I was able to sleep well enough this weekend to make it to class this morning, in spite of the dog that barks at 1 AM and the rooster that crows at 6:30 AM!
THURSDAY JUNE 29 - LEARNING FROM STUDENTS
On Monday in my Multiple Identities class we talked about religious conversion and characteristics of utopian communities in America. Most of these groups had renounced family relationships, practicing either celibacy or "free love," but they had not lasted more than a generation. Only groups that emphasized the family (like the Mormons) survived.
My students told me that there were many religious sects in Turkey, practicing variations of the Muslim faith, such as the Nurcular, Suleymancilar, and Fethullahailar. The latter is known for its prep schools. These groups emphasize the family and have survived for a long time. But there was one group about ten years ago, the Adnancilar, led by Adan Hoca, who recruited rich women, models, high school students, and people at discos. He was arrested for being a bad influence on minors and is now in prison.
In my Social Psychology class we talked about nonverbal behavior and emotional expression. As in America, men in Turkey can show anger, but not fear. However, unlike American men who are told that Big Boys Don't Cry, Turkish men are allowed to cry in beer halls. There is a tradition of crying songs about misfortune that dates back to the 12th century. Since these singers sometimes injure themselves, the government has tried to counter this tradition by encouraging happy songs. Some Country Western songs in America are about misfortune, but crying doesn't accompany the singing.
We also discussed cross-cultural differences in the use of time and space. For example, dinner is typically at 6 in Germany, 10 in Spain, and midnight in Egypt. In Turkey, dinner is usually at 8, but dinner guests arrive at 7:30 instead of being 5-10 minutes fashionably late! Turks are used to standing closer together than are Americans.
I also learned from a graduate student after class that traditional families resist modernization, but that they allow their sons to go to college to have more job opportunities. They want their daughters to find a husband at college, but not to work. They want both sons and daughters to live at home while in college and also after marriage.
Monday evening the psychology department had a reception for two graduate students who are leaving the college. That allowed us to meet two faculty members that we had not met before. Everyone is friendly, helpful, and interesting to talk with. After wine, cheese, fruit, sweets, and homemade muffins we didn't need to cook dinner!
I had no classes on Tuesday, and spent the day reading. I am the chair of a committee of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues that gives an annual award to a recent Ph.D. who has made a major contribution to our understanding of social issues. I spent all morning reading the materials of the persons who had been nominated this year. In the process I learned about some new research relevant to my own research and teaching. I spent part of the afternoon writing an abstract for a conference I'd like to attend next spring, and the rest of the afternoon and evening reading more about Istanbul in Let's Go Turkey so I could decide what sightseeing I want to do this weekend. So we cooked dinner at home for a change!
On Wednesday in my Multiple Identities class I learned that it is easy to buy forged documents in Turkey, so it's hard to rely on documentary information. Everyone is required to carry a national id card, which has his or her name, address, gender, religion, and marital status. It is needed for governmental and financial transactions. Police can ask you for it, and can arrest you if you don't have it or if you are loitering.
In my Social Psychology class I learned that there is still a strong Double Standard in Turkey. Premarital sex is very stigmatizing for women, but not for men. Living together without marriage is strongly disapproved of. A man needs the approval of the woman's parents to marry, but sometimes they elope if her parents don't approve.
Government offices and many businesses have strict dress codes. At some, only black, gray, or dark blue clothing is allowed. At many offices green is not allowed, since green is interpreted as being Muslim and the government is strictly secular. To get a job, a man must not have long hair or a beard or wear earrings. A woman must not wear red nail polish to work because that is considered provocative, or black nail polish because that is Satanist. While men wear shorts on campus, you rarely see shorts elsewhere in Istanbul. When I wore shorts to the archeology museum on Sunday, I had many more stares than I usually do for being tall. Shorts make you stand out more as a tourist, so it is better to avoid wearing them.
Turkish friends kiss each other on the cheek, as do the French, including men and their male friends. Men will put an arm around the shoulders of a male friend as they walk down the street, but they do not hold hands as they do in Egypt. One of my students had been an exchange student in DC last year, and when he kissed a male friend on the cheek, he got quite a reaction!
After class one of my students mentioned that the students are politicized on campus. There is one cafeteria where the leftists eat and another cafeteria where the bourgeois students eat. The swimming pool is considered a bourgeois scene, so the leftists won't go there!
I ran into one of my students in front of the psychology building and I asked him how he thought the Social Psych class was going. He said that the students liked the fact that I wanted to learn from them.
My wife wanted to see the fancy Akmerkez mall, so we took the bus there for dinner. We avoided the American fast food, and ate Turkish food instead. The clothing prices were very expensive -- reminiscent of Rodeo drive. But we found a bookstore that had many books in English, including a rack of used books. So instead of paying $20 for a new science fiction paperback for my son, we paid only $3 for a used one!
SUNDAY JULY 7 - CONTACTS
Several friends emailed comments in response to my last report. One, a political scientist who has lived in Turkey, noted that back In the 1980s men did hold hands as they walked down the street, while it was rare for couples to kiss in public. She wondered if that was still true in the villages. Another friend, who has done extensive anthropological research in Turkey, noted that urbanites have stereotypes about villagers, even if they haven't traveled out of the city. It's clear that things that I read, hear from students, or observe may not apply to other times, places, or social classes. I'm living on the most westernized campus of the most westernized city in Turkey.
Another friend was surprised at how conservative the analysis of utopian communities was, since the sociologists he knew were generally leftists. Actually, there are several traditions in sociology. One group draws on Marxist theories to analyze society. Another group tries to strengthen family relationships; this tradition has included many ministers' sons. Often the various traditions are in conflict with each other, resulting in stormy departmental relationships and disagreements on hiring new faculty.
On Thursday my Multiple Identities class talked about gender identity theories but ran out of time before we could discuss gender in Turkey. My Social Psychology class talked about avoiding and dealing with embarrassing moments -- I have some great examples like the time a guy spilled a drink on my wife at a party at the Harvard Business School and didn't apologize, so my friend took a glass of red wine and "accidentally" spilled it on him and then apologized profusely! Thursday evening I couldn't keep my eyes open while reading, so I went to bed early.
When we had eaten dinner at the sidewalk cafe in Taksim last week a man came around the tables selling what looked like rosary beads. I had emailed a friend who is a religion professor to ask about them. He said that strings of 99 beads are used in Muslim prayers, and strings of 33 beads are used as worry beads but may also be used in prayer. I saw two men fingering the smaller sets of beads on the bus Friday on our way back to Sultan Ahmet (Old Istanbul).
This trip we visited the Yerebatan Cistern, an underground water reservoir built by the Emperor Justinian in 542 AD. It's also called the Basilica Cistern since there previously was a basilica at that site that burned down. The water came by viaducts from 19 km away (we had seen one of the viaducts from a bus last week). The cistern has 336 Ionic columns which are 9 meters tall spaced 4.8 meters apart. Each set of four columns has a domed roof made of bricks. The water level now is about one foot deep, but the moss on the wall indicates that the water level used to be at the top of the columns. There were colored lights which caused the columns and domes to be reflected in the water, and there was classical music, which made it cool to wander around the rows of columns on wooden walkways.
We also went to the Museum of Turkish and Islamic art. It had many old carpets, which didn't interest me very much, except for the fact that they were able to date the various carpet patterns from European paintings (e.g., by Holbein) that included carpets as table coverings which was fashionable at the time. More interesting to me were the beautiful brass lanterns and candlesticks, the inlaid wooden Koran boxes and stands, and the Arabic calligraphy. There also was a great ethnographic exhibit which had a yurt (a round tent like the one I slept in in Inner Mongolia) and a goat-hair black tent used by some Turkish nomadic tribes.
This time the Grand Bazaar was open. The central part is covered, but the surrounding alleys form a maze extending at least a kilometer in each direction. We entered near Istanbul University so we could find the antique booksellers. I saw a book that I wanted, called The Last Caravan on the Spice Route, but they were asking $225!
I found a Turkish vest with embroidery for only $8, a dress shirt for $3, and t-shirts for $3-5. It was fun because the hawkers were friendly without being as pushy as the carpet salesmen near Aya Sophia. I enjoyed the bargaining -- for example there was a small oil lamp for which the asking price was 8.5 million lira ($14); I offered 4 mil; he came down to 7.5 and I said 4 again. He complained that I already had said 4, but came down to 5.5. I offered him 5 and he accepted. He asked where I had learned to bargain, and I said in Egypt!
We took the tram to Eminonu to visit the Egyptian Spice bazaar. Inside there were stalls selling all kinds of spices as well as Turkish Delight (candy) and other things. There was a stall selling stereos labeled "Panasaonic" and "Sunny," not quite imitating the brand names. Everywhere there are sports jerseys with brand names, as well as some music and film CDs, which are copies, just like I saw in China. Outside the spice bazaar I found a pair of pants of some interest but the asking price was $13.5 mil ($20), so I walked away. The salesman ran after me for half a block and asked what I was willing to pay. When I said 5 mil, he said okay!
When we got back to campus I stopped in my office to read my email, and heard some graduate students laughing in the hall. They had just returned from a cocktail party after graduation. They invited me to go with them to a disco. There were two female psychology students and two male friends from other departments. We took the bus to Taksim and first had something to eat -- they wanted to go to Burger King! The disco was about three blocks from the square. It was small, with a crowd of about a hundred which was just right for the space. The music was great for dancing. We danced until 12:30 and then we dispersed and I took a taxi back to campus. The cover was $5 and the taxi was $8, which was reasonable since the cover is usually $10 in LA. However in LA I usually become acquainted with the promoters and they let me in free!
On Saturday, my wife, son, and I took a bus south along the Bosphorus to Katabas, where we caught a ferry to Adalar (which means Islands). South of downtown the Bosphorus (Bogazici in Turkish, which means strait or throat) opens up into the Sea of Marmara. We rode along the east coast of the Marmara past suburbs of Istanbul crammed full of apartment buildings which go on for miles. We stopped at Heybeliada island which has a military academy. Some high school students wearing white naval uniforms got on. They asked me where I was from, and I learned that they were on their way home for a two-month vacation. They said they would like to go to Annapolis, and asked if America had any ships with airplanes on them. Turkey will get such a ship next year, and they were very excited about that.
The next stop was Buyukada, the largest of the nine Prince's Islands. The street leading from the ferry terminal was lined with ice cream stands, with many wonderful flavors. Their ice cream is thicker than ours, with less air whipped in. One of the vendors told me how much he liked America -- he had been to Orlando and had enjoyed my favorite disco there, Mannequins! We walked west along the north shore, which was lined with huge mansions. Originally the island was inhabited by Greeks, but now the mansions are owned by politicians and the rich. We walked for an hour and a half and eventually the road turned inland uphill into a pine forest. We stopped at a cafe for soda, then took a horse-drawn carriage back to the ferry terminal.
There are no cars on the island except for police cars, so horse-drawn carts are used to carry both tourists and merchandise. We saw water bottles and boxes of food being unloaded from boats onto carts along the shore. East of the ferry terminal there are many outdoor cafes. Beyond them, we saw jellyfish in the water, and then swimmers. One of the swimmers told me that it was much nicer to swim in Bodrum (along the Mediterranean) where there was sand. Here there were only large rocks. But my wife was fascinated by the rocks trying to figure out how they were formed!
It was a long trip by ferry and by bus back home, but at least it wasn't hot. The first week we were here the temperature was in the low 70s which was perfect. The next Sunday was hot when we were sightseeing. But a cold front moved in Tuesday and it has been in the 70s again ever since.
On the way from the ferry terminal to the bus stop we passed a square where young people were playing hockey on roller blades. The six guys had on knee pads, while the girl playing with them had on shorts! During the game a couple of middle-aged women, one wearing a headscarf, walked straight across the square ignoring the possibility of being hit by a hockey puck or colliding with a fast-moving player. One of the players stopped mid-game to answer a cell phone. I've seen people carrying cell phones everywhere -- even more than in the US or China. One guy on the tram was carrying two phones; while talking on one, the other rang, and he answered it too! There also are many Internet cafes, as well as some billboards including websites. This is definitely new!
WEDNESDAY JULY 5 - BRIDGING CULTURES
Sunday morning we relaxed and enjoyed the cool breeze swaying the tree branches outside the windows. My wife and son figured out how to string ropes criss-crossed on the balcony so they could hang up our wet laundry. We still haven't figured out why the washer stops mid-cycle and waits for you to advance it! I spent time revising my Multiple Identities Questionnaire so it would be more appropriate for students in Turkey - changing ethnicities, religions, regions, etc. In the late afternoon we walked up the hill to do some grocery shopping, and my wife had a chance to practice the Turkish she has been studying. She was pleased to be able to buy some cherries using Turkish!
Sunday evening my wife and I decided to go to a music festival in Besiktas. We had seen it advertised on banners across the road on Saturday. But we had no clue where it was located in the town. On the bus to Besiktas I found a passenger who spoke English, and he asked other passengers in Turkish where the music festival was, and then told me in English. It was three blocks from a bus stop in a parking lot by the Bosphorus.
We watched several groups performing traditional folk dances dressed in various traditional costumes. Most were university students but one group was elementary students. Then a series of soloists, male and female, sang popular Turkish songs. After each dance group or singer performed the emcee presented flowers and the mayor gave a short speech. There were three rows of chairs for dignitaries and three rows of chairs for the public, while the rest of the crowd (which totaled about a thousand) stood behind and on the sides. The show was being videotaped professionally, I presume for Turkish TV.
The popular music was lively and so I started moving to the music as I stood behind the chairs. A Turkish student standing in the center aisle noticed me and signaled me to join his group which was also moving to the music. So I joined a group of students from a university in Besiktas and we danced the rest of the evening. I was concerned that we might be distracting from the singers, but the audience nearby encouraged us to keep dancing. At one point the TV camera focused on us. Most of the time we were dancing like we would in a dance club, but we also did a Turkish dance in which we hooked little fingers, held up our hands, and danced in a circle. Dancing is an easy way to form an instant rapport with people anywhere in the world! At the end of the 3.5 hour concert there was a fireworks display, so we saw fireworks two days earlier than in the US! Since it was midnight my wife and I took a taxi home.
In my Multiple Identities class on Monday we talked about gender in Turkey. As before, their comments reflect their perspective and may not be representative of others. The students said that there were two traditional patterns. In one, the men work and the women stay home and raise children. In the other pattern, the men "supervise" the farm but take no responsibility for work, while the women do the farmwork and raise the children. They said that the latter pattern was in the Black Sea region. Today there are many different lifestyles in Istanbul. Many women have to work for economic reasons. The middle class is small in Turkey, with most people being either wealthy or poor.
Traditionally it was felt that there was no need to educate women since they were expected to marry and not work. They would invest in sons, who stayed in the family, but not in daughters, who moved in with their husband's family. Now married couples in Istanbul live separate from their families but usually live nearby, and daughters are valued as much as sons.
With the founding of the Republic in 1923, men and women are officially equal. Both are required to go to school. However, the number of years required was just raised from only 5 to 8. Most of those older than 40 have not gone to high school while those younger have. Out of a total population of 70 million, 1.5 million take the university entrance exams each year, but only 10% of those enter college. About half of the university students are women. Since it is difficult to gain admission to Bogazici University, the women students here are planning careers. However, some women attend college to escape from home where they would be expected to marry young to someone selected by their parents.
Men and women are employed in similar jobs, but the men often have higher pay and higher positions. Childcare is expensive, unless grandma babysits. Companies with more than 300 employees are supposed to provide daycare, but it usually is not intended to be educational.
Traditionally men are expected to be strong and tough. They have to prove their masculinity by being aggressive (often to wives) and having sex. They should not be sentimental -- no weeping, except that when they are drunk they can cry about girlfriends. Women are supposed to be sensitive, loving, respectful, quiet (not speak out), obedient, not strong, and bear sons. But since the 1980s, feminist ideology has led to a variety of models for women.
Some female students continue to wear a headscarf, and some male students and professors still wear beards, even though the government had banned both at universities on the grounds that they were too religious. But last week for the first time the government allowed women with headscarves to take the university entrance exams. In the past, some women took off their headscarves for the exams but then put them on again on campus.
We also talked about various dimensions on which cultures vary. Some cultures (like the US) emphasize individualism, while other cultures (like Japan) are collectivist. The latter emphasize identification with groups, and tend to make stronger distinctions between ingroups and outgroups. The students said that Turkey is in between, with more individualism in the cities and more collectivism in rural areas. Turkey is also high on power distance, which means that differences in power and status are emphasized. Police control is very high, and the military has intervened in the government several times in order to "prevent chaos."
American fast food, films, and music are very popular in Turkey (as elsewhere in the world). Young people want to be modern, educated, and have freedom (as do young people elsewhere in the world). But they don't want to be American, they want to be modern Turkish (just as Western Europeans want to be European not American). Young people in Turkey, like older people in Turkey, are very patriotic.
Monday night I had a miserable head cold, so I went to bed early, while my wife stayed up to study for an exam in her Turkish class. Tuesday morning I showed the movie Mrs. Doubtfire outside of class to my Multiple Identities students and asked them to write a one-page reaction paper to the gender issues raised by the movie. It was one of only four films relevant to identities that were available in the university library media center. Tuesday afternoon I checked on flights to Budapest and took time to read some international news on the Internet. I had only seen one newspaper in the past two weeks!
Tuesday evening we decided to have dinner along the waterfront, so we walked down the hill and took the bus to Ortakoy (Middletown) in the northern part of Besiktas. We explored a square on the waterfront with outdoor cafes and sidewalk stands. Instead of shish kabobs (skewered meat) or donner (vertical spit) sandwiches, we had baked potatoes piled high with many toppings. While we were there the police roped off an area in the middle of the square, and two folk dance groups performed.
One of the groups had performed at the music festival on Sunday night. They wore red woolen socks and had high-stepping fast dance steps. Their musicians played two accordions, two clarinets, and a drum. I talked to them later and learned that they were university students from Macedonia here 5 days for the music festival. They said that the other group was from Slovakia. The latter group's dances were more like polkas. Their musicians played 4 fiddles, a bass, an accordion, and a clarinet. The men wore black derby hats with an ostrich feather! The buses were still running when the dancers stopped at 10:30 so we spent $1.20 for busfare instead of $8 for a taxi, but then we had to walk up the hill to get home.
It is wonderful that students all over the world are studying a common second language (which is English). That allows them to communicate with one other, both in person and using the Internet, bridging cultures in a way that was not possible a generation ago. They've grown up watching the same American movies (good or bad) and they dance to the same music, making it easier to relate to each other, even as they retain their national identities. The cost is some loss of their own cultures (.e.g, Japanese art museums showcasing Japanese imitations of western art while relegating to the back rooms exquisite traditional Japanese art). Our diverse cultures still need to be appreciated by everyone as mass communication globalizes the world.
SUNDAY JULY 9 - SENSITIVE TOPICS
On Wednesday my Multiple Identities class talked about ethnicity. My students said that the largest minority groups in Turkey are the Kurds, Jews, Armenians, and Turkish-born Greeks. However, the government does not recognize them as separate ethnicities; there is only one ethnicity Turkish. But the government does recognize separate religions. The Armenians and Greeks are generally Eastern Orthodox Christian, while the Kurds are Muslim.
Kurdish separatists have been fighting for independence in southeast Turkey for some time. Their leader, Ocalan, was captured a year ago. At that time I read in the Los Angeles Times that he was sentenced to death, but his execution was postponed. All executions in Turkey must be approved by the Parliament. Turkey has applied for membership in the European Union, and the European Union has banned the death penalty. Ocalan told his troops to stop fighting, in hopes of avoiding execution, so there have been fewer acts of terrorism.
I read in the Turkish Daily News yesterday that 67 prisoners are on death row in Turkey. In order to join the EU, Turkey must bring its laws into agreement with EU laws and make certain economic reforms (e.g., greater privatization of industry). Turkey's application for membership and compliance with EU requirements will be reviewed in 2003. Instead of patchwork changes to Turkey's constitution, some politicians and journalists are calling for a new constitution.
The Istanbul Bar Association has called for a "constitution that does not restrict basic democratic rights and freedoms." Several leaders quoted in the Turkish Daily News have called for repeal of Article 312 of the Turkish Penal Code. Article 312 makes it a crime to incite hatred based on ethnicity or religious differences. It has been used to arrest persons critical of government policies concerning minority groups. The former prime minister of Turkey, Necmettin Erbakan, was arrested for making a statement supportive of Kurds. He was the head of the Welfare Party which has been made illegal because it supports Islam. The government is secular and wants to avoid being taken over by Muslim fundamentalists. So these issues are very complex.
Wednesday and Thursday it was hotter than usual. In fact, the Turkish Daily News said that it was the hottest July in Turkey in 60 years! Fortunately there are many trees on campus, and there usually is a cool breeze from the Bosphorus. To compound it, when I woke up Thursday morning I had some bug which made for a quick trip to the bathroom. I took some Lomatil which enabled me to get through my classes okay, but the bug was back in the evening. So I took some Cipro antibiotic, and the next morning my digestive system was okay, although I was still feeling lightheaded.
Turkish bathrooms have either eastern toilets or western toilets. Eastern toilets are either a hole in the ground or a ceramic basin set into the floor, so you have to squat. Instead of toilet paper, you usually splash water on yourself either from a running faucet or a container of water. (In Arab cultures you always do this with your left hand, so you never touch food or a person with your left hand; the Turks are not Arab and I don't know what they or East Asians do!). I saw similar facilities in Japan and China, although in China there often is a trough with running water to squat over.
The western toilets often have a faucet which you can turn on to splash yourself. In Egypt the spigot was aimed up, but here the spigot is not so you have to use your hand. In many parts of the world, the sewer system becomes clogged if you flush toilet paper. So if you use toilet paper, you are supposed to put it in a wastebasket. Our bathrooms here have a small wastebasket with a lid for that purpose. I saw wastebaskets being used that way in the large Asian Mall in Westminster, CA, a suburb of LA which has a large Vietnamese community.
Thursday morning while I was in class my wife did some laundry using some soap we had bought in a larger container. It was the same brand, but we didn't notice that it didn't have the word Automat on it -- it was for boiling clothes not for an automatic washer. So it created suds that would have spilled all over the bathroom if she and our son hadn't caught them in time in a bucket!
Thursday evening I listened to the radio. I found that about half the music was in English and half was in Turkish. I really like Turkish popular music. It has Turkish melodies and instrumentation, but with a strong dance beat like western music. I have bought several CDs of Turkish music from street vendors. One CD has a Turkish version of the theme from the old film Shaft; the melody is the same, but the lyrics and the ornamentation are Turkish!
Friday morning we were awakened at 3:15 AM by an earthquake. It felt like it was about 4.0. We learned later that it was 4.2, and was centered near the Adalar (islands) that we had visited last week. Some people were injured jumping out of windows, apparently fearing that the building might collapse. Last year there were two major earthquakes in central Turkey that killed thousands. Our house here is made of wood, which is the best kind of structure for earthquakes; it bends instead of crumbling like masonry.
After feeling lightheaded and relaxing Friday morning, that evening I felt well enough to go to a boat party which was organized by the Bogazici University Electrotechnology Club. They had chartered a large two-story harbor cruise boat for $1000, and charged $8 cover which included the first beer. There were about 200 people which should have covered their expenses. There was a DJ upstairs playing American and Turkish dance music, and a guitar player downstairs who attracted few listeners. We cruised up and down the Bosphorus from 9 PM until 1:30 AM. It was fun.
At the beginning of the cruise, an American exchange student introduced himself to me. He was from South Carolina and had been studying history and religious studies at Bogazici for a year. He also introduced his Turkish girlfriend and her Turkish friend who had been an exchange student in the US for a year. We talked about differences between Turkey and the US in regard to dating and friendship. They said that dating must be discrete in most neighborhoods of Istanbul. Couples are not supposed to kiss or even hold hands. The kissing I've seen on campus is very unusual. Couples often do not tell their parents that they are dating for fear of parental disapproval. But parents differ in their attitudes.
They said that it is harder to make friends in Turkey than in the US. But once Turks become friends, they usually are in more frequent contact. Friends get upset if you do not call them or see them often. That is consistent with my observation that young people here are constantly talking on their cell phones, both men and women. Turkish men are more affectionate with their friends than American men. Not only do they kiss on the cheek (which often is just touching cheeks), they also put their arms on each other often. At the same time, they are supposed to be macho, so they often are aggressive or take an aggressive stance.
I asked them what the guarded compound was that is on the right as you walk down the hill from campus to the Asiyan Muzesi (Asian Museum) bus stop. It has a high metal fence, armed guard, and guard dogs. They said that it was the Turkish CIA! There are armed guards all over Istanbul. Many banks, department stores, and other buildings have them. The Akmerkez shopping mall and the Topkapi museum also have metal detectors, and when we went to the music festival in Besitkas the police were inspecting bags.
When I first arrived and was walking around the neighborhood north of campus, I was surprised to see a man in uniform carrying a machine gun. Then I noticed that he was standing in front of a police station. I'm used to police and armed guards with pistols in their holsters not machine guns or rifles in their hands.
There are guards at all the entrances to campus, who must lift a barrier for cars to enter. But they are not carrying rifles. They are not stopping pedestrians this summer, but I was told that during the school year they usually ask for ID to enter the campus.
My wife wanted to see the Black Sea, so on Saturday she, our son, and I took an hour and a half ferry ride from Katabas to Anadolu Kavagi. There are many sidewalk cafes there selling freshly grilled fish, which was very good. After exploring the main part of town we took a taxi up a long hill to see the ruins of an old castle. From the castle walls on the cliff there was a spectacular view of the entrance to the Black Sea. We saw many cargo ships going up and down the Bosporus, with long wakes streaming behind them.
We walked down the hill, being careful where we stepped. Then we saw why -- there were some cows grazing along the side of the road. We passed some nice houses and also some shanties pieced together from pieces of wood and metal, with TV satellite dishes on both! We also passed a naval base with armed guards, and saw several sailors in town. On the ferry back we passed three navy ships.
Since it was hot we got off the ferry in Ortakoy to have a shorter bus ride home. Normally traffic is congested, but the bus driver was able to drive fast and so there was a breeze in the bus. When we got off the bus below campus we watched the fishermen and swimmers along the shore. There were families picnicking, and old men playing cards and drinking raki (clear anise-flavored liquor which becomes cloudy when you mix it with water, so it is easy to recognize!). Back home we took showers to cool off. I listened to Turkish CDs as the breeze came in the windows, while my wife and son went to sleep early. She was fighting a bug and he had a bad cold, so we relaxed at home this morning.
THURSDAY JULY 13 - WHIRLING DERVISHES
On Sunday I went to see the Whirling Dervishes. My wife wanted to go, but she was still not feeling well. I took the bus to Taksim, then rode the trolley down the walking street (Istiklal Caddesi) to the end of the line. I wandered down Gallip Dede Caddesi, which is lined with musical instrument shops, to Galat Mevilhane. This is a former monastery of the Mevlevi Order, but is now a museum since Ataturk closed all the monasteries.
The Persian poet Celeddin-i-Rumi, born in Afghanistan, moved to Konya (in central Turkey) in 1228, where he was called Mevlana, the master. There he came in contact with Sufism, the mystical branch of Islam, and established the Mevlevi Order known for its Whirling Dervishes (devotees). His poetry about love and peace was written in Farsi (Persian) but has been translated into Turkish and English, and provides the lyrics for many Turkish songs.
The Contemporary Lovers of Mevlana Society was formed in 1989. Its musicians have composed new Mevlevi ceremonial pieces and hymns. They have permission from the Ministry of Culture to perform concerts and the Sema ceremony in order to preserve Turkish Culture.
After a 45-minute concert of hymns with soloists and choral singing, they performed the Sema ceremony. Their brochure describes the ceremony as a "means for humans to reach Divine Reality! It is an intoxication of the soul!" First a devotee brought in a red sheepskin, which the sheik sat upon representing Mevlevi the master. Twelve additional devotees entered wearing floor-length black cotton capes and foot-high brown felt hats, which are like cones with the top half cut off.
As they stood still, a chanter recited praise for Mohammed. A flute improvisation represented Allah (God) blowing life into humans, giving soul to the universe. The dervishes then slowly walked in a circle three times, each time bowing at the sheik as they passed. The first cycle represented God's creation of the sun, the moon, the stars, and all inanimate creation. The second cycle signified the creation of the vegetable world, and the third the animal world.
The costumes of the dervishes represent the death of the ego. They removed their black capes, which signify tombs, to reveal a full-skirted long cotton gown depicting the shroud in which a body is wrapped. Originally only men twirled, wearing white gowns. In this group half were men wearing white, while the other half were women wearing different colors representing a rose garden (which has generated some controversy).
As they entered the circle, their arms were crossed, resembling a one to signify the Unity of God. After they bowed to the sheik, they began twirling. They extended their arms, with their right hand up to receive from God and their left hand down to give to man. They then twirled for about five minutes, with their skirts flowing out in a full circle. They then stopped, bowed to the sheik, and then repeated the cycle three more times.
The first cycle represents viewing all the worlds and seeing the majesty of God. In the second cycle their whole existence is dissolved within Divine Unity. During the third cycle, the lovers cleanse themselves. In the fourth cycle, they arrive at the junction of non-existence within Divine Existence. The sheik entered the Sema during the last cycle, opening one edge of his cloak to show that he has opened his heart to all people. The flute played again, and then the ceremony ended with a reading from the Koran.
The ideology reminded me of the Shakers, whose museums I had visited when I lived in New England. The Shakers would line up with men on one side and women on the other side, and dance to merge with God. However, the celibate Shakers danced together rather vigorously, while the dervishes twirled independently with their eyes closed in a very graceful manner. When I dance I often feel like I'm in a euphoric state, and I usually feel an emotional rapport with the other dancers as we move in synchrony with the music. I don't describe the experience in mystical language, but I can understand how others might.
On Monday, the students in my Social Psychology class handed in their first paper in which they described a personal experience and analyzed it using concepts from the course. The most interesting paper was by a woman who chose to wear a headscarf to the university. She said she did this for several reasons. It would be true to her religion and would communicate her true self, instead of trying to be someone she is not. She wanted to be valued for her thoughts, behavior, and intelligence, not for her physical appearance, sexual appeal, and looking "cool." But she found that others stereotyped her as unintelligent, uncreative, and close minded. They misinterpreted her answers to questions in a manner consistent with their expectations. Men were reluctant to talk to her, and considered her withdrawn and uncommunicative. (This was in spite of the fact that she must have been very bright to pass the university entrance exams).
Another paper talked about aggression in Turkish society. A guy was whistling on the bus, and another man told him to stop whistling. He replied that he could whistle in public if he wanted to. When he went to get off the bus, a second man pushed him, he pushed back, and both the first and second men started hitting him. He pulled one man by the arm to a policeman at the bus stop. When he explained what happened, the other man tried to claim that he was whistling at women (which would be offensive) but no one believed that because he was with his girlfriend. When the policeman wanted to take the man to the police station, the student decided not to press charges. The man apologized and was released, although the people around were angry that the student didn't let the police take the man away.
A third paper talked about stereotypes that Turks have, and stereotypes that other people have about Turks. He mentioned the film "Midnight Express" as creating the image that Turkey is dangerous. I would add that foreigners think Istanbul is exotic as the terminus of the Orient Express. Wherever we go here, people think that we are northern Europeans (from Germany, England, or the Netherlands): they are surprised that we are Americans. I read in the Turkish Daily News that only 5.7% of the tourists are from America. The largest percentages are from Germany (21.1%) and Great Britain (12.5%). Students told me that working class Europeans come to Turkey who can't afford to go to Western European resorts (Turkey has resorts along the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean). I read in Let's Go that a prison in Istanbul has been converted into a luxury hotel where you can pay big money to stay in a former cell! But I also read in the Turkish Daily News about rioting by inmates at Bayrampasa Prison and protests of a crackdown by authorities in Burdur Prison.
On Monday afternoon my wife visited the Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Prediction Center. She had called to obtain information, explaining that she was a graduate student in geology. The director offered to take her there, since he had to go to the Bogazici University library anyway. She met the geophysicists there who are conducting seismology research and toured their labs, on a beautiful campus on the Asian side. On Wednesday afternoon, one of the psychology professors introduced my wife to a friend of his who was a geochemist at Istanbul University.
Tuesday morning I showed the film "The Joy Luck Club" to students in my Multiple Identities class. It depicts the cultural conflicts between four women who came from China and their daughters who grew up in America. In class on Wednesday I asked if the conflicts in the film were similar to the conflicts between traditional mothers and modern daughters when Turkish families move from rural areas to big cities. They said that when families migrate to the city in Turkey, they try to preserve their own culture and language; they do not want their children to be like city people. In America, immigrants usually want their children to learn English to be successful.
Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday afternoon, I met individually with two professors and two students to discuss wording in my Multiple Identities Questionnaire. I'm trying to adapt the categories to be more appropriate for Turkish students. But people in Turkey think about identities differently than in the US. They generally do not think in terms of racial categories (there are few Africans, East Asians, or South Asians; but many different central Asians, eastern Europeans, and western Europeans). The minority groups are socially defined in terms of culture, origin, and religion, although the government recognizes only different religions not different ethnicities. Attitudes toward the groups are strongly influenced by social class which is often true in the US as well.
Due to an expected heat wave today, the government closed all government offices and universities. So there are no classes today (or on Friday). Everyone has a four-day weekend, but it's too hot to go anywhere! However, my wife and I need to go to the airport today to pick up our daughter.
MONDAY JULY 17 - DERVISHES WITH MY DAUGHTER
On Thursday afternoon it was 100 degrees as we waited for the bus. After 10 minutes we were about to take a taxi to get out of the sun when the bus came. In Taksim we boarded the Havas airport shuttle, which was an air-conditioned tour bus! Juniper's plane was an hour late, but we didn't mind waiting in the airport because it was cool. After she arrived she took a quick nap at the flat before I took her to a musical treat that she was excited about.
When I went to see the Whirling Dervishes perform last Sunday, I had arrived early and met one of the dervishes. I asked her if they were performing again the following Sunday and she said no, not until the end of the month. I explained that my daughter was studying world music, so she invited me to bring my daughter to a non-public practice session on Thursday in Uskudar. We took the ferry there across the Bosphorus from Besiktas. My wife and son came too.
The Sema ceremony was similar to that on Sunday, but was less formal. The dervishes wore street clothes instead of costumes. The men wore jeans or khakis while the women wore floor-length skirts and put on headscarves. Due the small space available only five danced during the Sema, but afterward the musicians played for another hour, and the sheik invited others to dance too. They danced in groups of three at a time for about five minutes per group. I really enjoyed the music, and was swaying to it as was the sheik and others. But I resisted the urge to get up and dance -- I would have gotten dizzy twirling and would have used a different dance style that would not have been appropriate!
I commented to my daughter that I had heard about the Dervishes years ago, but never imagined that I would be in Istanbul and meeting them! After the music stopped we were introduced to the sheik and he invited us to come to the musicians' rehearsal on Monday. The group was warm and welcoming.
When we left the temperature had dropped, and there was a wonderful cool breeze as we rode the ferry across the Bosphorus. The lights were on the minarets, and it was delightful to be in Istanbul!
Friday morning I edited my Multiple Identities Questionnaire while my daughter slept in. In the afternoon my wife and I took her to SDC travel in Sultan Ahmet to get a student air ticket to Budapest next Friday for a music camp. I bought tickets for the rest of us to fly to Izmir on Friday so we can visit Ephesus.
It was partly overcast, so it was much cooler than the day before. We showed our daughter the underground Basilica Cistern, then wandered around the Grand Bazaar. When we exited the maze of shops I had no idea where we were, but I knew that if we walked downhill we'd end up in Eminomu. When we walked by the Egyptian spice bazaar, there were old army cots in the street loaded with dress shirts and jeans for sale.
We stopped to eat donner sandwiches in the park just west of the spice bazaar. Our daughter found an elderly musician playing a 7-string instrument called a saz, which she described as a long-necked fretted lute. She stopped to listen and a crowd gathered to listen too. He showed her how to strum the lute. We explored a side street nearby which had a stand with a dozen kinds of olives, several stands selling cheese, as well as stands for spices and fresh produce. We took the bus back via Taksim instead of Bebek so we could walk down the hill instead of up the hill to get home!
Our daughter was still fighting jetlag so she didn't sleep until 4 AM and then slept until noon on Saturday. In the afternoon all four of us went back to Sultan Ahmet to show her the Aya Sophia and the Blue Mosque. When the Aya Sophia was converted from a Christian basicila to a Mosque, the mosaics of Christian icons were plastered over and Muslim calligraphy was added. When Ataturk made it a museum, some of the plaster was removed to reveal some of the mosaics. So now there is a mosaic of Jesus above Arabic names of Allah!
The Blue Mosque is called that because it has blue and white tiles on the walls. But it also has beautiful stained glass windows with colored flowers and blue backgrounds. Muslims believe that images of people are like idols and hence are not allowed in mosques, so instead they use floral and geometric designs and Arabic calligraphy of some of the 99 names of Allah. Normally you don't take pictures inside mosques or churches anywhere. But I saw families with women in headscarves taking family photos! As their parents prayed, a few small children ran around inside the mosque and wrestled on the rug.
Outside the mosque we saw three boys wearing circumcision outfits. Muslim boys are circumcised around age 8. During the week before they are treated like kings. They are dressed in outfits with a royal robe (usually white with gold trim) and carry a scepter! While traditional mom and older sister wear a floor-length coat covering a long-sleeve blouse and long skirt (even when it's hot), dad and older brother wear jeans and a short-sleeved shirt.
I read a journal article by a colleague here, which explained more about the Double Standard in Turkey. A man is supposed to protect the chastity of his female relatives, and if any of them have sex before or outside of marriage it dishonors him and he is supposed to punish the offenders, both the man and his female relative. This redeems his honor but not the honor of his female relative, even if she was raped. But there is little consequence to a man if he has sex before or outside of marriage (except possible revenge from her male relatives). Although the Muslim religion considers it a sin, and therefore it should be done discretely, it affirms his masculinity. This has led to widespread prostitution, which is quietly legal in state-inspected brothels. Any woman who is unprotected, i.e., not accompanied by a man, is considered fair game. Hence women traveling alone are hassled, especially tourists who do not dress conservatively.
My daughter was wearing a sleeveless blouse on the bus home from Taksim the day before. A man sitting behind her tried to touch her. Before I realized what had happened, she slugged him on the side of his head and moved up next to me. She knows how to defend herself! Others on the bus were startled by the commotion but apparently saw no need to intervene.
After leaving the Blue Mosque, we took the tram from Sultan Ahmet to Eminomu and explored inside the Egyptian Spice Bazaar. We bought a variety of spices -- up until now everything we cooked at the flat was flavored with curry! My son spotted a video game system that looked like Nintendo but had a Turkish brand name. Back on campus, I took my daughter to my office to access her email, and she discovered the challenge of typing English on a Turkish keyboard, with an undotted I where the dotted I should be! Last Tuesday the Internet was down all afternoon, and for the first time I felt far away from family and friends. With email I feel that I am in close contact even though I am on the other side of the world!
On Sunday my daughter wanted to see the Black Sea, so all four of us took the bus to Ortakoy. While waiting for the ferry, a guy approached me and called me by name. He recognized me from the photo on my webpage! I'm not anonymous even in Istanbul! He explained that he was a junior in psychology at Bogazici University and had heard about me from students in my Multiple Identities class.
When the ticket seller arrived, he said that the ferry wouldn't be stopping there due to a boat race, but we could catch it at Besiktas in 15 minutes. So I raised my arm to signal for a cab, and a cab driver coming the other direction signaled back. He drove a block and made an illegal U-turn. His sudden stop caused a motorcyclist behind him to fall off his bike. He got up, apparently okay, and the cab sped away. We took another cab and made it to the ferry in time. On the ferry I saw a guy wearing a t-shirt with Danish writing, and I asked him in Danish if he was from Denmark. He didn't understand, so I asked in English, and he replied that he was French but had visited Denmark!
After eating grilled fish sandwiches and looking at the view of the Black Sea from the castle on the hill in Anadolu Kavagi, we took the ferry back. My daughter discovered that there were three musicians playing inside on the upper deck. They were playing classical Turkish music on a clarinet, an hourglass-shaped metal drum, and a fretted dulcimer. The passengers were singing along and clapping their hands. Some began to do some traditional Turkish folk dances. My was tired so he and my wife got off the ferry at Ortakoy, but my daughter and I stayed on until Eminomu so we could listed to the music for another half-hour. The enthusiastic participation of the audience made the performance special, and I really liked the music.
We took a bus to Taksim looking for a bar with live music there. We found several bars and discos on Iman Adnan Sokagi, a side street off of Istiklal Caddesi, and liked the music best at Mektup Cafe-bar so we ate dinner there. They served Tuborg beer which I had missed since living in Denmark! There was a saz (lute), a guitar, and a keyboard accompanying a singer. I showed my daughter more of the walking street and we found two more groups of musicians playing in the sidewalk cafes.
She was impressed by the architecture of the old buildings along the walking street, and how alive the city was - she described it as pulsing with energy. After we took a taxi back to campus at midnight, we walked down the hill and she appreciated the beautiful view of the lights on the boats and shore of the Bosphorus. I was so wired from the stimulation of the day that I had trouble going to sleep.
WEDNESDAY JULY 19 - WHY THEY BECOME DERVISHES
On Monday after class my daughter and I took the ferry from Basiktas to Uskadar. We explored the market area across from the large traffic circle surrounding a park. In the park I saw a small boy pretending to talk on a toy cell phone. One of my students had told me that Turkey has the highest usage of cell phones of any country in the world! Whether true or not, it is consistent with what I've observed. The market area had many stands selling fresh produce and fish.
We went to the Mevlevi center to listen to the musicians rehearse. First there was a question and answer period. An American woman translated my questions and the sheik's answers. I asked how he had studied to be a religious leader, and he said that he had studied with his sheik for 25 years. After 5 years, his sheik told him that he had the spirit of Mevlevi in him. I asked how the musicians had trained, and he said that they had studied secular music, then were able to play the spiritual music. He said that music nourishes the spirit, not only of humans but also of animals and plants as well. In response to another question he said that humans were the most important of God's creation, and that they are created through love. We should love one another.
I was reminded of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. They consider Jesus to be a prophet, although not the Son of God, and they call him the smiling prophet. To them the most important prophets are Mohammed (which all Muslims follow) and his son-in-law Ali (which only some branches of Muslim follow such as Shiite in Iran, Alevi in Turkey, and Sufis like the Mevlevi). The sheik preached for another half-hour in Turkish while I sat and observed the group.
While tea and cookies were being served and the musicians were setting up, I spoke with some of the musicians. I learned that they were all students at the conservatory of music at Istanbul Technical University. Then while they rehearsed, everyone else chatted, the men on one side of the room and the women on the other side.
I spoke with some men that I had observed whirling on previous visits. One was 35 and had been in the group 4 years. Another was 24 and had been introduced to the group 3 years ago by a friend who is now his fiancˇe. He called her over, and she explained that since joining the group her relationships with other people were much more meaningful. Two high school students had been in the group only 6 months and 2 months. One explained that as a Muslim he had learned about Sufism, and found it very interesting so he sought out the group.
Whirling appears very exotic, but the dervishes themselves are warm, sensitive people searching for spiritual meaning in their lives. I could understand why they might join this group. It appears consistent with research on religious conversion that I lecture on in my Social Psychology class. Some people are looking for religious answers to questions about life. But most important is the development of emotional ties to the group, along with a lack of ties to competing groups. As one identifies with the group members, one uses them as a reference group, and takes on their perspective about life and their definition of oneself.
The same process occurs more generally in what is erroneously called brainwashing. People are intentionally or already cut off from old reference groups (through walls, distance, or rules). Their old identity is criticized or simply not recognized. They develop ties to a new reference group, and take on that group's perspective, developing a new identity. When communists or cults do this we call it brainwashing, but when we do it in military training, residential colleges, and churches, we call it education!
Often there aren't old and new reference groups, but simply the reference groups in which we grow up. We accept the identities we have been assigned -- unless we later encounter others who treat us differently which causes us to question our identity (e.g., encountering discrimination at a school or outside our neighborhood). These identity conflicts are issues that I talk about in my Diverse Identities class.
When my daughter was talking with the women, she met another American visitor who is a graduate student in Anthropology and who shares her interest in ethnomusicology! She is studying Turkish in summer school at Bogazici University. She rode back to campus with us on the ferry and the bus. Also on the bus was a guy from Azerbaigian (a Republic east of Turkey) whom I had previously met at a Sportsfest dance!
Tuesday morning my daughter and I worked on travel arrangements for this weekend. In the afternoon we went to SDC travel in Sultan Ahmet where I bought air tickets to visit Cappadocia the following weekend. I wanted to show her the Topkapi Palace, but it was closed on Tuesdays. So we went to Taksim and took the trolley to Galata where we explored the musical instrument shops. Juniper wanted to buy a Turkish clarinet, so she played several in different shops. She found a metal one that she liked and bought it. It is in the key of G so it is longer than western clarinets, and the tone intervals are different so the fingering is slightly different too. Across from the music shop we found some pillow covers for sale on the sidewalk that we both liked and that I knew my wife would like as well. They have crescent moons, stars, and sunbursts. In the next block I spoke with a man from Nigeria who was trying to sell watches on the street. When I asked how he liked living in Istanbul, he said that it was more difficult to find jobs here than he had expected when he came 4 months ago.
We walked a couple more blocks downhill to the Galata Tower. When I saw how old it was (it was built in 1348), I wondered how many steps we'd have to climb! It reminded me of the old tower in Copenhagen. But fortunately it had an elevator up to a restaurant so we only had to climb 2 flights instead of 9. From the narrow observation ledge there was a spectacular view of the city. The Aya Sophia, the Blue Mosque, and other mosques with their domes and minarets were like crown jewels on the skyline. We walked back along Istiklal Caddesi and stoped to eat at a cafeteria. It was great to be able to point to various dishes without having to translate a menu! We passed a church with a cross on top, so we looked inside hoping to see some beautiful Eastern Orthodox icon mosaics like we had seen in churches in Moscow. But there were only two small mosaics. The statues inside were Roman Catholic!
Outside the church we were approached by two young boys who were begging (my students told me that the beggars are Gypsies). But I have seen fewer people begging in Istanbul than in Los Angeles. It is more common for men and young boys to shine shoes, or to have a scale to weigh you on the street, or to sell bottled water. Young boys lug a bucket of ice and water bottles to the bus terminals and tourist spots and stand in the hot sun all day. I appreciate their hard work and the cold water on a hot day!
When we got home and showed my wife the pillow covers, she wanted more of them! I had bought only one and my daughter had bought four to put in her apartment at UCLA this fall.
MONDAY JULY 24 - EPHESUS AND THE AEGEAN SEA
On Wednesday I gave midterms in both of my classes. After class, I took my wife and son to the Galata Tower, and a cafeteria on the walking street. During that time my daughter met with the graduate student in anthropology that she had met at the Mevlevi music rehearsal Monday night.
After classes on Thursday, we had dinner in one of the cafes on the top of the hill across from the Etiler entrance to the campus. We spent the rest of the evening packing and getting ready for our three-day weekend.
Friday morning we took at taxi to the airport at 6 AM. The shuttle bus from Taxsim wasn't running yet. We put our daughter on a plane to Budapest. She was originally planning to attend two different week-long music camps in areas of Romania populated by Hungarians, but was feeling uncomfortable with the arrangements to the first camp as a young woman traveling alone. Since she already had her plane ticket, she decided to spend a week in Budapest meeting other students at a youth hostel, and then go to the second music camp. She later emailed that she was having a great time in Budapest.
The other three of us took a very nice flight on Turkish Airways to Izmir, on the Aegean coast. It's a big industrial city, with jumbles of houses on the hills. After taking the airport shuttle downtown, we took a taxi to the intercity bus terminal. There we found dozens of bus companies to cities all over Turkey -- buses are much faster and more reliable than the trains in Turkey. For $3 each we had a comfortable 1-hour ride in an air-conditioned bus with beverage service to Selcuk, the small town closest to Ephesus. As we neared Selcuk, we passed a family living in a black tent like we had seen in the Ethnographic museum near the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul! There was a herd of sheep or goats nearby.
Because we expected it to be hot, we had reserved a room in an inexpensive hotel with air-conditioning that I had read about in The Lonely Planet guidebook for Turkey. In addition to budget pensions (rooming houses) listed by both guides, The Lonely Planet lists mid-range hotels that are not in Let's Go, while omitting the youth hostels, bars, and discos that the latter lists since it is written by and for college students. The Hotel Kalehan (fortress place) turned out to be a delightful old inn with some antiques, private baths, and a modern swimming pool in a beautiful courtyard, with a spectacular view of the old fortress on the hill behind it. And it was only $40 per night for all three of us!
My wife's digestive system was upset, so she took a nap in the cool room while my son and I set off to explore the town in the heat. We went to the archeology museum which had some artifacts from Ephesus. While the artifacts were nicely displayed, the statues appeared to be the broken leftovers which hadn't been taken to Vienna by Austrian researchers years ago. It reminded me of the many ancient artifacts from all over the world (including the marbles from the Parthenon in Athens) which are in the British Museum. On the one hand, these things were stolen from other places (some of which, like Athens, want them back), but on the other hand they were preserved and are now on display for the entire public not just rich private collectors. In one museum in London you can tour the entire ancient world!
On the way back to the hotel we saw the ruins of an underground water cistern, much smaller than the one in Istanbul, with columns but missing the roof. Behind it we explored the extensive ruins of the Basilica of St. John, built on the site where the Apostle John was supposed to be buried. He wrote the Gospel of John, which is the most philosophical of the four Christian gospels, and the book of Revelations which people have repeatedly used to predict that the end of the world was drawing near.
The ruins overlooked the graceful Isa Bey Camil (mosque) with a double dome. When we entered the mosque, the iman (religious leader) was very welcoming. Instead of charging tourists an admission fee, he had books available for sale if you wish. He had a great book about the Whirling Dervishes which included the life of Rumi and some of his quotes and poetry, which I bought. He invited us to sit on the carpet and listen to a ney (Turkish wooden flute) player who happened to enter the mosque while we were there. The carpets were small and had varied patterns -- I could appreciate them without being hassled by carpet salesmen! It was delightful.
Across from the mosque was a restaurant selling local wine. I decided to return later, after seeing if my wife was feeling better. She wasn't and my son was hot and tired, so I went back to the Karamese restaurant alone. It had large gazebos, with low tables, and pillows to sit upon. With the wooden railings around, and the lush greenery, it felt like I was in Robinson Crusoe's tree house in the jungle! They even had a small zoo in the back. I was feeling mellow sipping the cool white wine and eating dinner. The shish kabob was served with fresh warm flat bread cooked by women on a hearth nearby.
I walked along a street with streetlamps in the shape of lions standing erect, and discovered the market area with a walking street and outdoor cafes with people of all ages. There were at least half a dozen barber shops, so I stopped in one for a haircut and a brief back massage. There was an Internet cafe, but I couldn't telnet to my account so I sent my daughter a brief message from her account. On the way back to the hotel, the main street was lined with outdoor cafes where middle-aged men were drinking chay (tea) and playing backgammon or watching TV. They were amused by the fact that I had a wine bottle in my pocket -- I hadn't drunk all of it at the restaurant so I would be able to walk back to the hotel!
Saturday morning all three of us took a taxi two miles to Ephesus. It is the largest and best preserved classical city outside of Rome and Athens. While it is older than the 7th century BC, its greatest period of building was during Roman times. The bay filled in with silt from the river in the 3rd century AD, and so the people eventually moved away. St. Paul was there for three years, which is described in the New Testament book of Acts, and the Virgin Mary is reported to have lived there with John the Apostle after Jesus' crucifixtion, so it is a pilgrimage site for many Christian tourists. We heard French, Spanish, German, Turkish, and even Danish. There are two dozen major attractions highlighted on the tourist map of the city, but there are ruins of many more buildings.
Most impressive were the two-story facade of the library of Celsus, and the 24,000-seat amphitheater built by the Greeks but used by the Romans for gladiator fights. Most amusing was the latrine, where about two dozen holes were cut into marble slabs over a trough with running water, with no partitions between them. Next door was the brothel, where the statue of Bes (or Priapus) was found, a six-inch figure with a four-inch erect phallus. It is now on display in the museum in Selcuk, but you have to push a button to turn on the light to see it!
A short distance down the marble road toward the amphitheater is what is claimed to be the world's oldest advertisement. There is a marble slab on the side of the road with a foot, a heart, and a woman engraved, which has been interpreted to say that the brothel is a short walk down the road!
After four hours of looking at gates, fountains, temples, baths, houses on the hillside, and other ruins, we took a taxi to the Cave of the Seven Sleepers on the other side of the mountain. In 250 AD seven Christian youths fled the city to avoid persecution, and supposedly slept there only to awaken 200 years later. When they died they were buried there. Actually it looks like there had been many tombs there, with Roman brick arches over burial chambers in the walls.
We took the taxi back to Selcuk where we caught a Dolmus (minivan) for the half-hour ride to Kusadasi, a resort city on the coast. The word Dolmus means stuffed, and is the same word used for stuffed grape leaves. The minivan follows a fixed route, but the time of departure is determined by when it is full! It costs twice what a bus costs, but much less than a taxi.
On the way we passed water parks and seaside resort hotels. When we arrived in Kusadsai, we were hot and tired, but found the Sun Garden Hotel recommended by The Lonely Planet. It didn't have air-conditioning but there was a cool breeze coming in from the balcony overlooking a swimming pool. I swam while my wifea napped, and then she and I walked along the waterfront and out to the island in the harbor which has an old fortress. The name of the city Kusadasi means Bird Island and is named after the many birds on the island. However, we saw only one dove as we walked along the outer walls of the fortress; the castle tower was locked.
We picked up our son and ate a Turkish pizza a for dinner. It had sliced Vienna sausage and salami instead of pepperoni! We found a street called Barla (meaning street of bars) which had several discos and Irish bars near our hotel, and a labyrinth of narrow streets with discos and bars behind the post office. On Barbaros, the main street to the waterfront, a jewelry store salesman approached me on the street and asked for information about applying to graduate schools; he attends a university in Izmir. I never did figure out why he thought I might know!
My wife and son went to bed early, and I went back to Barla. I listened to the music and looked in the windows, and found a disco that looked interesting called The Happy Center next door to the Log Cabin Irish Pub. In most discos, everyone waits for someone else to start dancing, but at this disco the young waiters were dancing and inviting women to dance when they weren't serving beer! One of the guys at the door encouraging customers to enter was a student at UCLA at home for the summer! I met several Turks and three students from Germany. I had a blast! I left at 2 AM soaked with sweat from 3 1/2 hours of dancing. The manager wanted me to come back the next night, and I would like to have, but I had to teach a class Monday morning in Istanbul!
On Sunday morning, at the breakfast provided by the hotel, I saw a couple that was at the disco the night before! She was from Scotland and he was Turkish. She complimented me on my dancing and was amazed at my energy level. We checked out of the hotel and took a dolmus two miles south to the Ladies Beach, which had people of both sexes and all ages. There were rows of beach chairs with umbrellas, and young men calling out to rent them. One of them and his friends recognized me from the disco! After walking up and down the beach, we did rent chairs near the only shower on the beach. We took turns watching our backpacks and swimming in the Aegean. It was fun riding the waves while floating on my back.
We then made the long trek back to Istanbul, riding a dolmus, intercity bus, taxi, airplane, shuttle bus, and city bus to campus. On the last bus, there was an altercation between a Turk and an African. The African wanted a policeman, so the bus driver flagged one down, and the police took both of them away. We never did find out what was the cause, but two Turks in the back of the bus got into an argument about it and had to be pulled apart by their friends.
THURSDAY JULY 27 - BETWEEN TRIPS
Monday morning my digestive system was unhappy. My stomach had started hurting after I drank an orange slurpy Sunday afternoon -- I wonder if it had been mixed with tap water. In the middle of my afternoon Social Psychology class I felt lightheaded, and sat on a table while I lectured instead of standing at the blackboard. I didn't want to stop my lecture because I was talking about my research on dating couples!
In my morning Diverse Identities class we discussed social class, poverty, and homelessness in America, then I asked my students about Turkey. They said that the government does not have any welfare programs, except that some people can get a green card for free healthcare and medicine but it is very difficult to get. However, people find ways to survive (such as shining shoes, etc.). There is little homelessness because people put together shanties on the outskirts of the city. Healthcare is expensive. Employers are supposed to provide health insurance, but they deduct the cost from your paycheck.
The minimum one can earn in a full-time job is about 100 million Turkish Lira ($160) a month. Government workers earn about 300 million TL, while full professors at state universities earn 450 million TL (about $750) per month. At private universities professors are paid 1000-2000 million TL per month. So some professors at state universities teach part-time at private universities.
Rent in Etiler (an expensive area near the campus) is about $1000 per month, while a nice house on the Asian side of the Bosphorus is about 300 million TL ($480). The cheapest undesirable apartment on the European side costs 100 million TL, while a more desirable apartment costs 250 million TL. I haven't seen official statistics so I don't know how accurate these estimates are.
Most students live at home and commute. Those who live in dormitories pay only 8 million TL (about $14) per month for rent. They pay for each meal separately (but food on campus is inexpensive -- about 80 cents for a deli sandwich). However, there also is a luxury Super Dorm which costs about 300 per month. Tuition at state universities is 60 million TL ($100) per semester. At private universities tuition is about $6000 per year.
After my afternoon class I went to the swimming pool with a student from Azerbaigian. I had originally met him at the Sportfest boat party and happened to see him again on the bus last week. A friend of his from Azerbaigian and a friend from Palestine (whom I also had met at the boat party) joined us too. Since I wasn't feeling very well I did more talking than swimming. Azerbaigian is a former republic of the USSR which is just east of Turkey. The language is similar to Turkish, and the religion is primarily Muslim. The student from Palestine lives in the Gaza strip. At the pool I also met two Turkish friends of theirs, one of whom plays the ney (Turkish wooden flute which is important to the Whirling Dervishes).
After swimming we went to the Palestinian's apartment for some watermelon. The apartment had a small kitchen like I had seen in China and in efficiency apartments in the US. We then walked up to the North Campus so I could see what the men's dormitory was like. Each dorm room is about the size of a two-person dorm room in the US. But in the room are 3 sets of bunkbeds and a small table, so six guys share a room. It reminded me of the dormitory rooms I had seen in China, where there were 4 sets of bunkbeds for 8 men to share a room. Out in the hall were everyone's shoes of all kinds, like in Japan!
Tuesday morning I showed the film "American History X" to the students in my Multiple Identities class. It is a film about a white supremacist which depicts the brutal effects of hatred. In the afternoon I met my wife at the library so I could return the video and check out another geology book for her. While there I overheard someone whose accent sounded American, which is unusual away from Sultan Ahmet. I learned that he was a student from MIT who was invited here for the summer by a fraternity brother at MIT who is from here. The latter is in my Social Psychology class! My wife had worked at MIT when I was a PhD student at Harvard.
We are all connected to each other through chains of people we know, as Stanley Milgram demonstrated in his research on the Small World. He found that on the average there were seven people in a chain linking someone selected at random on one coast of the US with someone on the other coast! One of my professors at Harvard has been instrumental in setting up the Middle East peace talks, and through him I am chained to all the world leaders!
In the evening I planned our itinerary for visiting Cappadocia this weekend and made telephone calls to central Turkey to make hotel reservations. By coincidence my cousin just emailed that she had read an article about Cappadocia in the Sunday travel section of the Seattle Times!
Wednesday morning my stomach felt normal again after having taken Cipro antibiotic for two days. After class, three students came by my office to talk about applying to graduate schools in the US, including the student who had recognized me from my website. I spoke with colleagues about final revisions to my Multiple Identities Questionnaire, edited the corrections, took the printout to a copy center up the hill, then lugged a box of 160 questionnaires back to my flat.
A colleague had invited us to her apartment for some dessert, so we took a taxi there in the evening. We had several flavors of ice cream, plus an unusual thick pudding made from chicken breasts! I also tried some raki, the national liquor of Turkey. It is flavored with anise (licorice), and served with water (which turns it from clear to cloudy), and ice. I liked it, but it is something you sip not drink like beer!
This morning we packed our backpacks so we could take off for the airport after my afternoon class.
MONDAY JULY 31 - LIVING IN CAVES IN CAPPADOCIA
Cappadocia is in central Turkey about four-hours drive south of the capital city Ankara. The name means land of beautiful horses. Persians raised horses in the region 2500 years ago. Today it is famous for its rock formations, caused by water and wind erosion of tuff (dried liquefied ash) from three volcanoes ten million years ago. From the 4th to the 11th century it was a hiding place for Christians, who carved churches, houses, and 120 underground cities out of the rock.
Thursday evening we flew from Istanbul to Kayseri, which is the closest airport to the area. We took the airport shuttle into town, arriving about 10 PM. We checked into the Hotel Yat (which means both yacht and go to bed, so the hotel had pictures of boats), and then explored the streets nearby. Most tourists travel by bus, or fly to Ankara, so foreign visitors are unusual in Kayseri. As a result, we were a novelty and attracted even more attention than usual. Shopkeepers (where we bought ice cream and water), men in produce stalls (selling melons), and street vendors (selling nuts) wanted to know where we were from, and others on the street wanted to practice their English.
Around the corner from the hotel we found a park where some musicians were playing (2 saz and a metal drum) at an outdoor cafe. I took their picture, and later they gave me their address so I could mail them a copy. I also took a picture of two middle-age men who danced to one of the songs, so one of them stopped to chat too. He spoke in German and said that he had been a guest worker in Germany for seven years.
Friday morning we walked along the park on our way toward the center of town, and I took a picture of some men sitting in the park. More than two dozen men gathered around me wanting me to take their picture too! I've seen males of all ages on the streets everywhere I've been in Turkey, but very few women, and the women are usually accompanied by men unless they are with other women and children.
We took a taxi to the otogar (short for otobus garaj = autobus garage = bus station), and took a bus to Goreme. The trip was one and a half hours, and the terrain reminded me of central Oregon or the Owens Valley east of the Sierras in California. We passed wheat fields, potato crops, and sunflowers (the seeds are very popular here). We saw farmers using machines to separate the wheat from the chaff, men moving sprinkler pipes in the potato fields (like I had done in the mint fields of Oregon one summer as a teenager), a few herds of sheep, and several herds of cattle. We passed donkey carts carrying families in traditional clothing, and many tractors on the road pulling wagons. From the horn honking and dirty looks, I think that the farmers and the tour bus drivers each felt that the other was in the way.
We also passed a field with several yurts (round tents), and saw other kinds of tents and lean-tos in fields either for sleeping or to provide relief from the heat. People were working in the fields even though the temperature was over 105 degrees (40 Celsius). I was glad that I was in a comfortable air-conditioned bus instead of hanging onto a tractor or a donkey cart! It was the hottest time of the year and the hottest year in recent times.
In Goreme we saw cone shaped rock formations on the hillside into which houses had been cut. We stopped at the Nese tour agency and made reservations for a day-long tour the next day. We checked into the Ufuk Motel, which is next to the Paradise Hotel! Ufuk is pronounced oo-fook and means horizon. Our room was a cave carved out of the rock! It was square in shape, with a small bathroom by the door. There were no windows, except for the translucent glass in the upper half of the door. There were rugs on the floor, three beds, and a nightstand. And the temperature was wonderfully cool even though it was mid-day!
We relaxed in the room for awhile before walking a kilometer (3/5 mile) down the road and up a hill to the Goreme Open Air Museum. There were seven Byzantine (Eastern Orthodox Christian) churches containing colorful frescoes that had been carved into the rocks more than a thousand years ago. The churches were cool inside, even though it was very hot outside. There also was a seven-story nunnery with tunnels inside to reach the upper levels, although only the lower two levels were open since the upper levels had been damaged by earthquakes.
When we visited the last church, it had guards since it was outside the entrance to the main area. My wife spoke to them in Turkish, and they invited us to sit and have tea with them! She was delighted to be able to communicate with them, after spending so much time studying the language. Since there aren't many cognates (words similar to English) it is much harder for Americans to learn than most European languages. Phrases are formed by adding word endings -- for example in the word universitesi, the "si" means "of".
We ate lunch under an awning, then walked back to the hotel, took showers, and relaxed for two hours in our cool cave. Then my wife and I went for a walk to explore the town. I wanted to find the location of the bars and discos! We also found an outdoor cafe that looked like a good place to have dinner. On the way back to the hotel to get our son, we stopped at an Internet cafe to send our daughter a message; she had found a couple to travel with to a music festival in a village in Hungary.
As my wife went on ahead, I stopped at the Flintstones Bar to ask if they had dancing that night. People were sitting on cushions outside on the sidewalk. I chatted with a guy who was a tour operator and his girlfriend; he had asked me how tall I was.
The dinner was a four-course special, but we had to wait a long time between courses. I didn't mind because the sun had set and it had cooled to 80 degrees. My wife and son went to bed, but after an hour cooling off in the cave, I set off for the bars and discos. The Flintstones Bar and the Pasha Bar were quiet, but I heard live music at the Goreme Restaurant. There was a saz player and a guy playing wooden spoons. I drank a beer and chatted with two couples from Spain who were smoking a waterpipe. One guy was a marketing professor, the woman with him was finishing her PhD in chemistry, and the other two worked in computers.
I then went to the Ecstasy Disco which opened at midnight. There I saw the tour operator and his girlfriend whom I had met outside the Flintstones Bar, and he introduced me to several of his friends. Then a belly dancer came out to perform. After 10 minutes dancing alone, she invited me to dance with her. She unbuttoned my shirt and took it off, and I belly danced with her for 10 minutes! After she left, the DJ played American and Turkish pop music. The dancing was both American style and Turkish style. The latter was swaying the hips with both arms raised, or joining little fingers and dancing in a circle. The crowd was friendly and it was fun.
Although the disco was open until 4 AM, I left at 2 AM so I could get up for our 9:30 AM tour. A cave would seem to be an ideal place to sleep, since it was pitch black and there were no sounds of traffic or anything else. Actually it was a little claustrophobic without the light coming in the door. I wondered if the cave might collapse in an earthquake as some of the churches had done. But the devastating earthquakes in Turkey last year were 200 miles west and weren't felt here.
Saturday morning our tour group was combined with another group. There are many touring companies, and they often combine tours when they have small numbers. That meant that we got three additional stops that had been promised the other group! We boarded a 24-seat bus that had an air-conditioning unit, but it wasn't working; I noticed that all but one of the several tour buses at our first stop had their windows open too, meaning their air-conditioning wasn't working either. I was dreading the heat, but there was air flowing on me from a roof vent when we were moving. The tour lasted 11 hours and covered 100 miles with many stops, making a clockwise loop south and west of Goreme. I drank lots of water, and kept pouring water into my baseball hat so my head would stay wet and cool.
Sitting near me on the bus were a young couple from Montreal who spoke French and a couple from Belgium who spoke Flemish. Our first stop was at an overlook in Uchisar where we could see Pigeon Valley. Rooms had been carved into the rocks, with holes for pigeons to roost. Once a year the pigeon droppings would be gathered to use as fertilizer on the fields!
Our next stop was Derinkuyu, which had the deepest of the underground cities. It had 8 stories, which included levels for stables, kitchens, storage, sleeping, schools, churches, and temporary graves. I was apprehensive about going that far underground, but I told myself that if I could crawl inside the pyramids of Egypt I could do this too! Actually I felt comfortable inside -- I kept space between myself and the person ahead so I wouldn't feel crowded, and the narrow tunnels opened up into huge rooms at each level. It was a fascinating place and I was very glad that I had gone.
According to Let's Go Turkey, the underground cities began as Hellenic cave dwellings in the 4th century BC. They were used later used by Hittites for storage and ambushes. Between the 5th and 10th centuries AD, they were expanded into full cities by the Byzantines to defend against raids by other groups. During attacks, thousands of people lived underground. During safe periods, the dead would be moved to cemeteries farther away, so enemies would not know that people were living there. In modern times, the cities were unknown until 1962 when a farmer in Derinkuyu stumbled upon one in his field while searching for a chicken!
No privies were ever found in any of the cities. Human waste had to have been carried out -- I'd guess either to avoid the smell or to use as fertilizer as was done in China. There were air shafts to provide ventilation. Even though the tuff is softer than other rocks, it still would have been an incredible amount of work to dig out the tunnels, rooms, and airshafts, and haul out all of that rock. And this was just one of 120 underground cities!
Our next stop was Ihlara, where we hiked inside a deep gorge. There were many churches carved inside the canyon walls, but we only visited one, where I ran into the two couples I had met from Spain! There was a stream shaded by trees, but the path was mostly outside the trees in the hot mid-day sun. After 2 kilometers, I insisted that we have a rest stop to cool off. I waded in the stream, and drenched my head with water. We then walked the last kilometer to a shaded outdoor cafe where we had lunch.
We rode the bus to place overlooking Selime, where we could see cone-shaped rock houses in the distance which were used in the early scenes of the first Star Wars film! On the other side of town we scrambled over rocks and through tunnels up to a monastery carved high on the hillside. It had beautiful views of the valley but steep drop-offs at the edge of the church. The dining hall had a long low table and benches carved out of the rock.
After that was the Agzikarahan caravanserai. This was an inn for camel caravans on the spice route! The caravanserai were located 40 kilometers (24 miles) apart. It was built like a fortress with stables for camels and rooms for sleeping. In the center was a very small mosque.
We drove on to Nevsehir, and I think it was near there that we stopped at a winery. It had a beautiful view overlooking the many valleys around Goreme. The rock formations between the valleys had varying colors including white, yellow, and pink. The white wine was good, similar to Italian Soave, but the red wine was a little thin.
We drove back to Goreme where we stopped at a hotel with a swimming pool for a swim. It was a chance to cool off and rinse off the sticky sweat. We then went north of Goreme to Cavusin. We stopped at a pottery factory, where a teenager deftly make a sugar bowl on a foot-powered wheel. We then explored the display rooms with various kinds of ceramics -- all for sale. My wife was offended at having this shopping stop (which is common on commercial tours), but I didn't mind seeing the various kinds of pottery. I don't think anyone in our group bought anything. They were mostly twenty-something backpackers, not middle aged rich tourists!
My guidebook had warned about tours with two-hour stops at carpet factories. I usually avoid tours, since I prefer to explore sights cheaply at my own pace without paying high prices to be herded in a large group. But I liked this tour. The guide was friendly and informative, and we covered many sites in a huge area all in one day. I would not have enjoyed waiting for a local bus or dolmus in the heat!
Our final stop was to see the Fairy Chimneys east of Cavusin at sunset. These were formed when a hard rock on top prevented the soft rock underneath from being eroded away like the surrounding area. Some looked like mushrooms while others were phallic in shape.
After a late dinner, my wife and son read in bed. I took a shower and relaxed in our cave to cool off, feeling glad that I hadn't become sick from the heat. At midnight they went to sleep, while I went back to the Ecstasy disco. The tour operator I knew was there again, and we chatted while the bellydancer performed, but the rest of the crowd was new. Three Turkish couples invited me to drink beer with them. They didn't know any English, and I only knew a few words of Turkish, but it didn't matter. We toasted each other, laughed a lot, swayed to the music, then got up and danced.
I again left at 2 AM. As I walked down the street I chatted with a guy from New Zealand and two girls from Korea who happened to leave the disco at the same time. When I walked by the Flintstones Bar, an Australian who had been at the disco Friday night greeted me and told his friends sitting outside that I knew how to shake my booty!
Sunday morning we took our time getting up and had a leisurely breakfast. As we slowly walked to the bus station, I felt that I already knew half of the people in this small town. When we stopped to buy water at a small grocery store, the clerk was a guy I had seen at the disco on Friday. When I passed one of the tour agencies, a man who had seen me at the disco Saturday night greeted me told me that I had the best dancing technique. When I went to the ATM machine, a guy sitting at an outdoor cafe nearby greeted me -- he had been introduced to me by the tour operator on Friday. And we knew the teenager who was running the Internet cafe since we had been there the day before -- he attends a Muslim high school in Avanos.
When you meet people on the other side of the world, you usually expect never to see them again. But now that we have the Internet, you can exchange email addresses and easily stay in contact, as I am with friends in Denmark, China, Japan, Thailand, and other places. I was reluctant to leave Goreme, just as I was reluctant to leave cities in China and other places I've visited.
We took an air-conditioned bus back to Kayseri. Our plane didn't leave until 9 PM so we had all afternoon for sightseeing. Normally we would have walked around town, but we took taxis (for $2 per ride) to save time and stay out of the stifling heat.
First we went to the Archaeological Museum, where we saw treasures from Kultepe, a 6000 year old settlement that peaked as an Assyrian trading center in 2500-1700 BC. There were small clay tablets with the oldest cuneiform writing in Turkey. There was beautiful pottery that included a variety of 4000 year old teapots.
Then we saw the world's oldest medical school. The Gevher Nesibe Tibbiyesi opened in 1206 with a hospital and medical school in adjoining walled-in courtyards. The rooms were mostly empty, but a map showed the location of the operating room, classroom, pharmacy, etc. Most interesting was the insane asylum, which consisted of a long hallway with 9 cells on each side. Each cell was about 7 feet by 8 feet with a low door and no windows.
Next was the Gurupoglu Konagi and an ethnographic museum. The former is a 15th century Ottoman mansion, containing mannequins in costume depicting daily life. It was much more impressive than I expected it to be. The museum contained coins, weapons, costumes, household items, and a yurt.
Nearby was a Carvanserai and the oldest mosque in town, the Ulu Camil built in 1134. It was prayer time and we were wearing shorts, so we didn't enter. But I liked the old minaret which looked like a narrow tower. Our last stop was the kale, a huge fortress built in 1497. Inside was a bazaar where we ate dinner.
We were hot, tired, and annoyed at being hassled by a carpet salesman when we walked to the Turkish Airlines office to catch a shuttle to the airport. The shuttle didn't leave for another hour, but we were content to sit in the air-conditioned office and relax. The staff was very friendly. One agent was a college student who worked there part-time. I could hardly keep my eyes open as we flew back to Istanbul, arriving on campus at midnight. The trip was a densely packed experience!
FRIDAY AUGUST 4 - FINAL WHIRL IN ISTANBUL
On Monday I realized that this would be our last week in Istanbul, except for two nights when we return from Eastern Europe to catch our flight to LA. I wondered what I would miss most. The view of the Bosphorus from campus. Riding the ferries. The view of the skyline from the water with lights on the minarets. The trees outside the windows of our flat. The boat parties, dances, and discos. The people I have met both in Istanbul and in other towns. The Whirling Dervishes and Turkish music. I already miss the town of Goreme and the people that I met there. But I was delighted to receive emails from three people that I had met in Kusadasi the previous weekend!
My classes had their last lecture sessions. I had covered less material than usual in my Multiple Identities class but more than usual in my Social Psychology class. I spent Monday evening writing up my many experiences in Cappadocia, and went to bed early.
Tuesday morning it rained. The air was cool and crisp. The rain droplets glistened on the leaves of the trees outside the windows. I spent the day preparing finals and grading papers. In the evening my wife and I went to a cocktail party for faculty teaching summer school. I met an American professor who was as tall as I am. I often forget how very tall I am until I see someone my own height! We talked about Turkish politics, and he told me that a recent issue of The Economist had an article about issues in Turkey. I also met a professor who has lived here many years and written books about the history of Istanbul and its neighborhoods, including Strolling Through Istanbul and Istanbul: The Imperial City.
On Wednesday I had review sessions in both of my classes, and then graded papers all afternoon and evening. Students in my Multiple Identities class had written autobiographies in which they discussed each of their identities. These women had especially interesting things to say about gender, commenting on having had more restrictions than men. One had grown up in Germany, another in Kosovo, and one was Armenian so they had to deal with bicultural issues as well.
Thursday morning I gave the final exam in the Multiple Identities course. I spent the rest of the day grading another set of papers. Students in my Social Psychology course had analyzed their experiences in groups. Some wrote about sports clubs or friendship cliques while others talked about the restrictions they experienced in boarding schools.
Thursday evening all three of us went to Taksim to eat dinner at one of the cafeterias, where we could sample other Turkish dishes. On the bus going there I met another Nigerian. He was pleased to find someone who could speak English. He is here to learn Turkish, since his country has extensive trade with Turkey. On the way back from Taksim, my wife and son went on to campus while I got off the bus in Besiktas to catch the ferry to Uskadar. I wanted to see the Whirling Dervishes one more time before we left.
With the sheik's permission I tape recorded the Sema ceremony and the concert afterward. The Sema music is fairly solemn, while the music afterward is lively and joyous. During the latter, the group joined in singing while the sheik invited additional groups to whirl. There was one middle-aged man who burst out with emotional expressions, which reminded me of shouts of Amen at an African American church. The others found this amusing since it is not usually done. At the end, I was reluctant to leave as I said good-bye to the people I knew. Now these people are my friends.
I have developed a deep appreciation of Turkish people and their culture, as I have of other people and cultures around the world. I have a greater understanding of Islam, having met many kinds of Muslims in Egypt, Inner Mongolia, and now Turkey. Minarets are normal now, not mysterious, but they still remain beautiful as they have become familiar features of the skyline, especially at night.
SUNDAY AUGUST 6 - LEAVING FOR EASTERN EUROPE
Friday morning I attended a lecture sponsored by the psychology department. The speaker was an American psychoanalyst named Alan Roland. He had conducted therapy in India and also treated clients from India, Japan, and China in New York City. He has written about the Eastern Self. He observed that for his Asian clients their self-esteem is tied to family reputation. This is consistent with research by cross-cultural psychologists on Individualistic versus Collectivistic cultures.
But he made an additional distinction between the inner boundaries and outer boundaries of the self. In comparison with westerners, Asians have looser outer boundaries -- there is greater identification and less physical privacy with family members. But they have tighter inner boundaries -- they are much more private about their own thoughts and feelings. He used the term Familial Self to refer to the "we self" that Asians have, in contrast to the autonomous "I self" that westerners have.
He noted that Asian cultures emphasize hierarchical relationships, which has also been found in cross-cultural research. But he added that in exchange for deference shown to superordinates, subordinates expect nurturing in return. This is true not only in families, but in work relationships as well. I was surprised that they would expect nurturing from male bosses since he described family relationships in terms of mothers being nurturing but fathers being emotionally distant. He explained that they expect bosses to be mentors. This is consistent with my observations in Japan, but I'm not sure how true it is in general in Asia.
These differences result in culture conflict among Asian Americans who are caught between the two sets of expectations. This is captured well in the film The Joy Luck Club, which we watched in my Multiple Identities class.
Friday afternoon I went swimming again with my friend from Azerbaigian. I taught him how to do the back stroke which he had never done before! His other friends were studying for finals. I spent the evening calculating grades for my Multiple Identities class.
Saturday morning I went to the give my Social Psychology final exam, but the building was locked. The power was off, and the lock was electronic. We had to wait 20 minutes for security men to come and open the doors!
Saturday afternoon I went to SDC travel in Sultan Ahmet to buy airline tickets for Eastern Europe. I bought a large suitcase on the street behind the Egyptian Spice Bazaar. We had new Turkish clothing, postcards, books, and questionnaires to pack! We spent the evening packing everything in the apartment.
This morning I calculated grades for my Social Psychology class. I then looked at the course evaluation forms, and found that they were extremely positive for both courses. The Multiple Identities class helped them to think about their identities from new perspectives, and the Social Psychology class helped them understand interactions in daily life.
We will take all of our suitcases to my office in the psychology building, and carry only backpacks on our further travels. This afternoon we are flying to Budapest in Hungary. We will spend three days there. We didn't have time to go there the last time we traveled around Europe, getting as close as Prague.
On August 9 we will fly to Sofia in Bulgaria, then take a train the next day to Koprivshtitsa, where we will meet our daughter and spend four days at a music festival. After that we will spend more time in Sofia and also visit Plovdiv. About two dozen international students at Whittier College are from Bulgaria and I hope to see one of them there (most of the others are in the US this summer).
On August 18 we will fly from Sofia to Istanbul, then on August 20 we will fly back to LA. I will write a separate journal about Hungary and Bulgari based on reports sent from Internet cafes in Eastern Europe.