Crossing Europe

Met a friend in Amsterdam for breakfast at the Central Station.  As I watched the Dutch commuters stream into the station, I had to put on extra layers against the cold morning air.  And I can only expect more of this when I get to Tajikistan, probably worse…

Extremes of Turkey.  Ataturk Airport exemplifies the Turkey that has one foot in the West and one in the East.  A fairly modern airport with huge atriums and large plasma screens showing western TV, it also has shopfronts outlined by Roman archways and bookstores filled with traditional Turkish literature and Sufi mystical music.  Yet these same bookstores prominently displayed the full range of western magazines, including the not-so-modest covers of magazines like Maxim and Esquire.  Among the many travelers there were business travelers and backpackers, but also a large contingent of what appeared to be pilgrims to the Haj in Mecca.  Modern and very traditional, side-by-side everyday in Turkey.

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