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Whirling Dervishes and Other Illusions

When the concierge at the hotel n Istanbul where I was staying suggested I might want to see the Whirling Dervishes, I remembered the skill-full dancer that did the incredibly beautiful Sufi whirling dervish dance in Cairo a few years ago.

The dancer started off with a white costume, but the invisible bottom layer of the costume was like a Joseph's coat.  During this performance the dancer turned the top layer of the skirt inside out, then displayed the top and bottom layer like a funnel, and then ended the dance with the white layer on top again.  This was even more spectacular than the belly dancers who were part of the same show.

This is what I expected:

The Bosporus by Boat

When in Istanbul, you have to do a boat trip on the Bosporus River – and the offers are legion and cheap.  Within minutes I had three offers of trips lasting between two and three hours.  I would get a leaflet from one tour operator, and another tour operator in the vicinity would notice this and give me a "better price" – with more attractive sights.  Of course all the sights are more or less the same.  The difference is probably in the quality of the commentary.

Against my intuition I followed the advice of the concierge and booked on a four-hour tour with the Blue Brothers Travel Agency.  They would fetch me from the hotel, and bring me back to the hotel.  They offered the boat trip with commentary in various languages as well as a trip up the funicular to Pierre Loti Hill.  Very reasonable at 20 Euros, I thought.

The minibus arrived at the hotel – with standing space only, but hey, I was no holiday, so no big deal.  More people were collected and we ran out of

Beware of the Carpet Salesman

Istanbul is known for a number of spectacular buildings.

One of these is the Blue Mosque.  This is a massive mosque, and one of many in the city.   I don't know how many there are, but I can tell you it is impossible to look in any direction and not see a mosque - and they are all huge.  From the outside the Blue Mosque is imposing by day, and beautifully lit by night.  

Inside are the most beautiful ceramic tiles in various shades of blue. Sadly, modernization crept up with history.  When electricity was added inside the mosque, it was obviously before the  

 

 

The Fragrances of Istanbul

Many years ago I did a short course on travel writing. As with many other things, that was a flavor of what was to come, which I did not recognize at the time. Over the years I have had the privilege of visiting over 25 countries. I have thousands of photos but never got round to writing about my experiences. I have now decided to make a point of documenting some of the lovely things that have happened to me, and some of the

When Staying In A Hotel, Wear Pyjamas

What is the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you?  Try and beat this one.

I once had to attend an evening meeting in Kent, south of London.  I was due in London early the next morning for another meeting.  Rather than risk missing the last train home, I decided to stay over in a hotel.

London budget hotels are generally an embarrassment to the city, but I managed

Winning an Olympic Medal - Kind Of

'Your breast stroke is very good.  We will now work on speed.'

That is what my swimming instructor said to me.  So this is how it feels to win an Olympic medal.

I have to put this into perspective.  I have been going to swimming lessons for about seven years now.

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