Sunday, September 25, 2005

On my way to Dubai

Right now blogging from the internet cafe outside Heathrow airport, while waiting for 4 more hours to leave to Dubai for 2 days.
I have to tell you that I spent 4 hours in the aiport, walked all the 4 terminals, talked to at least 4 customer service agents, and 2 lounges personnel and couldn't find a way to print something I needed to get into the UAE, it's crazy.
Anyways, I have it and moving on, now I know for the next time what to do.
Will blog more in a couple of days

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Sunday, September 18, 2005

First Posting on Turkey - Hagia Sophia

After more than 4 years that I have been trying to go to Istanbul and meet my great friend Deniz, work finally took me there. I spent 2 weeks working and managed to invest at least 3 days without work in order to see the city.
It's hard to start to describe this beautiful country and city that hosted me for those weeks, so I will start with some pictures ofHagia Sophia (Sancta Sophia orAyasofya).

Originally known as the Great Church, the first Hagia Sophia is believed to be found byConstantine the Great and completed by Constantius II in 360 AD. This first, timber-roofed as well as the second church (rebuilt by Theodosius 11) were burnt down.

The Hagia Sophia we know today was conceived by Emperor Justinian, and designed by the mathematician Anthemis of Tralles and the architect Isidorus of Miletus. The work lasted 5 years and the church was completed by 537 AD. The church measures 77 x 72m, and its impressive dome soars 62m above the floor and has a diameter of about 33m (according to my friend the Statue of Liberty could be placed beneath the dome without touching it). Hagia Sophia was the greatest church in Christendom until St Peter's Basilica was built in Rome a thousand years later.

In the year 1453, with the conquest of Istanbul, Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror converted the church into a Mosque, but what is remarkable is the fact that they only built on top of the original church, nothing was destroyed and because of that today we can see some original mosaics.

In the pictures on the right you can see theQiblah Wall (which denotes the direction of Mecca), and details of the Mihrab. Below these lines some exterior shots of Hagia Sophia and details of Mosaics and different views. The level of details inside the Hagia Sophia is AMAZING, as my friend said "It looks like if it was made with needles", and you can see it in the picture of the details of the columns.

Hagia Sophia - Qiblah wall
Hagia Sophia - Qiblah wall - mihrab detail

Hagia Sophia - view

Hagia Sophia - view 2Hagia Sophia - Side
Hagia Sophia - Mosaic JesusHagia Sophia - Mosaic Jesus, King and queenHagia Sophia - Detail
Hagia Sophia - Mosaic of the Virgin MaryHagia Sophia - Top FloorHagia Sophia - Imam Place
Hagia Sophia - Mosaics detailsHagia Sophia - Colum DetailHagia Sophia - Columns

Friday, September 09, 2005

You've got to love this company

I just came out of a 10 min massage here in the DHL Turkey Country Office. Every Friday from 3pm to 5pm any worker in the office can get a 10 min massage for free, what a better way to start the weekend than that?
I will be working tomorrow, and Sunday I will have off to go sightseeing and stay with my friend here in Istanbul. I have to say that I couldn't imagine the city was SO BIG, I went to the US embassy (still in the European side) and it took me at least 1 hour and 15 min to get there without any traffic, and throughout the trip everything was full of buildings and really well developed, the size just reminded me of Mexico City.
Hope to get to the Asian side on Sunday, and post some pics soon.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Is $2,000 on a debit card really going to make a difference?

I have been listening to the news on the TV and just found out that now the US government is going to issue a debit card loaded with $2,000 to those affected by the hurricane. Now my question is: will this really help the homeless still in New Orleans and other affected areas? Or are they trying to buy their way out of this mess?
BBC got together a special 30 minutes documentary on hurricane Katrina, where in a part of it a couple of Brits in their 50s where interview on their experience of staying in New Orleans in the stadium through the storm.

They said that resources (water, food, bathrooms, etc.) where really limited for the amount of people that were present, that it was complete chaos. A group of foreigners had to get together to protect each other, and that at the moment that the generators where turned of as they had run out of gas, they saw and listened as at least 1 person was raped and another one was killed close to them.

How do you put a price to all of these damages? How do you reflect all of these into popularity index? How do go on with your life after this?

I can only say that I am truly thankful, because this same hurricane hit Florida before going to Louisiana and Mississippi, and it actually made landfall not far away from where I live. I am thankful because my wife and daughter where with me at that moment and I don’t want to imagine having to go through something alike with my family.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Great city, great time catching up, what else could you ask for?

Galata Panorama 1

I managed to spend a great day yesterday with Deniz, where after taking care of some stuff that I needed to do, we went sightseeing in Istanbul until midnight. Deniz is a great friend that I met in Russia and had 9 years without seeing her, I have to say it was GREAT to catch up.
We managed in one day to run through the city and see: The Hippodrome, Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Grand Bazaar, Egyptian Bazaar, New Mosque, Galata Tower, Istiklal Cadesi, cicek Pasaji, French street and many things more.
I had some Çay and Turkish coffeee in the way, and got my future read fromthe coffeee. I will share it with you guys soon, once some things happen.
I have to say the view from the Galata Tower when the sun was going down, the view from the bridge over the Horn, the amazing architecture, the palace, the Bazaars, the feeling of finally being Hagia Sophia and its greatness have made this trip more than worth it. So far with the little I have seen itis definitely a city that I would like to come back to and explore much more.
Pictures to come once the trip is over, but for the moment I will only post a panoramic view from Galata Tower that is just amazing. See you guys later, or Güle, Güle