Friday, July 3, 2009

Europe meets Asia

Turkey so far has been a slightly odd and very interesting mix of east and west--very European in a lot of ways, but also very Asian as well. Just what you would expect from a country that's partially in Asia, partially in Europe. It's a very nationalistic country with HUGE flags everywhere (the Turkish flag is particularly striking blowing in the wind, so you can hardly blame them). At the same time, it's also a country clearly trying to get into the EU--whereas their Middle Eastern neighbors often quote prices in dollars, here things are in Euros. The country loves the internet--it's EVERYWHERE, and pretty fast--but the government (in a less than liberally European spirit) blocks It's a strangly ambivalent sort of philosophy--half the country seems to want one thing and half the country wants the other. Or maybe everyone wants to have their cake and eat it too, but they keep changing their minds about which they want more. None of which is a bad thing, really--it makes for an incredibly passionate and interesting experience. But it is unfamiliar and constantly surprising. Keeps you on your toes, hehe.

This is sort of like what it's like to visit here as well. It's beautiful, fascinating and enchanting, but also hard to predict. At least we managed to get 45 samples within nine hours of landing. Here's hoping we have more luck like that.

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