Officially, the population of Istanbul is 14 million, but some estimate that the city's true current population is closer to 20 million. I read one report that suggested as much as 60% of the population, whatever it is, is under the age of 29. I can't confirm that statistic, but I can tell you that, wandering around the neighborhoods nearby our hotel, young people are everywhere...in the parks, gardens, markets, and walkways, enjoying their city. What else can I tell you after fewer than 24 hours on the ground? Conversation is all about next month's presidential elections and also the situation as it's unfolding in Iraq. For the people of Turkey, this mess is too close to ignore. As well, it's Ramadan. "For me growing up, Ramadan was about becoming a man," I heard one young man explain. "It is not easy to fast all day. As a boy, I was hungry, I was thirsty. But so was everyone else—my father, my brothers, my friends. If they could do it, I told myself, I could do it, too. When my friends and I would get too hungry, we'd go outside and play football until it was time to break the fast." It is that time now, late afternoon. I hear the calls to prayer. My own family and I are sitting down now, too, to dine. We haven't fasted all day, I have to admit, but we have traveled a long way and are looking forward to our first dinner in Istanbul. "Do you have any sparkling wine on the menu?" I asked our waiter. "Yes, we have two," he explained, showing me. Both, it turns out, are Turkish. Turkish sparkling wine? We had to give it a try, and I'm pleased to be able to report that it's not nearly as bad as you might imagine. In fact, I recommend you try it, too, your first night in this grand, historic city. More later...after I've had a little shut-eye...
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Kathleen Peddicord is the founder of the Live and Invest Overseas publishing group. With more than 25 years experience covering this beat, Kathleen reports daily on current opportunities for living, retiring, and investing overseas in her free e-letter.
Her book, How To Retire Overseas—Everything You Need To Know To Live Well Abroad For Less, was recently released by Penguin Books.
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