It was hard to leave Turkey. We had explored every part of it that the State Department had said was safe for travel, and even now, 20 years later, we marvel at what we saw in that amazing country. But to be honest with you, when I think back on that time, what I mostly remember are the people.
Here are a few pictures, along with a few comments, to share with you.
Each town and village had a market day, where a street was closed off and vendors displayed their wares on both sides of the streets - and sometimes in the middle. Probably the most astounding thing I ever saw was cheese for sale being stored in huge bags made from the midsections of cows - complete with hair. But often times the most interesting things were the shoppers.
We rarely were able to take pictures of the women, except for an occasional shot taken somewhat surrepticiously with a long lens. But this lady posed for us. She was working outside a small village called Kumbetkoy. After I got back to Istanbul, I was able to send her a copy of this photo. It's my favorite of all the shots I took in Turkey.
This fellow knew I was taking his picture and he turned to tell his friend about it just as I snapped the shot. He had plastic items pinned or sewn all over his clothing. At this particular time he had no customers, but as you can tell it wasn't for lack of promoting his wares!
And then my favorite of all the "people" pictures -- the family that lived in the little town of Tonya in the hills above the Black Sea. As I look at this picture, I am reminded of the short "chat" with the little old lady leaning on her walking stick. I was the oldest person in the group of ladies I went with, and she was certainly the oldest of her group. She spoke to me in Turkish and I spoke to her in English. Obviously we didn't know what the other said....but I told her that I had a family in America just like hers here and that there is a great deal of satisfaction in looking at what we've produced and see that we've done well. A translator for our group gave her my message, and the little old lady told me that she was honored to meet an American mother and realize how much in common we had. It was a poignant moment. As I look at this picture I can see that the baby surely now is a young man in his 20s. But in my mind they will always remain just like this.
This is why we take photos.