Bridge Walk           Sofia in the snow                                                                                                             The Blob,  Vol. 2, Issue 11, November 2007
Sunday October 28th, 2007

The Bridge Walk

Yes, I'm a year older now!  There's my birthday cake on the left (chocolate profiterole - similar to a chocolate éclair).
I also did the bridge walk from Asia to Europe again this year.  It was great weather.  Sadly, my batteries died and my spares weren't charged for some reason :(
You can see the fun video diagonally left.  October 29th is the Turkish Republic day so a lot of people were carrying flags to celebrate that as well as to remember 12 soldiers who are said to have died at
  the hands of terrorists a couple of weeks ago.  This country is very nationalistic.  There were elementary kids in many groups along the walk shouting chants for Turkey.  Part of me wonders how this affects them psychologically.  We sing (or only listen to) our national anthem in Canada every day while growing up, but I don't recall ever seeing a group marching across town (especially young children) shouting the praises of Canada.  The closest thing I can think of would be cheering for a sports team, but I don't think that compares to the chanting I observed.  Quebec does something a bit similar on St. Jean Baptiste day, but still not quite at this level.
Let's hope, pray and work towards peace both here and around the world!

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Thursday November 22nd, 2007

Sofia in the snow

 So I went to Sofia for the break with Jerilyn and we were pleasantly surprised with a snow fall on our second night.  We stayed at the hotel shown on the left in Sofia.  It had a nice view of Mount Vitosha on a clear day and a cool little meditation chapel.  On our second day, we stayed at a chalet on Mount Vitosha which is where we
first encountered the snow.  None of the ski lifts or gondolas were working, but a lot of people drove up the mountain with their skis and boards to walk up and ski/board down as you can see in the video.  There were also a lot of people who'd already hiked the trail we hiked which totally blew me away!  Those Bulgarians are a very hearty bunch - they might be able to give us a Canadians a run for our money :) 
They were digging out the car on the right which had been parked there for three days.  Above that is Jerilyn demonstrating the snow depth.
Wow, Bulgaria really has its own character!  Jerilyn lived
in Lithuania last year which was also part of the Soviet empire and she said that the culture is very similar among those countries.  This was my first time though being in part of the former Soviet empire.  For me, after living with Turkish hospitality for over a year, waiters who won't leave me alone and people who say they'll do something to be polite and then don't really do it, it was quite a contrast having waiters stay away and having people be more distant, straight forward and seemingly rude.  Being a rather straightforward person myself, I think that being in Bulgaria helped me to better see how I'm often perceived here in Turkey, and in reality, by people anywhere who have different personalities and philosophies from me.  It was also interesting to see women walk into and leave cafes by themselves.  As normal as that may sound, women just don't do that here in Istanbul.  When they're by themselves in a cafe it's because they're waiting for someone to show up and they're texting away as they wait.  It's a small thing, but being a rather independent person, it's something that tends to make me stick out a little more here in Istanbul sometimes.  Hopefully next time I'll be able to go skiing!!!  :)  I'm especially missing cross country skiing at the Nordic centre in North Bay! :( 

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