We are still having the most fabulous time. After Albania, we hopped a very schmance bus to Thessaloniki, Greece. Ah, we have come so far since the 4 day bus extravaganza that happened just one year ago while traveling from Peru to Santiago. Compared to that hellish experience, this bus was pure luxury. That is, if you consider luxury to be watching very loud and poorly produced Albanian music videos for 6 hours straight. Thankfully, we see everything as a cultural experience.
Greece proved wonderful. We were staying with a university student who quickly taught us how to score free food from the dining hall, and free internet from the library. We were also in Thessaloniki for the start of the annual international film festival. The MC of the event is a favorite of this group - director Werner Herzog. Alas, I am constantly reminded just how unique Los Angeles is for the film industry everytime we go to film events. At the Herzog exhibit for example, the projectors were not working. The PROJECTORS were not working at a FILM festival. Despite minor setbacks such as the one just described, Greece was still magical and a great place to celebrate my 24th birthday. Yikes how did I get so old? After borrowing 20+ apples from the dining hall, Laura managed to make the most delicious apple crisp to celebrate the day. We also visited the local bar, complete with local Greeks. We like Greeks. One of the pictures is of Laura and the beautiful view over center Thessaloniki out to the ocean.
Onward to Istanbul we went. We were greeted by a very proper city, and a very welcoming family. Good thing I met a real Turkish momma, because I proceeded to come down with a mysterious illness (I am refusing to fall victim to the swine flu hype) but recovered in no time thanks to delicious hommeade tea, and no end of mysterious herbal compresses. Turkish momma also has some fascination with trying to make me fat. This is a fact she states to me every morning as she plunks rice and salad and eggs and vegetables galore in front of me - too skinny! I am ok with the situation. Especially when she gives me ice cream at the end of Sunday brunch. This is the way to my heart so take note all.
We have seen some of the sights, but not any of the big ones yet. For now we are satisfied wandering in and out of small mosques, and generally losing ourselves in Istanbul. We have more than a week here still, so we are taking it slow.
We wish everyone in the states a very happy thanksgiving! Laura and I are determined to make this one better than the last. That shouldn't be too hard considering last thanksgiving consisted of cream cheese and orange soda in a bus station. We have plans to cook proper holiday food, and any suggestions are welcome. I should mention that besides the picture of Laura and the view, there is a picture of us in Tirana (capital of Albania) at some sort of world record setting thing. The record was the largest mosaic ever made out of paint brushes. Yeah. We don't get it either, but the mosaic was of MJ, and we do get him.
Love and kisses to all!
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