Sunday, May 15, 2011

No Turkish? No problem?

Monday, May 2nd, 5:00 p.m.

The middle of our first full day in Istanbul.

We had landed at the Ataturk airport the night before, which was followed by a 1.5 hour bus adventure to our dorm at the Yeditepe Univeristy on the Asian side of the city where we would be staying for the week.

Today, we had already starting filling up the memory card with shots of the campus and surrounding streets.

At that moment, our search for good covering shots had lead us to a mosque about 20 minutes away from Yeditepe.

It was a hazy afternoon, and you could literally see dust clouds lingering above the unpaved roads. I had never been to Asia before, and the vibe of the atmosphere as I stood beneath towering minarets was intruigingly refreshing.

We set up the tripod and turned on the camera, hoping to capture the feeling of this foreign reality for our documentary.

Shortly after pressing "record," the prayers ended. About 25 aging men immediately emerged from the open doors of the mosque.

I didn't think we would attract any attention where we stood. We were a little ways from the entrance, and I thought that the group leaving would simply go on with their lives in the direction they were headed without looking twice at us.

But 2 girls and a guy standing beside a tripod and video camera looking painfully non-Turkish, (minus Hugo, maybe) turned out to be a magnetic scene.

As soon as they saw us, the mob wandered over to us and starting talking away in Turkish. We kept on repeating "No turkish! No turkish!" but they kept going a mile a minutes as if we would start to understand.

I managed to communicate with this man that my name is Kimberly, I study journalism, and I'm from Canada. His name is Kemal and I can imagine he tells good jokes and is good at cards.

He and I spoke for a good 5 minutes...about what, I don't know. But this totally real experience of cultural explosions made me realize - and also get ridiculously excited about - where in the world I was!!!

Before I went to bed on this first day of filming, I wrote upon me Facebook page:

"AH!!!!!!!!! We've been here for a day and I already LOVE it, and I think this is going to be one of the coolest experiences of my life. I said all through university that some day I want to travel and make documentaries, but I'M DOING IT RIGHT NOW! SO cool!!!!!!!"

And indeed, it was the grandest trip of my 21 years of living.

But this was only the beginning...

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