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Two Weeks, Ten Countries: a backpacker's itinerary

Just over two weeks spent traveling through ten European countries. It was completely worth every minute spent planning the trip - but you're welcome to save yourself some time by stealing parts of our itinerary. We used an Interrail flexipass.  It was valid for 10 days of travel within 22, and ... read more

Anjali Nirmalan

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Lying in Church: The Backpacker's Religion

My friend Jade likes to lie in church. On the ground. It gets tricky in a house of worship; sometimes she has to settle for kneeling.  In the Hagia Sofia, she had barely a minute to soak in the 6th-century dome before a security guard dragged her up.   But ... read more

Anjali Nirmalan

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Experience Mormonism (or Hinduism or Islam or Buddhism) For Yourself...

Are Americans losing their religion? That's the question that ABC News posed when it reported that "young Americans are dramatically less likely to go to church—or to participate in any form of organized religion—than their parents and grandparents" (May 6, 2009).  While the percentage of young Americans who say they ... read more

Glimpse Staff

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Reflections on Muslim Feminism

Muslim feminists have increasingly become agents of change and gender equality over the past two centuries and are engaging in political, social, and cultural life in the traditionally male-dominated public sphere.  At the same time however, women are being pulled back by patriarchal ideology in the rise of Islamism and ... read more

Rachel Yamahiro

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Getting Around

This ain't your average Greyhound ride

Jessica Cross

15 Sep 2009

Turkey

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Jessica Cross

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Coach buses are an extremely convenient way to travel around Turkey. There are tons of companies to choose from, they're cheap, and most of the time they'll give you free tea or Nescafé and cake. The really fancy coach buses will even offer you lemon cologne upon arrival or departure from one of the rest stops. Now, when I say from one of the rest stops, I mean from one of the many. Drivers normally stop for about a half hour every few hours to wash and scrub the entire the bus and allow the passengers to stretch their legs and use the WC (there are no toilets on the bus). At times it's frustrating, but at least the bus is clean and there are no bugs marring your view from the window!

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Culture Shock

Not-so-traditional dance

Jessica Cross

16 Sep 2009

Turkey

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Jessica Cross

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Within the last two or so years, a dance from Trabzon (a city in the Black Sea region) has emerged and is growing in popularity every day. Called Kolbasti, the dance always accompanies the same song. Trazbon dancers look like birds bouncing quickly from side to side. Variations include: crawling on the floor, circling other dancers, and girls playfully pretending to slap the men before they continue dancing. It's a very social thing in Trabzon and almost every younger native to the city that you meet will know how to do it, even the kids. My American friends and I tried it at a dance club on our friend's birthday and were the stars of the night because of it.

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Must Do

I just ate what?!

Jessica Cross

16 Sep 2009

Turkey

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Jessica Cross

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One of my personal favorite foods in Turkey is called "kokoreç" -- to put it bluntly, grilled sheep intestines. The best time to get it is when you're in the cities later at night and the crowds of bar hoppers are wandering around. You'll find the vendors at their grills right on the street. The intestines are on a giant horizontal spit above the grill, and made fresh to order. You can order with our without spice. The meat is taken off, and is chopped up with the knives beating on the cutting board in such a beautifully rhythmic way, it makes you want to dance right there. Don't forget to order some "ayran" as well with your sandwich -- it's Turkey's most famous yogurt drink that really helps cool down the spice from the kokoreç.

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Etiquette

Keep your voice down

Jessica Cross

16 Sep 2009

Turkey

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Jessica Cross

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It's considered rude to talk loudly on public transportation, especially on your cell phone. Whenever my study abroad group commuted somewhere together, we were always stared at for being so noisy.

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Food

Baked potato a la turca

Jessica Cross

15 Sep 2009

Turkey

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Jessica Cross

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If you really want to try a unique Turkish twist on a familiar food, make sure you try "kumpir." Basically, the inside of a giant baked potato is whipped with butter and cheese, and then has a variety of toppings added to it, ranging from ketchup to mayo, from olives to "rus salatasi" (Russian salad). You can find it almost anywhere, but I would recommend trying a "kumpir" in the Ortaköy neighborhood of Istanbul. They have a whole line of vendor stands and when you walk by, all of the vendors will begin to call out to you to try to get you to buy from them. You'll never again feel so famous and wanted! The best part is you can sit down outside and eat it along the shore of the Bosporus.

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Slang

Say "no" without actually saying anything

Jessica Cross

16 Sep 2009

Turkey

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Jessica Cross

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In Turkish, the word "hayir" (said like "high-er") means "no," but you won't hear it used all that often. To say "no" in Turkish, you can normally use the word "yok" (generally meaning "don't have") if the pronunciation of "hayir" is proving to be difficult. Most of the time, you don't even have to say anything. You can raise your eyebrows, make a kind of clicking sound with your tongue (your lips are normally pursed slightly while doing it) while raising your chin slightly, or do all of the above at the same time for a strong, stern answer. Also, slightly nodding your head down and blinking your eyes simultaneously is a way of saying "yes," but it's not as commonly used as the tongue clicking sound.

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