Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Joy of Not Working in Istanbul

Little did I know that when I got fired from my job as an Engineer over 28 years ago for taking too much time off work that the firing would lead to an all-paid trip (plus a US$3,000 fee for speaking for an hour about my book The Joy of Not Working to Istanbul last week, which is now on my top-3 list of most satisfying journeys that I have made in my life.

Incidentally, with the Air Canada Premium Executive Class return airfare between Edmonton and London being $11,500 and the leg between London and Istanbul on British Airways being about $1,500, the National Turkish Society for Quality spent between $20,000 and $25,000 to have me in Istanbul to speak about
The Joy of Not Working .

As I have said many times before, there is still great opportunity during a recession.

Five of My Top-Ten Highlights of My Trip to Istanbul

  1. The Number 1 highlight of my trip was the number of important historic buildings such as the Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque as well as variety of the non historic buildings such as the waterfront houses on the Bosphorus.

  2. Meeting so many beautiful Turkish women was definitely the number 2 highlight. After making my speech about The Joy of Not Working to the National Turkish Society for Quality, a number of the women in the audience wanted to have their photos taken with me, and they were all beautiful. If anything will bring me back to Istanbul, it's the historic sights and the women — not necessarily in that order.

  3. The joie de vivre in many parts of the city including the happening restaurants, bars, and clubs around town. One of my hosts treated me to dinner at Vogue, a new trendy restaurant that was full on a Tuesday night. We arrived at about 8:30 PM. It's a good thing that we had a reservation.

  4. Taksim Square, which is a 5 minute walk from the Ritz Carlton Hotel where I stayed, gave me a true sense of the people living life in a neighborhood in Istanbul. The degree of energy in the square is definitely worth experiencing. Surrounding Taksim Square are numerous travel agencies, banks, restaurants, pubs, and even international fast food chains such as Pizza Hut, McDonald's and Burger King. There are several other grand hotels in the area including the InterContinental and The Marmara Hotel.

  5. It was interesting going from the worst hotel room in London that I have ever stayed in (on Sunday night) to the Executive Suite at the Ritz-Carlton (corporate rate of $1,280 Canadian a night) with a view of the Bosphorus the next night (Monday night) that turned out to be the best hotel accommodation that I have ever had — and I have stayed in some pretty swanky hotels on my speaking travels.

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