So what, you may ask, have ya been doin’?
Glad you asked! From my notes:
Have arrived safe and sound in Istanbul. Seems appropriate that there’s a beautiful crescent moon in the sky…. FIBA basketball next!
Notes from the first morning in Istanbul: Slight delay in my flight, and finding my ride to the hotel took a hot moment, but a gentleman from FIBA-Turkey was kind enough to let me us his phone and, voila, I was on my way into the city.
20 million in Istanbul? Who knew! Took the roundabout way because of traffic. I kept on trying to identify parallel cities/experiences. Athens with its short buildings, Abu Dhabi with its waterfront walkway, and then NYs East Village/Soho with its cobblestone streets and side-by-side-by-side restaurants bidding for your attention. Cats, kittens, dogs… yummy dinner with waiters who can laugh and tease in English. Glad to be with my friend Joan.
Staying in a lovely small hotel 3 minutes from the Blue Mosque... Awaiting partaking of a hotel breakfast, then touristing, then basketball in the evening. The US ought to demolish Angola (on NBAtv). No idea how much writing I’ll do…. enough to “earn my keep,” but not so much to interfere with some indulgence within the City. Visiting rug dealers recommended by the Turkish friends of one of the UConn fans – a many-time traveller to the country. Who knows if I find what I’m looking for, but it’ll be a lovely adventure.
Day 1 in Istanbul began with a very early ezan (call to prayer), which was no surprise, since we ARE around the corner from the Blue Mosque. Roomie and fellow UConn fan then enjoyed the Hotel Seraglio’s lovely breakfast. We then walked up past the Mosque with the intention of joining to other UConn fan, Ken & Eric, and visit the Hagia Sophia. We did join them, but the line into the Sophia was looooong (it had been closed the day before) so we opted for a two and a half hour boat ride up and down the Bosphorus.
About two hundred wanna-be-Bosphorus-Boaters quick-stepped after our two guides, down hills, across cobblestoned streets and in front of annoyed taxis. Clearly everyone had gotten the note “stay in front so when you get the boat you can get a good seat.” There was a slight “Running with Bulls” flavor to the proceedings that made you feel if you stumbled, that was it…you were going to be smooshed like Turkish Delight. When we reach the boat, the crowd got a little “Crowding the Store Doors on Black Friday”-esque. Three of the four of us made it onto the boat, but Joan got trapped ashore. A quick “paging Eric, exit the boat,” on the mic got us all reunited and, lucky us, we were first about the second tour boat.
Sat next to a well-traveled Southwest Airlines stewardess and mapped our way between Istanbul-Europe and Istanbul Asia. Visual echoes of Seattle, San Francisco and the Brooklyn ship yards. Everywhere you looked, it seemed someone had a line in the water fishing. Huge tankers and boats that looked like they were related to the mini-cooper… mini-motorboats. Perfectly beautiful day to be on the water.
Returned for a brief recovery period at the hotel, and now we are all back together to grab some food before the US v. Angola game. Wheeeee!!
BTW – did attend the Angola v. U.S. game and tweeted it (if you want to re-versed tweet-read it.)
Speaking of the game, guess who I met at the arena? My FIBA friend from the airport! Had a great chat with him and his friends – doctor, architect and engineer wannabes – all volunteering for the event.
Oh, yeah, the game:
From Doug: U.S. women cruise past Angola
Brittney Griner was a little surprised.
Moments after the U.S. had just beaten Angola in the most lopsided victory in team history at the world championship, the players from the African nation wanted to take photos with the Americans.
From USA Basketball: USA Wraps Up Preliminary Round With Record-Setting 119-44 Rout Of Angola
The 75-point win was the USA women’s largest margin of victory in FIBA World Championship play, and it tied for the most points scored by a U.S. team in a World Championship. Further, the USA’s 8-of-13 performance from 3-point, helped along by 3-of-4 shooting from Maya Moore (Minnesota Lynx), who finished with 16 points, was a USA World Championship record for 3-point percentage (.615). The team also tied the assists record with 32 dimes, led by six from Lindsay Whalen (Minnesota Lynx). Additionally, Breanna Stewart(University of Connecticut), who had nine points and six rebounds, set a U.S. World Championship record by shooting 7-of-7 from the free throw line.
Thoughts on the quarterfinals, where the USA will play the winner of tomorrow’s France-Brazil game:
GA: We know France; we just played them recently. I really haven’t seen Brazil much. Our coaches have gone out to see them. Either way, when you get to this point, into the quarterfinals, you get to the medal rounds, it’s not like you can afford to lose a game, you can’t afford to play poorly. You’re looking at one bad night and you go home. So, our players understand that and whoever we play, whether it’s France or Brazil, we’ll be ready.