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Where in the world is Ted ?


"I like Turkey," Ted emailed to a friend in Canada. "Not the bird.  Well, I do like the bird; but I don't MEAN the bird ... I mean the country ... 'Turkey'.  I'm in the city of Istanbul," Ted continued in his email,

"... that's  Is-tan-bull.  It's really an exciting place.  Do you know that if I was a giant in Istanbul I could have one foot on the continent of Europe and the other foot on the continent of Asia and still be in the same city.  Really!  It is the only city in the world where a giant teddy bear could do that!"

Ted looked up from the computer and then added, "I can see the Blue Mosque from here.  It's not blue on the outside, it's grey.  A mosque is like a church for Muslims.  The Blue Mosque has tall pointy towers called minarets.  It's really beautiful.

You'll never guess what we had for breakfast," he tapped to his friend.  "Bet you had juice and cereal or toast.  Not me.  I had orange juice, strawberries, yogurt, raisins and honey ... bears really like honey ... and dates and cheese, cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes, olives and bread.   Really!   It was great but now, wow, I'm so full.

gtg (Got to go).  I'm going to the Grand Bazaar.  Hopefully I will have some things to write you about when I get back."  As Ted left for the bazaar (another name for 'market'), he had no idea of the fantastic adventure he would later be telling his friend.  

Passing the Blue Mosque on his way to the Grande Bazaar, Ted stopped in his tracks when he saw two men dressed up in red and white with shiny silver metal rockets strapped to their backs.   He watched.  People were coming up to them.  Maybe they were asking when the rockets would be launched.

Then the men with the rockets did the strangest thing ... they poured drinks for the people around them.  'Why would they do that?' Ted wondered. 

"Would you like tea?" one of the rocket men asked.  "Tea?"  Ah ... no, thank you."  Ted backed away realizing the rockets weren't rockets at all; they were just a fancy way of carrying Turkish sweet tea.  Ted was disappointed.  "It would have been more fun to see a couple of rockets blasting off," he said to himself.
Going to a bazaar is like going to the mall ... but this one was  big ... REALLY BIG ... and busy and bright.  There are over 4,000 shops.
Let's do the math ... if you spent only 1 minute in each shop that would be 4,000 minutes.  Divide the minutes into hours ... 4,000 divided by 60 minutes = 66.66 hours.  Divided that by school days of 5 hours each (not including lunch and recess) ... 66.66 hours divided by 5 hours =
13+ school days ... just to spend one minute in each shop!   That's not even counting walking time down the 60 different hallways.  "Wow, that's BIG!"
It's easy to get lost  ... it is FUN to get lost ... and that is just what he did.  Ted got lost
Ted went this way and that way not caring which way he turned.  He went down wide and narrow hallways.  Every hallway seemed to have carpet shops.  He had to be careful where he walked because the bazaar was crowded with people ... he didn't want to get stepped on.  It was a big ... or should we say 'a small' ... surprise when Ted went into one hallway where everything was his size.   
"Come in my friend," said a tiny shop keeper.  "Come in, come in.  See what beautiful carpets I have." 

"I'm sure they are very nice, but I do not want to buy a carpet today," Ted said. 

"Come in.  I show you anyway."

Ted went in.  The little man seemed very different from the other shop keepers.  He looked like a magic genie from a fairy tale.  Ted wondered it he might have come out of a bottle.

"My name is Ali Abba,"  said the little man.  "My mother was from Pakistan and my father was Swedish.  How do you like Turkey?"  
"I have only arrived in Istanbul.  I wish I could see more of Turkey but I do not have much time." 

"You WISH you could see more of Turkey but you do not have enough TIME?

"Yes.  Maybe one day ..." Ted hoped out loud.

"What is wrong with today?"  Ted did not understand what the little man in the pointy gold shoes meant by the question.

"I like kind hearted teddy bears, I REALLY like you.  I want to show you a very special carpet.  I think you will like it."

"But I cannot buy a carpet today," Ted repeated. 
"Don't worry, " said Ali stretching a carpet on the floor.  "Sit." he said to Ted  "Sit.  Feel how it feels.  It looks to be your size."  Just to be polite, Ted sat on the carpet.  "Can you say, 'Ali-Abba-Dabba-Do'?"
Ted asked, "Ali-Abba-Dabba-Do?"

The moment the "Do" left Ted's mouth the carpet started to shudder and then took off like a plane almost knocking Ted off!

"Have a good day my new fuzzy friend,"  Ali called out  from below as the carpet zipped out of the shop, whizzed through the bazaar over the heads of shoppers and out the nearest door.   Can you imagine what it must have felt like?
Ted was scared!        So scared he could not even scream.        He just hung on.  
The carpet took him high in the sky so the only thing Ted could see were the bottoms of clouds.  He moved a little ...  still hanging on tight ... and then he rolled on his side ... he didn't fall off.  Slowly he rolled on his tummy ... the carpet seemed to help him.  When his pounding heart calmed down he actually started enjoying the ride.  The carpet ... and Ted ... were flying over the Mediterranean Sea.

 It still didn't seem real.  He didn't know  anyone  who had ever ... "never ever" ... been on a flying carpet.   If he lived through this ... "oh my" ... what a story he would have to tell.

When the carpet felt Ted was more comfortable, it turned slowly and headed back to Turkey.
They flew over a port where a fisherman was taking sardines out of his net.  They flew over tree tops and passed a stork's nest high on top of a telephone pole.  They whizzed over some boys running up a lane in a small village and over a yard where a woman was baking bread in an outside oven.            
Ted was excited now.  He didn't mind at all when the carpet flew higher to go over some mountains near the ancient city of Ephesus (pronounced Eff-es-sus).  

He thought it was funny when they flew down the main walkway over tourists' heads.  The carpet did a circle around the ruins of a library built by the Romans (yes, Romans built a lot of places in Turkey) and flew through the open windows.

"Look up there," a tourist yelled pointing to Ted and the carpet.
Cameras clicked and more people pointed.

When one woman saw Ted she freaked out and screamed,
Her scream was so loud it frightened the carpet which made a very fast, sharp turn and almost knocked Ted off against a pillar.
"We better get out of here," Ted told the carpet not knowing if it understood English ... or any other language for that matter.  

They flew to the centre of Turkey ... to a strange looking land called Cappadocia.


Ted was surprised when the carpet landed.  He was surprised and a little afraid.   "Are you going to leave me here?" he said out loud looking down at the carpet.  The carpet did not move.   "If I move off the carpet are you going to fly away and leave me here?"  Again the carpet did not move.  
"Ali-Abba-Babba-boo" Ted said.  The carpet stayed still.  "Oh dear, I think I have forgotten the words.  Ali-Babba-scubba-do."  Nothing. Ted thought he was going to cry ... 'but that's not going to help me,' he thought further, 'I will have to find some help.' 

He looked around at the strange place he was in and then slowly stepped off the carpet.  The carpet began to move ... Ted quickly jumped back on and sat down!  The carpet stayed still.  Ted waited.  When it didn't move again, Ted stepped off once more.  It moved again and Ted jumped on again.  "Ali-Habba-Dooba-Do".  Nothing.  He stepped off again.  The carpet began to move, but this time Ted stayed off and watched. 
Ted was amazed at what the carpet did next.  It shook a little, like a dog coming out of water, rolled itself up and then rolled right over to the shade of a strange shaped house and stopped.  Ted had the feeling it was just going to wait there ... maybe until Ted remembered the right words.    
'I've never seen a place like this before,' Ted thought as he looked around.  'It looks like my sand castles once the waves have come in and taken part of them away.  Looks weird and kind of wonderful.  I wonder what sort of people live here.  I wonder if they look weird too?'

Just then Ted heard drums and music.  He went to find out where it was coming from.  He saw kids ...
  ... lots of kids.   They were dressed different than the ones Ted knew at home.  Some were wearing fancy clothes and fun, tall hats.  'I would like a hat like that,' Ted thought.  There were older kids in white and red uniforms beating on drums and playing trumpets.  Other children were in blue and white uniforms carrying roses.  Ted moved closer.

"Hello," he said to a boy not dressed in fancy clothes or a hat. 

"Hello," the boy answered back little surprised at seeing a teddy bear.
"Do you live here?" Ted asked.

"No, I live in The Netherlands, but my mom and dad are from Turkey."

"Do they dress like this all the time here?"

"Oh, no," the boy laughed a little.  "This is Children's Day.  They get the day off school, get to dress up and have a parade, balloons and candy."

"How come they live in these strange pointy rocks?"
"The rock isn't hard.  It's soft rock from long ago volcanoes.  The wind and rain made them the way they look.  The rock is so soft you can carve it out with hand tools to make rooms.  It's not just above ground, the soft rock goes deep into the ground.
A couple of thousand years ago people carved out towns underground to hide in when their enemies came to Cappadocia," the boy told Ted.  "The underground towns are really neat.   Instead of building up ... the people carved down.  Some go down as much as 8 storeys."

"Wow!" said Ted, "I want to see that!"

"Instead of roads they cut hallways for walking.  They carved barns for their sheep, goats, chickens and donkeys.  They even had schools.  They don't look like ones we have above ground.  There weren't any desks, they sat on benches cut from the soft stone."
"How long could they stay underground like that?" Ted asked.

"They liked being on top in the sunshine better and only went underground to hide from their enemies. The longest they had to spend down there was 6 months ... like modern day cavemen.  As Fred Flintstone would say, 'Yabba-Dabba-Do.'"

"That's it!" called out Ted.

"What's it ?" the boy asked feeling Ted's excitement.
"The words, the words!  REALLY ... thanks a LOT.  Got to run. Nice meeting you.  Bye."  Ted ran as quick as his legs would go hoping the carpet was still there. 

It was and unrolled as Ted approached. "Ali-Abba-Dabba-Do" Ted said after he sat on top, ready for take off.

Up they went.  Ted didn't know where he was going; he hoped the carpet did.

It was starting to get dark.  The wind was getting strong and thunder clouds were building like mountains in the sky.  Ted lay as flat as he could on the carpet and hung on tight.
When the wind calmed down, Ted relaxed and fell asleep.  The carpet turned up its edges so he wouldn't roll off. 

Ted woke to find they were back in Istanbul.  "There's the the Blue Mosque," Ted said to the carpet.  "How beautiful it is at sunset."

The carpet landed on the flat deck of the hotel where Ted was staying.  "How did it know?'

Ted got off and thanked the carpet for such an incredible adventure.
 "Please say thank you to Ali Abba," he asked the carpet.  "I don't know how you will do that but somehow I think you will find a way."  With that the carpet rose into the air, waved a corner of its fringe and flew of in the direction of the Grande Bazaar. 
Ted really wasn't sure if everything that happened to him today, really happened.   He sat down at his computer and started another email to his friend, "You'll never believe what happened to me today ..."
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