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What happens when we try to cut in line, get a break, or a lucky
deal? Aren't we so often embarrassed that we reject short cuts and just take the long way around? Let me tell you about the most memorable short cut I've ever taken. It happened early in April 2005.
Have you ever taken a short cut with surprising results? What
happens when we try to cut in line, get a break, or a lucky
deal? Aren't we so often embarrassed that we reject short
cuts and just take the long way around? Let me tell you
about the most memorable short cut I've ever taken.
Chanakkale is hard to explain. It's on the Dardanelles or
the Chanakkale Straits which connect the Mediterranean and
the Agean Seas to the Marmara and Black Seas. Even if you
can't envision it, you know right away there's a lot of
seacoast around. Chanakkale was a history lesson for me.
Hundreds of thousands of soldiers and sailors from the
United Kingdon, Australian, New Zeland, and Turkey lost
their lives on the shores of this strait in Gallipoli during
World War I. And, yes, parts of the movie 'Troy' were shot
there. They built a Trojan Horse right in front of our hotel
for it! See photos on my Blog in the Gallery!
After visiting Troy and seeing the 'real' Trojan Horse, we
were bound for Istanbul from Chanakkale. It was a dash to
catch the early morning ferry to the opposite shore, and
after a short twenty minute crossing, we hit the road.
Broad, well-maintained highways stretched out before us and
we made good time. Soon, though, the signs were pointing to
Istanbul in one direction and we were going another--toward
the shoreline. My host, Dr. Spassimir Gazdov, who was the
navigator riding in the front passenger seat, explained that
there was another road that would get us there quicker, with
less traffic. I had known him and his wife, Krassi, for
several years and trusted them implicitly. We met in a
Rotary Club near Washington, DC. However, I had just met the
driver, Hristo Penov and his wife, Hristina, and I was the
first American they had ever met. What do you do when you
lose control and circumstances are all but clear? When it's
a peaceful situation you can sit back and watch events
Almost immediately after leaving the major highway, we were
in the middle of a very small village and the broad roadway
had dwindled to two dusty paved lanes. Farm animals and
farmers were close by. We were having a good time and barely
noticed, until the road narrowed to one paved lane and then
gave out all together. We were following tracks in the dirt,
high above the sea, with a mountainside rising directly
above us on the left. Never mind that adage about men never
asking for directions. Dr. Spas asked several times; but his
command of Turkish was limited and the natives did not speak
Bulgarian or English. Photos coming soon on
We were not on a time table, so we decided to relax and
enjoy the ride. We even went inside with the owner of a home
being built with a fantastic view of the sea in one of the
larger villages along the way. Isn't it fun to communicate
with someone when no one knows the other's language?
Amazing, isn't it, how we can get our messages
across when we really want to? Krassi interpreted for me
with our Bulgarian friends, but Turkish was beyond us all!
Just when we had resigned ourselves to a hopeless highway
situation, Dr. Spas looked up--at the crest of the mountain
was a shepherd and his flock. They were silhouetted against
the bright blue sky. We had to lean out of the right side of
the car--the downhill side--and crane our necks to see them.
The road had no shoulder. A memorable glimpse was all we
had. About that time, a tiny stream of water trickled across
the tracks in the dirt ahead of us and seemed to be taking
some of the dirt with it down the hill. How much more
perilous could this get? When we saw a car that had rolled
off the roadway down the hillside and rested on its top in
the field, we knew.
We all breathed a sigh of relief when we reached the main
road again. Hristo apologied again and again for taking the
short cut--but why? How ordinary the highway to Istanbul
would have been. We had a great adventure, a marvelous
experience of letting go. None of us, I believe, will
ever forget our short cut to Istanbul! It binds us in a