Thursday, May 14, 2009

Day 6 and 7 - 2nd Day In Constantinople (Ish Stan Poli)

The alarm clock comes early on Day #2 in Istanbul given my late night the night before, but I get myself out of bed and into the shower. 10 minutes later, I am on the way down to the bus, Starbucks in hand, and smile on my face. We have 3 companies to visit today, and the first one is a private equity firm in Turkey. Unfortunately, the kabobs have found their newest victim as Paul comes down to the lobby looking like he just got punched in the gut. However, he votes to fight on. As we are waiting on the corner for the bus, Paul runs into the closest restroom and comes out having changed his gameplan…..he heads back to the hotel. I am scared…..

We pull up to the building, and I really can’t believe the office building that this company has. It is located almost directly under the EurAsia bridge right on the Bosphorus. We file into a conference room that has a ridiculous view of the water. This causes a slight problem as I have to fight to pay attention while huge boats go by in the background. The name of the company is Turkven, and they are the first private equity firm to originate in Turkey. They open with a slideshow of interesting Turkish facts/history, and it is really interesting. A lot of really cool stuff happened in Turkey back in the day….who knew. After that, we have a couple speakers that are very good. The last lady grew up in Turkey, but just graduated from Harvard’s MBA program. She is very interesting, and her presentation is very educational on how they run their fund. After the presentations, we have coffee and tea out on their patio area. It is unreal; their view is just incredible. I chat with the lady that graduated from HBS about the Boston area while sipping on tea and checking out the Bosphorus…..worse days have happened than this.

The next company we visit is ABB. They are a huge energy company that has a facility in Turkey. We walk into their huge conference room and they have setout plates of goodies for us. They are interesting, but I try them all. Some of them are amazing, some of them get the scrunchy face and a quick shot of cola turka. After the president of ABB Turkey speaks, we head out for a tour of the plant. We walk into the facility and there is absolutely nothing going on……they are apparently on a tea break. However, it is still cool to see all the equipment, but I am not really sure what most of it is. Rob walks around like a little kid since he knows all of this stuff from working at GE. I feel like giving him a weggie and stealing his lunch money, but I refrain as he is taller than I am.

The last visit of the day is to the biggest private university in Turkey, Koc (coach) University. It is pretty much amazing. They have a huge campus with just about all the amenities. We get a lecture on the history and state of the Turkish economy from one of their professors before getting a quick mini tour. After that, we go into the Alumni Lounge for drinks and hanging out. As most of you know, I am a pretty big fan of hanging out, so this makes me happy. While in there, I meat Osgud who just so happens to be coming to Chapel Hill in the fall as an exchange student. I give him my Alta Springs pitch, and we exchange information to get together when he gets into town. He seems like a nice guy, however exchange students have big shoes to fill as I take this time to give a shoutout to Gustav, Oskar, and Ooyven…..see you guys in January!!!

We head out of Koc around 6:30, and Tim has arranged a boat for us as the mode of transportation home. The boat is much nicer than we all expected as he described it as a dinghy. However, it is a pretty nice boat with two levels and 4 cases of Efes tall boys. The sun is setting as we head out into the Bosphorus…..are you kidding me? Everybody is snapping pictures like crazy tourists, sipping on Efes, and laughing up a storm. It is a pretty awesome time. Unfortunately, the boat was going faster than expected, so the end of our boat ride comes a bit too early. As a result, we have plenty of beer left so everybody packs up their UNC backpacks and heads to the bus. When we get back to the hotel, we are all very hungry and very sleepy. I decide to fight much needed sleep to grab yet another Doner kabob with Joe. Yet again, my kabob is amazing…..I follow it up with some of the most amazing gelato in the world. I have not had gelato in very many places (Highlands and Istanbul), but I feel confident making that statement. I get the Crème Caramel….simply amazing. They do not however have doggie gelato…..definitely a strike against, but still amazing.

At this point, I am a walking zombie. I really believe that if I stop moving, I will just fall face first in the street. We head back to the hotel and close out our evening relatively early. It has been a long, amazing day, but I am so ready to be horizontal. I lie down and fall sleep about 18 seconds later. Another day down in Istanbul…..can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings!! 6am start…..

Drew In Istanbul

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