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Matt and I flew Turkish Airlines to Singapore. The low fares are incredibly tempting, as is the free hotel and free tour of Istanbul. We did find the staff to be very accommodating and nice and the food was for the most part very good- except for one terribly weird English Breakfast. I found the guy dressed as a chef on-board to be a bit silly. The seats were fairly old, but that may have made them bigger than some other seats, who knows. They allow you to check two bags for international flights, (I forget the weight limit, but it might be wise to pack a checkable duffle if you normally only take one bag, as lots of people were unloading stuff from one bag to another. I found this insanely annoying, but multiple airlines do it, if you can have two bags with so much weight, you should be able to have one bag that is less than those two weights. You may also carry on two bags. You line up a bit like Southwest Airlines to board the plane, and people have no real regard for the groups, so it is pretty much a cattle call, and because they fly to more countries than any other airline, we found they had a lot of infrequent fliers. I assume it is comparable to many of the other new airlines that have come up with fairly low fares. We had one delay for an hour due to weather, but given the weather going on all around, it was likely very justified, other than that, things ran on time, and they made up that hour in the air. So, not a GREAT airline, but also fine for the price. We went on the free tour, we could only do the really short one, but it was nice to get out and get some fresh air during a fairly long layover.
I have been remiss in not posting about this lovely exhibit at the Freer Sackler. The Art of the Qur'an is a quiet exhibit, and although I've seen a handful of advertisements, it deserves wider publicity. The exhibit features over 50 Qur'ans dating from the early eighth to the seventeenth century and tells the story of "how the Qur’an was transformed from an orally transmitted message into a fixed text, transcribed and illuminated by some of the most skilled artists of the Islamic world" This is a show where reading the wall text is important as they guide you through the various changes that have occurred to Qur'ans over the ages, such as the introduction of medallions and arabesques, to indicate emphasis of text. At the end of the show the Qur'an has been transformed into works of art, used by rulers as political currency. This is a show to set aside some time and slowly immerse yourself in the history of the Qur'an and the history of Islam. NY Times review