POST 228 28NOV2015
DISCOVERING THE REAL NATURE OF LIFE
– A millionaire in Constantinople
- Right time, right action
POST 228 28NOV2015
PHAN HOANG’S NOTEBOOK
The spontaneous writings presented in this collection are first drafts, not edited texts
TRAVELING AROUND THE WORLD,
DISCOVERING THE REAL NATURE OF LIFE – A millionaire in Constantinople
(continued from Post 227)
Although it was enormously enjoyable to travel through many exciting countries, discovering unexpected aspects of life everywhere, like going forward to the past and backward to the future, turning History up-side down, I still held to my dream of making a million dollars. From time to time I thought of it, and each time considered the best way to make it, keeping my dream alive. I realized there are different ways of becoming a millionaire, one of these days in the future I will be…
One day, after having traveling far, I successfully got out of the Istanbul Airport carrying ten millions in my bag. Quietly, no fear, I took a taxi to downtown, one of those unsafe taxis in a country where everyone can be a taxi-driver without holding a basic driving license. In Turkey there is no need for a driver to know the city well because the rider is supposed to know better than anyone where he or she wants to go. At the Turkish hotel I put my bag in a discrete corner of the small walk-in closet in my room, carefully covered it with a towel, put a dirty T-shirt over that, locked the door, and went out to discover this immense city. Istanbul is a large city, although it doesn’t seem so. It is larger than Paris and is the bridge between the Orient and the Occident. It was the capital of Byzantium and I learned its real name from history books when I was a child many years ago. It was on a list of famous places in the world I must one day visit: Constantinople.
Now my dream has come true; I am here, wandering everywhere, not only visiting famous sites like the wonderful Blue Mosque, Saint Sophia, or the University, but discovering complicated streets and mysterious markets, observing the contrast among many ethnic peoples, enjoying country music and dance. At night I had dinner in a fascinating Turkish restaurant where the meals and the music totally captivated not only me but the whole crowd. When I left, I realized in the dark street that it was very late and I was really very far from my hotel. The taxi driver I stopped did not speak any of the languages I knew but he seemed to understand where I wanted to go when I showed him the business card of my hotel. So we both did not say another word, and just let the cab proceed. Soon, I realized that he himself was lost in the complicated streets that were completely deserted by that late time of the night. After driving around for almost one hour, his car nearly ran out of gasoline. I then recognized a mosque I had visited close to my hotel. The car, however, could not reach it because the driver visibly did not know how to get out of this labyrinth of one- way streets. The more he tried the farther away he went. I was afraid that at the end, out of gasoline, he could simply put me down somewhere in this immense and unsafe city. So I decided to get out of the cab and walk to my hotel.
When the sound of the car’s engine slowly died, the tortured street where I was left suddenly become very dark and threatening. I felt somehow in a panic and I grasped a big stone as a defense measure in case of danger, I thought. Then I said to myself that it was stupid holding a stone because as long as I held it I counted on it, therefore losing confidence in myself and the wise and quiet mind I would need in case of danger. I threw the stone away, recovering my self-confidence and quietly walked around, finding the way back to my hotel through many amazing streets.
Entering my hotel room, the first thing I checked for was my bag. It was still there, in the same place. What really made me so happy at that moment was not discovering my money, but feeling my life was then safe. I was even proud of myself that I was able to discover Constantinople by night walking alone, without fear, through deserted streets. That night I learned that life is really the most precious thing you can have and a quiet mind can help to make your life much safer. In Constantinople, I was a happy multi-millionaire. Yes, it’s true, in Constantinople I became a multi-millionaire. I remember that at the Istanbul airport when I changed less than one hundred US dollars the clerk behind the counter gave me ten millions Turkish dollars in exchange! (in 1998)
My dear friends, I thought that in one way or another, I would find a way to make a million. But if I can help nice people like many of you to make millions for the wealth of their country and the happiness of their family it would be more fun. So I decided to become a professor of … Finance. Today I continue to travel around the world visiting universities. Everywhere, I no longer have students, only potential millionaires./.
Charles Phan Hoang (June 2003)