Crazy Wonderful Weekend in Istanbul
This week I’ve been a little busy with apartment hunting, Turkish class, trying to get into a university, and a seemingly neverending stream of administrivia dealing with all of these things. So, tonight I finally went through the pictures from last weekend’s trip to Istanbul.
This post will mostly be in pictures. The amazing thing about our weekend is that some random yet remarkable thing happened in every activity we did. I have to admit, half of these random items involve Turkish (and one Libyan) men’s attempts to talk to Western women. Anyway, along with all the sightseeing, we did a bit of partying in the evenings, then got right back for another day of adventure. Amazingly (for me, at least), I rarely looked at my gadgets and had no idea what was going on in the world beyond my own adventures.
Getting around Turkey is mostly done by bus. Mine was pretty comfortable – three seats instead of four with an aisle, so you have a two-seat row, an aisle, and then a single seat row on the other side. This means the seats are much wider, and the aisle is plenty of room for an attendant to push a cart with snacks and drinks for the entire duration of the ride. On the advice of Dennis, the Istanbul Olmsted Scholar, I got off after about five hours, on the Asian side, to avoid traffic due to bridge/tunnel construction around Istanbul. From the bus company’s site, I took a dolmuş (like a shuttle) to Kadakoy, where I hopped a ferry to cross the Bosphorus. I didn’t realize there were two stops across each other from another waterway, so after walking around the pier for a while I finally a pedestrian tunnel, found the tramvay, and took the tram up to Cihangir, where we rented a flat.
On the tram, two teenage boys wanted to practice their English, and I of course was happy to practice my Turkish, at least at first. I think these boys must have learned their English from sailors passing through, because after the initial pleasantries, their conversation consisted mostly of potty humor, and it was pretty nasty. We were soon distracted, however, by a man who fainted on the tram. Although usually incredibly helpful and friendly, the other passengers on the train just turned away from this man, laying unconscious on the floor, and carried on with looking anywhere but in his direction. I couldn’t believe it, so I looked at these two kids like I would a couple of sailors, and told them to give him water. They were reluctant but then eventually agreed to help the guy. No worries, he was revived with a few sips, a lift from the floor to the seat, and some water on his face.
Using the last bit of battery of my phone, with the help of google maps I found the flat we rented, and the owner’s mother showed me the ins and outs of living there. I’m proud to say this was done entirely in Turkish, and without a problem! I was even able to blame my being late on the traffic.
Okay, pics are still uploading, so I’m posting what I have so far and will let the pictures load through the night.