Published: April 9th 2012March 26th 2012
I've arrived already!
I was just settling into the long flight I normally expect when leaving western culture. But, then hours before my subconsious expected to get there, the plane was flying over the Bosphorus, low enough for me to see it is teaming with fish, and with seagulls hovering above it waiting for an opportunity to catch one. As the plane landed, there was a mosque a few hundred meters to the right. An exotic culture, and not a dot of jet lag. It is rainy but not as cold as Germany. Got on the subway and passed many mosques on the way from the airport, and no doubt I will be hearing them at 4AM from all directions. I got out of the tram in the old part of the city where I am staying, and sat in a cafe coffee drinking and people watching, and now and again before mind could catch up with my observations I would think things like, that girl seems Turkish. There are so many Turkish people in Munich, that one sees them and registers they are Turkish automatically, the way one would register a persons gender. This hostel in not only
Turkish Lira and Jordanian money that somehow found its way into my wallet
really inexpensive and central, but they have decent music playing, unlike in the cafe. Classic hard rock here. Chris de Burgh and some other barely tolerable stuff in the cafe. Dirk Jan
Haha, yeah, that's fast. Normally it takes you a day or so to arrive. Mel
My feet are aching, after walking up up and down hilly cobbled streets, and through the spice bazar and the grand bazar, and getting lost and accidently ending up in what is probably more like where many people live, than what the other parts of the old town look like. It is rather derelect, with lines of laundry drying in the streets. Or maybe, it is the part hardest hit by the earthquake at the end of the 90s.
The old town really is beautiful though. I was going to look around the beautiful old university, until I discovered that it is guarded by 2 men in uniforms, and you have to show id and put yourself through a metal detector and your stuff through an xray machine. One of the guards said something, and I gave him the just looking sign I give to
my breakfast spot
on the street where I stayed
the enthusiastic shop keepers and restaruant owners, who keep trying to get me into their establishments. The guard returned my sign with a millitary salute. I think, you need to be careful of the hand angle when giving the 'just looking' sign, especially when it is to security guards, police or millitary people. It is pretty disconcerting to be misinterpreted, and I was glad I wasn't wearing any camaflauge fasionable army type clothes that some wear even when travelling. At least, the guard gave an amused smile with the salute. He probably gets this all the time from drunk students, and tolerates it with a show of humour again and again, as if it is the first time, to prevent having to keep telling them off. Dirk Jan
Haha :DThey probably thought you were an undercover high ranked officer. Mel
Very undercover, in my woolly sweaters and furry boots! :D
Today, I went for another walk past the palace nearby. Apparently, it is one of the worlds oldest, so worth at least wandering past, on my way to someplace warm to veg out. The usual restaurant people tried to get me into their restaurants,
Cheap ciggies in Istanbul
These cost the equivalent of 2 Euros a pack
and I just gave them the dozy smile as I walked past. One of them insisted that he wanted to ask me just one question. I said, fire away as long as it is just the one question. He then asked me why I don't like Turkish people. I waved him away in disgust. I have heard variations of this particular manipulation in various parts of the world, and this ploy to keep me there doesn't work. They will have to try picking on some newby eager to please tourist on their first journey away from their country of origen. I wonder what they would say, if I stood there and gave a long display of rascist tripe, instead of a lengthy defence of my being a good person who loves everybody and who nothing is too weird for, and knows that even the worst abuses of my fellow human beings can be explained if one is open to cultural differences. I could even prove my love for all men by buying something as his restaruant, or even going on a date with him, I suppose.
I had a coffee in a couple of restaurants who had people trying
to get me in there. When I didn't want to go in, they said I could just have a drink if I want, so I went in. One was a glass conservatory on top of an old building. It had a lovely view of the choppy waters of the Boshporus. There are lots of boats on it. I think, some are public transport boats that go to other parts of the city. A boat ride would likely be nice, but I don't know which other part of the city I would like to go to. I think, I might be in the most beautiful part already. The Marmara sea is just a couple of hundred meters from the hostel too. I wonder if it is also beautiful there. To be checked out, I think.
I think, those tourist police who were promised a number of years ago are managing some success. Harassment from touts is minimal, and they do it very quietly so you can easily ignore them by walking just a bit faster. And, the men here are not nearly as awful as I dreaded, from some things I heard. But, it is a long time ago that I heard those things, and some things change for the better over time. I think, Italian men have become a lot less aggressive with hounding tourists for what they consider to be easy sex, in the last decade too from what female travellers to there tell me. Thank goodness for some changes!
I found a waterpipe buddy, who is comming to the tea house with me today to smoke apple scented tobacco in waterpipes. Dirk Jan
Don't get too high ;-)