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Published: January 24th 2010
the gold stands are shoe shiners
Upon arrival to Istanbul the second time around, I recalled leaving the last time and what a mad house it was. The bus station in Istanbul is total chaos. Chaos like I had never witnessed before. Crowds of people pushing and shoving to get to and from their designated bus. People loading large packages underneath the bus to be received by who knows who in another town. Bus staff yelling times and destinations. People blocking doorways and smoking in groups. And to top it off, people selling things like glow sticks in the middle of this madness to make things even crazier.
Arriving at 6am in Istanbul this time around was like holding my breath, closing my eyes, squinting them open and realizing there was nothing there. no noise. no shouting. no crowds. no pushing.
And this was the way it was as a whole our second time around in Istanbul. It was unbelievable. I don't know what changed, but it was different. calmer. We were hardly approached on the street. People left us alone. We got around easily. We enjoyed ourselves. We sat in the park and watched the cats of Istanbul and it was peaceful.
The next morning we
got up very early and had the hostel call a taxi to Taksim Square for us. The hostel was dead quiet. Our street was dead quiet. It felt like the whole city was quiet. It was so nice. The taxi picked us up and sped through the empty morning streets of Istanbul towards Taksim Square. It was really beautiful to see. I cried because it was so pretty and so quiet and I was experiencing Istanbul in a very different way. It made me reflect on our experiences good and bad in Turkey. It made me think that maybe Turkey had changed us a bit or that maybe Turkey was growing on me no matter how frustrating it was. I also thought about all of the wonderful Turkish and non Turkish people we met in Turkey.
Then the cab stopped at our airport shuttle bus station and the driver tried to rip us off. Tages argued with him for lying to us, turning the meter off and charging us an astronomical fee for at least five minutes. I think she was done with Turkey right then and there. She shoved what money she had in his hand and that was
I drank my favorite yogurt drink for the last time (anna actually introduced me to it in Berlin and I drank it all throughout Turkey) called Ayran. We took the crowded Havas shuttle to the airport, checked in to the chaotic Sabina Göckçen airport. Our flight was delayed two hours on the runway. Tages was making me laugh because she couldn't wait to get back to Amsterdam and the hell out of Turkey. She had some choice words for the whole ordeal. However, my heart swelled bigger than ever when we landed in Amsterdam and the entire plane (mostly all Turkish) erupted into clapping and cheering that we had landed. I had never experienced that before. I could never see that happening in the US unless there was some severe turbulence or disruption on the plane. But I felt that it was so typically Turkish to be grateful and happy for so many things like the safe landing of our plane.
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