Istanbul (Constantinople) Reviews
Istanbul (Constantinople) Oct 19, 2012
Istanbul was a unique place. I stayed at a dive of a hotel. It was a friend’s fault. He was feeling cheap and I had never been to a muslim country so I wanted to have someone near me.
At any rate, I found the people to be very friendly! A funny incident happened at a restaurant. I was with seven or so friends who spoke several different languages and we wanted to have lunch. The only language that the people in the restaurant spoke was “Turkish” (imagine that). We managed to pantomime through ordering our chicken lunches.
Taking the ferry across the Bosphorus was an interesting experience. When we stepped off the boat on the East side of the city, “Voila” we were in Asia. That was an interesting feeling. The East side was less interesting. Well, except for the domestic violence I saw on the street (I guess some guy wanted to prove that Sharia could be used in Turkey) as well as the people near some presidential (presumably) building. I wanted to take a picture of a statue of Kemal Ataturk (yeah, I know there are plenty of them in the city) and some guy who looked like he worked for the government was yelling at me to stop taking pictures. I gave him the tourist smile and kept moving like I did not know what he was talking about.
The Blue Mosque was an interesting place. I took my shoes off and all that jazz, snapped some photos, and then went to the Hagia Sophia (which by the way was originally a Christian Church).
The weirdest part of the trip was when some guy started speaking to me in English. I was shocked, because few people spoke English (by this time I had been to Europe several times and was used to speaking to people in English). He gave me some tips on where to shoot the Blue Mosque. Then he asked me if I wanted to purchase a rug. I told him no, but I would look anyway (I guess I am just too nice – see other reviews). I walked into his store (air-conditioned, what a nice break) and went downstairs into a windowless room. As I was looking at a rug, the lights went off and I could not see a thing. Here I was in Turkey, nobody knew I had gone to this store, and the lights go out. A light went off in my head that it was probably a good idea to leave the store since I was alone in a strange place.
Overall, I had a great time and would recommend Istanbul as a place to visit. There is a lot of great history there.
When I returned I would call the city "Constantinople" to yank chains. I noticed that most Turkish took offense when I used that term. I got a kick out of the expressions on their faces. In contrast, most westerners caught the hint and it would spark up an interesting conversation about history.
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