The End of the Trip
Tucson Travel Blog› entry 10 of 10 › view all entries
Originally posted Thursday, March 23, 2006 on MySpace
As I said previously, my last full day in Istanbul was pretty good. I hung out with these two Brits, old enough to be my dad, yakking about various things.... Including politics. Like many Europeans, I did not agree with us invading Iraq three years ago, and I certainly still feel that way. We also discussed how China is just sitting back watching us, most likely laughin' their asses off as we continue to dig ourselves in debt, both the US and the UK, while they continue to grow economically, waiting for the perfect time to establish their reign as the world hegemony. Just you wait..... It'll happen.
My final last moment in Istanbul (before the aiport, which doesn't really count), was when I ended up putting my foot down on the uneven pavement..... causing my right ankle (the one I twisted the week before in Beyazit Square) to turn out. Not only that, but since I was walking on a downward slope, I also managed to roll my ankle in that direction. Needless to say I was in a ton of pain, and decided I was done with Istanbul, and I'd spend the remainder of my time at the airport. Oh, and I will mention that I fell right in front of the Blue Mosque, in full view of everyone. The good news is the predatory guys don't use that as a way to either try to drag me to a carpet store or essentially see if they'd manage to score a hook-up because they were being "really empathetic" to the fact that fell and injured myself.
Hangin' out at the airport pretty much sucked. At one point I remembered I had about14 lira still so I figured I'd spend it on food. The only thing that appealled was Burger King. Sad, I know. I go up to the counter, and yhe Whopper combo regular sized is 14 some odd lira. However, there was tax that needed to be added, and I found myself a tad bit short on lira. I paid with my American money. The Whopper combo was $12 and it was horrible. Itchin' to rid myself of the liras, I go browsing the stores. I found a place that sold packaged baklava. The price is in Euros. Once again, I found myself with not quite enough lira. Basically, I couldn't buy shit with my damn Turkish money. I passed a currency exchange station, and got rid of my lira for a 5 pound note. The lady seemed irritated. I didn't care.... that 5 note was enough to get myself to my sister's flat via the tube.
My Istanbul-Zurich-London flight was more or less uneventful. My injured ankled swelled up pretty good, but otherwise it was okay. I was pretty tickled I was finally leaving Istanbul. Getting to my sister's place was a real bitch considering my ankle was screwed up, and my language weighed a ton. Additionally, I went a different way to my sister's place...... The route to avoid goin' into the city proper. When I had taken to the tube to Heathrow, it was early in the morning, so the recommended way (by my sister and the offical transport side) wasn't in service (too early that day). I went the recommended way Monday night. That was HORRIBLE. I had to do 3 changes, each time involving mw havin' to cart my crap up and down stairs. Thankfully, people took pity on me most of the time, so I'd have help getting my crap up the stairs. Coming down I was usually on my own. One of the times when I was dragging my stuff down, the luggage slipped a bit..... Right into my screwed up ankle. I was pretty much on the verge of tears by the time I got to the tube station near my sister's flat. Pretty much I'm pretty stoic, but given the outcome of my trip, I was pretty much emotionally frazzled. This greatly reduced my physical pain tolerance I'm sure. Then this guy spotted me leaving the tube station. He asked if he could help me, and even though I was pretty miserable, I declined. I continued on my way. I hear him yelling, but I'm not paying attention. I'm focused on getting to my sister's so that I can take a bath. The guy comes running up to me asking me if I had a boyfriend. Obviously I said yeah, but he asked me to join him for a drink. I declined. He persisted, and I kept declining, adding that I woke up at 6:30am Instanbul time, two hours ahead of London it was now almost midnight [in London]. He asked me about meeting him in the morning. I told him I had plans for breakfast with my sister and she was taking me to the airport, which also answered the question of his about if I was stayin' in the area for a bit. The guy still freakin' persisted, offering his phone number. The guy pretty much irritated me (as most guys pretty much had for two weeks). I finally said something to the lines of: Look, there's really no point as I'm only here to spend the night, and continuing may way back home, in the States; I doubted I'd ever find myself in London anytime soon, let alone that area of the metro, so to give it up. With that I walked off. Fuck, guys really piss me off at times. From that point until I was within sight distance of my sister's building, I kept thinking about all the guys who had harrassed me over the course of my trip with sexual intentions, how I was glad to finally be in England, where I'd be alone, yet here I was getting hit on again. Oh yeah, and I should also mention this young Brit at one point stared going on and on about how I have great boobs. Why do some guys think paying that sort of compliment will get them anywhere? Gawd damn horny bastards!
I finally reached my sister's place. While I did let myself into the building, I was having trouble unlocking the door of her flat. I was seriously ready to cry, thinkin' I'd have to sleep on her door step. Thankfully, I got the thing to open, and let myself in. I called my sister as her request in a note left on the kitchen table. We talked for a bit, then I called and left a message for Mom so she'd know I got to London intact, and finally got in the tub with the water as hot has possible..... heat therapy for my mangled ankle and edemenous calf. I hope I don't end up with a blood clot.
Tuesday morning my sis and I went to breakfast. I had waffles topped with ice cream and chocolate sauce. Awesome, huh? I was bummed out though, the picture showed a Belgian waffle, but it was just a pancake flat sort of waffle. After that we went back to her place so I could repack my bags (to distribute the weight better), and she took me to the airport (thanks a bunch!).
While at Heathrow, I decided to look for Absinthe, an alcohol that is supposedly a dangerously addictive psychoactive drink. Therefore, one of my current goals in life is to try this stuff. Oh yeah, and because of this reputation, it's illegal to bring into the States (but I wanted to anyway). I found the stuff, but the bastards wouldn't sell it to me because my final destination was to the States. So next time I go to mainland Europe via London, I'm gettin' some. Oh, and on the subject of alcohol, I did bring back a small bottle of raki, "the national alcohol of Turkey". Maybe I should also mention that there was a creepy carpet salesman that invited me to drink raki with him one night as I was returning back to my hotel. Ick....
My flightd were uneventful, except for the edema I developed in my mangled ankle from sitting on planes forever. I also spilled water on a guy during the Chicago-Tucson flight when I fell asleep. Ooo, ooo...... and all day during the travel home I wanted more ice cream, specifically an ice cream sundae. Can you believe I couldn't find a ice cream sundae at either Heathrow or O'Hare (even though the latter had a McDonald's). I tried to have a cookies 'n cream milkshake at TGI Friday's at Heathrow, and that was lame. I had a vanilla shake at McD's in O'Hare, and they just didn't do it for me. If anything, I started wanting a cheeseburger, which I resisted..... Until my mom drove us to the McD's drive-thru. Oy vey....
Finally thoughts about this trip:
It pretty much SUCKED that I ended up in Istanbul ALONE. Had I went alone, there were many different plans I would have made for a solo trip. Basically, the overall vision I had for the trip was destroyed. There were things I saw that I wanted to see, and was disappointed with. I spent way too much time in the hotel. Some people like going on trips for the idea of staying in hotels. I prefer to be out and about. I didn't feel comfortable going out, so that pretty much kept me within the boundries of the old city. Ten days in Istanbul, and for the most part it turned into a waste of time, money and energy. Even though I attempted to move on with the trip alone, it just really went bust. After all, I stayed in a small hotel, and for 3 of the days I was the only hotel guest, thus no one to talk to. Most of my conversation was through gestures with the woman who tended to the domestic tasks of the hotel. A ran up a huge bill in international roaming charges because I was alone, and didn't even think about going out and buy phone cards (or SIM cards)..... Who knows when I'll manage to have my cell phone up and running again.
Would I go back to Istanbul? Yeah, when I'm too old to be a sexual interest for most guys. Would I recommend Istanbul? Definitely not to women who are traveling on their own. Otherwise, I'd say go for it as the overall commentary I've always heard from people is they liked their trip to Istanbul (and the rest of Turkey).