Istanbul Travel Blog

 › entry 4 of 10 › view all entries

Originally posted Monday, March 13, 2006 on MySpace

Here I am writing from Istanbul.  The hotel has a PC outside my room, with Internet, and it,s free!  Let me tell you....since leaving Heathrow, it's been rough.

(Argh.... I just deleted some stuff!  I'm using a keyboard designed for Turkish, so it's setup a li'l different.)

Anywho, the flights from London to Istanbul were rough.  There are times when I suffer from motion sickness.  I did not bring any medication to prevent that problem.  I had severe nausea and by the time I reached Zrich, I was having diarrhea.  I know, you didn't want to know that.  I also had this problem flying from the States to London, and at that time figured I was just a bug as I had not been feeling well prior to my initial departure.  Since both episodes of diarrhea resolved the following day after flying, it has to be from motion sickness.  Lucky me.

I wish motion sickness had been the only problem.  My flight landed on time, and Ahsan's flight landed 25 minutes early.  I was so happy about that since I felt horrible.  There is only one terminal at Atatrk, so I waited at the bottom of the ramp from immigration.  Waited and watch people pass buy who had obviously come from Dubai (where Ahsan's layover was).  Finally, the passengers dwindled down to pratically nobody.  I began trying to figure out how to make calls with my phone.  By the time I figure out and reach Ahsan, the Dubai flight had arrived an hour prior.  "Where are you?" I asked.  Islamabad was the unexpected answer I received.  Yes, I found myself alone in Istanbul.  Ahsan never got is passport back from the Turkish embassy in Islamabad, and made the most retarded decision (next to the stunt he pulled when he flew back to the States).  Instead of telling me, preferrably before I left Tucson, he hoped/assumed/whatever that he'd get his passport back the day before he was to leave.  It's one thing to gamble and the potential bad outcome affects him primarily, but to put me at risk....? WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT ABOUT??

Then because I had been waiting for him forever, the driver from the hotel had come and gone.  This left me to figure out an alternate way home.  I took a car service.  I ended up not gettin' to the hotel until 9pm that night (and had things worked as they were supposed to, we should have been at the hotel by 7pm).  The first night in Instanbul consisted of my being sick, pissed off, worried, etc etc.  If I would have had a clue, I could have been better prepared (and/or stayed in London).  Oh yeah, and I should also include that I came to Istanbul with little money since Ahsan was to handle all the associated costs.

The next morning Ahsan called to say he sent money Western Union.  Fabulous (or so I thought).  I'll get back to that.  I left the hotel with plans to go to a bank that receives Western Union stuff.  As I was making my way to the bank I passed the Blue Mosque when I was stopped by a guy.  He inquired if I had gone to the Blue Mosque yet (we were in front of it).  It was getting ready to close for prayer, so I agreed to be dragged in, knowing it would cost me.  Had a look around, heard some guy freaking out because a visitor began to put his shoes back on while still in the mosque.  My "guide" then showed me a cistern under a carpet store.  The guy was one of those sorts that would get paid commission if I bought a rug.  I didn't, even though they tried to harass me to.  I left and went back by the Blue Mosque, stopping to take some more pictures.

As I was doing so, I was stopped about another man claiming to be a teacher.  Stupid ass me let my guard down.  We went to this German fountain, the Basilic Cistern and then to a ceramic/linen/carpet/misc store.  He kept bugging me to by a tablecloth.  I actually ended up buying eight.  I couldn't help it...... He started making them cheap.  Now I've got Christmas presents for relatives, the only reason I bought them.  Since I still needed to get to the bank, and I did buy stuff, I figured it would be safe to ask where the street was I needed.  No problem..... his cousin can take me, and I thought that was a good thing.

First we went to the hotel next door, to the roof top.  Awesome views of the city.  Then we headed to the bank.  Two banks later and it's concluded they're closed..... it's Saturday.  The guy guides me around the Grand Baazar, I call Ahsan , and he finds me locations of Wester Unions that are open.  Out of the three given, only one seems to have a working number, and it's far off.... So this guy and I take a taxi to the northside of European Istanbul (across the Golden Horn for those interested in geography). 

We get to this post office, alive actually, given the way people drive and our taxi driver had two close calls.  At the post office I'm happy because I'll have money.  Joke was on me.   Because the hotel was in possession of my passport and the only other id I had was my CatCard, I couldn't get the money.  After that, my "guide" and I had lunch.  He ordered since I couldn't read the menu.  I had a kebab variety platter.... chicken, beef and lamb (cringe).  It wasn,t too shabby.  Oh yeah, and I had "Coke Light" to drink. 

By the time we leave the kebab place, it's really rainning.  The guy flags down a taxi, and we eventually make it back to Sultanahmet (the old city and where I'm staying).  We go back to the shop because I left my purchases there without thinking about it.  Big mistake.  The guy who took me around the city and the guy who found me by the Blue Mosque invite me to stay for tea.  Poor judgement call happens, and I stay for tea (gawd.... I've had so much tea here, and I dislike tea).  Things start getting weird, especially when they keep trying to talk me into going to a Turkish bath with them.  Yapping about how I should do whatever I want while my boyfriend is not present because then I wouldn,t be able to do anything since they know that American girls are independent and Middle Eastern guys try to reign them in  (hahaha!).  The weirdest moment when I got up to leave was when they were inquiring about my relationship with Ahsan..... if I've ever cheated, thought about it, and flat out asked me if we've had sex.  Talk about making, me feel stupid and gross.  I stated it was time for me to go, I got up the older guy went upstairs; the one closer to my age asked me to wait before I went upstairs.  He had a hard-on and grabbed my hand and tried to get me to touch him.  EEWWWW!!!!  I scurried up the stairs, grabbed my stuff and stormed out the door..... The guy followed me, saying to come back tomorrow and he'd take me to Aya Sophia.  As if.

I got back to the hotel and called my mom and we spoke for over an hour.  I called my sister who didn't answer.  I called Celine, who didn't answer.  Then I called Ahsan because I was still wigged out about the day, and because I thought it was appropriate to call him since it was his poor decision making that set the ball rolling for what had happened (not that I had good decision making).  We talked, then I called Celine (who had called me back when I was on the phone with Ahsan).  After talking to her, I had planned to go to bed, but couldn't.  So then I called Vijay.  Chances are if we hadn't been on the phone for as long as we had, I probably would have called somebody else. 

Naturally, everybody's mad at Ahsan.  Not only about leaving me to be in Istanbul alone, but also because of his comment about how east of Denmark I'd encounter yucky male behaviour.... too many American movies that make men think American girls are easy.  Bleh.  Celine and Vijay think that was an insensitive comment.  Not to mention they both feel he lacks adult decision making.

Sunday I couldn't decide what to do.  Celine wanted me to go back out there, not letting everything that had alreay happened colour my trip... give it a few more days before deciding whether to return to London.  Vijay kinda had that same suggestion, but instead of telling me to get back out there, if I need to chance to regroup, then do so.  I compromised. 

At first I was going to stay in, but then about noon I decided I was going to Aya Sophia as planned.  I bundled myself up, meaning I covered myself head to toe, and set out.  I was harassed by only one guy who could still tell I'am American (probably because I was wearing pants and sneakers).  Was askin, me questions about why I was covered, he almost couldn,t tell that I was American.  I shot back, "That's the point!" as I rushed through the entry of the Aya Sophia.  Safety at last.

I must say I was disappointed with Aya Sophia.  Considering it is no longer a mosque, but a museum I expected more artifacts.  Except for the stray cats and a small photography exhibit, the structure was the only exhibit.  However, I got to see it, and that's what I wanted.  I also went back to the Blue Mosque since I was ushered through too quick the first time.  Last night I went to dinner, after dark, alone.  That's a big deal.  Women who go out alone at night are considered to have loose morals (rolls eyes).  I had dinner in the restaurant of the Blue House (a hotel a few paces away).

There more to write, but I'm so tired.  I woke up with the morning azaan from the Blue Mosque, but it was a plumbing issue that kept me awake.  I promise that blurb next time.

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photo by: Memo