Day 1 - 5th May 2009
05.05.2009 18 °C
Plane ride of only 4ish hours cowered in insignificance when compared to the 14 hour flight to Dubai. We arrived relatively fresh and ready to experience the city. It didn’t have the skyline of Dubai, relatively flat as a whole but we almost instantly felt the aura of the city once known as Constantinople. Contrast between structures built by the Ottomans and the Romans was most apparent but you could also see remnants of other Dynasties.
Taxi. Talk about a moustache, these guys can grow them! What a guy, not much English but he made up for it in effort. “Hotel in Istanbul? 20 Million people in Istanbul. Maybe 1 Million hotels in Istanbul (slight exaggeration). Sultanahmet? Cankurtaran? Beyazit? Beyogli? 20 Million in Istanbul. Very big… maybe one million hotels” This went on for a while (in a cheeky yet polite way). “Not sure, dude. Can we just call them?”
Hotel. Small room but great location and the price was right.
Kebap (kebab). Could have mistaken the place for Sydney Rd Melbourne for a minute there. Kebab heaven. Many choices and very cheap! What a welcome change from Dubai. Our first meal including drinks and tip: $20. You beauty!
We got ripped off buying fake perfume. We knew it was fake and thought we’d buy it to ‘fabreeze’ our clothing. We simply paid too much. Nothing too drastic but it was good to be grounded before hitting the Bazaaars.
Shisha (water pipe) or 'Nargileh' as they call it here (Arabs refer to it as Argileh). Yep, as always take an Arabic work, whack a letter in front of it and call it your own. I didn’t go there with the locals. I read a bit about their National pride before coming here and didn’t want to disappear this early in the trip. I’ll save the trash talking for Aiden and Engin.
Eriwan Nargileh. What a gem of a find. A couple of minutes from the hotel. It was like a community hall for Shisha smokers filled with hundreds of colourful, decorative artefacts. The building appeared to be historic (origin unknown). Sat with the locals, enjoyed my favourite apple flavoured Shisha and a cup of Turkish coffee. Awesome little haunt even for the non-Shisha smoker.