26.01.2010 -5 °C
On Turkish soil at last! I’ve been talking about this adventure for so long, I feel like I’ve been talking about someone else going on a trip for the past year. Landing in Istanbul actually gave me a hot flash.
Some things I’ve learned so far:
• British Airways makes a mean cheesecake, to rival any landed establishments. Wow.
• Turkish people like to touch. As a renown touchy person, I have finally found my people. Woohoo! A token of friendship between mostly female friends, I will continue to be wary of overly friendly Turkish men. I’ve been warned, don’t worry Mom.
• Istanbul traffic is bad, really bad, but is always made worse by numerous stalled cars, a heavy snowstorm, a couple handfuls of crazy drivers, complete lack of winter tires, and an overwhelming number of people. Still, a 3 hour drive to cover about a 60km journey gives ample time to practice some Turkish greetings, awkwardly stare at your car mates, and ogle the vendors walking in between cars along a 3-lane highway. The vendors know how bad traffic is, and they are prepared. Water, sweets, treats, and even some snow-dusted roses (who said you couldn’t be romantic in a jam?)
• Turkish people are rumoured to be a most hospitable people, and the rumours are entirely true. Turkish tea? Evet! Beans and rice? EVET! Delicious. I’ve been wined and dined (or teaed and lunched) and it’s only my first day. Amazing!
• As in the rest of Europe, elevators are particularly small. Say, three by four (feet), and they’re a delight! Tiny vertical clown cars. Every time the doors open, a slew of people pour out. Like many North Americans, I typically tend to stare above the doors when in an elevator. Not so in Istanbul! Fitting that many people in requires some Tetris style manoeuvring, everybody fitting in different directions in order to pile in properly. You can have some interesting staring contests in such close quarters.
First impressions: love it! I haven’t seen much yet, but I’ve loved what I’ve seen. It can only get better from here! (because really... I’ve not seen anything much at all). I will get out more in the next few days when things get more organized, and will probably have more substantial things to say (something other than traffic and elevators).
Until then... a bientot!