HAVE ARRIVED SAFE IN ISTANBUL STOP
LIVING IN 8 X 9 HOSTEL ROOM BEHIND HAIGA SOFIA STOP
TOMORROW BEGINS ADVENTURE STOP
This was one of the more low stress trips I have taken of late. Sure, it rained on the way to the airport, then I got a call AND and an email telling me peoples websites were acting up.
Care level = Zero. It would be dealt with later.
No lines anywhere. Flight to new York is smooth. Security there quick as well. In flight there are two seats free in our aisle. Passable food and and actually trusted us with metal eating utensils. Each seat had its own personal entertainment center. Nice touch. No real sleep, it's still a plane trip and a long one at that.
On arrival a tout tried to get us to take a bus to Sultanammet. "Only 60 Turkish Lira!" (about $38) "Mush faster!"
Really? The metro and tram system took us about an hour and cost us $3 total. Nice. Outer Instanbul is much like any other city. Modern, and with many concrete buildings. Similar to Cairo but more finished looking and no farms interspersed between buildings. But once you arrive in Sultanammet you are dumped at a lovely park right between the Blue Mosque and Haiha Sophia. Using my keen "Souk Sense" I tracked down our minescule hotstel and we checked in. At this point "resting me feet" became "passed out" for several hours.
We recovered enough to get out and find a few sights. At a small park I was befriended by this fellow who lumped up on my lap and proceeded to love me with great vigor. Rossana gave him some cheese which made him quite happy. Meanwhile my own cats treat me like I beat them with a rubber hose. I tell ya I don't get no respect...
We had dinner at a small restaurant nearby where our waiter asked if we were Americans. We took a chance and said 'Yes'.
"Do you like your new president?" he asked.
"Yes, very much."
"We do too. He was here three weeks ago. I go to see him and everyone shouting Obama! Obama! I could not get close enough. So many people."
That felt good. A few years ago in Egypt I had an awkward discussion with a friendly merchant while awaiting delivery of some goods. Today I felt quite comfortable being an American abroad. Of course, the Turkish people are genuinely very friendly. After diner we strolled to the lit Blue Mosque.
Tomorrow we start exploring more on our own.