What a crazy amazing first day
Trip Start Oct 25, 2008
144Trip End Dec 05, 2010
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this city is like no place on earth for more reasons then the fact that it is the only city in the world that is on 2 continents (Asia and Europe) it has so much history and is super old.
This is not my first Muslim country but its the first one i have been to where there is the call to prayer going on and with spectacularly beautiful mosques are everywhere and shisha smoke is in the air the atmosphere and the energy is really amazing everywhere you go theres hustle and bustel in a uniquely turkish way i could go on forever but its best you just see for yourself.
well my day started pretty early all things considering i was up at 8am and easily could have slept a few more hours but decided not to as i knew i had a full day and it would be best to get a early start
I had made plans with some local and traveling CSers to meet at noon but i had no idea as to where so i decided to go early and figure things out as well i need to get a letter of recommendation from the Canadian embassy in regards to my next destination and i read (random speculation not accurate info) that it was only open for a few hours in the morning and as i had found our meeting place 2 hours earlier then we were to meet i decided to give it a shot instead of putting it off for tomorrow.
The new area of Istanbul is centers around an area called tuksim square from there several main roads sorta spider out in all directions, i more or less found the square without and real problems after my tram accross the river i went the oposite way of the what could be the worlds shortest supway (1 stop) so i ended up huffing it up the steep hill to the new area.
Upon finding the street where my consulate was supposed to be i found out it was supppper huge and long pedestrian street one of the biggest ones i've ever seen and super busy I've been told 24 hours always this busy so i walked down and tried my best to take in all the excitement while also keeping an eye out for my flag.
The shoe shine scam
so last night i was just reading on wikitravel about this shoe shine scam it works more or less that a guy "accidentally" drops something and when you kindly goto return it he either a) swipes something from you or B) offers you a free shoe shine where he then tries to charge you a huge price and other people get involved.
Luckily As i bent over to pick it up out of my good nature i realized what was going on, as i returned his shoe brush i touched all my pockets to be sure i had my things and then promptly reversed course in the opposite direction.
He in turn began pursuing me smiling and offering a free shine to my shoes (my shoes couldn't be saved anyways at this point as they are on there last leg)
So to get away from him i cautiously however strategically walked into traffic and in turkey the cars don't stop so once i had crossed the street he was left on the other side and forced to give up
Shortly after this i found the consulate and bought my letter of recommendation which to my surprise cost 50 bucks! ouch turkey is killing me with random fees 45 euros for turkish visa and now this.
30 min to waste
I then had a half hour to waste before meeting my soon to be new CS friends so i had a nice cup of coffee which was great if not a touch expensive for my taste being as cheap as i am
turkey is a Tea country and people drink it everywhere all the time and its great.
I then met up with my CS friends 1 from Argentina living in Dublin 1 from the states living in Kazakhstan (yep he met borat) and a knowledgeable local who offered to show us around for the day, this is why CS is an amazing site we had a great day exploring Istanbul and then one of the first Istanbul CSers invited us over for some pre drinks.
so in interest of not going on for another 2 hours i'll skip to the end of the night.
after enjoyin a few drinks and some great company with my new friends i decided i should get going as i had to wake up early tomorrow for what surely should be another interesting day.
The last tram leaves at 12 but also the last small subway down leaves at 12 so i ended up sprinting like 20 blocks trying to make the last subway the first enterance was closed second one was open and out of sheer luck i caught the last sub car down.
the only probem was that the both depart at 12 thus as i arrived at the tram i ran put my token in and just as i got to the door they pulled away on me... damn after all that effort i missed the last one, would have been such a better story if it ended there.
instead i made a judgement call and instead of cheaping out and walking 45 min at night back to the hostel i flaged a cab and paid the 5 bucks, i managed to get a dollar discount by showing him my empty change wallet and saying its all i had, i did have a 50 in another wallet but didn't want to deal with the sort of change i could get back from him or all the other problems that can (but usually dont) happen when you give taxis way to large of a bill.
only other random note is in Scotland i got a 5 dollar bill that says royal bank of Scotland and the money changer refused to take it, did i get a fake bill or is this real?