Trip Start Apr 05, 2010
23Trip End Ongoing
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The hostel is nice and clean (perhaps this is in comparison to camping in fields) and Im in a 32 person room with the rest of the group, leaving some of the couples in a seperate private room
On the first day here I went to the grand bazaar which is a massive indoor market place selling clothes, china plates, food, souveneirs etc. Its really difficult to walk past any of the stalls without getting hassled to buy something. The amusing thing here is that they seem to know how annoying they can be and even make jokes about it. A common one we heard throughout the day was "Let me take your money and give you my rubbish" and once they know that you are English. everything is "lovely jubbly."
The workers here are overly friendly when they want you to buy something but as soon as you say no they turn very rude.
One of the stalls was selling turlish delights and Nikki (the girl that im sharing a tent with) was deciding between buying a kilo or just a few. After about 2 minutes max she asked for about 5 pieces rather than the kilo that the man wanted her to buy and he got really pissed off and started shouting about wasting his time etc.
Earlier on we had gone for a kebab, when we paid the waiter looked at the money on the plate, muttered "no service" and threw the plate down on the table
Yesterday i went to Agia Sophia which used to be a church and now the best description would be an indoor cemetary. There are 4 seperate buildings all with green coffins inside which are the families of sultans. The detail of the deco inside is amazing Il be adding pics as soon as I can.
I also attempted to go to the blue mosque but it was prayer time so no visitors were allowed inside. Yesterday morning was spent in the Iranian embassy from 08:30 til about midday. All the girls had to wear loose trousers and loose long sleeved tops with head scarves and the guys had to wear jeans or trousers wiht long sleeved tops or shirts. The less flesh that was showing, the better. Everone was a bit nervous about going here as wrere under the impression that it would be really strict. Especially one of the girls, Fran, who is American but born In England. She had to stay quiet the entire time we were in there which was extremely difficult for her! I didnt realise how strict the Iranians would be about letting Americans into the country, but apparently if they knew she was American it would be a straight refusal and could possibly mean problems for the rest of us getting in aswell
The workers at the embassy were very friendly. they offered us tea and chocolates throughout our time there which was quite a shock as until this point we werent sure if we were allowed to talk to eachother. They semed quite laid back though and infact forgot to ask for our finger prints so we all had to do that last night ready for Lu our tour leader to take there this morning.
Our visas have now been issued so everything is set for Iran. now its just the Pakistan one to worry about which will be applying for in ankarra.
Today is day 18 and the first time I have had a day to myself. This is my first feel of really travelling on my own as before we would all go off in groups and it felt abit like a school trip. Right now Im writing this footsteps from the sea, watching the dolphins jump in and out of the water. Iv just been reminded why Im doing this and the memory of me cooking for 40 people for 3 hours whlst camping on a rubbish tip seems far away :)