Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Musings from Istanbul

A few observations from my first days in Istanbul:

  • Despite the general notion, that all Turkish women are covered from head to toe, this myth is easily debunked if you turn the TV on. Half-naked female singers and presenters just like everywhere else I’ve been to. Frankly, maybe even more so than everywhere else. And no one seems to blink an eye. 
  • The thumbs up sign that supposedly symbolizes sexual desire (according to the Internet)… does not symbolize it. It means great/ok, like everywhere else.
  • Rush hour is impossible to tolerate. I was in a real traffic jam once so far and that was one time too much. A trip from the European to the Asian side during the evening rush hour will leave you with a couple of new grey hairs. 
  • Passengers are to enter the bus at the front door only; entrance from the middle or back door is allowed when it’s impossible to enter at the front (stuffed bus), in which case they pass payment/transport cards to the driver all the way through the bus. This is new to me as even in Berlin the Turks loved getting on the bus from the back and thud avoiding payment. Also, I’ve never seen buses fit in so many people. Good thing I normally score a seat, otherwise I’d prefer to walk and then swim across the Bosphorus Strait.
  • It’s uncommon to walk to get somewhere. Anything over a 20-minute walking distance will be a bus/minibus/taxi ride. I think people consider me a bit odd for taking so many walks.
  • Turkish men only pester women in touristic areas (as if that was expected from them) and they will leave you alone right away if you should no emotions and don’t pay any attention to them. In all other areas, you’ll be getting looks from people now and then because you look a bit different, but generally no one will really approach you in the street.
  • Love, love, LOVE simit.
  • Some Turkish women are quite breathtaking. A lot of women in Istanbul are very westernized, blond hair, typical European and American dressing style. Some also appear to be quite emancipated and yet they do enjoy being “led” by men and seem to submit to them upon their own wish. 

3 comments:

Maria said...

I have two friends who went to Istanbul. One LOVED it and to this day raves about the food. The other enjoyed it but was peevish about having to wear a scarf at times. She did send me a photo of herself riding a camel and then made me laugh by saying that you don't really pay to ride the camel, you pay to have them let you OFF the camel.

julochka said...

for some reason, the crowded bus thing made me laugh...tho' i think i've mostly taken trams in istanbul. my most crowded bus ever was in kazan! my friend and i were actually standing in the back window and leaning (laying?) out over the heads of everyone below and they helped hold us up. i wish i had photos of it...

True story said...

Oh yes, transportation in Russia is a tragedy of its own! Always an adventure. ;)

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