Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Good, The Bad and The Turkey

Some thoughts on Turkey...


-We love our apartment. It is smaller than we expected but there is definitely enough room for us. It is a very efficient apartment and has everything you could possibly need. I think that almost everything is from Ikea. The tables, rugs, towels, dishes, and even the kitchen unit. The apartment also comes with a disco ball in the ceiling! It is very tasteful and every night around 11:30 the family room becomes a discotecque. No complaints here. We lucked out on the location as well. It is right next to the metro, the Bosporous, and right off of Istikal street which is basically the main street in Istanbul.

-We have made a few great friends who have been amazing in helping us settle in and get to know the city and just making us feel like we are not complete strangers in this new place. If not for them we would probably still be walking around Taksim square looking for the metro.


-There is very high security. There are metal detectors, police and security people all over the place. At my work they check every single car that goes into the auto park including the trunk. Most of it seems pretty pointless and paternalistic more than anything.

-Microwaves and dryers are very uncommon so eating leftovers and doing laundry can be a bit of a pain.

-Random things are really expensive. I am not sure if it is because of where we live or just because some things are hard to import. For instance, gums and mints are super expensive. Also, I haven't been able to get a pair of flat black shoes for work because I can't find anything I like for under 150 lira. On the bright side (the really bright side) I did manage to get a pair of orange adidas for 10 lira from a man selling them out of cardboard boxes... :)


-Even though Turkey is predominately Muslim, you really can not tell. Women who wear hijab (the headscarf) can't teach, be in the government or go to University. In some cases they aren't even allowed to enter museums. There seems to be a great divide between practicing Muslims and non-practicing Muslims which just feels weird and alienating.

-Even though we live here we still have to pay tourist dues. For instance, the first week we were here we were walking to the Istanbul modern when a shoe shine guy walked passed us and dropped his brush. As innocent as I was back then, I rushed to tap him as Feraz retrieved his brush. The guy was soo nice!! He thanked and thanked us. Then he insisted on cleaning Feraz's shoes. What a man! He even told us stories about his family and his kids. They sounded so nice! Except for his poor baby who was in the hospital. Some tourist made the baby have an accident! Stupid tourists. Then his brother came and started shining my shoes! This was just too much. Turkish people are as nice as everyone says! Finally we were all done and the man takes hold of Feraz and asks for 16 lira. Oh no he didn't! Oh yes he did! We just started laughing thinking wow, this guy is serious! So we gave him 5 lira and said peace homes, thanks for making us totes not heart you anymore. We also had a cab guy try to charge us 25 lira for what was supposed to be a 3-4 lira ride but the grand baby of them all was when we saw some tourists getting charged 120 lira for a bosporous cruise for which we paid 10 lira. Oh snap.


  1. i'm glad you guys are in turkeyland. i can already tell that you're learning a lot and growing from your experiences, mA. travels abroad will always change a person

  2. WOW that man was tricky... well I guess you'll learn not to trust the shoe shiners now lol

    Didn't think turkey would be that expensive though!! and i agree the segregation there is awkward and a bit embarrassing for the Muslim world ...

    p.s. this is Rabia =)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...