My first glimpses at Istanbul
26.08.2010 0 °C
I was excited to use one of the few Turkish phrases that I've learned so far when ordering coffee (much needed after my insomnia) for my new friends and I. So I asked for it "sutlu", with milk but quickly got the response that I might as well get Nescafe, since Turkish coffee is NOT served with milk. Whoops, one of the many blunders I will make while trying to navigate this country. The Turk kahvesi that I did get, the right way, was yummy but small and strong, with grinds on the bottom, you can even read your fortune in them, like tea leaves.
I arrived in this lovely city Tuesday night. My first impression was amazement at the sheer size of the place, along with the traffic. Major grindlock combined with pedestrain mayhem, people running into the streets to wipe windshields and sell pretty much anything. I'm staying for the time being in a "lojman", kind of like a dormitory but it's in an old apartment building and I have my own room. There are two floors of guys and two of girls, and both sexes are restricted to their floor. There's a common room upstairs with a kitchen, TV room nice roof deck/balcony. I was up at 4 this morning and basically gave up on sleep so I snapped some photos up there early.
A couple from California, Brandy and Pat arrived the same day as me. Brandy was also suffering from insomnia and was out on the deck early so she dragged Pat out of bed and we all went for coffee. They had to deal with some logistics so I took off on my own to explore near the waterfront. As I was taking pictures, a boy of about 10 or 11 was asking me, I think, if I w anted to go swimming. I tried to figure out what else he was asking me and this led to an hour or so intensive Turkish lesson. This kid did not go easy on me. He was drilling me, holding up fingers and I had to yell out the Turkish numbers, then he was pointing to stuff and had me repeat. He also wanted to know if I was married. I told him he was hired, but I don't think he got the message. An hour every day with this kid and I'll be fluent in Turkish in no time
I met Karen, the director, at 4 today to go see the school and meet some of the staff. The school's a 5 minute walk from the place I'm staying so it couldn't be more convenient. I'm just not sure about the cleansiness of the lojman and the fact that there's a curfew. Some nights it's 4 am but still, I don't like the principle of it :P