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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Istanbul - landing

Met up with grandson, Sam who is studying for a year in Germany, at the airport in Dusseldorf and off we went to Turkey. The flight ranks up there among the worst I've experienced. A well worn airplane, officious flight attendants and a row of drunk, incredibly loud Russian guys in front of us. A flight to be endured. Arrived in Istanbul at night, found the correct bus and took the two hour bus ride into town in the rush hour traffic. While smaller in population than Mexico City, Istanbul seems somehow bigger. It just went on and on. At last we ended at Taksim Square where many taxi drivers lurked. I picked one at random, showed him the directions I'd gotten from Manwar, our Airbnb host, he conferred with another guy, nodded and off we went. Same driving school as the taxi drivers in Mexico City. Hang on! With some difficulty, the surly driver found our place. When we saw our accommodations we almost wished he hadn't. It was pretty marginal and barely clean enough to tolerate. Manwar, a Syrian chemist/perfume salesman, was genial enough though he spoke little English. The one redeeming feature and the thing that attracted me when I booked the place on Airbnb, was the balcony that overlooked the Golden Horn, the long bay that separates the old town from the rest of Istanbul on the European side. We were hungry and Manwar said there were restaurants just down the street. This was a very traditional, poor neighbourhood, street cats and garbage everywhere. There were some tired looking little doner shops and many card rooms filled with smoking, tea drinking men but no appealing restaurants.

The hood
Manwar's place

I asked a guy at a store and he pointed us to one of those döner places so we tried it and had some quite good dürüm, like döner but in a wrap. And that ended the day.




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