This is Turkey

Yes, I’ve been busy. Getting back to business in another foreign country.

Disembarking in Istanbul, the only thing resembling a Turkey was the fat, bearded policeman who took my passport. The one who escorted me to a little room where he put on a pair of rubber gloves and made me very nervous. My heart raced. And not in a good way. I haven’t gone for a prostate exam so I wasn’t comfortable with  a full body search. He also asked me if I was carrying dollars, which seems to be the universal currency for a bribe. Unfortunately I didn’t have any on me. I was finally let go, after he fumbled my neatly folded clothes into one big mess. I didn’t complain. Turns out I was the random spot check of the day. He wasn’t corrupt after all…

It’s obvious that I have the face of an international fugitive or a drug lord. Or both. Maybe I should get rid of my goatee.

I was extremely tired after travelling via Dubai, a journey that took me almost 24 hours as a result of a six hour lay-over in the city of fantastic plastic. I couldn’t sleep, as the adrenaline was still surging through my body after my close encounter with a fat finger up my ass. Everyone said Istanbul is an amazing city so I opted to go see if they were lying.

I arrived at Istiklal street in Taksim where everyone seems to go to. There were lots and lots of people walking aimlessly up and down the brightly lit street. A Disney version of a Zombie apocalypse. It was like black Friday times two million. Without the special offers. Or the queues. Or the fights as people scramble for shit they don’t need. It might be great spot if you’re a girl but I didn’t see the point of all the excitement. It’s just a frigging open air mall. So I grabbed a beer and went to bed. Not tasting the local beer is sacrilegious.

I find all sunrises spectacular but when that big orange ball peeks over a body of water it ups the magnificent factor tenfold. Case in point.
image

Traffic in Istanbul is a slight issue. Traffic is technically the wrong term to use as that would imply moving vehicles.  Istanbul must have the longest carparks in the world. It’s probably to be expected as there are only 17 million people living in a city that is 150 km wide. So just like in Istiklal street,  Turks are just going nowhere slowly.

They are also very proud of their cuisine and will use every opportunity to show you why there are not many thin people in the country. Kebabs, Raki and other unpronounceable dishes were thrown in front of me during lunch and dinner. I gained 4 kg just looking at the food in front of me.  Forget still having to consume it. My belt is no longer required and there goes any hope of me having a six-pack by Friday.

(Raki is not something you eat, it’s a liquorice based liquor that will put hair on your chest.  Even if you’re a woman.)

After a long day turned into a late night, I finally got to bed but couldn’t sleep. I was looking at the ceiling counting kebabs. Go figure. A combination of red meat and raki will do that to you.

Rising early enough to miss the sunrise completely, I flew to Adana. Is it a great city? Are their nice places to visit? How’s the local food? I am unfortunately not in a position to answer any of these questions but I can tell you that the airport is really small and the customer’s plant is surprisingly clean.

I watch the Turkish sun go for a nightcap from the airplane window on route to Antalya.

Here it was a lot more of the same. More business. More kebab. More goat cheese. And more Raki. At least they also had mountains.

And then I finally started flying home…and it took three different planes to get me there.

PS – I heard there was another bombing in the capital whilst I was in the country.  Fortunately neither the Wife nor I knew about it at the time…I was too busy working…

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