First impressions of Istanbul

Trip Start Oct 03, 2002
Trip End Jun 30, 2003

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Flag of Turkey  ,
Thursday, October 10, 2002

I first arrived at Istanbul Attaturk Airport with so many fears and expectations of Istanbul.

Met one of the Aiesec representatives at the airport and then went to a taxi, well what was my first experience of both the traffic and public transport in Istanbul, it was if I was back in the aeroplane and I was flying as the taxi left the tarmac for moments as it beeped at other cars in it's way. Luckily this first trip I was so occupied talking with the guy that met me from the airport and still very nervous and apprehensive that I did not have time to notice how many near misses this taxi had had!

Lots of tall tower blocks illuminated Istanbul's skyline and my dormitories I was to stay in was also a tower block probably previously a business building, situated in the area of Maslak the business district it seemed dark and dreary. I was tired and it was late so I went in for them to find me a room, to find a very angry and bemused polish girl pondering what I was doing at such a late hour barging into her room, there were no bedding materials and she found me some that someone else had used they smelt like something that had got wet and then be left in a carrier bag for some this polish girl Magda was upset with accommodation, aiesec, she told me do not ask why and do not trust anyone including aiesec...let's say first impressions were not ideal, but I thought she was just maybe a bit upset that someone had disturbed her in her room and well let's sleep on it really. The latter was more difficult than anticipated as sleeping under covers that smelt of a wet compost heap and listening to what only sounded like a dog fight outside, which went on all night kept me awake! I laid head towards the ceiling thinking what am I doing here? This was a question that many asked me again and again afterwards! Like the song "an Englishmen in New York", I was an alien in Istanbul for now.
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aborder on

What a tough start! Surely tempted to just go home? Yuck, damp smelly bedding!

aborder on

Hang on I forgot, I was the Englishman in new York..... Ok ok, the gingerman in new York!

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