Evening everybody we are now in the sorta ...

Trip Start Apr 15, 2002
Trip End May 22, 2003

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Flag of Turkey  ,
Wednesday, September 25, 2002

Evening everybody, we are now in the sorta famous Orient Hostel in Istanbul, Turkey. I would just like to take the opportunity to say that Istanbul is absolutely amazing. We have been here for about three days and have another two or so to go before we start heading back towards Munich to catch the end of Octoberfest. Okay now the last you heard we were in Budapest. Budapest is great but we didn't get to see enough of it because Tamara became sick and was in bed for about three days. We did get to go to a wonderful bathhouse before she became lame heheh. We then spent the next few days with her relatives in Budapest where they stuffed me with enough food for three people and tried to make me drink more palinka than anyone who doesn't want liver problems should drink. (Good, but so strong it grows chest hairs and then immediately burns them off) One slightly disturbing thing we did find in Budapest was a shop that had some machine guns for sale with ammo. I was tempted to buy it but the gun was pretty heavy and the border crossings later could have been difficult with my weapon of destruction. Anyway we did wander around a lot, climbed some hills and found off all things, something that looked like a section of human spine. It started out as just a shortcut. Soon though we were walking through an area littered with old clothes and shoes and then we came upon an area which had a lot of large bones. The kind of bones where you think "Damn, this is a bit big to be a chicken." Tyler however decided that spine would be a great thing to have on the end of a stick and proceeded to torture Danielle with the bit=o=spine for the next half hour or so until if fell off into a pile of nasty garbage. Anyway, after Budapest we headed East to visit Saraspatak, or however you spell it. Tamara's has relatives here also and we stayed there for another two days and explored some of the Hungarian countryside. There we saw the house that here grandparents built and in this one village we saw the coolest thing, get ready for this. Hobbit holes! well actually not hobbit holes but basically people living in the sides of the hills. There must have been about 100 or more houses built into the sides of the hills. I kept thinking "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit......" Sadly at the moment we had just taken our last picture and were out of film so didn't get to take a picture of the houses in the hills, so I was a bit dissapointed. So anyway after seeing the countryside of Hungary we started our run towards Turkey. Our first stop was Oradea, Romania where we ended up spending the night because the train schedule sorta screwed us over into spending the night. However Romania does have english speaking television which was fun and I was awake way too late into the evening. Anyway the next morning we took a train down to Sighisoara and checked out what our guidebook calls the most gothic town in Eastern Europe. I don't think so really, there were lots of sharp corners and steep hard buildings but, some of the buildings had rainbow tiled roofs. When I think gothic I think dark, like black, grey, maybe some really dark reds and browns, but rainbow? come on people. Anyway one really cool thing about this little town was that some christians from Iowa were there visiting while they did mission work in Romania and one of the guys was so excited about our trip that he slipped me fifty dollars to help us on our way. How cool is that? More people should give us money heheheheh. Anyway, after that we took a night train to Bucharest, this would have been great except for the drunken bastards that got on the train about four in the morning and screamed and sang until we got into Bucharest three hours later. I attribute there drunkedness to the fact that 1 liter of Pepsi here costs about 90 cents, 1 liter of water costs about 80 cents, and tada! one liter of vodka costs about 40 cents. One thing I didn't like about Romania was the amazing amount of beggars. I realize that some of them are legitatemely in need of help but the vast are just scamming you. This was bad because at every major train stop a new beggar would get on the train and make his rounds, opening your cabin and mumbling and showing off scars and missing limbs and beggging from you forever. At the start I felt bad but later when you see them rejoin their buddies and swig some alcohol or start to gamble with the money they just got you start to realize that giving them money isn't helping them at all. It was pretty amazing to see that quite a lot of people in Romania actually are still substanance farming and using horse drawn carriages. Anyway, we arrived in Bucharest and spent most of the day waiting for our bus to Istanbul. I would just like to say that getting to Istanbul was the biggest pain in the ass. We arrived at the Turkish border from Bulgaria at 4 in the morning to find out that the price of the travel visas had been raised and that "No, we don't accept Euro's only US dollars" Actually they don't accept credit cards or any currency except US dollars, even Turkish Lira, what the hell? So eventually we spend about two hours and way too much money too get into Turkey only to find out that dammit we paid for a multiple entry visa which was 20 dollars apiece more than we had wanted to pay, damn, damn, damn. Amazingly enough though we would have been stuck at the border completely screwed if it hadn't been for the guy in Sighisoara who gave us 50 US dollars. So the first day in Turkey was spent sleeping, as soon as we got a hostel we slept. The next day we explored the Grand Bazaar and this is by far the most amazing and annoyiny place I have ever been. I mean really, I don't need a carpet, seriously, no carpets, yes I know they are nice, but no! Also why the hell would I need a leather jacket? It is too damn hot outside to wear any jacket! Tamara did find some really nice shirts though, but I think she spent too much, about 90 million. Of course one USD is 1.65 million Turkish Lira, but it is still a fun joke for a day, after that it gets old, but I still say it a lot, but I think Tamara is getting a bit tired of it. I did get terribly screwed today when I wasn't paying attention and ended up paying about $12 for a $6 magazine, Dammit. Here in Turkey the game is haggling and it seems that we have paid too much for almost everything no matter how good of a deal it seems at the time. We are getting better at haggling though, but I think the only thing I really have a desire for now is pistachios and those are pretty cheap even if you get screwed over. Anyway the view from the roof top is amazing, to the North is the Hagia Sophia, to the WSW is the Blue Mosque, and to the SSE is the ocean and it is terribly gorgeous. Tomorrow I think we will be sitting around working on our tans as the Bazaar has exhausted us and we don't want to look at any more mosques or temples or palaces. The next day we will be heading back to Germany to the almighty Oktoberfest. Did I mention that beer here is about 70 cents for a half liter, and that is considered expensive? Anyway I am off because I have already had about two liters or so and I could use some more before I head up to the roof hehehe.

Your personal deity,

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