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Trip Start Aug 25, 2006
47Trip End Dec 15, 2006
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Where I stayed
When we got back to the Bahaus hostel we were told that they were full the night before, but they found beds for us. But we couldn't crawl into them quite yet because it was 9am and some people still had to check out, so as smashed as we were on only a few hours sleep we were forced out into Istanbul to entertain ourselves until the afternoon. Luke checked out the spice bazaar while I opted for a large loop of Istanbul. I headed up north of Taksim square to the modern CBDish district
They love the word yeni here
The Istanbul modern is pretty good. Not too big but definitely well put together and houses almost exclusively Turkish artists which was impressive. The change Turkish society has undergone in the last 10 years is something they are focusing on a lot and there were some very interesting feminist displays, meant to emphasise the increased equality women have enjoyed from the modernisation/westernisation. They had some very interesting media displays with whole rooms with video projected on all surfaces while you walk around in it, and another strange one where you can arrange a room the way you would want it if it were your funeral. You give them the name of the song you would want played at your funeral and they download it and play it then you lie there on an alter while strangers walk past so you essentially experience your funeral in some form. It's only a year old and just being in the building was a cool experience. It's housed in a converted warehouse right on the Bosphorus and has some great views across to the Asian side of Istanbul.
There are a lot of Spanish people in Turkey at the moment for some reason. Quite often if you don't say anything when you walk into a shop you will be greeted with Hola
The Turks are keen on any sort of transport in Istanbul to get it's 10 million residents around. I experienced something that's best described as a public maxi taxi today on the Asian side. I got a ferry across the Bosphorus and wanted to check out Kalikoy which was a little ways south of where I was. I asked how to get there because there's no trams on the Asian side and was told to get a dolmus. They are pretty much maxi taxis and you wait in a line while a very unofficial looking guy organises everything. You're in the line for a specific place and once the guy waves a dolmus down and you're in there's a list of places and prices on the dash and pay the guy accordingly. Like every other form of mass transport here there's no seatbelts and the normal car seats have been replaced with benches so you could squeeze in a ridiculous number of people if required. But they're quicker and more convenient than most other forms of transport here. The metro is a little annoying in that it's very fractured and only really serves each area independently but I believe there is work going on to link the European and Asian sides via metro which would make it much more accessible. The boat across was actually very pleasant - the water in the Bosphorus looks unbelievably clear and lacks any unpleasant qualities, so much so you almost want to swim in it and in summer i'm almost positive people would - but the problem is it took a while to get across.
Another problem with Istanbul is that there is too much food and only so much you can fit in you at a time. Like I've said before a great activity is simply walking around the city and eating anything you haven't tried yet. I have a feeling when I leave here I will get sudden urges for large quantities of sugar and nuts throughout the day.