Friday, August 28, 2015

Istanbul First Impressions

By Sam

First full day in Istanbul, so lets capture some early impressions. I'll also do a post on Wed when we leave for Athens and we can compare.

It's dirty. Yeesh, I'm two sentences in and I'm already complaining. And this is new, positive, daily affirmation Sam you're talking to. But back to it. Dirty, as in both dirt and trash. Crumbling stairs, potholes, collapsing facades, shit (pardonez moi), graffiti, car exhaust. But let's be real for a minute, it's not an Istanbul problem. This drove me crazy in Tel Aviv, and Bolivia, and Buenos Aires, and even our dear New York (people, clean up your pet's shit). Why do I start there? Because it's what you first see.

It's modern. The tram that whisks you across the Old and New City. The subway, the bus, the funicular, the boats, the malls, the galleries, more restaurants thank you can shake shack a selfie stick at. Oh my the selfie sticks! Everywhere.

It's diverse. What does a Turkish person look like? I have no idea, and I have a feeling I won't find out. One minute they're Middls-Eastern with darker complexions. The next they're European pushing on the edge of fashion. No, I swear they're uktra-conservative Muslims in burkas. Or was that uktra-conservative Christians. No, I got it, they're pasty white guys like me. And yet they're all of them.

It's historic. I have only a few mosque sightings to report, and what I've learned about Atatürk from Rick Steve.

Tomorrow is our Old City walking tour. More on all of that later.

Miles Walked: 8.47

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