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Aiden’s Travel Diary

Wednesday, 19 Dec 2007

Location: Istanbul, Turkey

Map"La ilaha ilallah
Muhammedden rasulullah"

Be careful, after Dubai and Turkey... and with Egypt to go, i am well on the way to becoming Muslim!! Istanbul was glorius. That is the only way I can explain it. The way you imagine this beautiful city in your head is the way it is in real life.

Christ. This is the 3rd time I have tried to write about Istanbul. Bloody computers keeps shutting down. My entry is evolving just like a Darwinian drift evolution of language... (in the book Im reading called The God Delusion. A ripper of a read and all people should go and read it.) Let try again.

Walking off the plane I was looking forward to my time in Istanbul. I was wondering if it looked like how I had imagined. (Marianne and Drama- remember the movie A Touch of Spice?) However, as I was thinking about this, I was confronted and met with Fahti. Straight off the tarmac. How the hell was he allowed to come through customs? All was soon revealed. At first I thought he was Ozlems brother (who I had organised to stay with), however, it was a good friend of Ozlems from university who now worked for the airport police.
Ohhhhhhhhhhh ok.

A let the special treatment begin. Before I could stay Tesekker Ederim (thank you in Turkish), I had my visa, passed through security and customs.
I promise you. It took a conservative 5 mins, by passing 5 lines full of people. I thought to myself.... im going to like Turkey.

Taking the Metro, Istanbul looked exactly as I imagined. The people, the places, and the feel of the entire community. People were playing cards in coffee shops, drinking Turkish tea, and kids were playing football out the front of the house I was staying. The cool air of the area felt crisp and fresh rather than stone cold.
I soon met with Ozlems brother and his wife, who had a surprise for me. Not long later Ozlem arrived herself to come and show me around Turkey! An absolutely wonderful surprise and it was great to see her. She brought with her, her cousin, Julia (i know thats not it, but thats how I remembered it. Sorry in advance Oz), who was just as lovely as everybody else.

Soon enough, i felt part of the family. I was introduced to Ozlems brother, Imat and wife (damn, insert own Turkish name here). Great catch ups and a few drinks later and we were starting our Turkish mission.

After a lovely sleep in, (which seemed form a trend) we set out to Istanbul beginning with the Bazaar. Bloody huge and every language you can think of. I actually didnt buy much (I seemed to run out of time quickly in Istanbul) but with the help of Fahti and kindness of Julia, i escaped with some lovely souvenirs.

Then begun the obsession with Nangula (shisha). Those who know me well, (or not at all) recall I dont mind sucking down the succulent flavours of apple, mixed fruit and peach in the form of a pipe, and mixed in the atmosphere of Istanbul = ecstasy for Aiden.
If only you could capture a moment in a flash of a camera, but you are unable. A lot of the time I just had to sit back and say, 'yeh, im in Turkey.'

I wont go into the details about the rest of Turkey because my time is running out. A lot of Turkish coffee, tea and Nangula.... and I couldnt think of a better way to spend it.

Thanks so much to everybody in Turkey, especially Ozlem and Fahti who really looked after me. Also thanks to Erikan who took a Aussie stranger in for a night and had a good yarn over a few Eres (beers).

I really do hope to see Turkey again, with a little more time. The list just keeps getting longer and longer.

Catch up with you in Cairo--