The flight was not as long as I thought. As I sat next to a gentleman who was quite uncomfortable with me sitting next to him, I began to worry about if I were making the right decision in coming. Would Turkish men be that skiddish about sitting next to a woman. I knew I should have packed “little house on the prairie” dresses.
But luckily, my seat mate was an odd ball of his own…. The people so far have been really nice and the men have been far from shy 😮 I’ll get to that later…
As we stepped off the plane and walked through the terminal to go get our Visa’s and luggage, I looked for differences and found many similarities. Advertisements lined the walls and on the surface, it looked like any other airport. The content of the ads were definitely fitting towards the market, but two things jumped out at me, the first was the use of alcohol in a laptop ad. I don’t know if I felt that way because I expected something like alcohol to be taboo or if it were because it’d be a mixed message back at home.
Another was an ad featuring a woman. She was fully covered and clothed in a trenchcoat and a scarf. She was remarkably beautiful and sophisticated, but was she selling clothing or make-up? Her clothing was very nice, but so was her make-up. Her face draws you in, but is it the make-up? Effectively captivating, my Western eyes were confused.
As we passed through the long line at customs, I noticed several different nationalities in line to obtain Visa’s. Our line was so long it wrapped around 6 times! While it moved quickly, it was exciting. We were about to grab our bags and head out into the city!
But first, the ladies would stop at one of the 3 duty free shops that greeted you after customs.
We were greeted by our tour guide, Deniz proudly holding a Woodbury University sign and excited to meet us. It was a pleasant site after a 13 hour flight.
Finally, we were ready to exit the terminal. As if we needed another reminder that we were far from Burbank, we stepped out into cigarette smoked filled air.
We boarded the bus and headed to our hotel, passing through the beauty of Istanbul. There was so much to see and admire. I couldn’t take pictures fast enough. After checking into our hotel and finding our miniature palace, we hit the road for more pics and dinner.
As we walked through the city admiring the old building and cobblestoned alley ways. Merchants begged for us to stop and dine at their establishments or purchase their goods. And, the men, flirted with us from all directions.
We talked to a couple merchants, including the guy at El Torito! But we wanted something more local so we finally decided on a cute restaurant within a block of the hotel. As a perk, the waiter was cute and the food looked amazing!
We dined and toasted to arriving all together in Istanbul. The restaurant owner came out and talked with us about all the great things the city has to offer. He gave us a local tea that was really really sweet, almost like an apple jolly rancher (Apple Tea), baklava drenched in sweet honey, and a local drink (I didn’t taste because while I like licorace, I couldn’t drink anything that smelled like it).
The owner was fond of me and we flirted for pictures. He told us all to come back tomorrow and he would show us Istanbul as he lives it.
We left the restaurant and headed back to the hotel. We’re starting at 8AM tomorrow and have tons of more beauty to see and now possibly, an adventure for later!
@Brenda, Janeva, and Kipenzi – WW