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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Nabeel - Istanbul

Early Stages of Integration (Taksim Square)

Firstly, I would just like to say that I finally figured out how to change the language on the computer so that the keyboard types like an English style keyboard. Unfortunately the keys still are labeled for Turkish. Now I do not have to struggle with spelling as much (no guarantee). Also I finally got my pre loaded lunch card:
even though I am not getting paid to work, it is nice to have my lunch paid for.

This past week/weekend was full of fun and adventure. I think I am starting to get a hang of transportation in Turkey and an overall better understanding of the Istanbul lifestyle. I began to realize that Istanbul is a commuter city, not in the way that people commute to Istanbul from other cities but in the way that Istanbul is such a large city that people live in all different neighborhoods based on their wants/needs and commute to the city center when they need to. I began to integrate myself and slowly caught on to being an intermediate commuter. To my knowledge I have taken all forms of transportation available in Istanbul:  Taxi, Dolmus, MiniBus, OtoBus, MetroBus, Ferry, Metro, and Tram. I could not have become so familiar with travelling around Istanbul without the help of the metro map I downloaded to my phone (below) along with the offline travel guide, Istanbul - Triposo app.

Now, on to the good stuff!
Times in Taksim Square
I used the name Taksim Square in the title just because that is the most common name for this area but actually the the liveliest road in this area where we spent most of our time in the evenings is the street known as Istiklal Caddesi. Check out the following video for what I am talking about:


btw there are no cars allowed on this street except for police
 I have visited this area a couple of times thus far and there are still places yet to be explored. To start:
This is the Galata Tower from which one can see the wondrous bosphorous strait and surrounding areas of Istanbul. I plan to return to this tower for some good sightseeing eventually, hopefully during sunset.

One of the historic churches. It's easy to find historic religious places around here because of the significance of Istanbul's location during historic times.

In America you find candy shoppes making fudge or caramel in the window, here they make Turkish delight in the window! (sorry this picture doesn't really show it)

beautiful sunset near the end of Istiklal street

followed by a colorful array of fruits!

I have had a few meals in Taksim so far:
 First time having a whole-bone-in Fish (freshly caught Sea Bream).
You can order McDonald's delivery and you don't even have to tip! Also their menu is a lot smaller than in America but they do have a bigger version of the Big Mac, they call it the Mega Mac. You also do not get free soda refills
Midye Dolma (aka Rice Stuffed Mussels) These were really plentiful on Istiklal Street and you can buy them for really cheap.

The ceiling of this movie theatre was all mirrors! I was intrigued by this so I took a picture while I was waiting for a friend.

These toilets are not as common as people tell you they are in Istanbul but I finally found a squatting toilet in the seafood restaurant. I didn't have to use it though.

This is an interesting idea, a pay cellphone charging station on the streets of Taksim.

Somehow we were able to make it home using these directions we got from a stranger. Good thing the locals were very friendly when we got lost.

I was going to post about my activities on the Southern side of the Golden Horn but this post turned out longer than I expected and I do not want to bore you so I will save those experiences for my next post. I hope you enjoyed reading this post for now and expect to see another post soon. Nabeel. Out.

1 comment:

  1. Tammy- In:

    That is an awesome post! I love all of the pictures because it really helps me to understand what you're talking about. Which form of transportation was your favorite so far? The easiest to use? Downloading that app is a great idea; getting around seems like it would be impossible to understand without the app.

    I like how you're noticing not only the big differences in the cultures, but also the nuances. A Mega Mac? Yikes... but no free soda refills sounds like they're on to something. Maybe you should try and bring the pay cell charger station idea back to the U.S. with you! A squatting toilet does not sound fun.. at all.

    Feel free to post as much as you want- I truly enjoy reading about your adventures. Could you tell me what you are doing at work? How is that going? Please share some pictures of work as well.