:: Journal

This is where we'll update you on how our trip is going.

25 Oct, 2008 - Istanbul, Turkey by Ruby

What a trip!!!! we decided to go by bus (nothing wrong with it ) cause of insurance for the bikes etc etc... OK, from Alexanddupoli, it is only 300kms, but the bus ride we were told will take 6 hours!! We were soon to find out the reason, the border leaving Greece to enter Turkey took 1 hour, and about three times hopping out of the bus so they could check everyones passports that many times. Instead of beggars waiting at the border, there were dogs. Really not too skinny, but neglected just the same. Stopped a few hours later for food and a pee. My first introduction to a Turkish woman... me and Bren did our busseniss and was headed out when this old bag screamed at us and pointed to a money sign.. in Turkish ofcourse. We asked how much.. but only got more yelling in reply, so I dragged out a handful of euro and showed her. She took 4!!! we later found out I probly let her take a weeks wages! Never mind.. once is all it takes to wise up. Then I heard Noel would'nt pay anything, so that made me feel better. Incidently, we had the right change in thier money on the return trip but there was a loo on the bus, so saved a bit.We left at 3pm so by the time we arrived outside of the city to swap onto a mini bus it was dark. And just lucky someone heard us talking in English or we might still be standing around with DUMB written all over our faces! They pointed us in the right direction and we hopped on for the last leg of the trip. Only to be told by someone else when to get off, cause we didnt have a clue! they also pointed us in the direction of the hotel, which we understood to be only bout 10mins walk. 15mins later we stopped for more directions only to be told to go in the other direction!! It really was quite funny, well I thought so, and me and Bren were enjoying looking at the shops as we walked, with the old guys grumbling behind us. Finally decided on a taxi, and thanks to Bren spotting the hotel, cause the cabby did not know where it was, we arrived.

Nice enough room, Tho the Eversons got moved the second night cause thier airconditioning was not working. Bout 9.30pm we all set off for some dinner, after checking the resturants out in the street, we settled on the first one that the maitrade had spoken to us. Heaps of them know some english, and some speak it all. It was a lovely simple Turkish dinner. The next morning we walked to the oldest Bazzarr ( started in the 1400s ) and had a visual experience to say the least!!! everything you can imagine, and more besides on sale. We spent a couple of hours there then met up again for a turkish tea. Then Em and Bren headed back in to check out the rest of the 4000 shops!! and Noel and I did a wander in the back streets. There we saw the sweat shops where most of the stuff is made, and the supply factories of raw materials. Everything from a whole shop selling heels for shoes, to leather and buckles for belts, to moulds for the shoes, and the sewing machines that made the clothes, that they themselves looked like they were from the dark ages. Had a peek in the outer courtyard of an ancient bath house... 14oos also. Men and women segregrated. So we opted out of that one.... not sure if I would get Noel back again! The Turkish people are not as shy.. for want of a better word as the Greeks, and it was fun talking to them. Cept the old bag in the loo ofcourse. The resturants where we ate were only local affairs, cheap, and tasty Turkish food. And the waiters and owners obviously havent had many New Zealanders. And treated us real nice. The cats are fatter here, and there are heaps more dogs but they are in pretty good contition. I guess they get quite a bit of food from dopey tourists, its the pats they seemed to enjoy best.

We see so many things, and I am glad that our parents are where they are... not here, carrieing heavy loads, begging or scraping for a living. Enjoying is probably the word, but I am really glad I am seeing how other people live and think... the struggles we see, not being on the tourist route most of the time, has been a reak eye opener. Will put pics on as soon as possible. Cannot do spell check... so bre with me on this one.... takes too long to be careful XXX Ruby P.S. getting woken by the chap in the Mosque on the megaphone singing people to prayers.