A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: CharliePepper

Alasmaladuk Turkey (And Claire!)

One final week of coastal towns, baclavic-bliss and being referred to as "the spice girls".

I´m in transit, again. This time it´s lots of fun because I´m annoying the Danish at Copenhagen airport. So far I have walked around with no shoes on, bought lunch from a cafe and ate it in the luxe restaraunt next door, and walked past the motion-sensor taps more times than necessary (because they fire like cannons at a distance of two meters). Danes are easily irritated.

I think we left off in Fethiye? Let´s start there again anyway. It´s a chilled coastal city with loads of fish restaraunts. (News just in; I boarded the plane to Iceland and Icelandic is hilarious! It´s like a language composed of burps and hiccups from five year olds who have had too much coke. Or like a bad radio station broadcast where all the vowel sounds have been replaced by static.) Walking along in front of the restaraunts we catch a few minutes of a boxing match. The locals are really into it and crowd into the tiny stadium. Half-time entertainment is very unexpected; four bouncy Africans appear from nowhere and do some impressive arial gymnastics. The next day I do the 16km walk to a ghost town called Karakoy. Karakoy has been deserted since the 1930s when Turkey and Greece had a citizen exchange. The Greeks living there went back to Greece and the Turks refused to live in the Catholic houses they left behind, so the town was abandoned (because obviously Catholic ground needs to be treated like there´s been a nuclear fallout - it´s the type of thing that can permeate walls and burrow into the soil). This is funny when you remember that the Blue Mosque in Istanbul was appropriated from a Catholic Cathedral. I get lost on my way to Karakoy (surprise, surprise), and make some new Turkish friends. A large percentage of my friends are made when I´m lost, so maybe it´s a good thing I´m so directionally challenged.

My new friends introduce me to yellow grape-like fruits growing on the side of the road. They smell exactly like orange madeira cake so naturally I try to eat one but apparently this is a BAD IDEA because they are highly poisonus, they just smell nice. Among this group of navigable rescuers is a British lady who has just married a Turkish man. She doesn´t live here, just visits for about 6 weeks in a year. "Oh, that´s really hard" I exclaim, but she quickly corrects me; "no it´s not it´s brilliant". She doesn´t speak any English, and he doesn´t speak any Turkish, so all their conversations are conducted via Google Translator (which, as you probably know, is less than accurate and can cause severe comprehension headaches). We continue along on our walk together and pass several dogs. All the dogs here are so sleepy; it´s seriously as though they have been drugged. All the Turkish people I ask deny this but today I saw one sleepy dog lying in the middle of the road being stepped on by a cat, and not reacting at all. I have seen dogs sleeping under cars, in gutters, under restaraunt tables... If they´re not being drugged then they´re totally zen and it´s cool but I´m sceptical.

Our next coastal pleasure is Bodrum. Bodrum is the most touristique place I´ve ever been to. Testimony to this is the fact that the supermarket is under the mosque. The swarm of package tourists wont be here for another couple of weeks so naturally, the town is still being spruced up for them. The transformation is incredible. Wicker umbrellas pop up on the beaches like fast growing funghi. Chairs and tables are being varnished on the beaches, and sand is being distributed with spades to cover up concrete and metal fortifications. During our three day stay a bar appears from nowehere, dazzling with a gigantic red-and-white chandalier, stained glass doors and plush red sofas still in their plastic. Claire finally has a hamam while we´re here (a hamam is a Turkish bath for those of you who didn´t do last week´s homework). She glides into the hostel with a huge smile and declares "I´m not walking anymore I´m floating." I splurge too and get a haircut. I should warn you though, if you sit down at a hairdressers in a foreign country and ask them if they speak English, and the answer is "no", it´s ok to leave; don´t feel obliged to stay. It´s probably wise to leave. I didn´t, I stayed and tried for a long time to explain "trim". But my hairdresser had a creative gleam in his eye and wouldn´t be persuaded.

We go out for dinner in Bodrum and have our fortunes read, ("fal" in Turkish), by the waiter. We each drink a cup of Turkish coffee and then turn the cups upside down on the tea plates. After the coffee has cooled the patterns inside can be read. The waiter isn´t much of a fortune teller and all he divines is that we should go out for a drink with him. He´s persuasive ("the sea is no longer blue next to your eyes"), so we go which is a mistake. He turns up with a friend who is nice (because he doesn´t speak any English) and is super obnoxious until we decide to leave. Claire and I spend the next two days walking big circles to avoid his restaraunt.

It´s one more overnight bus to Istanbul for a day to play in the Grand Bazaar, tulip lined streets and Bosphorus riverbank. The bazaar is one thing I wont miss, cries of "hey, Spice Girls", or "Jennifer Lopez", "beautiful girls, don´t eat Turkish delight it will make you fat", "what´s up? Other than the sky" and my personal favourite "hello-yes-please." At prayer-time we notice entire streets filled with men kneeling on cushions, and we learn that despite there being a mosque ever 500m in Istanbul (very literally) there are still not enough for all the devotees. I ask why women don´t go to mosque and apparently they don´t have to because the pain of childbirth and rearing children is enough - according to Allah anyway. Islam, you get one point.

We see the whirling dervishes in a religious ceremony with sufi music. The dancers spin around to feel a divine connection with god. It´s sort of like a branch of Islam that uses music in prayer. The order of the Dervishes was founded by Rumi, a philosopher and transcendental poet. It´s funny to think of spinning as bringing about a divine connection with god when all it really does is makes you dizzy. But then again there are people that claim LSD to be a religious experience so... the dancers are focussed and wear heavy felted hats like long fez. Their skirts rival any ten-year-old´s party dress and spin out to make white pancakes on the dance floor.

I am going to miss the food here soooo much. Probably more than anything else. The halva, turkish delight, stuffed vine leaves (always rolled by somebodys grandmother), salted fish with dill, aubergine tomato and garlic yoghurt... (and ´baclava. Claire, I´m sorry I´m not as strong as you in these trying times.) Photos of our culinary conquests are so erotic we now refer to them as food porn. So, sadly, it´s Alasmaladuk (goodbye) Turkey! Alasmaladuk food and alasmaladuk Claire! (Alasmaladuk... or, as we remember it, "I-lost-my-dick." Translating foreign words into similar sounding phrases in your own tongue is not an efficient way to learn a language. It almost always means you are mispronouncing things and can generate some funky looks from nearby English speakers. It is not recommended). Off with the thongs and on with the thermals, see you again in Iceland!


Posted by CharliePepper 04:37 Archived in Turkey Tagged food turkey holiday funny girls backpacking experience turkish_delight Comments (0)

Claire and Sam and the Adventure of the Postcard Holiday

After two weeks of intense travelling and treasure hunting it´s time to indulge in touristic splurges such as cocktails, a gulet trip and hot pink tans.

Our last hours in Olympos are spent hunting through a Genovese Castle for a geocache – avoiding plummeting drops, thorny branches and unstable ruins. The GPS we are using isn’t working properly, and it turns out the trees have grown since the cache was last found, so it’s a long hunt! İf you’re a bit confused; geocaches are small treasures hidden all over the world by people in an online community. You can log onto a website to search for cache coordinates, look up hints and maps. The clever Swedes we are with find the cache; it’s a tiny film cannister tucked away high in a hole in a wall. We add our names to the log and then scramble down to the pebbly beach for a swim.

The sea here is blue. İf-İ-was-green-İ-would-die type blue. İt’s like an aquarium, or one of those blue-glass paperweights filled with fish. İt’s like the blue you’d dream up if you’d never seen blue. İt’s Disney blue, postcard blue, derwent blue, lapis lazuli blue, like a layered blue cocktail. İt’s the kind of blue that is not any part red, yellow, green, or purple; it’s not milky or grey, just … you get it. And the water is cold, so cold, about as cold as it is blue. Each beach we visit is pebbly and the tide makes a tinkling noise as it sweeps out. İ’ve made several videos entitled ‘360 Degrees of Heaven’ so i’ll upload them all and you can indulge from your boring Australian computers :P

Because of the beauty of this postcard coast we decide to take a cruise. This is a great idea but it’s just started raining. Blue Cruises on the mediterranean are supposed to be surrounded by an orange-glow of sun baked happiness. The itinerary says ‘Butterfly Valley, Pirate Cove, Kas, the Sunken City and Fethiye’ - there is no mention of rain. We huddle inside in scarves and ski jackets working out ingeneous ways to make it look like it’s sunny in the photographs. There’s a plus to the rain though; a brilliant lightening storm which looks amazing through the portholes. İt’s really dark in our tiny little cabin and Claire remarks that ‘’it’s so dark İ can’t tell when my eyes are open or closed.’’ To be fair, she has a vision impairment. Luckily the rain doesn’t last long and soon we’re working on our tans in the gentle Turkish sun (that doesn’t burn).

We have come to this marvellous place called the Blue Lagoon. My camera has a great zoom but it’s not waterproof so i’ll have to describe it for my records as well as yours. Jumping off the boat plunges us meters into the water and it takes a few kicks to get back to the surface. Our captain has shown us a way to sneak into the lagoon so that we don’t get charged to use the beach, but this involves ‘’some sharp rocks so you will cut your feet.’’ İt’s worth it. Along the beach are pink and yellow umbrellas and perfectly solarium tanned tourists. İt’s really deep out here and İ duck dive several times but can’t reach the bottom; there is a sheer rock face on one side and a huge expanse of glittering water on the other. İt’s amazing. Next we head to St Nicholas İsland where St. Nick (Yep, Santa), lived for a while. İ swim out over some sunken ruins and spot some creative graffitti along the coastline; ‘Vitamin Fish Restaraunt’ and ‘Caesar Dreams of Fridays’ are among my favourites.

The crew is fairly odd. There’s the captain, the only non-tourist aboard who can speak English; there’s Tolga (Tallguy) – an 18 year old who enjoys helping to rinse off the girls after they swim; and there’s Ahmed the cook who makes a mean dinner and doesn’t understand the concept ‘’vegetarian.’’ Each day on board ends with: Raki and Ephes Beer, the captain’s stupid rope games and Kings. (NB: from personal experience Raki, Oregano Tea with Brandy, Lemonade and Vodka are not a good combo with which to end a game of Kings.)

One morning, to our delighted, (yes, İ am using the word delighted and İ mean it with every Beatrix-Potter-May-Gibbs connotation), to our delighted surprise we are visited by a gozleme boat. Gozleme are a type of Turkish Pancake stuffed with anything you can imagine. This boat rows its way up to us and on board there is a little gozleme man and his little gozleme wife. Together they roll up a load of ingredients and fry these great gozleme things. İt’s v. cute. Sadly, making gozleme is one of the few things we have seen Turkish women do. They don’t seem to work in shops, cafes or restaraunts. We are told by one obnoxious Turkish boy that this is beacuse ‘’they are not strong enough to work in shops.’’ Bah. Later on İ’m even more amazed at what the horizon of the med can dream up when we are visited by an ice-cream boat!

Ok. Turkish sun burns. İ was wrong! İ’m a little red now, stupid me. We’re sailing along to our last destination; Fethiye, and all the way Turkish flags adorn the boats and every spare patch of coastline. İt’s almost as though they’re worried you might forget what country you’re in so they stick up an extra few just in case. We reach land and the flags are accompanied by Ataturk posters, another staple theme. Ataturk is hailed as being the founder of the modern Turkish state. His pictures are everywhere, in schools, on the sides of buildings, in coffee shops. His signature is on the back of every bus and his bronze face is on statues even when they commemorate somebody else. You can find him on horseback, in full military regalia or photographed having a cigarette with friends. Turkish people love him and celebrate him as though he were a sports or movie star. We hop off the boat (still swaying) and stop for lunch. The napkin tells me to ‘enjoy your appetite’ – yep, I’m still in Turkey.

Posted by CharliePepper 04:37 Archived in Turkey Tagged food turkey holiday funny girls backpacking experience turkish_delight Comments (0)

Haritada Yerini Gösterir Misiniz?

Turkey is possibly one of the only places in the world you will see a seventy year old man herding sheep, wearing aviators and a suit.

We are driving through western Turkey on a bus from Selçuk to Pamukkale and there are new landscapes and surprising people at every stop. I use the word “wow” here more than any other word and all other adjectives in my vocabulary are fading. We are enjoying (as the Canadians say) blueberry days (cloudless but with fridge settings rather than temperatures.) On the agenda is the exploration of ancient cave dwellings, Roman ruins and calcium covered mountains.

This country is really big. When you look at it on a world map it looks big, but it’s bigger. A month is not enough time to see it! We have taken a lot of overnight buses to knock off the longer trips; a great idea until you sit behind a snoring man or crying children. The buses trump Australian public transport really easily; most are Mercedes Benz, clean and comfortable. But there are only so many bus trips a person can take in a four week period. We stop every few hours at pit stops called “karavanserai.” Karavanserais definitely make it onto my top ten list of Weird Turkish Experiences. They are set up along old trade routes and the name comes from caravan. Traders en route from city to city could stop at these karavanserai in outback Turkey and get something to eat, sleep, or even have a Turkish bath. They are always open, (at 1am, 3.30am, 6am), always blaring Turkish pop music and always filled with bundles of Turkish people ignoring the no smoking signs and looking incredibly functional for 3.30 in the morning. You can buy coloured tricycles, genuine fake watches, Polo Ralph Lauren knockoffs, hair pins, cheese and halva (strategically covering all bases for early morning impulse shopping.)

We arrive in Pamukkale and Wojtek informs us he needs to shave his teeth. There is a downside to traveling with disgusting Polish guys. This town is anything but class, the place we stop at for lunch is using coloured loofahs as decoration. But it’s worth it because this calcium mountain thing is like wow. Pamukkale means “cotton castle” and it looks like one, or a giant wedding cake, or an evil ice queen’s house, or anything big white and amazing. It’s like snow you can walk on with bare feet, and the hot springs plus gentle rapids make this the ultimate spa party (“omg it’s warm!”) The calcium turns to white gudgy mud in the pools and it’s so much fun to play with. Our feet soften like baby skin which makes the walk back down painful (ow, eee, ouch, ahh), but I completely understand why Cleopatra was obsessed with this place. The ruins are cool too; the highlight for me is Plutonium, a chasm named after Pluto god of the underworld. Eunuch priests used to “control” this chasm which emits poisonous gases. They would throw birds and small animals into it to watch them die, impressing the Roman public. A few years ago some tourists got too close to the chasm and… but now there are plenty of danger signs.

I think Claire needs to come with a “do not leave unattended” sign because if we leave her alone for two seconds a Turkish man attempts to abduct her with apple tea. “Do Turkish people actually drink apple tea?” we ask; “No, no, no” our waiter laughs, “apple tea is tourist tea.” It’s a gross drink actually, just like sugar and water with a tiny bit of chemically rendered apple flavouring. Our next stop is Goreme, and I finally have a hamam (Turkish bath). I walk in with my little note in Turkish explaining what I want and not to charge me more than 45TL. My masseuse is Seratina, she’s; (to borrow a line from Disney) “roughly the size of a barge”, missing several teeth and she smiles a lot. One of my friends recommended getting a hamam said she was slightly weirded out by having her head battered by the giant breasts of her masseuse while her hair was being washed. I opt not to have my hair washed. Stage one of the hamam involves being plastered by a brush with a green mud masque and sitting in a sauna. I’m not sure long to stay here for, and I think Seratina has forgotten about me. Yes, she has. I turn a bright red colour before I decide it’s best to leave the sauna. The all over body-scrub amuses Seratina, she laughs at the amount of dead skin that comes off my back. I don’t think this is fair. Then I get soaped all over with a bubbly thing that looks like a pillow case. The all over body massage is great, but I don’t think I need so many knots worked out of my stomach. If you have a hamam don’t have dinner first. Seratina talks to me in Turkish the whole time, pinching my cheeks and my chin. I get a big hug and a kiss from her at the end, (I’m sure not everybody gets this), and then I float about in a pool for twenty minutes. The whole experience is very relaxing – you don’t even need to dry yourself; you just get wrapped in a heap of towels and fed Turkish tea on banana lounges until you dry naturally. I walk back to the hotel and collapse on a pile of cushions. It’s immensely relaxing, I feel like I smoked a joint and Claire keeps asking me if I have taken any drugs. I sleep really, really well on the bus.

Cappadocia is famous for funky cave dwellings that date back to the first century AD. The communities were Christian, and I don’t know if I never noticed before or if Cappadocian painters were particularly observant but Jesus Christ was ripped. We climb around in these houses for a while, scaling the walls with footholds made thousands of years ago. We have a unique tour in Mazi; climbing seven storey vertical columns but discovering at the top that our harnesses weren’t attached to anything. These communities are so interesting; each underground cave city had up to 10,000 inhabitants – and there were cities in every hill – and there are lots of hills. The houses are well kitted out; from Indiana Jones style booby traps (rolling rock doors and guillotines), to pigeon post (you heard). They had rooms for crushing grapes to make wine, rooms to keep animals like goats, little Flintstone-like windows, dungeons and decorative panels. The cliffs the houses are built into are made of a crumbly material that erodes quite quickly – sometimes breaking off in sheets. Walking through the valleys you can see apartments and churches that have been broken open as the rock face fell away. Hiking through these regions and the Ilhara Valley as the sun sets on the pink stone is spectacular.

Mazi isn’t just amazing for underground cities; it also has an awesome primary school. We were walking past snapping photos of the town and decided to stop and watch the school soccer match. Within minutes we were surrounded by little bouncing children trying to get us to take their photos and impressing us with their five words of English (my name is, hello and Facebook). They practically carried us into their classroom where we met their lovely teacher and watched a traditional dance they had been practicing for Children’s Week. We did a great job of hyping them up and then escaped, leaving their teacher to enjoy an afternoon of hell.

Now we are relaxing on the coast (finally). We’re making up new uses for Roman ruins like playing sardines in them, (Claire has an advantage because she bought a rock coloured jumper), and searching for geocaches (this is so much fun!) We found a super chilled restaurant in Antalya where you can order dishes with names like “Jim, your mission is to finish this meal,” “the mood of the vegetarian chef,” and “poor chicken, lucky you.” I never want to leave!

Posted by CharliePepper 04:36 Archived in Turkey Tagged food turkey holiday funny girls backpacking experience turkish_delight Comments (0)

Cold Turkey

Istanbul was Constantinople now it's Istanbul not Constantinople, been a long time gone, Constantinople, now it's Turkish delight on a moonlit night...

Let's start by exploring some Turkish stereotypes; mosques (bazillions of them), tea, coffee, harems, Turkish delight, sultans and hot weather. Turkey has nearly all of these.

I did check the weather report three times before I came but that smart part of my brain kept saying ''get over it, it's Turkey it will be warm enough.'' So I get here and it's not really warm enough and the weather report says ''flurries'' and shows pictures of spiny little snowflakes. All this really means is that Claire will have to listen to me whinge more. Claire is a great person to travel with because she has a hilarious habit of falling up and down things like stairs and ramps and generally finding her feet don't communicate so well with her body as a whole. Just when you think the day is getting boring there will be an unexpected bit of raised footpath. I love this because it makes me feel less clumsy. I brought Claire with me to Turkey* because she can read maps (and I can't**.) This is very useful in a city that DOESN'T BELIEVE IN STREET SIGNS. (Please sign the attached petition 'Liberal Street Signs for all of Istanbul.')

I spend a lot of time in this city walking down the wrong street in the wrong direction but this is alright because it eventually involves a collision with a 6th Century mosque of some description. There are billions, trillions, zillions of them.

Turkish people are proud to be Muslim. So proud you could listen to a non-stop broadcast of 'Koran the Audio Book' on the flight here. The 5.30am call to prayer can be a bit of a jolt to begin with but I'm now accomplished at weaving it into early morning lucid dreaming. What's annoying is listening to French chicks complain about it every morning at breakfast.

The first mosque we visit is the Haiya Sofya, a beautiful 6th Century mosque in the center of Istanbul. As you enter there is a row of huge doors; one for the sultan, one for priests, then soldiers, commoners, and sinners. Our tour guide insists we go through the sinners' door. The Haiya Sofya was built as a christian church so the whole thing faces Jerusalem. When it was converted to a mosque the Muslims glued on some minarets and made a new altar that sits wonkily in the middle facing 9 degrees North East of Jerusalem; towards Mecca. I'm sure some part of this is bad feng shui.

The sultan had his own private praying space and a ramp leading up to it so that his horse and cart could pull him up there. It's divided from the rest of the mosque by intricate wooden panels in case anyone wants to stab, poison or dismember him while he's praying***. Restorations of the Haiya Sofya are still taking place and the artists have uncovered the face of a cherub with six wings. The ''cherub'' is super ugly and looks more like a demon. It's so ugly the restorers should just cover it up again. Plus, six wings is really messed up and when I asked the tour guide why it had so many he said he thought all cherubs had six wings. So maybe Turkish cherubs should be avoided.

There's also a complex wishing stone arrangement which involves putting your thumb in a wall and twisting around in a full circle while wishing. If your thumb comes out of the wall wet your wish will come true. I found the whole process so challenging I forgot to make a wish. The walls of the Haiya Sofya are made of huge slabs of symmetrical marble from the Sea of Marmara (sea of marble). Claire (who I should clarify has eyesight issues) snapped away at these only to discover later that the ones she had photographed where just paintings.

So, back to the billions and zillions of mosques. There are five in the Grand Bazaar alone, (yes, five in a market); the city skyline looks like a pincushion with all the minarets. The Grand Bazaar has been around since the 15th Century, it's the second largest covered market in the world with more than 4000 shops. It has between 250,000 - 500,000 visitors daily. But, basically, it's a repeated system of about eight shops; rug shops, Turkish delight shops, scarfe shops, teapot and tea shops, jewellery shops, lighting shops, nut shops and cafes. Yes, yes; everyone bothers you non-stop but it's not so bad. I was sure one shop owner was about to burst into song when showing us his teapots; ''we have glass ones, and brass ones ...'' (silver, blue, high class ones?)

One mosque free attraction in Istanbul is the Galata tower. It's 67 meters tall with an observatory that's great for viewing lots of mosques. In the 17th Century some guy wearing a pair of giant wings jumped off it, ''flew'' accross the Bosphorus, and amazingly didn't die. The palaces in Istanbul are pretty intense too; Topkapi is an impressive rag-doll-mix of mismatched tiling and pushy little Turkish women. (Turkish people don't have the Euro-Centric Queuing System. The exchange rate from Euro-Centric to Turkish Queuing is fairly bad at the moment at about one hour for two elbows and three bruised ribs.) The harem is a highlight of the palace. As the living quarters of the sultan, his mother, his wives, concubines and the young places it's an interesting place to imagine the politics of domestic life. It's one family dinner I'd love to see; ''mum, no not you, mum can I have-.'' The treasury is chocked with glittering jewelery, gifts and spoils of war. I've never seen so many emeralds and rubies. There is one enormous 86 carat diamond which was actually found in a rubbish dump in the 1500s. The peddler who found it sold it at a market for what he thought was a fair price; three spoons. I would have asked for at least five. The man who bought it sold it on for a slightly better price, by which time the sultan got wind of a biggish rock floating around the bazaar, summoned it to his throne room and had it turned into a very sparkly pendant.

The Turkish delight (lukum) in Turkey is delightful; sweet little squishy cubes of pistachio and honey, coconut and peanut, lemon and chocolate, strawberry - it's like Baskin and Robbins ice-cream (rose and almond is old-fez). Every coffee shop sells their own home-made lukum and mountains of syrupy baclava. Baclava, in Greek, means ''little sin****.''

There's one Turkish stereotype that I forgot to add to the list; tourist scams. There are heaps of scammers in Istanbul. One traveler in our hostel got scooped up by some nice looking Cyprian guys outside the Blue Mosque. They took him to a bar, paid for the taxi and invited a few girls who looked like prostitutes. Three or four rounds of drinks later they asked for the bill, (which was 1,500TL). Alarm bells started going off at this point, but the Cyprians insisted that our friend help them pay. They escorted him to an ATM, but he used an old empty card and pretended to have no money. They were still pushy, so he offered to go with them to the police station to explain. Finally they backed off, but the same thing happened to a Japanese backpacker the week before and he ended up paying them 1,000TL.

My favourite experiences in Istanbul are with the crazy bunch of people at Metropolis Hostel. Canadians that call us mozzies (''mawzies'') not Aussies because we're annoying and we're everywhere. People that think because we live in Australia and it's an island ''far away from diseases'' we can eat raw chicken. I love the sound of an unshaven Turkish man bellowing ''Bosphorus'' unexpectedly into my ear because it's clearly the best way to convince me to take his boat cruise. I even like the Americans who have issues with the ''cheeseburgers in Istanbul'' because ''cheeseburgers are supposed to be that one reliable McDonalds meal that's the same everywhere but it's not true; they don't make it the same here.'' (Why do people travel if they want things to be exactly like they are at home?) Mostly, I love the patience of the Turkish people as they listen to me struggle with ''Teshuk''




''Teshekur eddurrrrum''

''Tekishmir undeurm''

''Teshekur ederim'' because for some reason it's a string of vowels and consonants I just can't get my head around.

For now, we're rocketing along in a bus making sounds like an F1, (can you soup up a bus?). on an unfinished road to Cannakale. Our vehicle is kitted out with TVs; super exciting except they're only showing Turkish soaps, a live feed from the front of the bus and Turkish music videos. (These fade between oiled legs, electronic guitar riffs and men standing on highways moving their hands between their hearts and the sky.)

Xoxo travel gossip girl

  • This is a lie; I'm freeloading on her peaceful trek through Europe.
  • * I did get really lost finding the hostel. After finally convincing myself that the map and I were facing the same direction, fighting the same battle and on the same team I found out that it was a double agent trained in ten languages I hadn't even heard of and good at international subterfuge.
  • ** These are the three main causes of death for Turkish sultans.
  • ***This is a lie, but it should be true.

Posted by CharliePepper 04:34 Archived in Turkey Tagged food turkey holiday funny girls backpacking experience turkish_delight Comments (0)

In Transit

Ok Doha, it's you-and-me-time; we've got seven hours of quality bonding.

I'll just say this right at the start; of all the airports to get stuck in this is one of the worst. The seats are all made of rubber. Most of the food is fried and the whole experience is a bit like spending a night in the school canteen. But don't worry, I've hand picked the best bits for you so if you ever come here you'll know where to rush to first.
The best thing about Doha Airport is it's easy to find your way around. Everything is colour coded by boarding pass and gate; something even I can deal with. Then again, maybe it's suspiciously too simple because everyone else is asking a lot of questions.
The next best thing about Doha is that there are lots of staff. They are all dressed very nicely and let you in on helpful secrets like; because you're here for seven hours you get a free meal. There is a man whose job it is to turn all of the Coke and Fanta cans around so that they face exactly the same angle, and another one who wipes the glass door of the Oryx Lounge every time anyone walks in or out. Yes, every time. There is a lot of glass in this place and it's all super clean.
I try to sneak into the Oryx Lounge a few times because it's the only place that doesn't have rubber seats but apparently I don't look like someone from first class. Nevermind; there are other airport highlights like the Mosque and the Quiet Zone which is filled with (rubber) banana lounges.
I grab a coffee and prepare to relax on a lounge only to find that the Germans have beaten me too it and strewn back packs and aeroplane pillows accross a whole row of them. (I assume they were German.) I'm about to turn around when a wave of revolutionary power comes over me and I decide to liberate the couches for general use. This is great, but only for about five minutes, until a large Arabic man starts snoring and his son decides to test out his entire library of Nokia ringtones.
I escape to the gift shop and duty free shopping. There are heaps of cool things here like disgusting aftershaves called Golden Tears and Ali Bashaa, but the best gifts of all are camels. Before I came to Doha Airport I had reservations about how many diverse applications there were for humpy desert animals. Now I know better. They can be teapots, coasters, soft toys and naf telephone danglies. They can be encrusted with emeralds or painted in rainbows. There are camel chocolates, postcards of camels playing soccer and even little camel bobbles you can fasten to your Crocs.
I end up getting bored after an hour and finding myself in perfume jungle, which is what usually happens to me in airports. I try on a load of things and then decide I hate all of them and walk out smelling like window cleaner. (Or maybe that's just the clean windows.)
Lastly I find the hot pink standing- room-only internet zone. Perfect. I can spam all of your inboxes and I haven't even been gone for 24hours. XO

Posted by CharliePepper 04:39 Archived in Qatar Tagged food turkey holiday funny girls backpacking experience qatar turkish_delight arab_emirates Comments (0)

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