Life Manual

Life is better handled, prepared.

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Day 4 : Hani Play It Safe

After the last days bad experience, I didn’t want to tread too much on my feet, and not wanting to regret my not visiting at least a few touristic spots, headed to a tour agency which was just a minute away from the hotel. Got myself two tours, one for the same afternoon and the other for the next day early morning. The best thing about the tours was that, the buses come and pick you up from your own hotels lobby plus payment is accepted on the buses through credit cards as they carry the wireless Point Of Sale machines. ( I got a bit unsure when the guy at the tour office said that i could pay using the card on the bus, so I thought I would withdraw cash from an ATM and pay cash to the office). Since there was plenty of time for the bus to come and I had to withdraw cash, the person in the office advised to go near to the blue mosque where I could find an ATM and I could probably visit BASILICA CISTERN, the underground water channel/reservoir built in history for usage of people in that time. I did as he said ,had some talk with the staff from cafe lokum ( cafe lokum became a place where I used to go everyday for lunch/dinner and got a lot of information from them on the methods of getting myself to the malls in Istanbul).
Went back to the hotel area and decided to try a new place to eat, ordered myself a mixed grill and met an over smart know-it-all staff member (the kind of people I don’t like). Finished eating and reached the hotel exactly right before the bus came.
The tour had two USPs, Dolmabache Palace ( the palace where there founder of the Turkish Republic lived) and the highest point in Istanbul {which was over the Asian side (residential side of Istanbul), the palace was so -so and the highest point was so-so too. Met an aged Australian lady who was quite happy to meet a Pakistani speaking English ( had a random thought, on how good an opportunity it is promote your country being with tourists from all over the world by being humanely).
Walked to the Cafe Lokum had dinner and chatted with them on how wanted to visit Nis(h)antas(h)i again ( the area where I had stayed the first night) ,upon which I was told, why not go to Kanyon Mall ( the open mall) and I asked them how can I reach, so one of the guys told me if I visited him tomorrow he’d let me know on how to reach the mall. I’d say the day had gotten over but before I go towards closing the post it is appropriate to mention the modes of public transport available in Istanbul.
Taxi-Metro-Tram-Bus-Metro Bus- Mini Bus (Wagon in Pakistan) , makes it quite accessible doesn’t it .
See you on Day 5.


Day 3 Istanbul:Doner Walk and Gain Refrain

Day 3 was a late start, I decided to check out the area, didn’t want to get lost like the first day, therefore I took a notebook and started marking my path out until the main road so I could track my way back ( don’t consider a bread trail to be a successful method of doing that especially with the count of birds in Istanbul ). Walked around, felt like having a shawarma, which is called a Doner in Turkish, skimmed through a couple of menus, and reached a place, which looked a bit professional, most of the places serve the shawarma not in a pita bread but in a bun, which was the first setback for me. The shawarma for me is to be relished with the least amount of wheat encapsulating the meat , that’s when the actual shawarma can be tasted. I had come to Turkey with a big perception that the food will be extra tasty which gave me the random thought ,”where is the Turkish Food which I had heard about?” Second Setback.

After having that, decided to head back to the hotel,would’ve reached the hotel easily, until I saw commotion in a bustling marketplace, so I thought I’d check it out and when I went in I had found the Turkish equivalent of Pakistans food street, since I’d already had food I didn’t try any food over there , due to my laziness I didn’t go back out from the path I came in but turned and started walking towards where I thought my hotel was. Wrong move. Although, the path was right and I was able to reach the blue mosque (and my hotel was at a 10 minute walk from there but that day I didn’t know that) I got tired of searching and midnight was approaching near so decided to take a taxi. The taxi took me around the block and I was dropped off at a place saying ,”the road to the hotel is blocked in front but my hotel was straight ahead so I could just walk”.Paid the equivalent of 20 USD to the looter and walked “straight ahead”, no hotel!!!
I must’ve walked for about 1.5 hours after getting out of the taxi asking from different people on where the hotel was, before I reached it.

Hero of the day: Mohammed Ali of the Four Seasons hotel who guided me properly even confirming with the hotels driver about the location and if that wasn’t enough, he took out a pocket map of the area and handed it over to me guiding on the path properly.
TiP: The least thing one can do is to have the address of anyplace one wants to go, in my case the hotel (Although I had the hotels key with me, but the key didn’t have the hotels address on it, the first thing I did when I went back to the hotel is got their card to help me with my future adventures).

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Day 2 -Turkey Land

Good Morning, Same Hotel, breakfast time, free buffet breakfast part of the hotel stay charge.Went down to the have something, decorated nicely but the music which they were playing was kinda irritating. As I was having breakfast, it made me think what I was disliking more, the (free) hotel buffet or the 60’s music, that too poorly sung cover versions.
After that went to see the person who had done the booking for my hotel for the first day and met his staff too, one of which made a suggestion to marry this other single staff, saying that “the angel” was up for grabs.
Went up to my new hotel later (which was to be my place of stay for the next 6 days of my trip )and stayed there throughout the day, the room seemed suffocating at first because of the old furniture and little moving space but they had a balcony to cover up for that ,also,that balcony became the point from where I used to access the internet from an unlocked wi-fi signal.
This hotel had at least 3 english channels, and I actually got around watching the Tv, but there is only a limited tolerance in me for watching the news, and as the night got darker, my back seemed that it wanted to get itself straight for the next day.


Turkey Trip (day 1) Titled-Of Books and Covers

Immigration didn’t take much time and as soon as I reached the baggage counter I saw my bag coming out of the belt, nice experience.
Directly out of the airport and got the european feel which I was expecting, when the breeze hit me (refreshing).
The most striking bit was how the city was made , the road network isn’t even, different roads are at different heights from sea level. Imagine driving uphill/downhill on
a bike at 45 degree angles and try reverse parking in a manual transmission at the same angle.
Random Thought Here:Turks have great dress sense ( which was going to get a serious beating, stay tuned for a later post to get more on that)
1st day hotel was in in Nis(h)antas(h)i which is a posh area full of cafes ,although good in decor, had a slight problem in the shower. I couldn’t get the shower head to work and the tap below the shower gave out brown water, thankfully my stay in that hotel was just for one night. I went out to Cities shopping mall that day to find some interesting brands that were completely new for me, from what I remember there were seven levels in the mall but each level was compact.Didn’t have lunch there but headed out in search of Armani Cafe which was supposed to be in the same location of course had to ask many people to reach there (whoever said a man never asks for directions was so wrong), did arrive at a restaurant which I thought
was Armani Cafe, went in but the waiter verified that it was not Armani Cafe, although it was quite prestigious ,the food wasn’t something worth remembering as is the case with most high class restaurants and after dinner did what became a hobby of mine in Istanbul, getting lost.
If it wasn’t for Mr.Onur of Artpoint (who let his toddler and wife go away without him and offered me to drop to the hotel ) my first night in Istanbul wouldn’t have been pretty.
Reached the hotel and saw some tv but all channels were turkish, so decided to sleep.

End of Day 1