First Impressions

Whew, even though I don’t have much to show for it, these first two days have been busy.

I think the only thing that’s really done is I bought my Akbil card, which is a fancy version of a Metro Card.  As long as I keep money on it, it gets me on Istanbul’s great public transport network including trams, ferries, buses,and the Tunel.  They’ve recently changed the cards (now complete with RFID chip) so Ozen was quite excited that we got the new one.

I have no cell phone.  And due to a T-Mobile screw up, I may not have one for 2 weeks.  So, I’ll post when I can.

I’m looking for an apartment, mostly online at this point.  If I use a realtor I would pay 12% commission, plus 18% VAT tax.  Ugh.  So, I’m trying to look at ads online and translate Turkish.  Istanbul is the only country in the world to span two continents.  And that split (divided by the Bosphorus) occurs in Istanbul – so I have to choose whether to live on the European or Asian side.  And it’s not as clear cut as inside/outside the loop.  🙂

Gorgeous tree outside the Blue Mosque

Today is a gorgeous day.  It’s apparently been unseasonably cold here – I was wearing a jacket yesterday (thank God I brought one!), but today I’m in short sleeves and enjoying a glorious breeze.  I took a walk down to the Bosphorous (all by myself!) and sat in a park next to the water watching families, couples, and dogs having fun.  It was a good moment for me.

Along the way, I stopped in a few shops to check out the goods – and prices.  OOOH yesterday I went to the hair salon and got a shampoo and blow out for 6 Turkish lira, which is like $3.75.  Fabulous!

I also went to the pharmacy, and got some medicine.  No prescription needed!  And together, for two refills, it cost me 18.50 lira, or $12.  Nice, huh?

Other quick thoughts:

  • lots of couples holding hands here.  Very cute.  And women friends link arms and walk together.  It’s nice.
  • There are restaurants everywhere.  Sit-down places and (basically) street food.  Cheap!
  • I miss Diet Coke.  They do have Coke Zero – but I’m resisting.
  • Tried to teach Starbuck’s guy to make iced tea yesterday.  I failed, but will try again.  He was willing!
  • I almost started an electrical fire in Ozen’s house today.  Gonna have to get a new hair dryer.
  • There’s not a mosque near Ozen’s house, which is strange.  I can’t hear the call to prayer from here.  But I do see men holding prayer beads at prayer time.  And there’s a lovely church right around the corner.  (Turkey is a secular country – they welcome churches and synagogues).
  • I am learning a few new Turkish words, but I’ve got a long long way to go.

I contacted a few people (Turkish and American) today that some contacts in the States gave me (thank you, Muge and David!); so I’m hoping to make some plans and start venturing out on my own.  The streets here aren’t really on grids, and can be quite confusing.  And if you know me you know my brain has no capacity for directions.  So, this should be interesting. Wish me luck!

Miss you all!


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. April
    May 14, 2011 @ 11:19:37

    Sounds like you’ve started to get settled in nicely! Love the prices! And no prescriptions? I’ll trade you some Diet Coke for… 😉

    Love you!


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