Archive for July, 2006

When You Yell At Me I Do Not Wish to Patronize Your Establishment

At the risk of sounding culturally insensitive or going too far out on a limb here, I have to say that the most detrimental thing an Istanbul business owner can do is try to pressure a ‘tourist’ to come into their store. Personally I never go to a place unless I go to them first and somehow request ‘help’ or attention. I am immune to the hard sell. Even after a hotel tout chased me through Pamukkale on a motorscooter I did not give in. Why would I want to stay somewhere after the dude stalked me?

Plus I have spent a lot of time in Tijuana, where I was able to innoculate myself pretty hardily.

But seriously. The other day I was sitting on the street watching the reaction of out of towners to the guys who come up to you and say “Hello, come in” and almost always the response was to straight up ignore them if not cross to the other side of the street. I don’t think I saw anyone respond in the manner that the proprietor would have wanted.

I understand that running a business is hard. But the hard sell will make it harder to get the loose walleted foreigners into the store. Most people want a soft sell. People want to feel like they are making their own purchasing decisions and not being coerced.

Fish Under the Bridge

Ever since setting my sights on Istanbul, I have had one thing in mind: to have a fish in between bread with tomato and beer. Today I had that under the Korpru(sp?) bridge.

For five lira(would have been more if not for the aid of my Turkish friend), and that made me very happy. I am a big fan of street food(witness my obsessions with bacon wrapped hot dogs). I know that it probably seems dumb and basic to most of you out there reading this, but really it made my day.

Day One In Istanbul

So I got here last night, and after a taxi ride from the otogar I found myself in a rather beat up hotel in Sultanahmet. It worked for the night, but I am glad that I am not there now, nor will I be as I am fortunate enough to have some friends in Beyoglu who are willing to put me up.

I know that Sultanahmet is the tourist area. I get that. It’s pretty much the Hollywood Boulevard of Istanbul, so I am not too into that. Experiences like that make me feel like a wallet with legs. I had to think hard in order to not make my time in the Big S color my perceptions of Istanbul too much.

Crossings

DSC00116-1reduced.JPG Leaving Kadikoy

Growing up in a beach community in California…I thought I had seen it all when it came to sea and sand. A few days before we left the States for Istanbul, we took a walk with our kids along the beach in San Diego, we had come to say “goodbye” to the Pacific Ocean for 4 years. It was a difficult parting, we thought it would be hard to be away from the coast that we knew so well.

On our second day in Istanbul we had to make the trip across the Bosphorus on the ferry. The sun was shining, the sky was clear and blue and we stood in amazement on the upper deck and watched as our boat made its way from Asia to Europe.

Our reaction was typical of the tourists to our stunning city. We couldn’t get enough of the views, wind and waves. Our little Akbil Satis was our ticket to exotic sea travel. For less than .80 cents each it is the best deal going.
When we need a break, are overwhelmed with work, or miss home a bit, the kids would ask to head down to Kadikoy and jump on the Vapur. Couple that with our daily commute to the other side and we spend a good deal of our time out on the water.

DSC00117.JPG The Juice Dude

Even though we are the “greenies” here with less than 4 months in Istanbul, we have made the Bosphorus crossing well over 150 times. Each trip finds us still at the rails with the wind in our face amazed to be living in this incredible city.

DSC00128.JPG A View From The Rails

Los Angeles Metroblogger Heading To Istanbul Tomorrow

Except for two people, nobody in Istanbul knows who I am. Not that I would expect them to since I live almost on the other side of the planet in sunny Los Angeles, where I am a contributor to Metroblogging LA.

Tomorrow I will be getting on a bus here in Goreme, and riding along for 13 hours before I reach your fair city and take my first look around at all the wonders that you have in store. Let’s just say that I am excited. Also, I will be guestblogging for the week that I am in Istanbul, so I thought I would introduce myself now. Hello All!

I am not sure where I will be staying exactly(Sultanahmet and Beyoglu seem to be early contenders), but I would like to see if anyone on this blog is interested in meeting up or has any tips for a newcomer like myself.

My email address is hex – at – hexod.us

limonlu bahce

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tosbaga.jpgthe long expected “hottest summer of the century” has not arrived yet, but we still pretend to be having it awesomely hot and look for shady places to go to. here is an option: go to limonlu bahce and feed the turtles. (i know most of the locals have been there, done that. i am serving the guests here). it is extremely nice and relaxing at noon time, with almost no guests. the so-called “first chill out zone in the middle of the city” or “the oasis of istanbul” is in beyoglu/galatasaray. just come to taksim, ask anyone and you’ll be shown the way. or, follow the link.

City of the World’s Desire

We can all wax sentimental and nostalgic when the right concoction of mood and emotion hit us…However, living in Istanbul is kind of like a “just add water” recipe for enchanting and bewitching evenings…and, we have plenty of water.

IMG_3042w.JPG Summer in Kazasker

Summer is here, the days are warm and the evenings are delicious. If you are a local you may not appreciate the full impact of a summer evening in Istanbul. When you have only known paradise, it’s hard to imagine anything less. But even to this Southern Californian who grew up on the beach in San Diego…these are evenings to remember.
The smells of blossoms and sea, smoke from grilling kebaps and cigarettes, the views of a late evening sky, sidewalks, and cafes full of locals, are a potent potion for romance and nostalgia. What a City! It’s not hard to figure out why it has been called “The City of the World’s Desire”. Worried about me?….it’ll pass…(I’ve used up all my emotional chits for this year).

Sacramento, nr 49

Sacramento has just been proclaimed the 49:th city of the Metroblogging family. It’s also the fourth Metroblog from California. There is already a massive amount of text to read over there, so don’t waste any time, just go have a look.

aksanat teknosa olmasin

akbank kültür ve sanat merkezi, kısaca aksanat, yakında teknosa’ya dönüştürülecekmiş. “yok, olmasın!” diyenler şuraya, ayrıntılı bilgi almadan bir şey diyemeyenler buraya.

A Major Cultural Studies Conference Starts in Istanbul!

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Crossroads 2006 takes place in Istanbul this year. The Keynote speech by Partha Chatterjee can be attended in June 20 at 9:30 in Istanbul Lutfi Kirdar Convention & Exhibition Center, Rumeli Hall in Harbiye. There are hundreds of panels and there are really cool academics who will be presenting. The conference program will give you an idea about what kind of topics will be discussed. Apart from the keynote speeches, the panels will take place in the Dolapdere Campus of Istanbul Bilgi University…

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