streetscene  istanbul, turkey

the hagia sophia  istanbul, turkey

another streetscene  istanbul, turkey

whirling dervish performance at an ourdoor cafe  istanbul, turkey

not a very clever headline, but sums up my feelings about that city. i’ve spent a bit of time in the rest of turkey during two previous visits, so i know that istanbul doesn’t represent, but being there with my dad and brother on their three visitis (first, last, only) reminded me what a dificult place it can be. three different minds really need to be synced in order to minimize frustration… the carpet sellers are easy to avoid, it’s the restaurant wallers that are the most unsettling. their pretense of friendliness barely cloaks the deep dislike for their customers… pressure and guilt seem to be a substitute for the reputation of a fine meal. our one rooftop terrace experience suffered from pushy, snotty waiters…one in particular who glared at us while muttering something in turkish… the very same one who tried to trick us into 3 more beers through ‘misunderstanding’. seems that misunderstanding is a very common leveraging tool in the turkish service arsenal. upon leaving our hotel, the concierge attempted a “you seem to have not yet paid” for the airport transfer that was indeed paid well in advance… itユs a shame for istanbul that it relies on such shiftiness to survive… should they ever attain EU membership, they’ll be the only member who relies on backward medieval manners.
i only lost my shit once within minutes of arrival when a potential self-appointed guide to the blue mosque accosted us. he pushed himself on us in every way possible, and when clever tactics such as “we don’t shoot americans here” failed to earn our business, he shouted something in frustration like “you don’t respect us, maybe you’re jewish!” at that moment, i wish i had been, just to make the confrontation complete. i walked back to him, stared him down and asked him if he thought HE was being respectful. it didn’t end with satisfaction. once you’ve engaged them on any level, particularily rage, they’ve got you. i was oblivious to his response and just walked away, remembering all i had learned during previous visits just a little too late.

doug, never without IT  istanbul, turkey

from the terrace of harrassment, but what a view  istanbul, turkey