Well budgets are tight for this trip, have been off work for 4 months, including a trip back home and floundering in Blackpool looking for work, finally secured a job, worked for a week and I am off on holiday to TURKEY!! With three other turkeys - Amberley aka umbrella, Emma (Wilson) aka James, and Emma (Orjvich) aka Steve.
16 April 2011
Turns out it was cheaper to fly from London and to get there cheaply I took a lovely 6hour 50minute bus ride which actually took 8 hours, from Blackpool to London. Jonboy dropped me at the station and waved me off whilst planning 12 days of takeaway eating in my absence! The bus wasn't too bad and it was a warm up to the bus trips we would encounter in the Turks. I touched base with Ambs and then tripped into town for a date with the gals - Ngaia and Jenna Dunne (both relatively fresh meat), Lou and Jenna Toms (due to expire meat) at ping pong in waterloo. A few cocktails were had and yummy food and no doubt great yarns before I had to call it an early night with having to get up at 230am to get out 3am taxi to the Victoria train station and onto the train o Gatwick airport, oh the joys of travelling abroad!
17 April 2011
Not a bad sleep for me, can't say the same for Ambs who started to sound like Jonboy when she awoke, "Abbey you snored last night and hogged the bed, and kept trying to put your leg over myside." Pah! Showered up and out the door we went picking up Steve in our extremely fast crazy driving taxi to met James at Victoria. A takeaway coffee and we climbed on board, James supplied the team with her new fav craze "breakfast biscuits" its like breakfast, in a biscuit! Who would have thought. For once we had no drama's at check in and made it on board for our 4 hour flight to Istanbul.
A wee delay in finding our luggage, Ol Steves took a while to come off and we were getting nervous, no one wants to be in Turkey without their underpants! (Well actually if anyone could it would have been steve ;)) Nevertheless the bad boy arrived and out we went to organise a lift to town. After a bit of investigation we bargained ourselves a taxi for 80 Turkish Lera (TL), same price as a shuttle but direct, to our backpacker. As the dude was loading our bags James went to get in the front seat and found herself almost climbing into the drivers seat, momentarily forgetting we were in Europe and the cars and roads are backwards. It turned out to be quite journey into town, with our driver who cranked the music full tit and couldn't speak a word or English but continued to converse with James for the duration anyway to which James obliged for the first 20 minutes. We finally located our backpacker the Orient Youth Hostel (http://www.orienthostel.com/roomprices.php ) and checked into our 30 BED DORM with the amazing reception dude Mamet who spoke Turkish Kiwi and greeted us with sayings like - BEACHED AS BRO, TU MEKE AND OH CHUR BRO. I can't describe how amazing he was sooo funny so if you want to have a blooming good laugh stay here!! We wondered off down the road, and as surrounded by Turkish cafe's we decided it was time to experience some Turkish cuisine. It wasn't long before we discovered Steve had a fetish for animals and wanted to talk to everyone and photograph it (it was later decided she would provide us all with calendar, 18 months worth of animal goodness), and the thing is there is a dog or cat on every corner in this country! The guy next door was using his cat to coax in customers. We soon settled in and ordered up red wines with our mains and demand our free breads and dips then polish it all off with a drink of apple tea, one of many to be had on our journey. Tourguide (TG) James directed us to the blue mosque Sultan Ahmed, blue because of the interior tiles, still used as a mosque today and also a very popular tourist attraction. It was built facing the facing the Hagia Sophia, another mosque which unfortunately was closed when we arrived so couldn't visit. The Blue mosque was free to enter just had to have legs and heads covered, Ambs who was ill prepared was provided with a skirt to wear into the mosque, she really looked the part too! We had a short wait as prayer time was occuring on arrival. Afterwards we decided we had worked up a thirst and hit up the bar for happy hour beers and wines 6TL for a pint and 7TL for a wine. We indulged in some sheesha, courtesy of the hostel, and why not indulge seen as the device evolved to perfection in Istanbul and it turned out to be one of the best of the trip. That was until Ambs got a bit tiddly and knocked the sheesha pipe over, spilling the hot coals. To this disruption the Turkish staff rushed over and sang happy birthday to her and suggested she needed a taxi, hilarious! Well we recovered from this and then minutes later she spilt a glass of red wine, breaking the glass and once again the crew came over gave us another round of happy birthday, re offered a taxi and jokingly told us we were wrecking the place. Once again the tummies were rumbling so we called into see Mamet at reception to get his suggestions on where to go for tea. At this point he introduced us to Turkish hugs.
This involved picking the person up and swinging them round whilst hugging, even Steve the hug fearing beast obliged. Well after my one I thought heck I could get onto this so I in turn gave Mamet who is a rather stocky lad a Turkish hug of his own! Well Memet liked this so much he gave us all high seven's, yep that is not a typo he is right into high sevens, its a high five opposite hands and then index and middle finger together for another two, it actually had something to do with good loving all night long haha madness!! To celebrate the moment we decided to get a photo with a Turkish rug and luckily Memet was able t oblige as I pulled up his top and he fashioned a very hairy rug like chest. After all the antics and hugs Memet realised he could not let us go and decided to join us for tea, escorting us down the Road to a bar called Oz Bar if I remember correctly where his friend Mamut was the owner and s***e soon got lose, haha well not too much. There was another NZ/Aussie crowd in for tea too and between us we owned the top floor of the restaurant with Mamet as our entertainer continuing to crank out calls like "parched as bro get us a beer" and "I need to use the whare paku" The words sound that much sweeter coming out of a Turkish mans mouth on the other side of the world from home. He also cranked out half a haka. We then indulged in some fine food and a couple of bottles of wine and Umbrella (where the name began as when she said her name was Amberley they only heard Umbrella) was lucky enough to be shouted "champagne" (beer which she hates but that was the Turkish charm). James nearly broke the window when closing it and she nearly got a taxi called to. It started to rain and as we were leaving Umbrella was asked to put her umbrella up as Mamut tried to climb under her hair as he lifted it like an umbrella!!! These guys were hilarious. We went up to our bar again for nightcap but ended up talking to some birds from London and Canada who had been to a movie and I polished off their popcorn, fair to say I am a popcorn monster! They suggested we do a Turkish bath with them, which involves getting naked and scrubbed to a pulp by a sweaty old Turkish women (who cant speak English) on a slab of marble, we were considering it until Canada sounded a bit too keen to see my bits that we thought it might be better to have a sleep in. On our way to our beds in our 30 bedded dorm we popped into see Mamet who strongly encouraged us to join him on facebook. Umbrella asked him how many friend he had, his response "oh about 60, or 70 (pause for effect) thousand haha and he wasn't joking. We finally headed to bed, Ambs and I last ones in. Steve had been in bed a while, and much to Amberley's delight she cutely and enthusiastically informed her that a cat (to which Ambs hates and is allergic) had been sleeping on her bed, haha luckily Ambs had her beer cat proof pyjamma's on and nestled into her fluffy gross blanket (as did I) which after a few drinks stops being gross and is just dead comforting! Head torch in situ although not everyone could see that so may have thought it a bit dodgy when on of the girls requests that I stop flashing them!
Ol Jimmy had a bit of a rough night and spew bombed it, not an easy task to get away with in a 30 bedded dorm but I believe she snuck into the last loo and tried to be as quiet as possible, fair to say I hear nothing in my booze coma's, a skill which is good to have when travelling with Umbrella as Steve soon found out. We were a bit like princesses this morning as we didn't wake until prince charming aka Mamet woke us up. He came down and said girls girls ts time to check out, but . . . you can stay there haha what a beaut. We showered up and headed off for the Grand Bazar. We had the whole day to spend in Istanbul before catching a night bus to Cappadocia so we left our bags and went in search of coffee, food and markets. Unfortunately the weatherman wasn't on our side and it was bucketing down. Obviously Umbrella was sorted and Steve purchased the first umbrella she came across, big yellow which features regularly and almost felt like it was our fifth member of our wolf pack. TG Jimmy had us on track and we found our way to the Bazar, sampling chocolate and purchasing coffee along the way. The Bazar was massive, all indoors and you could honestly spend the whole day or more there!! I had my batering hat on and was ready to make some deals. The best one I got when batering for a silk scarf was free for 25 kisses and I batered him down to 15, but before I obliged I enquired how long this would take, after he stated 5 hours, I had to pass on the opportunity. I later made a couple of purchases, a scarf (Steve got one from here too and she did oblige a kiss to save herself 5TL!!!) and a lighter for Jon which was a trick lighter and it sure fooled me. The salesman was hanging about as I was geezing at his stall and provided me with a cool red domino's lighter. So I gave it a go and got a blooming shock, like those pens give you. The trick is that it does actually work as a lighter too just light it differently. Well I had to show the girls, who all got shocked but none better than Steve who got such a shock she threw the lighter up and threw off her scarf which was quite a feat considering it was actually tied around her neck!!! We finally found somewhere for lunch and the only cool thing about this place was it had Sultan hats we could all try on, apart from that the guy was angry, the place was cramped, kebabs were crap, tiny (although we learnt that the Turks in Turkey make s***e kebabs, well that was our experience) and expensive. We soon enough shovelled the food down and headed off to the palace. Somehow Steve and Ambs took a wrong turn and meandered back to the hostel but we lasooed them back to the castle. Being cheap and constrained by time we only managed to walk in the grounds and to the gift shop, deciding we would just take in the sights of the castle by perusing the gift shop books with pictures. Our day in Istanbul was nearing an end, Mamet treated us to another apple tea on the house, a tradition we certainly became accustomed to! Our shuttle was late, but Mamet assured us that it was just running on Turkish time, meaning time really means nothing in this country. I soon began to fear that this night bus trip would be just like the horrors we endured in Laos when I was there last March!! Fear not our shuttle got us to the bus on time and it was a swanky number. However the staff were more like wardens, which is exactly what Steve and Ambs called them. Apparently no talking was allowed - HAHA with us four on board and my issues with volume we were up against it. So there was no talking allowed but in random bus stops along the way sales men were allowed on to sell items such as rkish candy floss balls and talk at the top of their longs at all hours when we wanted to sleep, Turkey Turkey!! The bus was pretty hot but apart from that we had Turkish TV to watch on our individual screens (stoked I took Turkish lessons before I came, NOT),real handy, complimentary drinks and snack which kept me going for the 13 hour trip, as well as me trusty head torch and book.
The bus dropped us off at the bus stop and the local information dude phoned our hostel - The Flintstones, which is well named since Gerome, Cappadocia did resemble Bedrock! Damoosh picked us up in his beast of a van about 3 minutes after the call was placed and took us to our accom free of charge about 300m down the road haha. Our rooms weren't ready yet, fair enough considering it was like 9am in the morning. Damoosh whipped us up some free apple tea and lax out on the cushions until our room was ready. Unfortunately there were some inconsiderate French t*** in our room who didn't check out until 11 and we couldn't get into our cave room until 11:45am! By this stage those other three were starting to smell so it was showers all around in our cave shower. Jimmy and Ambs shared the cave bed and Steve and I singled it up. TG Jimmy lead us to town with her trusty Lonely Planet which led us to an amazing we place for lunch something that sounded or looked like Nazeem. The dude reckoned he knew Helen Clark, he gave us free evil eye "jewels" and gave Steve her meal free because she was from Christchurch and that was his contribution to the Earthquake!!! The food was delicious, pays to order Tzatziki with meals too!!! Mmmmm! Next stop was the open air museum but when one is presented with as much Turkish delight samples as one can take, one must stop and indulge. To be honest I was more taken with the boxes of what appeared to be wool. When inquiring in charades style what it could be, she busted the packet open and proceeded to feed me, turns out it was candyfloss Turkish styles so I bought a packet for Jonboy. It was a nice stroll to the open air museum, which was amazing and highly recommended! We got to go in lots of the caves and it is honestly something you wont see anywhere else - check out the photos and get your hiney there if you haven't already. Apart from the amazing rock formations and caves we also got a glimpse of Steve's wonderful rack when posing in a cave, thanks Steve, and when I add photos, you will be thankful too as she has given me permission to put it up, Boom boom pow! We met another cool local on our way out at the markets by the museum, Mr Fez guy was a real catch and let me and Steve pose in our Turkish kit. We decided it would be rude not to indulge in a Turkish ice cream on our way out and purchased one and strolled through the markets. At the end of the markets another ice cream stand man questioned us where we got our ice creams from and said his was better. He told Umbrella she could have some of his for free so she was in, she held out her ice cream and he went to put it on with his big Turkish stick, used for getting the ice cream, and instead of wiping on he swiped her ice cream right out of her hand, haha, Ambs was like WTF, and after he laughed at her hegave it back, with free ice cream, which in actual fact was yummier!
.. . . A WORK IN PROGRES WILL CONTINUE TO FINISH SOOOOOON