This is a link to a great, touching and sad story I just finished reading.. Wow.
A short trip to Istanbul
A part I’ve ordered for my hi-fi system finally arrived. Which means I can listen to beautiful music in my music-room again. What a perfect time to sit down and finally write a little bit about my Turkey trip.
So, with a friend I went to Istanbul for just 4 nights. And that is just not enough time for this city. At the departure gate the city makes you feel “I don’t want to leave yet”. Yes it’s a good place..
So my friend arrived on another flight and we met up at Atatürk-Airport. I was a little bit drunk because I’ve been seated next to a Russian girl and a girl from the Kurdish part of Turkey (which isn’t an official name of course), and we’ve emptied 3 small bottles of wine each talking and laughing throughout the trip. This was one of the best airplane flights I’ve ever had. I think I also learned a thing or two..
From the airport we took a taxi downtown where our hotel was. It was maybe a 25 minute ride. The taxi broke down once on the way, but I think that’s not a common thing to happen. Istanbul seems very developed, more so than some Eastern European cities. However, the traffic is a catastrophe. Our taxi got stuck a few hundred meters from the hotel, which was located just near Taksim Square. So we paid the driver and walked the rest of the way.
It was already spring there. The air was very pleasant at night. And the streets were full of people. All sorts of shops were still open, even though it was close to midnight. At one corner some folks were arguing, at another they were hugging each other. Just a general breeziness everywhere. Music for different tastes mixing into something slightly confusing. Something told us we would drink a lot of coffee here..
It felt a bit like Rio de Janeiro for me. Another city that doesn’t go to bed. And something that I was expecting didn’t occur: There were no hustlers trying to sell us things all the time. Or trying to scam us. Turns out, the Turks are laid-back folks. But if you approach them with a question or just for fun they are very open and very friendly indeed. Friendly like Romanians, actually.
Skipping the details of our arrival and itinerary, I’ll just talk about my impressions from now on.
Turkish people seem to hang out in groups a lot. Especially in night-life it seems you rarely will see anyone alone.
Oh yes, nightlife. Before that begins you go out to eat. Well, schedule 3 hours for your meal. It’s a big deal and while we were mostly done in slightly over an hour the other guests always were in the middle of things when we arrived, and still in the middle of things when we left. Big family meet ups take time, I suppose. You need to talk to everyone. I wouldn’t mind hanging out in one of those restaurants with my family..
And while I’m on the subject of eating. The food is excellent. It’s many things you know from Turkish restaurants abroad ( but how many of the dishes offered did you really try? ), plus some things I never tried before. I can’t recollect the details, but I remember having tears in my eyes from some hot tomato thing.. Food? Thumbs up in Istanbul! Definitely.
I kind of expected the Turks not to drink much alcohol. You know, because of Islam and all. Well, I was wrong. They drink a lot. :) Yes, there are cafes on rooftops ( don’t miss those when you visit ) that only serve hookah and tea. But in general Turks drink alcohol. And since this paragraph has to do with my silly religious prejudice, I can also mention that 99% of women don’t wear any head scarves and so forth. Think tight jeans..
But, you get the prayers several times a day. This makes for a nice atmosphere. Especially when the prayer chant is mixing with the music from the club next door that is still open even though the sun is up.
Back on the street there’s one thing to say: Some are crowded as hell. To the point where it seems futile to go certain ways. Especially at night.
Well, we rarely left Beyoglu unless we went for sightseeing in Fatih, but there was always many people on the streets. Day and night. Or in the trams. ( Don’t make the mistake to take a tram at rush hour. Unless you can make yourself really thin I suppose.)
Well, what is there to see?
A fucking lot. (As proud owners of the Museum Pass) we just looked at the most important things which include the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. The palace. Beautiful. But my highlight was the Archaeological Museum. Top-tip.
It’s like walking through time. You get the Greeks, you get the Christians and finally the Ottoman Empire. There’s something great walking through these exhibits. Turkey is such a key part in human history, it’s all there. Even Egyptian caskets and so forth. (It’s always nice to see caskets, skulls and ruins, anyway.)
Yeah, if I go back, I’ll go visit that Museum again.
And yes, there’s the markets. With all the haggling going on. And many more mosques. And there’s the boats that go across the Bosporus to Asia. Which we also did. The best thing about that was the sunset when returning to Europe. Will all the ships calmly going their way and the great old city unfolding in front of us.
About people we’ve met.
I already said the Turks were laid back. I really liked every one we met. The girls can be very beautiful. But they never leave their group long enough to make a successful approach.. Sigh. Well, we met some. One was a history student that taught us a bit about the conflict with the Kurds. Another we met showed us some fantastic places (bars, clubs, even a concert we saw because of her) we would not have found otherwise. We met some foreigners from Sweden and Norway. And I’ve hugged many people, I don’t know how many. Yeah, Istanbul really made us feel good
Perhaps it was the first days of spring. Perhaps it was our expectations. But I really left with a nice warm feeling in my heart. And my travel companion said something that can be roughly translated into something like that, too. :)
Now I want to go back and I also want to see more of Turkey.
You know how there’s a place you visit and you think, yeah, that’s nice. But some places feel like you could imagine to live there. They feel like a good home. The vibes match your vibes. There’s chemistry.
I never expected it. But it really might be like that in Istanbul for me. I don’t know. I suppose I would have to return to find out for sure.
But I can recommend Istanbul to everyone. It’s a very beautiful, very romantic destination. Should I have a (serious) girlfriend again, I will take her there. So she can fall in love a little bit more. (And me, too) Istanbul will help with that. No question about it.
( P.S.: Turkish Airways is a great airline. First time I really enjoyed an airplane meal! )
Do you know this feeling when you really think long and hard about a specific problem? When you try to wrap your head around it? When it really wears you down? It makes you hungry and sleepy.
It happens when you learn a new language. When you try to understand a mathematical proof. Or why some detail of life presents itself the way it does?
That exhaustion while contemplating new, complicated things is actually your brain rewiring itself. Neurons connect with each other in new ways. It requires a lot of energy.
And that’s when it suddendly seems to click at some point with most things.
Your brain has made these new connections and through deliberate practice they are becoming strong. Your thoughts can now flow effortlessly through them.
You pick a task that seems difficult (because it is) and you eventually develop a new skill or a new way of thinking, because you were determined and you had faith in yourself that you could do it. That moment when you get it is probably the best feeling in the world.
It cannot be matched by winning the lottery. It cannot be matched by having the most awesome sex. A large number of people constantly congratulating you cannot do that. You have earned it. For yourself. And your mind and body make sure you get a reward. Happiness. Pride.
Don’t believe me? Try it out. Pick a project. It’s absolutely fantastic. See you in a few weeks.
Another way to reach that moment of bliss is by slowly exposing yourself to a different way to see the world.
Perhaps you start to question things more often. You start suspecting there’s a ton of bullshit around everywhere. Laziness. Selfish beliefs. Pretty lies. You start to understand the world, your world, in a more direct, stronger way.
After a while, maybe you even start to imagine that you can separate an ocean just to walk across it with dry feet. That’s how big the discovery is.
It’s the same thing. Your brain has re-wired itself. The neurons have re-connected themselves.
The mind is actually two minds. One is slow and needs a lot of power to operate, but it can grasp new things very quickly. By doing it, it programs the other one, which is extremely fast, it’s your autopilot-self, but it needs to be programmed slowly.
Perhaps it simply comes with age. Or it occurrs every few years. When you reach an interesting stage in your life. A cycle ends and a new cycle begins. With an improved you.
Because you have spent your time wisely. You wasted little of it. You read different books. You took your time to be alone and think about stuff. Important stuff. Like “Why did I do X?” or “Why did Y happen?”. It took time to really get to to the bottom of everything. You were constantly questioning things from your own, private vantage point.
What you get in return is opinions that are your own. Confidence in your own truths. Not somebody else’s.
Sure, you might be wrong after all. But if you did everything to the best of your ability, it’s much less likely than it would be in the opposite case where you just took in everything from outside.
In the past, perhaps you saw something happening to someone. Something amazing. And because you did not understand how it came to be, you attributed it to chance. Fortune or misfortune.
But then you start to understand. And it makes sense. Something that was far out suddenly seems easy to do. And you know you have the skill to pull it off.
Well, that changes everything.
Just went to the gym in Poznan. Next door was a girls aerobics class. Incredible people there.. Now I think one can be a foreigner, and still have a great time. Also people seem much friendlier than last night.
Perhaps we started off in the wrong place. I am enjoying my coffee now and everyone I’ve met today was incredibly nice. Also it probably helps when I exercise my horrible polish with them..
Also: this is my first post written on the tumblr phone app!
Xenophobia in Poland?
This is almost too silly to write about it, but it seems like there’s a sort of racism towards foreigners in Poland. And it at least feels like its quite wide-spread. Of course it could have been bad luck to overhear such things a few times in one evening. I talked to two people and they mentioned the problem, but this could have been just coincidence, too. Anyway, if it is a real thing, then it’s of course very stupid. I don’t have time for such nonsense.
This is not happiness
Biology is funny. Last night I’ve met a girl and two hours later it was clear she would stay over. I don’t even liker her. And when I walked her to the station and she got on the train I was glad. Every time I realize how much I dislike one night stands with random girls afterwards. This is not happiness.
Spring is coming.
I think I’ll reorganize my life and wake up every day at 5 o’clock. Like I did today. At 5:45 I had a shower, breakfast and coffee. At 6:30 I was at the gym, at 8:00 I did my shopping, and now I’ll go work for a bit. This is excellent. The evening is completely free now. And I’m not even tired, that’s thanks to the gym.
I think I’ll repeat that a few times and see if I can keep it up.
Good Morning, Tumblr.
Another positive review for Romania
We worked hard this week on a project and on Friday the customer reviewed our work. He’s kind of an asshole, doesn’t express himself clearly and then gets angry because we didn’t understand what he meant. But he was happy when he saw our results and after work even invited us to drinks. So we went to nearby bar and had a few beers.
It’s an international company with people from all over the globe working there. One engineer in particular is from Bulgaria. He talked how he’s flying home soon and plans to go back by car. However, he would take the route through Serbia, because he’s afraid to go through Romania.
He didn’t say it clearly, but apparently he is expecting to be robbed, then sexually assaulted and then stabbed to death on Romanian roads.
So of course I told him about my experience in Romania and that I’ve been in Bucharest and in the mountains and how safe and friendly everything was.
And then the asshole client chimed in. He said that he’s been to Romania before, too, and that Bucharest is one of the best cities in Europe. And that it’s safe.
He told a story how he once broke down with his car there and had to have it fixed. When he left, he accidentally left his wallet in the repair shop, and it was full of money. He didn’t know the repair guys and he could have lost the wallet anywhere afterwards. But a few minutes after he left the repair shop he was called and they said he forgot his money.
So yeah, the Bulgarian guy shouldn’t be worried. And my asshole-client seems to be not so bad, after all.
And nothing against Serbia, I’ve met great people from there when I was living in Croatia, but if I had to bet which place is safer and friendlier, I’d go for Romania.
Romania people, marketers and government: You really need to do something about your image. I’ve heard from a friend in London that there’s an Anti-Romania poster-campaign rumor. What the hell.. Everyone in Europe seems to think you are thieves and cheats. I keep running around telling people the opposite if they ask, but clearly more needs to be done.
Perhaps you should organize more student or trainee-exchanges with western countries. Or host a few sports events. I enjoy car racing. Perhaps there’s a place in Romania where I can rent a car and do some rally drifting? I don’t know. (I should google it.)
Anyway, I’m just randomly babbling here. But if more people would give Romania a chance, they would clearly rethink their prejudice.
That’s all from me. Enjoy your weekend, people.