Posted by: lindsaygoes | May 31, 2010

Back in Istanbul (warning: contains nudity)

Rose Valley Cappadocia

Well, after that subject line I bet most of you read this email (at least until the nudity part). It should be shorter than the last one anyway. Well, maybe!
Ok, so I’ll start from my last email when Hostel Guy offered me a job, apparently because my typing was so fast (which it is, but I’m not sure that’s why I got offered a job). So I declined and then he asked if I knew anyone in Pamukkale, turns out he’s a good friend of Silvers. Turkey is a small place! Then Hostel Guy no 2 (sorry these names are so imaginative, but Hostel Guy no 2 did give me the nickname of ‘Aussie’) decided to show me some You Tube videos of some random club in Marmaris which I think consists of female tourists dancing around wearing not much at all and then lots of foam. Not quite my thing, not sure why I got shown it.

After that we went hiking along some of the valleys which was nice, with more amazing scenery and rock formations, unfortunately not much shelter and I’d missed a little patch when I was putting sunscreen on so now I’m just a teensy bit red (actually, it’s now just a nice tan – well apart from the tan lines!). Kind of weird that I’ve got more of a tan from a day hiking than four days on a boat in the sun. Anyway, our hiking didn’t go very fast because most of the time we were taking photographs because it was all so beautiful. We did realise that the colours we were getting through our sunglasses were a little deceptive so I might have to do some photo editing before I put the photos on facebook!

Once we reached the end of Rose Valley we realised we had no idea how to get back and ended up getting directions from some guy (who else?) who’d done the standard Turkish conversation of ‘Hello! Where are you from? etc’ and then told us to go in the opposite direction of where we wanted to go. So then we got correct directions and walked 4ks back into town where we treated ourselves to some delicious milkshakes and headed back to the hostel where Hostel Guy no 2 made me help him make some beds and offered me a job. I don’t know why I had to help make the beds though. I didn’t even get paid, although I did ask for 10 lira. After that it rained so we sat in the hostel and read for a bit before heading into town to catch our overnight bus to Istanbul. Once again, not one of my travel highlights!

So we arrived at our hostel at around 9:30ish, had breakfast and went to a Turkish bath (Hamam), Çemberlitas Hamami, which was built in 1584, but the plumbing seemed ok. In the lonely planet it said that it was traditional to keep your towel (peþtemal) on (ok, I checked it again and it is apparently just men), but as soon as we walked into the bath there were a number of semi-naked women and our towels were whipped off by a Turkish woman, leaving us just in our undies and then we were told to lie down and after half an hour of lying on a hot marble slab to sweat we had a full body scrub and soap massage. Once we’d recovered from the surprise of being suddenly half-naked it was kind of relaxing.

In the afternoon we wondered around Sultanamet for a bit and went to the Spice Bazaar where among other things we saw pots of live leeches for medicinal purposes. Then I bought three pashminas because they were lovely (do I need any other reason!) and then some Turkish guys (claiming to want to practice their English) walked us to the Grand Bazaar when we asked for directions. So at least the directions were correct. In the Grand Bazaar Jolene tried to scare bag merchants away by complaining about the zip on a previous bag she’d bought starting to rip, but ended up finding a carpet salesman who offered to get it fixed. Then we went into his carpet shop, had drinks, but didn’t get shown or told anything about carpets (I think he just wanted to talk to Jolene – and surrepticiously put his arm on the back of her chair). On the way back to the hostel we got asked out three times and got two phone numbers. Didn’t tell them that I’d lost my phone! During dinner some random old guy came up and offered me another job in a hostel, so I know what I can do if the veterinary industry slows down.

The next day I decided to have a bit of a lazy day and just kind of wandered around a bit and spent too much money. So before going to the Grand Bazaar properly (we really only managed to talk to the carpet salesman on our first visit) I’ve already bought a couple of bowls, a throw and a bag. But they’re lovely. Oh, and those pashminas. And a few other bits and pieces. I’d decided to head back to the hostel at that point (so I could avoid spending any more money!) when I got stopped by another carpet salesman, but luckily (?) a bird pooed on me so I could make my escape. I think that is the only time I have actually been able to associate a bird pooing on me with luck.

Today was pretty hot and I did feel sorry for all the women walking around in coats! We went to the Grand Bazaar and I hardly bought anything, athough did manage to get rid of most of my Turkish money. Then I realised I’d broken my sunglasses (again) so now I need to get another pair (number four for the trip).

Next stop is Geneva where I’ve got a conference, so it’s not all play, there is some work too…and maybe a bit of a tax deduction as well.

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