Tuesday, March 29, 2011

15 Things I learned in Istanbul...

Ok, I hope you're prepared to read the most superficial blog about Istanbul ever written. If you're looking for history, or culture, or something else super-intellectual, get your judgmental ass to Wikipedia.

15 Things I learned in Istanbul...
We went to this historic city to celebrate my mother in law's birthday. They have some sentimental attachment to this ancient, historical, amazing city and wanted to share it with us kids. (Thanks again mom & dad!!)

I started making lists of things I thought my seventeen-year-old untraveled self would find weird... and being stupid, I've decided to share my findings with you all.

1) You can't swing a dead cat without hitting a stray cat in this town. I think the rabid felines may outnumber people.

2) They really enjoy saying "VeryNiceVeryNiceVeryNiceVeryNice"+piece of crap they're trying to sell you. (They're big on repeating things until you want to smack them.)

3) Istanbul has the highest rate of unibrows per capita in the entire world.

4) Turkish is hard for Americans. I don't think I even learned how to say 'yes'. I did learn how to say 'please', but ironically no one says that here.

5) Turkish is easy for the French. Know how they say thank you? 'Mersi'. What about 'excuse me'? 'Parrrrrrrdon'. And the ever-important 'sausage'? Well, they say 'sosis' my friend. Basically, just take 75% of the French language and write it phonetically. You'll be fine.

6) They Reeeeeally like kebabs. I think 9 out of 10 dishes were some form of Kebab.

7) They rather enjoy "Nixe" (pronounced as in France as "Nyks"), and "Puman" (as in "Puma") shoes over there. A good deal at only 4€ a pop!

8) Lamps are freaking EVERYWHERE. They have no shortage of light in this city.

9) Just *try* to smoke somewhere in this city... I dare you. It's pretty much forbidden everywhere you go. They like to tell you multiple times within the same 3ft of space that smoking is not allowed just in case you should shift your head slightly to the right or left a few inches.

10) A 2hr cruise on the Bosphorous river will cost you about 75% less than a beer at the airport.

11) At the Bazaar you should negotiate the price of the ultra-fake Ray-Bans you're buying to at least 1/3rd of the starting price, any less and you will "break hearts". (The Turks are very sensitive souls.)

12) This place reminds me a little of "Pimp my appartement"... turkish style.

13) The restaurant business is cut-throat. If you want to get ahead you must absolutely SHOUT "Scuse Me!! Scuse me!!!! Lady!!! Hey!!!!!!" and shove your menu in front of potentially hungry patrons, then almost have a fist-fight with other menu-hoisting screamers from neighboring restaurants.

14) Driving, crossing the street, and any other road-related activities mean you're putting your ass on the chopping block. Traffic laws are more like traffic advice... that no one ever takes. Avoid the perilous street at all costs.

15) The pita bread is about 3 feet long. Hope you're hungry.

It was a wonderful trip filled with tid bits of my French family's history. This was where they had a drink while on their honey-moon, this was the market where they took the kids all those years ago, this was the hotel grandma recommended, this was the mosque with the diamond the size of your FACE.

Ahhh memories, now I have some to share there!


  1. yep...the only thing I learned to say on my visits there in Turkish was "cheers" Fortunately, that gets me pretty far since I go out for drinks a lot! :)

    looks like fun!

  2. too funny! I'm headed there at the end of May, will watch out for the extra long pita bread :)

  3. I always get a little freaked in a country where I can't read the road signs. Apparently Turkish is a language most similar to Finnish, Japanese and Hungarian (google this if you can be bothered).

    I went last year (http://tinyurl.com/35uyeua). I loved it and was also amazed to find out how long I could survive without alcohol.

  4. as an "istanbulite" i LIKED your list. especially the third one HAHAHAHA :))

  5. Once again, you've taken something meant to be beautiful and revered and morphed it into hilarity. I love it! And for the first time in my life, I want to go to Istanbul. Thank you for sharing your unique perspective on life!

  6. I am from Istanbul, and think you have captured the city very well, my girl! Congrats!! :)

  7. Once again, you've considered something intended to be wonderful and revered and morphed it into hilarity. I like it! And for the first time within my daily life, I want to visit Istanbul. Many thanks for expressing your distinct perspective on lifestyle!

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