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Report from Istanbul wıth 7 photos

Paul O'Hanlon | 29.04.2005 05:49 | Analysis | Culture | Education | London

Thıs ıs a short account of my vısıt to Istanbul wıth 7 labelled photos.


Hello from Istanbul. I feel like Andrew Gilligan as I type this on the morning of my flight back to Amman. I spent four nights in the city that straddles Europe and Asia. I fear this will have to be a short story. I have attached 7 labelled photos.

What can I say, as I am about to dash to the airport? The currency here is still daft with any small item like a cup of coffee costing over a million lire – nearly as bad as the Gleneagles Hotel - let’s not forget the G8!

As in Cairo and Amman there seems to be a proliferation of domestic cats running all over the place – just like the urban foxes back in Edinburgh. School uniforms are the norm here but what really strikes the first time visitor is the abundance of carpet sellers. “Meester, you want to buy new carpet? Please come and see my warehouse – eet ees just round the corner. I offer you Turkish tea – eet ees just hospeetality, no obleegation” I have had quite a few cups of Turkish tea and disappointed my hosts by declining a TNT shipment of half a ton of Turkish carpet even if it is cotton on one side and `seelk` on the other.

The traffic is just a little less frantic than in the Arab cities I have visited with a good system of tramways, which who knows? - we may have one day in Embra.

I was frustrated again in my attempts to obtain a visa for Syria. I spent a good two hours on buses and trams and the metro to get to the Syrian Arab Republic consulate only to be spurned again as I was in Amman, “Where ees your letter of recommendation?”
If the Syrian people are anything like as rude and abrupt as their embassy staff I don’t think I want to go. It looks as if I will have to give the roads to Damascus a miss.

I will finish by confessing to one howler. I actually asked at the Tourist Information office where the Turkish Parliament was. Oops! The Capital City of Turkey is Ankara not Istanbul. I felt really stupid – as dumb as Dubya or is that possible? Still he probably thinks Turkey is in South America where his hawkish Secretary of State `cold as Rice` is.

Talking of cold it is really wet windy and miserable outside and I will have to get a taxi instead of trying to figure out the trams/metro.

I’m off to Amman, Jordan. - Then hopefully Palestine. Will keep you posted.

Word count 445 words

Paul O'Hanlon
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