Posted on February 12th, 2011 by

The title of this post (pronounced: majeralar) translates to “adventures”. Every day in this foreign city is an adventure! From speaking with my hands and terrible Turkish to trying new foods to meeting new people, even the mundane here is exciting. We went out to eat on Wednesday, and this past-time that we all are accustomed to became an adventure. First of all, we were a group of three Americans, two Singaporeans, and one Japanese. Between us, we probably know 20 words of Turkish. Navigating the public transportation, asking for suggestions to a good restaurant, and ordering at the restaurant were all challenging but hilarious. Running across six lanes of Turkish traffic and sprinting to catch our dolmuş felt like an extreme sport.

Me, Angel, and Nicole. I am holding a strawberry mojito that was the most delicious drink ever. I ordered it using the common "point and smile" method.

Our ADORABLE waitstaff at KafePi. The guy knew a little English from his international friends so he helped us order our food.

Another vocab word for you all: dolmuş (prounced: dolmush). A dolmuş is a miniature bus that is an extremely common form of transportation in Istanbul. It usually has some sort of set route, and costs about 1.5 – 2 Turkish Liras, which is around a dollar. You get on the dolmuş no matter how full it is. There’s always room for another. You pass your money to the driver and your change is passed back to you. You can try to get away with not paying, especially when it’s really crowded, but dolmuş drivers are smart. He WILL remember your face and he will yell at you if he sees you again. You can get off anywhere along the route, which is basically where it differs from a regular city bus and takes a detour to a more taxi-style service. Dolmuş drivers are also crazy, like all Istanbul drivers. Honking and swerving and talking on the cell phone are all common traits of dolmuş drivers.

Another lesson: the world is tiny. This summer, I waitressed at a resort north of Two Harbors, MN. Many of the kitchen staff were on an exchange program from Turkey. One of these exchange students was Ömer who lives in Istanbul. After a few failed attempts, we finally got to meet up in Taksim, a district of Istanbul, on Tuesday evening. We got a nighttime tour of the city from some natives.

Ömer, Muhammed (Ömer's best friend) and I outside a döner stand.

A final lesson: life will surprise you. I met Sam for the first time in preschool, when we were about four years old. Marta, I met when we were 5. This Tuesday, we all met again in Istanbul. It wasn’t really planned. I applied first to study in Istanbul, following Marta’s urges (she’s visited Turkey before). Marta then got sick of the U.S. and also decided to go to school in Turkey. Sam originally planned to study in Egypt, but was evacuated to Istanbul soon after he arrived in Cairo and quickly accepted to the same university as Marta.

Iyi akşamlar! More marceralar to come :)

Sam, Me and Marta in a hookah bar. (In Turkish: nagiler). Ömer and Muhammed took us there, and the place was full of old Turkish men. We fit in well.


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