Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Golden Girls! Welcome to Miami!!

The above title was only one out of four hundred pick up lines we heard in Istanbul last week! After barely making it on time, Grace and I finally met up with Anna, Jordan, and Mary at the airport to head to Istanbul. We met up with Alex when we got there, since Alex, Grace and I were in one hostel, and the other three in another. We had heard about this thing called the fishbowl challenge from another one of our roommates who had been there last weekend, and hearing the word challenge, we headed straight over to a hookah lounge called Backpackers. The fishbowl was a bucket of deliciousness that came with sparklers! It was perfect! We met the cutest dog there, and I named him Chunk. We were having so much fun on the ground pillows and comfy couches, when we realized Alex was missing. Grace and I went to look for her and found her coming back from the hostel down the street. We decided to take a break from the fishbowl and go into a shop under a hostel where we were each given free bracelets when Grace bought a scarf. It was perfect!

The next day, we met up with a boy who had gone to Alex's high school for a year as a foreign exchange student and is from Istanbul, Caddis. He was so nice for being our tour guide! He took us to Prince's island, which straddles the Europe side and Asian side, and the best part was: there were no cars on this island! We rented bikes and biked around. It was sooo beautiful! We stopped to go up to a monastery, and ended up climbing the biggest hill I've ever seen. Turns out, Anna's bike's gears were not actually working and then her tire popped! Despite the bike difficulties, we had a lot of fun.

Being in the Grand Bazaar reminded me of Sex and the City 2. We kept singing the little theme song tune because it was so similar to when Carrie's in the Bazaar in Abu Dhabi. It was fun to bargain, and we got lots of cute pashminas and jewelry for really cheap! The spice bazaar, or the Egyptian bazaar, was also very neat. There was a sign on one of the shops saying it was endorsed by Obama! This is where we heard a majority of our pickup lines. I was called Angelina (Jolie) and Jennifer (Aniston) within an hour. I am very aware I do not look like either of them, and this man could have very easily confused Brad!

Then came the Turkish baths... This is where a bunch of ginormous women all sit topless on a marble stone together. We were not about to join, so we stayed in the jacuzzi. You could pay to have someone wash you (which we definitely did NOT), and that consisted of laying there like a baby elephant while the ladies lifted your boobs and scrubbed under. We were baffled by the concept! It was nice to shower in a real shower there though, AND use a hair dryer!

Overall, we did a ton of really neat things, including the Turkish baths, the bazaars, Prince's Island, Toxim, Fishbowl Challenge, eating fish that was fried on the boat it was caught on, playing frogger through the busy streets, Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, seeing a belly dancer, and the basilica cistern. We had a great time and I would love to visit Istanbul again!

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