The title is a good description of yesterday… I felt “sickish” before getting on the plane, which turned into full on feeling like crap during the first hour of the flight. So yesterday wasn’t too much fun. Two 4.5 hour flights, a two hour stopover in Qatar and I finally made it to Istanbul… crap feeling and all.
I will say – Qatar Airlines – very nice. Quite classy, great service, great food. One of the best I’ve been on so far. I did manage to sleep a small amount, but not much at all. I landed around 5:30pm, getting the visa was stupid easy – walk up to a guy at a counter, hand him 45 Euro or $60 USD, he puts a little stamp in your passport. Done. Oooook. And then getting through customs was easier – didn’t even look at me once he saw the stamp.
So I was pleased with that process – it was super fast. Getting the luggage was no big deal, though I do have to say I don’t like it when airports make you put in a coin to take the little luggage cart! Most airports don’t require a coin, and it’s highly irritating when you arrive in a foreign country without the currency!! So sadly, no cart for me.
Took me a few minutes to navigate the airport and work my way over to the metro… it was around this time that I was regretting not paying the 25 euros for the airport pickup, but oh well. Their metro fare system here is stupid simple, the easiest one I think I’ve seen so far – you don’t have to tell it where you’re going or pick a certain amount based on destination – you pay 3 turkish lira’s, you get a token, you put the token in and go. If you need to transfer from the metro to the tram, you do it again. Doesn’t matter where you’re going, how far, etc. so that was nice.. though of course I had to grab some liras, but not a big deal.
Metro took a little while, then I had to transfer to a tram. Instructions could have been slightly clearer from the hostel on that part, but I did figure it out. Metro wasn’t too crowded, tram was – pretty sure I caught it around rush hour. I was only on the metro for maybe 10 – 15 mins, the tram was a bit longer… 15 stops until my destination. Finally made it (standing the entire time – it was busy!), and followed the surprisingly detailed and helpful directions to get to the hostel. Arrived at the hostel (having passed some pretty cool landmarks on the way), and after a relatively long checkin process (he was in no hurry) I crashed. Hard. Like – cya. It was 8pm. I stuck in some ear plugs that I got off one of my flights and despite the very dorky look, threw on some eye shades and crashed.
Unfortunately, the problem with going to bed early is waking up early.
The time difference also didn’t help… India was three hours ahead, so when I went to bed it felt like 11pm my time. When I wokeup at 4am, it felt like 7am my time. I managed to sort of get back to sleep on and off for a few hours, though the morning prayers being blasted from the local mosque (of which there are several nearby) didn’t help. I managed to take out both ear plugs and remove the eye shades overnight… not sure how.
Anyway I got “up” around 7:30, had a very nice shower – great facilities here. Got changed, went up and had a w o n d e r f u l breakfast… which they provide for free here. Tons of food, so, so, so good. Vicki was telling me about some sort of bread thing they have here which is terrific – I don’t know if I had it or not, but it was amazing bread lol. I was sufficiently impressed. I’m not normally much of a breakfast guy, but I think I’ll have to make the effort while I’m here.
Feeling better today than yesterday, but still a bit like crap… so I decided to take it easy today. I haven’t done very much, I watched some TV for a few hours after breakfast, went out for lunch… and can I just say, I’m so happy with the quality of food here. The quality of food in India… was not ideal. For me. Here… bliss. So good. I was after comfort food so I got some spaghetti… and it was so good. There is so much food around me, I don’t think I’m going to have a problem with that this week. Sorry McDonalds.
And that’s more or less been my day… not a terribly exciting first day in Turkey, but… call it my weekend. It’s frustrating to get sick while traveling (and makes me feel like grabbing the next flight home), but it’s a good reminder that I need to take care of myself a bit better. Hopefully now that I’m in Europe the lack of a huge climate change and the fact that flights and travel time is going to be a lot shorter, will help as well.
So I apologize for the lack of of anything interesting to read today – tomorrow I’ll start touring around. There are a lot of really cool buildings in my area, so I’m looking forward to getting out there. I’ve booked my flight to Athens, just trying to decide how long to stay there, and then… ITALY! Which I’m excited for.
I might wind up going to a mall tonight… not sure why, but I find them comforting. Which is bizarre. I hate shopping. I like food courts… I think I just like massive buildings that I can wander around in? I don’t know. But the mall here is apparently the largest in Europe and 7th largest in the world. I think they have a roller coaster. So that’s cool.