exploring istanbul

today we set out to explore the city. we started out by having a hellza good breakfast consisting of sanwhiches w/ grilled meat and freshly squeezed pomegranite juice. it looks like there are hella places around town selling the pomagranite juice, and it’s so damn good!!

after breakfast, we found out about a new scam. a guy comes up to me and asks if i want a shoe shine. i tell him no, but he keeps asking me over and over and i keep saying no reapeatedly. then he asks if he can just have a cigarette. well, unfortunately, i made the mistake of giving him one. at this point, he says that he just cant accept a free cigarette, and that it’s no good, and so he’ll give me a free brushing in return. i tell him my shoes are sneakers… they really dont need brushing, but he insists on giving me a free brushing so i sit down. he brushes my shoes, saying over and over that it’s free, and then starts puting this wax stuff on my shoes. i really dont need any wax on my shoes, but what the hell, it’s too late now. and then the kicker. he starts saying that the brushing was free, but i have to pay for the wax!! HUH?? so basically, even though i said over that i didnt want to pay for this shoeshine, now he was insisting that i pay him money. well, i wasnt going to crumble. i just got up and walked away despite his protests. there was no way in hell i was gonna pay for that!!

anyways, afterwards we went to go see some of the stuff in our area (we’re in the old part of town next to most of the important stuff!). first we checked out Topkapi palace, a huge palace that has was used by the sultans of the ottoman empire for years. this place had 4 enormous courtayrds, and each of them were lined w/ tons of rooms w/ interesting museum pieces. one room that was particularly interesting was room that contained alleged relics from the prophet mohamed. this room contained a tooth of his, some hair from his beard, and other old artifacts such as swords that were owned by him. turks from all over come here to see this relics that have a huge religious impotrance for them. it was interesting to see all the people coming up to the relics and praying to them. there was even a worker from the museum, singing verses from the koran over a loudspeaker. i really wonder what makes people think that these relics are really from the person they are supposed to be from (there was even a staff supposedly owned by moses). i mean, it would be truly amazing if any of these items were really from moses or mohammed… but i guess i’m just to skeptical to believe they really are.

a gate to the palace

caryn took this photo of me in a tree in the palace grounds

after the palace we went to go check out Aya Sofya, an ancient church that was later converted to a mosque, and also the blue mosque… one of the most famous mosques in the world. both were extremely impressive. we actually went inside the blue mosque, and the stained glass and architecture inside was really amazing.

Aya Sofya


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