After a great time with the Bensons in NYC, I began my adventure in Turkey with a ten hour flight from JFK to Istanbul. The process of purchasing a visa, going through the passport line, and retrieving luggage went quickly and smoothly. I was happy to see Behlel, our guide for the trip, waiting for me; we went by cab to the CVK Taksim, our hotel for the next six nights. It was 1:30 by the time I settled into the room Betty & I will share. We have free internet, a room safe, and very comfortable accommodations. The best part is the view from our window of Taksim Square, the busiest gathering place in Istanbul. What a SCENE, and it changes by the minute. The window is great for photos because it opens like French doors and there's even a ledge outside, so we don't have to shoot through glass. I took some video that I'll wait to edit until I get home. But for now I'll post one of my first photos from our third floor window.
After unpacking and enjoying a hot shower, I ventured out to exchange some $$ for Turkish lira and buy some bottled water for Betty & me. Already I'm experiencing friendly, outgoing people who seem to have no objection to my camera. I'll post a picture of a man who looked very distinguished and had a fancy set-up, but basically, he's a shoe shiner. When I stopped to check out huge hunks of meat in front of a shop, I was welcomed and offered free samples. They slice the meat on the spot and heat it up and stuff it in flatbread with lots of peppers and sauce. At the shop I went into to buy bottled water, I treated myself to a first for me: fresh pomegranate juice. It's delicious.
So now it's nearly six, and I'm looking forward to Betty's arrival. We're going to love it here.
The streets are full of vendors making orange and pomegranate juice to order.
Here's a bread vendor:
Tea in small glasses is very Turkish - all kinds of teas, but especially apple tea....
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