Dateline: Istanbul, Day 4 – Wrapping Up

Istanbul, Turkey
25 June 2009

For our last day in Istanbul, Charlie and I split up.

While walking down to the pier the other day, I saw a sign for the Istanbul Museum of the History of Science and Technology in Islam. Knowing that much of our current math has its roots in Arabic (our numbering system is, after all, Arabic), I was rather curious to check this museum out.

The museum was relatively new and not quite completed yet; which was unfortunate, because several of the models were kinetic, but not plugged in.

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Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


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Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


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Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey

I think I was most impressed by the astroglobes, which were used to predict star locations, and water pumps, which I was interested in for their sheer ingenuity and for a project I’m working on that I’ll discus at a later date.

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Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey

I met back up with Charlie at the hostel for one last trip to the Grand Bizaar to get some more Turkish Delight and hopefully a carpet for me.

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Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


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With remarkable efficient, we entered the Bazaar, completed our missions, and were back at the hostel.

One snag Charlie ran in to was withdrawing money from the ATM. The aforementioned trip was expensive, 390YTL1 …which actually isn’t all that bad considereing what we were doing and the ground we were covering, and we still had to pay Ali. However, Charlie couldn’t get either of his ATM cards to work! Crap! After calling his bank and some bank and forth to the ATM, we eventually figured out that he has a maximum withdraw limit and was attempting to take out barely more than the limit.

Charlie rushed back, just in time to pay Ali and catch the bus.

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Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey

And just like that, we were on to Cappadocia.

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Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


  1. $250 USD 

Dateline: Istanbul, Day 3 – The Bath

Istanbul, Turkey
24 June 2009

Having walked so much the previous day, Charlie and I decided that today would be a good day to take that boat right up the Bosphorus. After a bit of late start, we walked down to the pier in hopes of finding a boat that would take us on for a decent price. It didn’t take long for a guy to get us interested in a two hour boat cruise. It wasn’t the exact ride we wanted, which would have taken us up to Çamlıbahçe or so, but it was good enough, especially given the amount of time we had. The asking price was 20YTL each; after walking away once, we were able to get him to go for 30YTL for the both of us, and probably could have gone lower.

The ride was decent; I was able to take some great pictures. It would have been nice to have a guide to give some background on what we were looking at, but alas we had no such fortune.

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Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


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There wasn’t much to see on the Asian side of Istanbul, so I ended up falling asleep for the hour or so it took to get back.

Charlie and I decided that we were both pretty hungry. Charlie heard a rumor that the fish was pretty good here, so we set out to find something decent. We settled on a bustling fish house of sort right on the water.

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Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey

The kitchen, and I use that term very loosely, was little more than a collection of grills on a boat docked to the pier. Ordering meant walking up to a guy right on the edge of the pier, handing over your 3YTL and getting a cooked fish sandwich handed to you. For another 2YTL each, we added two cans of Coca-Cola.

Overall, it was a decent meal, at least up until I starting getting bits of bone in my mouth.

We made our way back to the hostel, getting lost in the Bazaar along the way.

Despite my little cat nap, I was still dog tired when we got back. I spent the rest of the afternoon sleeping, which honestly isn’t such a bad thing to do in the hot Istanbul weather.

After I finally woke up, we spent the evening figuring out what to do in Cappadocia and really the rest of Turkey. Ali, the owner of Mavi Guesthouse1, was very helpful in piecing together this section of our trip. It was going to be a grueling few days, but we assured him we could do it.

The plan was such: leave tomorrow night on an overnight bus to Gorme (which is in the Cappadocia region) and go on an all day tour of the northern region of Cappadocia. Sleep at Shoestring Cave for the night. Wake up and go on another all day tour of the southern region of Cappadocia. Then, catch another overnight bus to Selcuk. Spend a day in Selcuk (i.e. Ephesus), staying overnight at the ANZ Guesthouse, and leaving for Samos, Greece the next morning at 8am via ferry. Talk about a whirlwind tour of Turkey.

Content with our plans, Charlie and I headed off to a Turkish Bath, also known as a hamam, with Nick (one of our roommates).

Let me tell you something about hamam’s: they are utterly amazing and utterly scary. We got changed into single towel and slippers and were ushered into the sauna to sweat it out. There was some talk about crossing legs or not, but we decided that we were all mature males, comfortable with our heterosexuality.

Two older gentlemen2 came to get us out of the sauna. They sat us down on the marble and drenched us in water before rubbing us down with a stiff glove. It actually felt good and I wished they went a bit longer.

Next, we were instructed to lay face up on a marble table. There, they gave us a soap massage, intermixed with sporadic slapping (for effect, I’m sure). It’s pretty much what you would expect, although a bit on the vigorous side. They had clearly done this many times before and were not afraid to go practically all the way up my thigh. To put it bluntly, one slip and this guys thumb was going right up my asshole. Seriously. Not an exciting thought.

I just stared straight ahead, looking at the single bare Philips florecent light bulb illuminating the room.

Philips…Lets Make Things Better

Reveling in our newfound cleanliness, we walked back to the hostel, grabbing some food and baklava on the way.

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Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


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  1. the hostel we were staying at 

  2. men, yes; gentle…not so much 

Dateline: Istanbul, Day 2 – Touring Istanbul

Istanbul, Turkey
23 June 2009

For better or worse, I feel like Charlie may be the end of me on this trip. I’ve already been traveling pretty much non-stop for three weeks and now I’ve got an eager beaver who wants to see it all.

Today, we went to the Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar, the Old Bazaar, bought Turkish Delight1, walked across the Galata bridge, walked up to Galata Kulesi, and over to the Kabataş ferry which took us to Üsküdar (on the Asian side of Istanbul).

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We walked around Ãœsküdar for a while before returning to what we thought was Emınönü”Ž (which would have been for a short walk back), but we ended up going to BeşıktaÅŸ, which is further north (north being the wrong direction) of KabataÅŸ. The north end of the tram only runs to KabataÅŸ, so we had to hike it the 1.5 kilometers to the tram before we could relax in air-conditioned comfort. We later learned that today has been one of the hottest day day in Istanbul this year. Great.

We took a nap before venturing into the somewhat cooler evening to find some well deserved grub. A kebab house fit the bill pretty perfectly and all was good.

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Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey


  1. which has led to a slew of rather off-color jokes