17 September 2009
So, we made it to Istanbul. The past week has been so busy with packing and preparing to leave and saying goodbye to people, that I barely even slept, never mind worrying about things or imagining what Istanbul would be like. Getting ready for this trip has all seemed so surreal, the idea of moving to Turkey for a year so far beyond my ability to fathom, I can't believe we're actually here now.
We arrived at Ataturk Airport at about 6pm. We bought our visas and went through customs and immigration without any problems. No questions asked. Nothing. So different from America, and even Ireland (I recently had a slightly unpleasant experience going through immigration in Dublin airport). Then we were met by our driver, who was also there to pick up another new English teacher who I'll be working with, a fellow American. We managed to fit a total of four people, four huge bags plus three small bags and a plastic bag containing a bottle of Green Spot whiskey into the drivers tiny car. The seat belts didn't work. Or rather, we couldn't find parts of them, so decided to not make a fuss and follow the example of our sofur who didn't seem too bothered about seatbelts anyway. Anyway, we made it to our hotel safe and sound, after getting our first taste of safe but quick and aggressive Turkish style driving.
We had arrangements to meet the HR person from my new place of employment, and so we went out for a beer nearby and chatted about Istanbul, what to expect, looking for an apartment, etc. We sat outside. The evening air was gorgeous. Across the little side street in the open air pub a football match was on TV. I think Richie said it was a Turkish team versus a Greek one, so people sounded pretty excited about it. Then we parted ways and myself and Richie went to a little restaurant recommended to us by our 'host' for th evening. It was on the top floor of a six storey building with a lovely view and a fresh breeze. The waiter helped us with some Turkish pronunciation: the words of the evening are cay (tea) and hesap (the bill). The food was really cheap, and so delicious. I never had an aubergine/eggplant so beautiful and tasty. I am sure I will love it here.
Off to bed now. Iyi aksamlar!