Turkey Istanbul : Sultanahmet Day 2

I’ll be honest.

I slept 7 hrs during the daytime instead of touring around. My mom was shocked! Ahahaha oh well jet lag is real. I’m not the type of person to walk around and tour. I just like easygoing, relaxed, eat delicious food type of person.

All this walking around in the humid heat and sun stresses me out!

But we woke up early and went to the Grand Bazzar. I took this photo on our way to the Bazzar.Our purpose was to exchange at a cheaper rate. I researched the cheapest rate for exchanging, and a lot of tourists recommended the Grand Bazaar.

Grand Bazzar is huge. Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos that I took but I recommend everyone to have google maps, if you ever want to go back home. It has 61 covered streets with over 4000 stores. And be prepared to be heckled. Everyone’s going to try to talk to you to sell you something.

We actually ended up bargaining a lot for really beautiful things. We bought shoes, Turkish tea cups, and cushion covers. The patterns and the prints of these products are absolutely beautiful. But I even though I bargained like my life depended on it(I’m a really cheap person!!), my mom and I still had no clue how much the items really costed.

These are photos of the teacups that we bought.Two teacups & one teacup plate costed us 60 liras.

Coming back, we passed by some beautiful streets.

We headed back to the hotel and I ended up sleeping 7 hrs and waking up at 9 p.m. that day.. oh well!!

We went to a restaurant that was near the Altari(?) bazaar and ate a variety of appetizers & a traditional dish which is chicken or beef or pork in the clay and is heated in the fire and when it’s ready, you crack the top and pour it on top of rice! I forgot the name of this cuisine, if someone knows please tell me. Thank you kindly.

And the waiter from this restaurant recommended us to go to Ortakoy and see the night view of the bridge. He also showed us how to buy the transportation card: Istanbulkart. Which costs 6 liras but the card was a little difficult for us to purchase through the machine. The Istanbulkart is 6 Turkish liras and you can use it on the metro, tram, and bus. But all of these public transportation ends at 12 am so keep that in mind. We ended up going to the last station of the tram 🚊 and couldn’t find the bus station so we ended up taking a cab which costed us 25 Turkish liras. Again, we had to bargain with the cabs.. a little frustrating but we still made it to Ortakoy. My mother always takes the best photos.

That’s the mosque and next to the mosque is the bridge. It’s right by the water but there was really nothing much to do. We ate gelato and walked around for a bit and bargained with a taxi AGAIN to go back to the hotel. Cost us 35 Turkish liras, but the cab driver put EDM music on blast and stopped short and raced so fast as if we were in a club or something. It was a fun ride.

And my mom was so tired she fell asleep immediately, and sucker me. I couldn’t go to sleep because I slept 7 hrs during the daytime. Haha.

Conclusion: Minnie is not fit to tour.

And FYI, after we left (of course), Turkish liras worth plunged to the bottom so when we were there 1 usd was 4.70 Turkish liras. But just a few days ago, it became the lowest it’s ever been, which was 1$= 6.92.

I heard 2 merchants in the Grand Bazzar committed suicide. Hope things get better there.

Istanbul(Sultanahamet): Cat Heaven Day 1

I get the opportunity to travel places because of my sister who works at the airline company. And the three of us(mother, sis and moi) wanted to reunite somewhere. After many consideration among multiple different locations, we came to a conclusion to tour someplace where it’s cheap. How Korean of us.

Turkey has been going through this political chaos due to the current conservative President Erdoğan. When I arrived in Turkey the inflation caused to the fixed interest rates has been gone up to about 20% alone this year. So it was good for people like me, who come from Americaaaaaaa that have US dollars can buy a lotttt of Turkish Liras. For example, the 100$ was about 460~470 Turkish Liras.

But anyways, back to my travel log. I got to use Turkish Airline with a direct flight that took 10 hrs with a staff ticket. Which means, I only pay tax and get the leftover seats. A deal and a HALF!

Met my mom at the airport in Nero Cafe, and we headed to our hotel. We couldn’t check in yet so we just headed upstairs to have our Turkish breakfast.

I asked for water and I didn’t understand the lady’s accent so she made fun of me and made my nickname to “water” and teased me every morning until we left. 🙂 The hotel kitty that lived right outside of the hotel had no name because apparently the kitty doesn’t catch any mouse thus did not deserve one 😂We walked around until we could check in.Beautiful displays of spice&perfume and a lamp store, the only thing that bothered me was that it was a very touristy area so every restaurant and every store tries to heckle you for your attention to sell stuff or to make us eat at their restaurant. Literally every store. The outside interior of Saint Sophia.

Just walked around the area to see what’s in the area.The outside of the Blue Mosque. I didn’t have a scarf to wrap my head around, so we my mom and I decided not to go in.A souvenir shop with a kitty.

And to finish off our evening, we decide to go back to one of the places that I’ve bargained earlier that day. I ended up getting the bread w/ hummus & tzatziki and tea and baklava for free. The lamb chops were amazing. And the owner was flirtatious but who doesn’t like to joke around and have a laugh ?

Hey who doesn’t like free baklava ?

Middle East Doha, Qatar

My relative lives in Qatar and I’ve been there before but it was my first time to visit a market called Souq Waqif . And oh boy I have to say, I can finally say that I’ve been to the Middle East.

The beautiful patterns of the coin wallets, lamps, the smell of cloves, the people trying to sell souvenirs saying “Nihaoma”. A little on the side note, one thing I’m glad about living in New York is that due to the large Korean population, they don’t say Hello to me in Chinese or in Japanese.

Anyways, it was really unique and interesting to experience all the different type of Arabic culture, such as Syrian, Lebanese, Pakistan, Indian, etc restaurants everywhere with the sweet scent of the smoke of sheesh(?). In the back alleys, a huge pet store, selling perfume, cloths and Arabic sweets.

Street performance of a group of men singing, the women covered in hijab and the men wearing their traditional clothing was not something I’m used to seeing everyday.

It’s now winter in Doha so it had the perfect weather, 65 F. A perfect getaway from the freezing New York.

I got to have Syrian food with my relative and I have to say, boy oh boy it was delicious. Hummus and baba ganoush and something wrapped around in grape leaves with the freshly made bread. Oh, my gooodnessssssss. It was so good and I can’t forget the mint & lemon drink; which was not too sweet and not too sour, just perfect. It was just a perfect evening to spend time with my relative with. Even though we haven’t seen each other for a long time, it felt as if we were together the whole time.

Doha was nice to visit for a couple hours. I hope to see visit again!

But first, next stop is Paris. Once again 🙂