Thursday, January 29, 2009

Settling in Istanbul

My apologies for not having posted for a while. I'v been extremely busy getting settled in Turkey.

Blogs should resume more frequently starting next week.

However, here are some first impressions of the city and its inhabitants:

  • The panorama from elevated vantage points is absolutely breathtaking. The Bosphorus strait dividing the European and Asian sides of the city is a site to see.
  • The harmonious mix between modern and historical architecture can be experienced all over the city. Istanbul is certainly a city of contrasts.
  • People are incredibly welcoming and nice, they will often go out of their way to give a helping hand.
  • The food is delicious. A popular delicacy here is mehdya, which consists of mussels stuffed with rice and spices. They are sold everywhere by street vendors.
  • The country's security situation is obviously tense as you will find metal detectors at the entrances of almost every mall, hotel, university, metro and ferry station and government building.
  • The political divisions between secular modernists and conservative Islamists is glarring and obvious. People don't shy from discussing the situation with foreigners.

Cheers from Istanbul!

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