Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Day 1: Istanbul not Constantinople

Once upon a time, people would dress up for the airport, ie when they were travelling. That's changed. Why though? Here's a theory: Back then, you wanted to create a great impression on the people who would greet you at your destination. All four generations of your family would crane their necks trying to look into the airport from five in the morning in the summer heat eagerly waiting for you to coolly walk out with your trolley. But now your family has a life, choosing their beauty sleep over that first glimpse of you and you're lucky if you have a single relative waiting impatiently on the other side. More often than not, it's just a driver. And so, travellers have started dressing down and are wont to make mucky appearances.
But the transit passengers at Istanbul airport dashed this theory to smithereens. Great sense of style!

We (the mother, sister and I) didn't have Turkish visas, we were just gonna spend 3 hours in transit at Istanbul. BUT! We got off the plane - onto the ground to get on the bus that would take us to the airport building! We stepped on Turkish soil (or cement)! That totally counts!

That being said, Istanbul airport is gorgeous. I always opined that Dubai Duty Free was hyped and it is. I dislike it intensely. No one EVER talks about Istanbul airport. The decor is beautiful and has an old world feel to it. There's a bookstore on your right just as you step into Duty Free and so it was a hit with me the same second. There are plenty of shops that a 'commoner' must just pass by (as many did) - Armani, Bvlgari and the like but who hasn't seen those anyway? The REAL shop that's worth a browse is one called the Old Bazaar (how apt) and sold wines, bracelets, baubles, ceramics, gorgeous scarves (anyone who bought one wore it =D ) with the evil eye image painted on every object conceivable (except the scarves). Conscious of my bare neck, I squandered a LOT of time trying to pick one, my indecision driving the mother into a frenzy about missing our connecting flight to Prague. And when I finally made my selection the cashiers were dawdling, driving me into a frenzy. We almost missed the flight!

don't miss the eye under the board
Superstition? Call it what you will. The image of the blue eye is said to ward off the 'evil eye' of envious people who may not wish you well.

it's all over the place! @evil eye: BE GONE!

Heard the song in the title of this post? No? Give it a listen. If nothing it'll bring back childhood memories of watching Tiny Toon Adventures :P

Picture courtesy: the mother. I was too excited to take pictures.


  1. Interesting!!! Why did u say you were cringing silly. And your comment abt the airport hit home:(.It's not beauty sleep it's mumbai traffic

  2. I just luv de way U describe Ur adventures, experiences . Trust me collect these write ups... tomorrow InshaAllah U HAVE de capability 2 b. A very FUNTAASTIC WRITER.
    Ur gr8 admirer

  3. @anon: yea i know it's coz of the traffic i just wanted to make you feel bad only a teensy bit :P it's even better to pop into your room bellowing HIEEEEEEEE and smother you guys with hugs and kisses :D
    @AS: i'll probably have to start my own magazine to see them in print :P thanks for the support was lovely seeing i had comments from you'll! <3

  4. Now I've got that song stuck in my head!!!

  5. Cant wait for Day 2,3,4..... :) The evil eye concept is interesting. Have a look at the Indian Evil eye or u may say the evil demon: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Karingannu.JPG

  6. @Mave: catchy ain't it :D
    @K: I'm not finished with Day 1 yet! There's a tiny shop in Oberoi mall in bbay called 'Nazar' or something that sells all this stuff.

  7. It's always a pleasure to read you...

    I remember when I came to England, it seems like centuries ago, I had worn a suit and tie through out the journey... the plane stopped at Istanbul for couple of hours for re-fuelling... I had enough time to venture around the airport and for a cup of coffee... I was amazed to see the size of the cup so called “fincan”, there was no milk or sugar, it it tasted awful, every sip was the dreadful struggle...

    the video clip's reminisce too...


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