Looking back at the past month, it had definitely been a wonderful time for me to experience life in different countries and be exposed to other cultures. As a novice traveler, I have along the way picked up important tips on how to do things efficiently on the road. The small little details all add up and save you the trouble in future occasions – it’s always better to be prepared for the unexpected than face the worst. Soaking in the sights and sounds of a totally foreign country gives me a sense of accomplishment as well; to explore new places and venture into unknown territories provides satisfaction for the adventurer at heart.
I missed the cheap prices in Turkey initially when I stepped into Israel and saw how expensive the food is over here. But gradually the 3 of us have slowly learnt the ropes of cooking and discovering the cheapest places to do our groceries. Things are going well so far other than our course registration which still leaves Damien and I in doubt over whether we can do 5 courses this semester. I really like the fact that the swimming pool is pretty awesome and its free for students, plus the fact that the gym membership is a pretty good deal. So yea, I am going to work on my fitness goals and prove to myself that I can do it.
As stated in my previous post, I would like to state some observations that I’ve made about Turkey in general:
1) The drivers are pretty skilled (in Israel too, so I suspect the Middle East in general) on the roads of Turkey. Like back in Singapore, most drivers would take probably a minute to park the car nicely, but here, it takes like 10 seconds for the average guy. I’ve only seen manual cars in Turkey, and add to the fact that there are so many crazy steep, inclined and uneven roads, it’s bound to be a challenge for the average Joe unfamiliar with the terrain.
2) There was one time a driver saw us walking along the road and offered a ride to town. It was such a relief because I had blisters on my feet and he really saved me from the agony. So I kind of have a good impression of the people there, despite the language barrier, many of them are nice and friendly people (except for those who want your money :P)
3) There is trash everywhere along the roads and it made me appreciate Singapore’s cleanliness and how true it is about our reputation as a clean and green city.
4) There are ass washers in almost every toilet bowl and its pretty awesome actually. But I find it weird and amusing, not really sure why it is so common here though. Not that I’m complaining of course.
5) Buses just pick up and drop passengers when and where they want along the route sometimes it seems. There is no obvious sign as to what is a bus stop and what isn’t along some of the bus routes. I guess this reflects the flexible system they have in Turkey as compared to back in Singapore. Things are always negotiable and there is obviously less bureaucracy; you always get a feeling that bargains can always be made here.
6) Because it is winter, there is a pungent smell of coal burning for the central heating system within most buildings. Not only does the smoke irritate the nose, I believe it contributes to the air pollution tremendously. Well, not that there’s much of a choice I guess, it’s either you choose the cheap and effective way of heating or you freeze to death.
7) Almost everyone smokes. No kidding. Or maybe cause it’s cold??
8) The patches of farmland are tremendously huge; the amount of land they have here is incredible. Hmmm, but China probably dwarfs Turkey haha…
9) There’s so many ruins it’s really not much of a novelty anymore. There’s so much rich culture and heritage here that you can literally walk along the road and find a piece of history from the Ottoman empire or something.
I actually have a lot more pictures of Turkey to upload but I am just so, so lazy to go through them all. Slow and steady I guess… 🙂