Byzantium, Constantinople, Istanbul... We've just arrived in all three!
We started our day in Palm Springs. I still had some minor packing to accomplish and let's be honest, I was kind of freaking out about how far away we were about to be and how long we are to be gone. I can't just stop into Target and pick up more deodorant if I run out. But it all got done and about an hour behind schedule we loaded up the truck and headed for... errands.
I still had errands to run before we left town. After they were all done, we were finally on the road to... Orange County. (hey, I thought we were flying out of LAX?) oh yeah, we had to drop off Mr Cooper with friends who are looking after him. We dropped Cooper off about 4:30 and by 5:30 we were finally on the road to... West Hollywood. Where we picked up our friend Tony who is using our car while we are gone. Then at last we were ready to go to... LAX!
Our flight left at 9:30 pm and we flew via London. By the time we got to Istanbul we had been traveling over 28 hours. I'm happy to report, we looked fresh (I can't vouch for how we smelled).
I like to think I am used to traveling to far away places. I do a fair bit of reading travel books, websites, reviews, current events... I like ot be prepared. Everything felt fairly mundane until we got on our flight for Turkey. Everyone around us was speaking some language I had no comprehension of. Uh, okay, it's starting to feel "foreign". I got very excited.
On our approach for landing, our plane flew right over Istanbul and we could see the mosques, minarets, the bridges crossing the river... everything the guide books spoke about where right there under my seat!
We cleared customs, got our luggage and met our car and driver to take us into our hotel. All the guide books tell you not to drive in Istanbul They also tell you not to drive in Paris and we've done that. After Los Angeles driving, it takes a lot to get to me.
HOLY CRAP! Istanbul is not a place to drive! Streets go from 5 lanes to one, intersections are barely observed. It reminded me of being in a taxi in China and my rule was, give them the address, buckle up and close you eyes. Tonight on our way to the hotel we were cruising down what was obviously a one way street, only one lane for cars, all cars parked on one side going the same direction, and then we cam up on 5 taxis all coming the other way to pick people up at a nightclub. All five had to back up to a wider spot in the road to let us go by. Also saw a pizza delivery motorcycle going down the sidewalk, and another taxi merge into a street by way of the pedestrian island (over it, through posts). I would never drive here. I'm already afraid to walk outside.
It's 2:30 in the morning. I need to sleep to reset my clock. Tomorrow, I'm going out for a walk!