David Kiarie


Istanbul, not Constantinople! (Part 1)

Airport Coffee

I arrived in Istanbul at midnight, it was 22 degrees but it was so humid that it felt closer to 30. The queue for passport control took half an hour and there was no air-conditioning, it felt like a cattle farm!

I picked a great day to arrive, hailstones and freak floods. Just my luck. Looks like this trip is getting off to a great start!

The drivers at the taxi rank were trying their hardest to charge me 200 Lira (50 Euro) for a 40 Lira (10 Euro) fare. They tried all the familiar tricks, come on guys I've been to Africa numerous times I know how to play this game.

After talking to around 10 drivers I found one who was honest. But he gave me the wrong change after the journey and tried to run away, not so honest. I chased him and got the correct change before he drove away! He wasn't happy.

Arriving at the hotel at 1:30 A.M. the the hotel staff tried to charge twice as much, saying that the booking had been cancelled! It hadn't been cancelled. More arguing and haggling. "Just give me the room guys I want to sleep". I think they realised "this discussion is going to go on until sunrise" It probably would have...

Eventually I got to bed at 2. Notice, I didn't say "I went to sleep at 2". The walls in the budget airport hotel were paper thin and I was directly under the airplane's flight path. I eventually managed to get something like 2 hours of sleep after I decided to put on my headphones. (Note to self. Next time you're thinking about going for the cheapest option when choosing accommodation, take the second cheapest option instead!) Seriously, this was the view from the hotel window.

I think I booked a prison for the night

I laughed so hard when I opened the curtains and saw this.

Next up, Touring Istanbul.