Customer: (buys a decent set at a breakfast place in Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport)

Tenant: Thri … ahh … (then silently points at the number on the cash register)

Customer: (hands over a $100 bill)

Tenant: (silently leaves to get change, but doesn’t tell them)

CHAOS!!! 😉

Why would anyone with no workable knowledge of English (because she even struggled with the 3 -> 30 transition 😀 ) work behind the counter at a busy food place in the international flights section?

Crazy Traffic

This is crazy … it took us 3,5 h to get from Erenköy to Halkali … the traffic in Istanbul is crazy … and today was especially bad … I attributed this to three factors.

  1. It was Saturday afternoon.
  2. It was snowing, so many people took to the streets in their cars.
  3. And probably the worst was all of Istanbul suffered from a major power outage.

(Update: I was later assured it wouldn’t have been much different anyway. 😉 )

Interestingly there was no visible difference in traffic habits at all except for one instance: at intersections because all the traffic lights were out and there is no traffic police any more people would lock them up by driving onto intersections from all directions at once. Nobody letting anyone else through … crossing 3 lanes just 100m before to take an exit (on a already clogged up freeway) … ambulance pursuit … “parking” broken down cars on the middle lane … no drains, so that Metrobuses would create huge splashes of water onto the head-on traffic (Germans would talk about “Bodenversiegelung” or “impervious surfaces“) … the list of silly to right out dangerous could go on. m(
I take from this that traffic in Istanbul is already so chaotic (or at the verge of collapse) that you see almost no difference in cases where even the last elements of order are removed … it’s all basic instincts … remember we are talking about Turkey here. 😛

Although I was assured that blackouts were rare, there were indications that some other people seemed not so sure about that and took precautions. Although there was no electricity anywhere the mobile networks seemed to work just fine. Also some buildings seem to have emergency generators for getting lifts, stair case lights and automatic door locks to work again. I was honestly surprised … I would not have thought that the Turkish would seriously plan for cases of emergency (at least on a macro level). 😉

New Year’s Christmas in Turkey

You might be familiar with Christmas trees and Santa Clauscosplay” around Christmas in Europe or elsewhere … it seems to be increasingly popular in non-Christian cultures too … as I was recently able to witness in Istanbul.

But they seemed to get one thing wrong: they put these things up because of New Year’s Eve. m(

In shopping malls this seemed to be so “excessive” that a 4-year-old child innocently asked his mother:

“Mommy, why are there so many Nassreddin Hocas?”

– orig. along the lines of “Anne, niye her yerde Nasreddin Hoca var?”

It caught quite a laugh at the time … but there is a undeniable truth in his words.
Why do people in a country with a 97% Muslim population copy a (originally) heathen custom that has later been adopted into Christian tradition (thanks to Pope John Paul II) (in case of the Christmas tree) and a fictional character whose purpose has become to give Christmas also a secular face (in case of Santa Claus) and apply it to the wrong holiday?