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Reader VHM sends in this pithy report from Turkey. He was in Kyrgyzstan for a conference and I recommend Turkish Air and Istanbul as a excellent connection point and stopover:
I’m staying at the Vardar Hotel.
Next door is the Lush Hotel.
Once when I was coming back to my hotel, I mistakenly started to go up the steps to the Lush Hotel, but stopped dead in my tracks, because the sign and certificate on the wall called it the “Lush Hip Hotel”. Whoa! I thought that I’d better not go in, especially since it’s said to be an establishment for spending a “honeymoon with passion” and they pay a lot of attention to zodiac signs. Then I thought, “Well, maybe ‘lush hip are Turkish words,” but couldn’t make any sense of that. So it turns out that the hotel is supposed to be “lush” and “hip”. The lack of a comma made it seem otherwise!
Some miscellaneous notes about Turkey (at least as I’m seeing it in Istanbul):
- lots of women smoke
- no pubs
- guys with big thermos vessels full of hot tea on the street
- some people wear clothing that is very Alpine looking (hat, jacket, etc.)
- there are very elaborate shoe shine stands on the street that are portable — flashy gold bottles full of different waxes and polishes (will try to take a picture of one)
- neat workmanship here (doors, locks, windows, etc.) all fit snugly; roads, fences, buildings, heating systems are all of good quality; pretty lawns and gardens — no wonder the German factories like Turkish arbeiter
- people look purposeful and energetic, smart
- young guys like to wear black leather jackets and go half-shaven
- food is excellent! this is one country where I’d never think of going in a McDonald’s or Burger King
- spices galore!
- HISTORY all over the place
- fancy, fancy sweet shops and elegant perfumeries
- RELIGION is prominent
- things are pretty expensive — I can go through $100 very fast
Definitely worth coming to and staying longer than I am (2.5 days), though, as usual, I’m packing a lot in.