This is a personal blog and should be taken as such. So don't sue me if what I write pisses you off. Or if I write lies. Or if I give maladvice. Or if you fail to read through my sarcasm. Et cetera.
I like stalkers.
Is it in bad taste to quote one's self?
"The greatest of debaters are not only the most eloquent -- they are the most bruised, the most resilient, the strongest of heart." -- Andrew Loh
Quotes "How many times have you chickened out?" - Qu Hsueh Ming
"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds." - Albert Einstein
"An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile - hoping it will eat him last." - Sir Winston Churchill
"Affirmative action is something the good don't need and the bad don't deserve" - A wise man
"The men who create power make an indispensable contribution to the Nation's greatness, but the men who question power make a contribution just as indispensable, especially when that questioning is disinterested, for they determine whether we use power or power uses us." - John F. Kennedy
"The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need men who can dream of things that never were." - John F. Kennedy
"I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually." - James A. Baldwin
"Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is but a broken winged bird that cannot fly." - Langston Hughes
"Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference." - Sir Winston Churchill
"Dreams are true while they last, and do we not live in dreams?" - Alfred Lord Tennyson
"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education alone will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan "press on" has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race." - John Calvin Coolidge
"We will either find a way or make one." - Hannibal
"Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake." - Napoleon Bonaparte
"For evil to triumph, it is only necessary for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke
"War begins in the minds of men, and it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must first be constructed." - UNESCO Constitution
"The proper study of mankind is man." - Alexander Pope
"My kind of loyalty was loyalty to one's country, not to its institutions or its officeholders. The country is the real thing, the substantial thing, the eternal thing; it is the thing to watch over, and care for, and be loyal to; institutions are extraneous, they are its mere clothing, and clothing can wear out, become ragged, cease to be comfortable, cease to protect the body from winter, disease, and death." - Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens): A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
"Patriotism is to support your country all the time and your government when it deserves it" - Mark Twain
"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man." - George Bernard Shaw
"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw
"Democracy is a system ensuring that the people are governed no better than they deserve." - George Bernard Shaw
"If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all." -- Noam Chomsky
"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." - George Orwell
"When the people fear the government, you have tyranny. When the government fears the people, you have freedom." - Thomas Paine
"I sense a learning: that much dumber people than you end up in charge. Look at the way things are. I'm no fucken genius or anything, but these spazzos are in charge of my every twitch. What I'm starting to think is maybe only the dumb are safe in this world, the ones who roam with the herd, without thinking about every little thing. But see me? I have to think about every little fucken thing." - Vernon God Little, Act II
If there is one word that describes the Turkish people, that word is friendly.
My trip to Istanbul was an intended dalliance on my way to Bosnia. I stayed with a friend I had just met from couchsurfing.com -- eat that, you skeptics!
The first day I walked at least 16 kilometers because I was kiamsiap. The metro costs 1.40 New Turkish Liras (YTL) per journey regardless of distance, but had I purely taken it I would have had to transfer from line to line a few times, multiplying total cost. 1 USD = 1.23 YTL, 1 Euro = 1.95 YTL, 1 YTL = 2.63 RM. The public transport in Istanbul is not very efficient in that sense.
I had simit for breakfast, which is a Turkish bread with sesame. Quite nice, if fresh. 50 kurus (1 YTL = 100 kurus)
This is a statue at Taksim Square, (Arabic taqseem -- division) which is kinda like the KL Sentral of Istanbul. You can get anywhere from here.
You know how some cities just smell good, like Dublin? Istanbul is like that. The first day my host picked me up from Taksim I smiled because the wind was hitting my face and it smelt good.
Only later did I find out that it was always windy there because Taksim is on a hill. LOL.
I also found out that Istanbul was built on seven hills, which makes it eeriely parallel to Rome,s seven hills. (I cannot find the apostrophe on the Bosnian keyboard.) So both capitals of Rome had seven hills. Very fascinating.
Now about keyboards, the Turkish keyboard is wicked funny. They have two i,s. The one with the dot (i) represents the ee sound (fit, bit, nit, mit) while the one without the dot represents the uh sound (about, between, today) in English. And they have funny c,s and s,s with dots on the bottom which make them ch,s and sh,s. But the worst part of it is the silent g, which makes no sound at all.
The Blue Mosque
Hahah not only churches have stained glass.
The structure next to the supplicant is the mimbar, from which the mufti preaches. It is similar to the Christian pulpit.
The arches really get me. Fetish-like.
Even the guards are friendly! We talked for a while because he spoke excellent English -- something most Turks cannot do.
It ended like this:
Me: Can I take a picture? Guard: 1 million lira (which is equal to 1 YTL, the lira suffers from serious inflation) Me: Pahalı!! (Too expensıve -- and the ı at the end of Pahalı is the uh sound)
Then he laughed because I could speak a bit of Turkish.
Gatala Bridge (which spans the Golden Horn or Halic)
Turkish food is yumyum! One of my favourites is kofte (upper right dish) -- spiced meatballs which are delicious.
Istanbul University. Very stately.
The Grand Bazaar is where you can find millions of shops that fleece tourists.
I love the colours.
Red and yellow are the colours of Galatasaray (Galata palace), which is the top Turkish football team. It won the championship recently or something. Some parts of Istanbul were saturated in these colours.
And Fenerbahce is widely hated in these areas.
The Turks are amused when, after dismissing you as an ignorant tourist, receive a reply in Turkish. There was this kid who was selling cigarettes and he came up and blocked my path for a while.
I said hayir (no).
Then he laughed out loud and let me pass.
Sherbet! I didn,t get some because I thought I,d see them everywhere. But my first spotting of a sherbet vendor was also my last.
I was so excited. And they are heavenly -- no wonder Edmund or somebody sold out for Turkish Delight in Narnia. But extremely thirst-inducing.
What I love about the Ottomans and Muslim empires in general is that they provided running water for their citizens. For free. In public squares. Malaysia could learn something, eh?
No trip is complete without an adventure, right? So I was walking to Taksim when this guy came up to me and started speaking English. And at first it was really sketchy and I was trying to shake him off but he persisted and just kept talking. So I actually started talking to him and he started calling me ,my friend, and all and he brought me around the Old City.
And he led me to a *Nike* shoe shop which was run by his relatives and friends or something.
Hahahahhaha these were supposedly *made in Vietnam* hahahhaha
They also made bags. On hindsight I should,ve bought one for my mother because she likes big bags in which she can throw everything -- they were going for like 7 lira. But unfortunately I decided to shop around and compare prices, and ultimately I neither had the time nor a map to navigate my way through Istanbul,s many winding streets back to this place. But dunno about the quality lah.
The colours seemed quite gaudy at first but retrospectively they were quite nice lah.
Very industrious of the Turks :)
But herein lies the twist -- and I knew it was coming but I was stupid enough to decide to play along -- the guy wanted me to go to his tea shop or something, which etched up the sketchiness just a little too much for me. So I told him that he should go back while I check out the Grand Bazaar again, and he was like where is my 5 lira tip? and blablabla.
Then I was incredulous lah and told him that I had bought him lunch and I gave him 1.5 liras for a bus back home because his feet were sore because he was wearing leather shoes without socks.
And I shimmied away into the crowd of tourists.
And to punish myself (and because of my kiamsiapness) I walked back to my place in Sisli, and that is how I walked 16 kilometers on my first day in Istanbul.
But I still think that the Nike experience was worth lunch and the bus fare lah, right?