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
So Turkish kids get to see all these historical places on weekend school tours.
Most of today was reserved for Hagia Sophia, or Ayasofya in Turkish. (I think it,s because of their soft g)
Well worth the 10 lira ticket fee.
One part of it was under renovation though =(
I liked the fact that I could read the Arabic :)
There are eight discs in all in Ayasofya, and it is written:
Allah Muhammad Abu Bakr Umar (al-Khattab) Uthman (bin Affan) Ali (bin Abi Talib)
and very surprisingly Husayn (Hussein) and Hassan
Part of the mimbar
What I liked more about Hagia Sophia were the magnificent mosaics.
That shrine-thingy is a bit out of sync with the windows and symmetry as a whole -- when Hagia Sophia was a church it pointed to Jerusalem, and when Mehmed II al-Fatih conquered Constantinople he turned it into a mosque and it then pointed towards Mecca.
The mimbar, with Allah above it.
This kid was so cute! When he saw me taking a picture of him he tried to take a picture of me hahahhaha ubiquitous Japanese tourists.
In Turkey I am Japanese. Japon.
The jar was carved out of a single block of marble.
I love how many of the mosaics still retained their goldenness and vivid colours. Or maybe that was from renovation.
And there was an upstairs...
Can you believe they used to light these chandeliers by hand?
Komnenos! Famous Byzantine emperor.
On the right is his empress Irene I think, for which another Hagia was built outside of Topkapi palace.
Next I visited the Egyptian Column at the Hippodrome.
When I read that the Hippodrome was a tourist attraction on one of the brochures I was so excited!!!! Because what I thought was destroyed suddenly seemed available! Then when I went there I was told that NOTHING REMAINED OF THE HIPPODROME -- only the area is still called the Hippodrome. With a park and roads and cars and smoke.
Ish. Useless. What a letdown.
Column of Justinian
This was from Apollo,s Oracle at Delphi!
But truth be told, very ugly looking. Unimpressive.
Hahaha transcribers still exist in Turkey!!!
Next I went to the Spice Market, which is called Misir Carsisi in Turkish -- Misir = Egypt. Perhaps spices came from Egypt as the entrepot during Ottoman times.
But that is not the end of Day 2.
After a pleasant day of non-harassment, I was walking home from Taksim when this guy came up to me and started talking, blablabla. And I was still so stupid even after the first encounter on Day 1.
So his name was supposedly Arif Shah and he was from Tehran and his family sold carpets. But it was when he started speaking fluent English AND Arabic that I actually trusted him.
He told me that he knew some Malaysians who owned a coffeeshop. I was like, really. He then offered to bring me to them since he was going there at that time. So I said yes.
Only that it wasn,t a coffeehouse. It was a club. The moment we entered I sensed that something wasn,t right and was about to leave. Extreme sketchiness. And he was just so smooth. So slick. So criminal. But then my kiamsiapness and thirst got the better of me and he told me that he would buy me a drink or something.
I actually sat down. Fucking stupid. For a glass of orange soda.
Then immediately two whores from like Romania or something came and sat next to us with champagne and whored themselves out and Arif went on talking and I talked and looked uneasy when suddenly on the table behind us one person started shouting something like he was drunk and two guys held him onto a wall. Then I was like shitfuckwthamigonnadoiminsuchbigtroublenowdieeee.
And I was about to go when Arif Shah said hold on for a while lemme get the bill and I actually still fucking believed him.
And they would not come with the bill even after 10 calls.
And so I stood up.
And immediately this fat, tall, big-assed bastard grabs my hand and clenches it and says something about the bill and I was trying to wrench my hand off his grip and thinking ohshitohshitohshitnowyouredeadandrewyousuck and whether to punch him or kick him in the balls or poke him in the eyes when suddenly he let go and I ran like hell out of the club and into the street.
And so it was a story with a deus ex machina ending and I am telling it.
So there exists this perpetual dilemma for tourists in Turkey -- is this guy being so friendly because he just is or because he wants to fleece me or because he wants to fucking beat the crap out of me and steal my money.
What an experience man. Apart from your life being on the line, i loved it. Love hearing travelers tales. Do tell more in the future. How did u ever get the kids to just stand there and pose for you i will never understand. Whenever i try doing it they keep trying to grab my camera.
Name November 22, 2010 05:30 PM PST
Haha We Met Arif Shah on our holiday to.
What a guy.
Name November 22, 2010 05:55 PM PST
same story hapend to us arif shah his nme was..nd he said he was an engineer..and he would take us to a shisha bar..turned out he took us to angels cafe..were we met his loving freinds the turkish mafia..who put a bill up on the table and demanded us to pay..and we couldnt get out...!