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
This is how a typical Turkish staircase looks. Super steep.
The Turks are a very colourful people. Both ways.
No other nation has embraced the colour purple as fully, as holistically as the Turks.
Especially the men.
Kinda like a national colour.
And today I visited Topkapi Sarayi (Palace), once the abode of the Turkish Sultans.
Topkapi Palace has one of the funny "i"s where it's actually an "uh" sound.
My favourite picture from the batch.
Tower of Justice
Eunuchs. Fake, of course.
The Dewan was where the cabinet met when summoned by the Sultan.
The Ottomans were a gunpowder empire.
Asian tourists and the circumcision room.
Again, sexy arches.
Part of its newer additions are in the Franco-European style. Which I thought detracted from the pretty Turkish architecture.
These are the ruins of the famed sea walls of Constantinople which helped it survive centuries of invasions. They are part of a larger system of fortifications, the most famous of which are the double walls of Constantinople (thank you Age of Empires).
Topkapi Palace overlooks the Bosporus and the Golden Horn, the latter of which was protected from naval incursions by the placement of a golden chain during Byzantine times (also AOE).
The police are ubiquitous in Istanbul, but you're forbidden to take pictures of them when they're with their weapons.
The highlight of my day at Topkapi was when I read that Topkapi also housed some of the holiest Islamic relics in the world.
And so they apparently had Muhammad's tooth and a part of his beard.
Also the swords of Muhammad, Abu Bakr, Umar al-Khattab, Uthman bin Affan, Ali bin Abu Talib, (and more interestingly) Khalid al-Walid and David.
I also visited the Topkapi Harem.
The Sultan's quarters
After the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, the ornateness was getting boring and rather annoying.
Said swimming pool.
I think this picture accurately portrays life in the Harem: locked into luxury.
Hagia Sophia, silhouette-ish.
Misir = corn in Turkish, and I think this is because Egypt was (and still is) very agricultural during Ottoman times.
The roasted (chest)nuts to the side weren't all that great.
After Topkapi I went to Kumkapi (kapi = gate) by the Sea of Marmara.
They even wear purple while fishing.
So I had Balik Ekmek (balik=fish, ekmek=bread)
And my favourite Turkish food of all time -- midye.
Midye = stuffed mussels (with rice and other stuff). At first I was a bit hesitant to try it because you know it's seafood and I'm a tourist and they're selling it at stalls right beside the road so it might be dirty and all.
But in the end I decided what the heck.
And because it was so good and the kids were so cute and it was only 25 kurus per midye I had eight of them.
And my stomach was invulnerable.
Also Istanbul does not have any trashcans.
At first I thought that it was merely a coincidence with London, but after confirming with some locals, both cities have the same rationale for this policy. Both London and Istanbul have had not-so-pleasant experience with (terrorist) bombings; the former with the IRA and the latter with the Kurdish Workers' Party.
I also watched these kids play football.
So after my seafood romp I took a train back to the Victorian Sirkeci Train Station...
... and passed by these tanks.
The Turkish army is loved by some, hated by many, and maintains a Big Brother-like prescence in Turkish cities and politics.
I also jumped onto a moving tram.
It was not because I was intent on breaking the law; rather, I got off on the wrong stop.
And so I was walking behind the tram when these local kids beckoned me to jump on board.
And so I did lah.
And later Umut and I went out with some of his friends and watched the horrendous Turkey-Portugal game from a bar on Istiklal Street. According to Turkish newspapers the next day, Turkey not only lost in terms of goals, but also in terms of goalposts scored.