I’m sitting at a table in a restaurant. I’m alone. I’ve just finished my food and is drinking a beer. In front of me sits four women at another table. They are eating and sharing some wine. They are at their second bottle of wine and talking and laughing. There’s nothing special in the situation except – I’m in Turkey.
So why should you travel. Why should I travel. I live in an amazing country. Yes – sometimes it’s cold but it’s also safe and I got everything I need.
I also got an idea about the rest of the world. I got an idea about my neighbours, the Swedish across the border/water and an idea about how people live in Istanbul.
I might know my neighbour in the building I live in and as Denmark is quite close to Sweden I know a bit about them as well. But people in Istanbul? Everyday life in Istanbul? I actually don’t know.
I’ve just landed earlier today in the late afternoon. After transportation into town went smoothly I was suddenly without a hotel as hotels.com and Google had let me in the wrong direction. I managed to cancel the booked hotel and thanks to internet found a hostel 700 meters from where I was located. I had another reservation at a hotel nearby a few days later when meeting up with a friend so I wanted to stay in the area.
I was relieved. I’ve landed without that many problems. I’ve gotten a new place to stay and the guy at my hostel was so nice and made my day. I was in Istanbul for the first time.
In front of me the women have agreed on some live music by a street violinist. He’s singing as well. Turkish music. Will I learn to like it? I doubt it but enjoys the free show.
After checking-in I went for a walk in the Beyoğlu area. It’s very touristy but I like it. I walked through the main shopping street and towards the Taksim Square.
I’m surprised. The lack of conservative dressed people is very widespread. I saw it already in the Metro from the airport. Only 25-30 % was wearing a scarf and very few niqab. The same in the shopping street. The women is out there. Laughing, having fun and is dressed in often very tight clothing. This is not a Muslim conservative city. This is a metropolis.
The women in front of me isn’t wearing scarf either and just got their third bottle of wine. I like this. I’m still convinced that the situation is very different just across the bridge of the Bosporus strait but hey what do I know – I haven’t been there.