The Sea, Ship and the City: Istanbul

Istanbul

The beautiful city in Turkey. There are a lot to share about this pleasant and alluring City; from its past Sultans to present day generation on a traveler’s note. The Turkish are liberal in lifestyle, contrary to the common perception of a Muslim country where only 5% of the total population is constituted by Jews, Roman, Christian, Hindu and other religions. and in physical look; they are more gorgeous and beautiful than others.

 
 
Bosphorous Strait
 
Busy Port at Marmara Sea

 

Before sharing all the good notes I will first share that which is indeed most important for a traveler to be aware of if you are visiting in coming days. Like almost all the major tourist destinations, this place also has those people, who keep an eye on the tourists and give a good shot to cheat. when you are in Istanbul, you can’t avoid these two places: Taksim Square and Grand Bazaar . But be careful in Taksim Square while enjoying the evening or night and in Grand Bazaar during your shopping. Rather, I say if you are going to the Taksim square at night without any authorized guide, then chances are more to get cheated or snatched. We were snatched our dollars. We felt like the only fool in the entire town, because you can’t imagine a fraud among those beautiful people. But in the next morning one by one, almost every one of us disclosed the stories of how they got cheated in Taksim square. ‘Oh really(!)’ that was my reaction when I heard the others. Miscreants had many plots and well formulated strategies to deceive you. 
 
Turkish Tea in Miniatürk, Istanbul
 
Near the Spice Market, Istanbul

Taksim Square

It was nearly 11 PM at night when we thought of coming back to our hotel. In Turkey the dusk comes at 9 PM, so it was just a mid evening then. The place is beautiful with lots of street restaurants displaying and serving various mouth watering Turkish cuisines. Open sky tea stalls with hokas in every stall. Street singers were singing Turkish songs and prayers with guitars and traditional instruments. People gathered around the singers and chorus with them, others trying to dance with their rhythm. Few others were lying over the grass and gazing at the stars. There were stalls displaying various stocks; the jewelries, hand looms and handicrafts showpieces, books, utensils, dresses and clothes, the list goes on. There was a counter displaying paper board written on it, “Don’t bargain, I am doing caricature, not selling pieces of paper.” You stand by him and he would caricature you with no time. It was amazing to see his work, from the display it could be imagined how much respect he had for his art. There were fruits and sweets sellers exhibiting smartly to appeal the customers. Wine shops, discos and bars, also a mini park where the lovely children were playing. And the wind coming from the Marmara sea made the evening more addictive. Definitely no one could imagine that here right in this place few might be eyeing and plotting a smart plan to hunt him. 

The Taxi Stand

As we moved to the taxi parking, we were asked by one about our destination, we showed the card of our hotel and then he called a taxi and made 20 Lira (Turkish currency) deal for the drop. We found it a good deal as we came here paying the same amount of fare. We were asked to sit in the car. As we sat one person came to the driver window, and the driver asked us to pay the fare to him, the man was the controller of the stand, so we were told by the driver. I took the currency notes from my pocket and gave to the driver, he refused to accept the notes inciting that there were small damages on the corners of the notes. And he refused each and every notes I gave, finding the same excuse. He found damages in all the notes. I gave him two new notes of 10 Lira. Then he told us that we needed to pay him another 20 Lira @per head, which was not in fact the deal. That way they developed the trap as they planned to make us confused. They used the language barrier as their weapons. The driver said that we could pay him in Dollar, and saying this pretending to make us understood he put his hand in my wallet and took out 150 dollars and with an instant trick he passed it to the person on the window. Then as we started to argue with him why he took out the dollars, he used to shout, he didn’t. Then another two or three persons came to us asking, ‘what happened brother?’ Without knowing anything we tried to explain them, and at that moment a couple came from nowhere and hired the taxi for themselves. We were like hypnotized, left the seats for the couple, and with no time the taxi vanished with the couple from our sights. The whole drama was so quick that we couldn’t sense what had happened. The other persons then asked us if we noted the number of the taxi, he announced to us, “there are 2000 thousand taxis in Istanbul and no one know each other.”, this indeed was the verdict for us by them that ‘we were done.’ We totally lost our sense with that quick and instant happening. Everyone, the man who dealt with the taxi, the man standing at the driver seat and the couple, was a part of that entire plan. We were hunted.

Next day

In the morning deceive stories of others were found more interesting and tactful than ours. In every cases either they snatched or asked for the exchanged currency Dollar or Lira. What I observed; they didn’t cheat or snatch the whole wallet. This was their another strategy so that we made no shout for help and kept ourselves limited only with arguments like, ‘whether or not.’ We were angry, but as everyone, one by one, disclosed their experiences at the Square, we laughed at each other with the console to ourselves that we were not only the fool, there are others too. And felt some mental relief saying to each other that, “we are the same boat brothers.”
 

A precautionary note

Don’t hire the taxi with no light inside, ours was that kind of and everything happened in the dim light. But rest, I must say I love Istanbul for its beauty and the people I interacted.



Also Read II Manmara Sea, Princes’ Island: Buyukada II


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Dipmoina Dowarah 

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