Impressions of Turkey.

The trillion lira lottery. Woa – thats a lot of lira. Old lira, not new lira. New lira it would only be one thousand, or one million, depending on your definition of trillion.

Doors dont open outward be default, most open inwards. But not all, that would be consistant. Instead, you try to use Sherlock Holmes obversvation and deduction powers as you walk up to the door. Is there a plate covering the gap between the doors? Is there a handle you “grab” or “push”? Are there footprints or a welcome matt in front of the door on the left or right? The last one is not always helpfull, sometimes the door matt is in front of the locked door.

People hosing away snow. Not always apparent that its cold enough to freeze water, even though you are hosing away piles of snow. Needless to say the marble steps in front of the hotel are treacherous. No salt or even snow shovels in sight.

Endless internal company politics and power struggles in the customer companies, reducing them to paralysed beaurocratic blame machines.

7.5% beer in 750mL cans for a couple bucks. Oh yeah.

Highspeed wireless networks almost anywhere – usually only allowing HTTP though, which again proves how useless my company's IT policy is. No VPN = no email. And no webmail either[1].

Food is pretty bland, lots of meat and bread. They even have a dish called “Pide” (pronouced pee-deh) that mean “bread with meat” and is kinda like a long squished calzone.

Traffic is pretty nuts, Istanbul is ridiculous, Ankara is much better. Both not anywhere near as suicidal as Cairo

My company's office is staffed with very nice people, and a great office boy, who is probably 50+. His name is Tayyar, (pronounced Tire), and he keeps the office clean, fetches lunch, and drives me around. He doesn't like women drivers much, and points them out to me all the time.

Religous fervour is non-existant. Apart from some young holigans driving around in a car with loudspeakers going on about some cartoon, and handing out leaflets, you hardly notice the religion. Even the call to prayer goes almost completely unnoticed. Not like in Egypt where you have to wait till afterwards to be heard, and the guy screwing you over in a meeting excuses himself to go pray. They dont say “salem waleykoom” to each other like in Egypt, they say that “only they very religious people say that, normal people say 'Mahraba', which means hello.”

Thats nice …


[1] They had it for a while, but only on the internal network, which meant you had to VPN in to get your web mail. Yeah, that was pretty brilliant I thought. The official reason was “so that you could access your email from another office”. Thing was, it was so retardedly slow that it was faster to walk back to your office, print the email, walk to the printer, and walk back to where you were.

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