Friday, February 13, 2015

11 October: Johannesburg to Dubai to Istanbul

Dubai International Airport: So we left Joburg last night on a very busy Emirates flight. Luckily I had possible the only empty economy seat next to me. But, I still didn't sleep very well.

I was already exhausted by the time we left South Africa (at 22h00), but stayed up for dinner (some chicken and rice dish, with lots of crackers. Pretty good really) and watched a movie. There wasn't a lot of anything I was especially interested in. Which was fine since I really wanted to sleep.

I ended up watching Tammy. Seemed to be pretty much standard Melissa McCarthy fare. Which is fine by me, I generally quite like her for light entertainment. And the rest of the cast was pretty star-studded too. Weird seeing Susan Sarandon now playing a granny. She's come a long way from RHPS!

I dozed as much as I could manage but never really got comfy, I'm too short and they didn't have any foot rest things under the seat in front :(

I was pretty disappointed that we didn't get one of those overnight flight packs (with the teeny toothpaste & tooth brush and an eye-mask). I really could've used the eye-mask on this flight!

Woke up for a very early breakfast, which was terribly boring. Just a muffin (orange flavoured?) and a mini croissant. We landed soon afterwards.

Before landing, I remembered that I hadn't got myself a new travel diary and also hadn't brought a pen!

Luckily I found both at the airport :) Shew. After buying that, we got ourselves a Starbucks coffee (frappachino for me). Honestly, before our USA trip, I wouldn't have given Starbucks a second look, but man, I do enjoy their frappachinos now!

Istanbul: The wait at Dubai didn't feel too long. And it was an easy flight to Istanbul from there. I watched Edge of Tomorrow (The Trucker had watched it on the flight to Dubai and said he'd enjoyed it). I also enjoyed it :) It was vaguely similar to that other movie where the guy keeps waking up in the same moment. And I'm not so sure about how it ended ... but otherwise perfect plane fodder.

I had a very nice lunch on the plane too. And before too long we were ready to land. Shew it was very cloudy coming into Istanbul and we couldn't see a thing thru the plane cameras till we'd almost already landed.

I also wasn't very impressed with the Emirates Air Hostesses ... wanted some water a while after lunch had been cleared and I must've pressed the hostess button at least 8 times with no response! I had to stop 2 different ones to actually ask for my water before it arrived. Yoh!

Passport Control was super smooth but we waited about an hour for our bags to arrive on the carousel. Then we walked thru, found the guy with my name on a board and headed for the Saruhan Hotel.

Quite a nice drive. They have all these manicured gardens on the verge with flowers planted in patterned arrangements. And it's along the coast. Smell the salty air :)

There are loads of old fortress walls and the place seems a haphazard mix of old and new and under construction. Our hotel is in the Old City and a lot of the roads are cobbled and they're very thin and twisty. Was amazed at trying to drive them (so many one-ways)!

After checking in, we decided just to dump our bags and head out, it was already 5pm. We have a 5am pick-up tomorrow morning for our flight to Capadoccia. So we decided to just get the lay of the land around our hotel and grab some dinner.

We strolled around, looking at little supermarkets. Very few brands we recognised! Definitely one of my favourite things to do while traveling :) Haha.

We found an ATM, got some cash and then started looking for somewhere to have an early dinner. While wandering, we walked past a fresh pomegranate juice seller so decided to try a small cup. I quite liked it, it did make my tongue feel weird tho, from the oddly sour taste.

Another thing we've noticed already in our short time here are all the stray cats and dogs! What I find so weird is the dogs are all big dogs, not small ones (like strays I've seen elsewhere). Saw quite a few Gypsy-like cats too ... awe, I miss those two cuties!

For dinner we decided on Kosk 2 because of it's terrace, 4-storeys up, which gave us a nice view of Hagia Sofia Junior, a little bit of sea and all the houses nearby.

The Trucker had his first Efes beer (pretty much the prevalent local beer here) and I had an Apple Tea (which had been recommended to me before we came). We both liked it (which surprised me as I'm not a tea-drinker).

To eat we started with some pita and babaganoush. And got a complimentary yogurt dish a little like tzatziki (without the cucumber). The babaganoush wasn't how I remembered it from Egypt. It had quite a smoky flavour but I still liked it. The Trucker less so, as there were also red peppers in it.

For mains I had wanted "Turkish Ravioli" (Manti) which was on the list of Turkish dishes I wanted to try, but they were out. Instead we had a Beyeki Kebap (lamb & beef mince in a roti with a yummy tomato paste/sauce & more yogurt) and a Kosk Pide (which seemed to be a mixed pide). I liked the Kebap the best.

After that we walked the cobbled streets back to the hotel. Had a shower and were in bed before 9pm with a very early alarm set!

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