In December 2009 I traveled to Istanbul with four friends from LSE. While rummaging through some papers I stumbled upon a list of quotes from the trip.
Istanbul was definitely not one of the most diverse cities that I have been too. In fact, it was clear by the stares that Jahmil and I got that many of the people living there had never seen black people. Needless to say, I had people yelling “Halle Berry” at me. Clearly she and I bear no resemblance at all!
“Everything is free today!”
“How can I help you spend your money?”
“I want to sell you fake stuff!”
“I want to sell you things you don’t need!”
“How can I get your money?”
One of the most interesting experiences in Istanbul is definitely the markets. Because there is a countless number of vendors, they get very creative in their attempts to get you to their stall in order to spend your money. The above quotes were things that were actually being yelled at us as we walked by. Why none of them were effective for getting us to buy things it definitely made for a very interesting and fun afternoon.
“I have ____’s extra condom if anyone needs it!”
In Istanbul hookah is a huge thing. You see people partaking in it everywhere you go in the evening. The hostel that we stayed at had hookah in the community area, so of course we all partook in hookah and a friendly game of Phase 10. The hostel employee was kind enough to give us “condoms” so that we wouldn’t get our germs on the hookah. They were plastic things that you could pop on the end of the hookah when it was your turn and take off when you finished.