Turkey: Istanbul Day 1

Turkish Flag at Topkapi Palace, Istanbul
The Bosphorus and Anatolia from Topkapi Palace

30 August 2009:
Had running nose a few days before the trip and on the verge of getting fever. Not such a good idea in this day and age. However, I was recommended a a lifesaver tablet – Actifed to handle the runny nose, with a pleasant side effect where it knocks you out cold. Took it 30mins before the flight and I was sleeping all the way. Had to wake up in Dubai, thanks to the landing, but was asleep again once we took off.

0805hrs: Arrived at Istanbul IST, early in the morning. As I was able to sleep all the way, even with the time difference, I was all full of energy and can’t wait to start the day. I’ve got a small little backpack in the cargo hold, so waiting at the conveyor belt number 3 for my lone backpack to emerge. Not too much time to take in whatever atmosphere is here at the airport, I’m just thinking about checking into a hotel, get a nice shower and then start wandering around Sultanahmet.

0839hrs: Arranged for a hotel pickup since I’m not in the mood to take a taxi. While waiting for the car to arrive, was able to chat with the caretaker over a cup of tea. This is my first cup of authentic Turkish tea made by a Turk, and it tastes like any ol standard Lipton tea left to brew for a long time so that it is thick.

On Kennedy Ave next to the sea of Marmara

The trip from the airport to Sultanahmet is quite scenic in itself. I have been going through the satellite maps of the route a few times, and I could tell which road the driver was taking. The view over the Sea of Marmara with what looks like oil tankers from the Balkans are just confirmation that I’m finally here. I don’t get to see too many large ULCCs here, perhaps because it has to squeeze through the small-ish Bosphorus straits.

The first thing one does in old Istanbul is to stumble upon Sultanahmet Square

Sultanahmet Mosque from the park

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Travels: Shanghai Sheshan. China

View from Sheshan (Nikon D300, 12-24mm f4)
Was planning to go to hangzhou this weekend but its impossible to get a train ticket nor hotel room next to the lake so sod it, this saturday will be a shanghai trip. And I went through my mind thinking where in shanghai I always wanted to hike to but never had the time,and Sheshan comes up.

Sheshan Basilica (Nikon D300, 12-24mm f4)

Sheshan is a place where it seems only people on company team building trip goes to and stay in one of the 5 star resorts. In fact that was the only time I went there and I did notice there is a metro line that goes there, not too bad. Did see a cathedral object top of a hill as well and a little wikipedia research tells me this is the only real hill in shanghai. 

Sheshan Basilica on top of the hill (Leica M3, 50mm f1.5 Summarit, Lucky SHD100)

Ok I confess. The reason for the trek today is to test out my new configurations before my holiday in November. For one, updated my blogging phone from Nokia E61 to the new and very nice E71. The phone is a lot smaller and easier to carry but nothing is free, the keyboard is very small now. But the predictive text seems to be making up for it. My pack is also heavy as I have packed a D300 and Mamiya RZ67 and a new hiking tripod, the 1541T from gitzo. Plenty of heavy gears I can assure you!

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