Nov. 7th, 2016

kshandra: jointed teddy bear, standing upright, wearing a faux-leather flying helmet and jacket, goggles, and "silk" scarf (Aviator)
Today's post comes courtesy of [personal profile] lilalanor: "Maybe your favourite photos you took in Turkey and why? (I am always here for people explaining beloved travel photos I don't know)"

I am hoping to actually get my act together enough to post more reflections on the trip as a whole this month, using the postcards we sent home as a rough outline, but I'll start with this.

Our first full day in Istanbul, we took the Big Bus Golden Horn route. One of the stops listed on the route was a place called Miniaturk. We weren't entirely sure what the appeal of a scale-model version of Istanbul was supposed to be when we had the opportunity to see the real thing, but we figured it'd be a good place to get off the bus for a while.

This place was incredible. Each of the models has a barcode reader on a stand next to it; you are handed a card coded for your preferred language along with your ticket, and the reader spits out a prerecorded history of the landmark in question. The model of Ataturk Olympic Stadium had buttons you could push to play the fight songs for the Big Three (none of whom call the stadium home, but that's beside the point). The airport model has an Airbus 321 that taxis around the tarmac. The park doesn't limit itself to Istanbul, either, with models of famous landmarks throughout the region. (In this video of the Fairy Chimneys of Cappadocia, you can hear the recordings I was talking about.)

We were easily there for three hours, and would have stayed longer if we'd been able to figure out the cafeteria, but we were still getting the hang of the local currency. We kept saying to each other "Okay, we'll look at this one last thing and then head for the bus stop," then turning the corner and shouting "OMG look what's over there!"

We were helpers!

And then there were the kids...

We were approached by two different groups of 10-11 year olds, the girls in this photo and a group of boys. They were working on an assignment for their English class and had to ask tourists about their stay in the country. They were absolutely charming, and their collective grasp of the language was almost embarrassing to me. I sure as hell wasn't fluent in a language that had almost no commonalities with my native tongue at that age!

[personal profile] gridlore and I have been fantasizing about going back to Istanbul almost since we got off the plane at SFO; we had just gotten really good at the city when it was time to come home. And we've been escaping into that fantasy more and more as we get closer to Election Day, pricing out airfare and hotels (we've found an adorable boutique hotel for half of what we paid for the big-name chain we stayed at in April). Short of a lottery win, it ain't gonna happen, but if it does, we are devoting a full day to Miniaturk.

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kshandra: Animated text: Closing paragraph from the 01/08/11 Special Comment - icon made with http://wigflip.com/minifesto (Default)
kshandra

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