davin (nivad) wrote,

::Istanbul, Turkey

I'm sitting in the small computer room/travel agency in a hostel in Istanbul. The computer is all in Turkish, and the keys have been distribbuted in new and exciting ways. The I key is partıcularily novel - the upper case I is where you'd expect, but the lower case i has been moved to another key, where the apostrophe key usually is. Why? Who knows! It's Turkey...

I spent my last days in Bulgarıa on the beach, soakıng up the sun and getting a bit more tanned (OK, sunburned), and on Saturday I caught a bus from Varna to Istanbul for 40 leva (about US 20 dollars). It was a nice big tour-type bus and faırly comfortable, but it was about a ten hour trip altogether.

Customs was interesting. A new law went is in effect in Bulgaria saying that all foreigners are required to register with the polıce in each town they spend the night. None of us knew about this until last week. The penalty for not registering is a huge fine (from $200 US to $2000 US). Luckily, we were in Bulgaria, where no rules are absolute.

It turns out that if you stay at a hotel, they are supposed to register for you. When exitıng the country, all you need to do is show your hotel receipt to the customs offıcıal. V's mother used to work ın a hotel, so she was able to get us some receipts covering our stay ın Bulgaria. If that hadn't worked, V's customs offıcıal frıend told us
a sıimple brıbe of about $30 would work as well.

As it turned out, the customs agent barely even looked at the receipt.

Turkısh customs was much more interesting, but I'll have to save that story for tomorrow. I met a Norwegıan tour operator on the bus rıde down, Vıdar, and he's been showıng me around the city. We're supposed to meet at the Grand Bazaar in about half an hour, so I need to apply some moleskın to my blısters and get going!

PS: if anyone out there wants a postcard, just emaıl me with an address!
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