Now that Lebanese people don't need Visas to go to Turkey, all flights are full both on MEA and on Turkish airlines which have about 3 flights a day each linking Beirut and the former Constantinople.
The flight was chaotic as usual, but one the things that struck me most on this MEA flight- apart from the ridiculous behaviours and comments of some people on the plane (i.e: confusing the gate number or the flight time with their seat number on the boarding pass - YES, I WANT TO TRASH THESE PEOPLE) - was this:
In case tourists hadn't noticed our love for esthetics, the wet wipes on the plane are sponsored by a beauty salon.
It was my 3rd time to Istanbul, but my first time in summer. It's an enormous city - about 15 million people, spread over two continents. I think it has a very similar vibe to Beirut, but without the plastic, posh and superficial attitude that we so dearly cherish. People are simple, friendly and proud of their heritage, which is a big one: the Ottoman Empire.
The city is very old in which thousands of beautiful mosques have been built throughout the centuries, and the most important one of course is the Sultanhamet - The Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmed mosque).
Islam is very present in Istanbul and yet you'll find girls in skirts having a beer in the old town. The country seems to be growing perfectly fine with Islam and secularism hand by hand making it much more tolerant than Lebanon which has about 17 religious sects that all hate each other (though Turkey has some problems with the dumbass extremists wanting a more islamic state today).
Thanks to its great history, Istanbul is loaded with tourist attractions: palaces, mosques and the very famous Grand Bazar. Unfortunately, this kind of city is not immune to mass tourism - which I hate and despise - especially whith cruise boats unleashing thousands of uncultured tourists with very limited time who want to see the main attractions of the city, eat something typical and buy 10 souvenirs in less than 3 hours. The result is sad, and sometimes very sad
And with mass tourism, countries have to express themselves in English, which I think Google Translate does a great job at helping the non-native speakers - but these things still happen and I am not sure what they meant:
And if they realise how horrible it must be to be stuck with a hard-on for 36 hours!
The food in Turkey is pretty similar to ours, it actually is the origin of Lebanese food - but ours is much better. After a few days in town it started to get really hot, so we rushed to Bodrum...
...a pleasant summer destination south of Istanbul, in order to jump in the Marmara sea for some freshness. This little city is located on a peninsula, it has lovely and CLEAN beaches, white houses (Greek style) and a great vibe
Pictures taken by Shezshe (but with my camera)
All the houses are white making the city less hot in the summer - and here is what they do to the couloured ones
Overall Turkey is what Lebanon should be in a few years. Secular, more developed with its population respecting the laws - in a Mediterranean way, a mandatory tourist destination equipped with trains, trams, buses and a metro network (maybe one by one for Lebanon) and mostly not being ashamed of our Middle Eastern heritage by always trying to look and act like Westerners.
Turkey's cool, I like it.