January in review: Istanbul, Dubai

Preface: It appears that I have fallen behind in my writings. It’s a shame really because I think of things that I should write in the moment and then forget. However, as I’m embracing slowish travel, sometimes I just don’t really do anything that is interesting to write about every day/week.

My last post was about my time in Greece. Since then I have been to Istanbul, Dubai, and (now) Sri Lanka. I was in Istanbul for about 10 days. My lasting impressions of Istanbul were:

  • +: Istanbul was the first Muslim country I’ve been to. This is is a positive because it opened up some thoughts of what to expect as I continue east. To see all the impressive mosques, to hear the azan (call to prayer) in the streets, to talk to some Turks about religion, really made it a new experience for me.
  • +: Istanbul receives many visitors per year, which makes it such that it is easy to converse, find stuff you need, etc
  • -: Istanbul receives many visitors per year, which makes it very touristy in some parts.
  • +: Istanbul is a huge city and there is much to see. I stepped on Asia for the first time. There are many old, old, buildings that leave you in awe. Oldest shopping area in the world, the Grand Bazaar, stuff like that.
  • -: Istanbul is a huge city and the public transit is not well connected, I thought.
  • –: Every shop owner harasses you to come in the store! The best defense that I can recommend is to walk with a purpose (like you are running an errand) but not in a hurry. This will bring the least amount of attention to yourself at risk of “missing” the finer details as you meander.

Turkey - Jan 2013-67

Let’s not joke anyone, Dubai was a skydiving trip, for sure. I spent 15 days in Dubai and made 30 jumps. It was a blast. I was at the dropzone most everyday and on the weather days, my generous hosts showed me around the city. I didn’t feel the need to take any pictures of the sites because, while impressive, they seemed too “fake” to me (outrageous, silly, etc). I went to the largest mall in the world, ate brunch in the shadow of the largest building in the world, largest aquarium, indoor ski hill in a desert, eventually it was just…meh. However, I will never forget “The Palm”

When deciding where to go onwards, as I knew I shouldn’t stay in Dubai too long (money matters, of course, I would spend my whole lot on fun and there is so much more to see). I ended up in Sri Lanka, because skyscanner told me there was a direct flight there on a budget airline. I don’t see the point in accepting layovers in my flight details at my pace. Then I found someone on HelpX that wanted an English teacher in exchange for accommodation. While I’m not a teacher, I am a native speaker, and that was acceptable at this level of classes. I did a week stint of that in a small village and now I’m relaxing at the beach…I’ll write more about Sri Lanka later and post pics, a fun photo so far:

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  1. wow Jeremy sure sounds like a fun adventure! Stay safe

  2. Hey, Jeremy!

    It’s so great to hear that you’re continuing to enjoy a remarkable life adventure. “The Palm” view was beautiful, and I love the “Thumbs Up” mentality. Thanks for sharing. Hope your journey continues to go well. We’re with you every step of the way.

    Sending love, peaceful moments, and fun times to you –
    Tres

  3. you are the worst blogger of all time

  4. Sri Lanka in February | jOlexa.net - pingback on April 16, 2013 at 6:45 am

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