Impressive Istiklal, Istanbul

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Istanbul is a vibrant, busy, buzzing city. This can be seen most of all on İstiklâl Caddesi (Independence Avenue), its three kilometre long main shopping street.

With more than 3 million people visit the street on a weekend day, it's never quiet. Even on weekdays, late into the evening, people were walking the street, visiting the shops and taking in the sights.

And what sights - İstiklâl Caddesi is full of amazing, wonderful sights, sounds and smells that make Istanbul a great city, such as:

  • A man walking along with monkey on a leash.
  • Ladies wearing full burqas, wearing headscarves slowly sauntering while other woman in bikini tops sashayed by.
  • A man dressed as an Ottoman soldier, with nobody paying any notice
  • Men walking down the street, holding hands, embracing, laughing, touching, all completely platonic.
  • Men selling roasted chestnuts, with nutty smoke arising from each cart.
  • Men selling mussels, with lemons strewn among the shells
  • A tram clanging its way up and down the street; one time with a band blasting out funky rock music from an open air carriage.
  • Busking men playing traditional Turkish instruments, the music from which mixed with the modern beats coming from he nightclubs on the upper floors of the buildings.

What's in Monaco

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Monaco - a tiny country on the French Riviera - is more like a city state. Here's what I saw when I was there.

Monaco is a rich land; the glamour architecture buildings are either replete with gilt, flourishes, style and flair or sleek and smoothly modern.

Most of all, Monaco is a playground for the rich and gaudy, ideal for people watching. I saw:

  • A young man with big, blonde hair and golden sunglasses clutching an older woman as they sashayed through the streets.
  • A man accompanied by five woman complaining about where to get his shirts made.
  • A young wife emerging from a designer store saying, "thank you, it was wonderful".
  • A larger man wearing a bright purple polo shirt whilst driving a bright orange sports car.
  • A young man wearing white shirt and khaki shorts fuming about "ultra-conservative countries that have no bearing on reality".
  • A young woman sporting bright pink lipstick alongside bright green sunglasses.
  • A glamorous Shirley Bassey-esque woman arguing with hot-headed taxi driver, then walking a few metres away and laughing "ha ha ha" whilst haughtily tossing one hand in the air.

Below, my favourite photograph I took in Monaco shows a woman wearing sunglasses, relaxing by a swimming pool, and not a single other person to be seen.