Where am I?

Created this blog to document my travels, experiences & thoughts thru Central & South America but hell plan to blog my travels to where ever. Goofy harmless Free Spirit hoping to spend most of my time with locals & enjoy the world! So hang on as I travel, drink cervezas, raise a little hell, maybe piss off a few people & hopefully not give Canadians a bad reputation! Of course don't do these things on purpose but while having a good time well "Shit Happens"!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Short Stop in Instanbul to meet up with Yucel a former flat Mate who moved back to Turkey!

When I came to Turkey there was one person I wanted to see before I left and that was Yucel a former flat mate/room mate in Vancouver! Yucel got his Mathematics degree in Turkey and then did his compulsory military stint and got to thinking about furthering his education.

People in Turkey (and maybe other countries too) hire people or companies who search for countries and schools where foreigners can attend universities. These people/companies (education head hunters) try to match people up with schools that have programs that match their needs. There is no fee to the prospective student as it’s collected from the school! So my first thought was why the hell would schools in Canada, US, Europe, etc. pay these head hunters a fee to recruit foreign students to attend their schools? The answer is the usual for money as these foreign students probably pay 4 times the tuition that local students pay (I may have misunderstood some of the exact details so don’t quote me on this but u get the idea). I know if Vancouver schools and universities have a high number of foreign students and it’s for revenue for the school! I know that ESL schools in Vancouver is a booming business as kids from all over the world come to learn English! They pay a crazy fee to learn something that idiots like me learn from birth and still fuck it up when we talk ha ha!
So students like Yucel and his sister come to places like Vanouver and attend school for a number of years and qualify for their citizenship so they can qualify for the tuition of local students. Plus of course it’s nice to have dual citizenship for future flexibility!

Yucel wanted to attend an American university but it was quite expensive. So Yucel’s head hunter (my term) suggested the University of Victoria on Vancouver Island. The program he wanted was good, the education system was good and it was close to the US where he initially wanted to go to. So Yucel went to the University of Victoria and got his Masters in Mathematics and then his MBA. So he is well educated, bright and a hell of a great guy! I guess he wanted some experience before returning to Turkey as it is more competitive there. So he got a job with BC Hydro and worked there for 4 years I believe. He told me the area he worked but shit my brain isn’t working so good when I travel so can’t remember. I may be wrong in this Yucel but it had to do with maintaining and locating new sources of power within the province. He did very good with BC Hydro cus when he returned to Turkey he worked remotely as a consultant with them for probably 6 months.

He said that Vancouver and Victoria were very important parts of his life both educationally, work experience and in his personal life! While going to school here he met his wife. They had 2 boys while living here and got his formal work experience too! He also helped his sister attend university in Vancouver where she’s just graduating. She lived with Yucel and his family for a while too.

Yucel told me Canada was the start and end of his marriage. His marriage kind of was ending so about a year before they had planned to returned to Turkey they separated. So his family returned to Turkey a year before he did as he felt commtted to completing a work project first.

Yucel had this 3 bedroom apt in a great location by Sunset beach in the downtown area of Vancouver. He had a lease on it for 2 more months so he adverstised for roommates to help with the rent. So myself and another guy moved in for 2 months. Yucel and I got a long great and became good friends although we were like 2 opposites in life style and whatever, He is one of the nicest guys u can meet as he is kind, nice and a bit quiet more of a scholarly famkly type. While I’m what can I say but probably a kind of crazy and like to have fun!
But shit we got along great though we never drank together or whatever.

I kind of lost touch with Yucel when he returned to Turkey. But I knew his sister Meryem and got his email from her so I could catch up with him while in Turkey.

I had been to Istanbul before and I really enjoyed the city, sights and food! But it’s a city of 10 million so I didn’t want to visit it again as I try to avoid visit big cities when I travel. But Yucel lived in Istanbul so I went there to catch up with him. But as usual my timing wasn’t good as Yucel was on a business trip when I arrived in Istanbul so had to hang around for a couple days until he came home.

So I got a dorm bed in a nice hostel not quite in the crazy touristy Old city area of SultanAhmet in Istanbul but was walking distance to it and the famous Blue Mosque. My former traveling mate to Iraqi Kurdistand, Roland was staying there at the same I was in Istanbul but we never quite hooked up there. I walked to the hostel he was staying but Roland wasn’t in. But it was so touristy around there that there was no way I made it back there again. Roland was in Istanbul for the first time and only a short time until he fly home so he was busy playing the tourist. While hell I made a shitty don’t give a shit if I see touristy sites type person. But then I had been to Istanbul before so didn’t want to see the Blue Mosque, the Bosphorous and the other places again.

So in order to meet up with Yucel I plurged and go a Turkish Sim card for my Iraqi phone. Now I’m not a great phone person even at home as I always have trouble calling people or working a cell/mobile phone even in Vancouver. So I usually don’t make many calls and SMS/text msgs though I do join the real world and communicate by phone when forced to. But my phone is usually for telling time, alarm clock to catch buses or make appointments (yes I sometimes have appts to meet someone too), etc. Oh yeah another reason I don’t like phones is that is it’s dam expensive. Shit in most countries incoming calls are free but fuck in Canada we get charged for them. So shit I usually go to pay phones to make calls if they are during the work day or it’s going to be to my family or long distance to another city. Also shit dislike with a passion people on phones in restaurants, airports, buses and basically anywhere who are talking fucking loud on phones. Some people can’t live a minute without checking their phone or talking or msging on their phones. Shit I even see these Arab women chatting away on their phone in privacy under the cover of their chadiras (Saudi word for the face bandanas) . ha

So I met up with Yucel and caught up with what had been happening with our lives. Mine was the same old, same old of doing nothing nothing productive except travel! But Yucel had since got a divorce which was in the works since Canada. As he said it was a Canadian marriage and not cus he got divorced like 1000’s of Canadians. But he met his wife, had kids and then separated all while in Canada. So he never lived or was married to his Turkish wife in Turkey. So when he returned to Turkey he didn’t look for a job for 9 months as he spent the 1st 3 months with his 2 boys cus they left Canada 6 months before him. Then he telecommunicated as a Consultant with his former company in Vancouver while hanging out with his boys in Turkey. His wife is educated in IT work and worked for I believe worked for a medical company in Vancouver and did quite well. So when she moved back she moved to Istanbul and got a good position with a hospital foundation afflicated with an American hospital. So they got a nanny to look after the boys during the day now.
Yucel got a position doing similar work as with BC Hydro as it is also with a Utility company which supplies power to the country. It’s a multi national company with partnership in Austria and London. So most of the employees he works with speak English a lot in business. Yucel works hard and is good at his job so he has done quite well in 13 months that he has worked with the company. He has a number of people working under him and he seems to have a lot of responsibility. He has to constantly check his Blackbuerry for msgs in the even there is a failure at one of their powerplants. Cus when this happens well of course power shuts down and to get it going has to be determined. In a lot of cases he has to wire the insurance company in London to let them know the problem and the cost to the insurance company to fix the problem. It sounds like too much responsibility for a free spirit guy like me at this stage of my life. Shit having a job is too much responsibility as I told him. So even tho we’re like on the opposite ends of the poles in life styles well we get along. He isn’t an aggressive person in fact he’s quite a quiet guy in a lot of ways. So he told me he isn’t concerned about climbing the corporate ladder or getting a head in his career. He’s happy with his job but it is only a job and not his life. His boys are his life and he bases his work time table around the needs of his boys! So I admire him or any one who places their family before their job or material things in life. Cus after all our family and friends are more important in the scheme of things than gathering possessions, career or position or status in life! He travels a lot on business and was stranded in London for 9 days when the volcano erupted in Iceland and airlines were grounded. He could work from there to a certain extent but he was more concerned about hanging out with his boys! Like he said his job is important as he has responsibities but if he lost his job tomorrow it wouldn’t bother him. I admire a person who thinks like this as security is a state of mind and not some position, job or material things.

So I was mainly there to meet up with Yucel and so just chilled in the hostel most of the time. I usually gravitate to cool people in hostels who are doing some serious traveling cus guess we have more in common. It’s not to say I don’t get along with casual travelers too. But I usually try to avoid Partier types in hostels who just want to drink and go to clubs, etc. But it’s probably cus have no will power and if I go I end up spending money and don’t get away from the place. Hell I’ve done and probably (hell I know will) will do it again. But I’ve found since Barcelona and the party scene there that I don’t care about it as much as meeting the local & serious traveling people.

I met Martin and Jess who had met and travelled to Istanbul on his motorcycle. But they were parting ways there cus Martin was on his way east back to his home in Aussie. While Jess was flying to Italy for a while before returning to her home in Scotland! They were really nice and I enjoyed talking to them. Martin had broken his foot but not quite sure if his big bike fell on it or whatever but at the time I met him he was still limping but had his cast removed. He was working to get his Visa for Iran so I could sympathize with the time and shit he was going through. He was using the online method where an agent in Germany would do the work and u would send them a bank draft for their fee. Then they would send a number of the completion of the visa to an Iranian embassy or consulate of your choice. So I saw on his Facebook that he got it finally but was now waiting to get a transit visa to Pakistan. Oh I guess I forgot to mention that Martin was biking thru Asia back to Aussie. Yeah so we are mates on Facebook and have each others travel blogs to check too! Hell I’ve met a few travelers who I share common experiences and travel blogs with. There is Jocaqim a German guy who I met in Morocco who is biking thru Africa. Then Bruno and Adrian, 2 Swiss guys driving a camper to South Africa. So although I’m traveling by bus well we still keep in touch by Facebook and our blogs!

I also met 2 young Brits – Sean and Dan who just got out of high school and were making their first major travels to SE Asia and Aussie. Also a Japanese guy and girl who told me on the bus from Cappadocia to Istanbul who told me about the hostel. They were very nice and friendly and different for Japanese travelers. They met travelling in Cambodia and had been traveling together for 9 months or so. They went to Capetown and up thru eastern Africa. He had quite his job in IT in Japan before leaving and was planning to join some friends to start growing strawberries in Vietnam. This is very different and off the wall for a Japanese guy. She was a bit quieter but was probably going to join him eventually join him. She came from Takamatsu in Shikoyu the smallest island in Japan. I had been there cus Jolene my daughter had lived there for a while. So I joked with her about being an enykamone (shit spelling is wrong cus hell it’s Japanese meaning country hick as they call anyone from Skikoyu). My only regret was I forgot to get their email or facebook address cus they were nice cool people!

I also met 4 German guys and we chatted a lot about the places they were going and I was but there were so many of them that we didn’t trade email or whatever but really enjoyed their company. There was also a French Canadian girl who was a bit weird for me to communicate too long. Like she was into mystical shit and was in kind of her own world as she said there was a talking time etc. Too strange for even a strange guy like me!

So yeah the hostel in Istanbul was nice and good place to chill and catch up on my blogging and loading pics of my travels. It had free wireless, breakfast and dinner with a great view of the Bosphorus. So what the hell it’s was perfect for a guy to chill and hang out while waiting to meet up with an old friend!

Yeah so that was my stay in the fasincating city of Istanbul which was hanging out meeting new people. Shit the sightseeing stuff may be nice to see but it’s the people I meet that make my stay at places great!

Dam forgot to take a pic of Yucel but oh well we had a good visit and caught up with our lives!

Pics of Martin & Jess who I met in the Harmony Hostel. Martin was biking from Europe back to his home in Australia. Jess was heading back to Europe. 2 really nice people!

The bit odd French Canadian chick who was staying at the Harmony Hostel too! View of the trams from my dorm room in the Harmony Hostel! Also a pic of the Bosphorus from the common room of the hostel so who the hell had to leave the hostel to do some sightseeing!
Only sightseeing pics I took from the bus coming into Istanbul & when I walked to SultanAhmet to visit my German mate who was staying in a hostel near there!

No comments: