Friday, 27 April 2012

Last bits of London & off to Istanbul

20.04.12 - LONDON

Today I died and went to heaven...for about and hour and a of the highlights of my trip so far...the shoe section of Harrods.
Today I held in my arms shoes that I couldn't even dream of, and I vow that if I ever win lotto that I am getting on a jet plane and spending $20,000 on 6-7 pairs of the most incredible heels ever.
Every designer you can imagine was there in all its glory including the likes of Jimmy Choo, Alexander Mcqueen, Prada, Chanel, and Gucci. And then I saw them, the most incredible pair in the entire room, they were Gucci, they were 1500 pounds and they nearly brought a tear to my eye I wanted them so badly. Nude coloured satin encrusted with tiny light blue swavroski crystal diamantes all the way down the heel also, just beautiful. Then as I held them in my hands, wearing my little blue backpack, puffy jacket and geeky traveling/walking shoes on, the assistant came over to me and asked if I was ok, I said that I was in heaven and clearly my accent meant he had no idea what I said and just stared back, so I said it again, still no response, then the third time was just awkward and the moment was lost but I said it anyway and he finally got it, smiled and walked away.

Had to purchase something in Harrods, so I went to the makeup section in search for MAC, got myself some new foundation and a new bright red lipstick.
Cracks me up when you go into the produce section of Harrods, where you can buy your onions and potatoes etc, for about 3 times the price you would normally pay, and there were clearly people with way too much money doing their weekly grocery shop there, obscene.
A friend told me that the staff at Harrods enter the building through tunnels from another building close by, they then go into hair & makeup plus there is a tailor there too for any last minute adjustments, I do have to say though that all the staff look immaculate.

Popped in to the science museum for a nosy, killed an hour or so and there were some interesting things in there, heaps of space travel stuff, really interactive as well but all in all it wasn’t as great as I thought it was going to be.
It had 4 levels, the last was called ‘The Future’, and all it was was 3 round tables with projector images on them telling you about ideas of the future like tiny robots you swallow and they go directly to the place that needs fixing, like a cancer tumour and they will remove all the cancerous cells without damaging any other healthy cells in the future.

That evening I caught the tube to Notting Hill and met up with Josh & Monique, went to a local pub that had a Thai restaurant out the back. They put a time limit of an hour on your seats cause they are so busy, I asked for a Chicken Green Curry, the lady brought me a Red Curry and when I said about it she got all upset and was saying how I ordered number 20 and that is the Red Curry. I tried to say that I didn’t even use a number nor did I even look at the number and she basically said that I had to have it ha, it was great anyway.

21.04.2012 - LONDON
It was the weekend which meant I got to hang with Sam, Lydia & Mel properly which was great, we went to Camden markets which were as brilliant as they were 10 years ago, then went out to lunch.
Finally found amazing coffee and where do you have to go to get it? A NZ owned restaurant that roast their own coffee onsite, I guess they arrived at the same conclusion I did and figured that to get good coffee you have to make it yourself. So it’s definitely worth the tube to Old Street, its tucked down a side street, but its called Ozone, with Kiwi staff and amazing food (I had the steak sandwich). They also have an awesome cocktail, blood orange snow cone in a glass with  a double shot of manuka honey 42 below to pour over the top, totes making that one when I get back home.

On a quest to find this minotaur Dad was telling me about lead us to Postmans Park near St Pauls, I googles Minotuar Sculpture London and for some reason it came up with this park, there was no minotaur there, however there was a big wall with plaques from back in the late 1800’s to memorialise people who gave their lives to save anothers. For example people that had drowned while trying to save someone, or a man pulling 11 people out of a house fire only to succumb to the fire himself.
So will need to look further into where this minotaur could be so I can find it when I’m back in London.

Had some drinks at home then headed off to The Duck to have farewell drinks for Andy Smith (Faz) who is returning to NZ soon. Had an awesome night out, the pub closed at midnight thank god cause I needed to be up at 4am to catch a taxi to the airport. The previous night I double checked my flight details cause for some reason I thought I was flying at 9amish, and I got an email the other day saying that BA is looking forward to seeing me at 7am on Sunday, I figured they meant check in. Anyway, I found that I was in fact flying at 7.10am, which meant I needed to be at Heathrow for 5am, with no tubes running then I would need a taxi, there goes 30 pounds I won’t see again, could have bought more MAC with that.

Got back to the flat and on the menu was toast with peanut butter & cheese, cheers Sam for introducing me to that, mowed a few slices then had to say my goodbyes to everyone as I was getting up in 3 hours time.
Had a wicked time staying with Sam & Lyds, amazing hosts and made life while in London so easy, I couldn’t have asked for more and I thank them heaps for everything, hope I can repay the favour sometime.

22.04.2012 - ISTANBUL
Not sure what it is about Kiwi’s but they look a certain way, take away the Kathmandu puffy jackets, the NZ themed T-shirts and hoodies & the greenstones, they still look like Kiwi’s, especially the guys. So they were everywhere, along with the Aussies, taking over terminal 5 at Heathrow all catching the same flight to Istanbul. It felt like I was back in NZ, that was until I got a coffee and was thrown back into the reality of being in London.
So with my Bulmers Cider hangover and terrible coffee I boarded the plane, sitting next to a Kiwi girl of course, her name was Claire. Hoping to get a bit of shut eye during the 3hr 15min flight, the screaming baby two rows in front of me, she screamed and screamed and would not let up, and we hadn’t even taken off yet. Then her 2 year old sister decided that she needed to join in but had to make sure she was louder and produce a more ear piercing scream, awesome, the little men inside my head that were already hammering away then got their jackhammers out.
Time passed relatively quickly considering the noise pollution, also magically managed to get a 20min nap in which was an unexpected bonus, flying into Istanbul is really lovely, the country side is beautiful and really green this time of year.
If you are a kiwi then getting into Istanbul is just as easy as if you were a local, no need to get any visas, just walk straight on through, the Aussies and Kiwi’s were separated at this point cause they all needed to go buy visas where as us kiwis got through way quicker.
Collecting baggage was funny, it was a case of spot the non-kathmandu pack, and you had to double check your baggage tags to make sure you hadn’t picked up someone elses pack.
No customs, well there was a red and a green door but just like in London no-one was even standing there, go through the big doors and there was a wall of peoples names in front of me so just had to start at one end and work my way down to try and spot my name eventually found it and the lovely man to pick me up took me to where the rest of my group being picked up today were, had to wait here while he tried to find the last girl. So it was then that I met Liz & Brian from Australia, who have spent the past 3 weeks traveling around heaps of real interesting places including Israel, however they wouldn’t recommend going there, just a nightmare with security everywhere. The weather is gorgeous, just like it is in Nelson when I left, not too hot but real sunny and the same feel in the air.
The last girl didn’t end up showing so we left, took about 40 minutes to get to the hotel from the airport in crazy traffic for 1pm. The city is way greener than I had imagined and a lot cleaner, there are tulips everywhere at the moment leading up to their tulip festival next week, so there is heaps of colour around. There are loads of parks throughout the suburbs and city, and the locals make the most of it and there are heaps of families enjoying the sun in the park. There are mosques everywhere, and they are stunning, some are absolutely massive and stick so clear up out of the skyline, not many high buildings so the towers are clear to see for miles.
I got dropped off at my hotel and Liz & Brian then got taken to their hotel, tried to have an hours sleep before I was to be picked up again to be taken to the conference about the tour but was too excited I think although I was so tired and starving. Got picked up and went to the conference which was awesome, a Turkish man gave us all a run down on the story of what happened and it was so interesting, then he went through where we are going and what we are going to see along the way, Shrapnel Valley cemetery is right in the middle of things so it’ll be super easy to get to. The whole tour is so well organised, everything has been thought of and we basically just need to turn up, the guides are super lovely and are funny people, great sense of humour here.
Have the room were silver tops from Australia, who clearly didn’t look into what they were signing up for before they came out to this. The questions from them were unreal, and they all had horrified looks on their faces when they were told about sleeping out on the grass, about how far we will have to walk from the bus to the service area etc, it was really funny, I just hope they do cope and don’t cause too many dramas. But we later found out that they are going to be on a different bus to my group which was awesome to hear.
The sun was setting as we drove back from the conference, and the sight was spectacular, gutted I couldn’t stop for a photo but the sun put bright pinks and oranges across the city and the light and colour bounced off all the mosques and the city looked like it was out of a fairy tale.
Found 2 more people that are staying at my hotel tonight, Mark from Oz who lives with his wife Jenny from Germany in Germany.!
After the conference, I was dying for something to eat so Mark, Jenny and I went walking the streets for some elephants foot, or if you aren’t my Dad, a kebab. Didn’t have to walk far before we were accosted and sat down at seats outside this shop, lovely people, just pushy when it comes to wanting to sell you something. I ordered a mixed kebab, chicken & lamb, cause that was the favourite of the waiter, cost me 10TL, Mark got the same and Jenny got a salad. The meat was super tasty, however I still would rate Akbabas on Bridge Street as still better. The kebab here was served completely open, well the meat, lettuce, tomato and rice was on a plate and the just had a piece of folded flat bread sitting on top of the plate. Mark and I didn’t quite know how to go about eating it, we just did the best we could but there was no sauce on it so was pretty dry, it was tasty and after not eating anything since 7am on the plane I would have eaten anything. After dinner we went for a beer, not sure of the kind of beer it was we just ordered ‘Beer’, cost us 7TL for a pint and it was great. Got to know Mark & Jenny a bit better, she is in her final year of becoming a vet and Mark is working in a bar in Berlin and reckons that even if you cant speak German that I would have no trouble finding bar work there if I wanted to work for a bit.
Now I’m back in my room about to hit the hay, up at 6.30am, going to be a long day, about 5 hours drive to Gallipoli from here and if the driving is as crazy on the way there as it was today then maybe it’ll be a bit longer, they are truly mental, all the cars have at least one dent in them.
So excited to be here, its an incredible city and its so surreal that I’m in it, bring on tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. Good blogging! I love stories. Sounds fun xxx Hols