Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Walking home

I forgot to add, people here eat lots of olives. And cheesee. I'm not complaining on the latter :)

Monday, January 30, 2012

How to be Turkish

This is my rather unimportant observation and assumption. Please don't take it seriously :pp But its true, no exaggeration

1. Eat bread on every meal, including supper.
2. Drink chai (turkish tea) AT LEAST 7 times a day. This includes morning, mid morning, lunch, after lunch, tea break, dinner, supper. And take more than one serving if you wanna feel more Turkish
3. Use macho voice (bapak random)
4. Most important words. Yakni (translation maka in malay, or therefore. Used as a connector, like how we use em die kan 'macam' hensem, pastu aku 'macam' cakap hi, pastu die 'macam' bla3. Or yeah that fish is 'like' totally rad and i was 'like' wow and he was 'like' bla3). Evet (yes). Tamam (okay). Use these words endlessly to your hearts desire.


They say it only snows twice a year. But this is like the 7th straight snowing day :)

I had my first fall on Turkish soil. Yes. I knew it was coming. At least the anxiety is over. Istanbul is very hilly. I was walking down a steep hill back home, kinda like a 35-40 degree slope (Aucklanders can imagine Wittaker place or Liverpool st). Covered in solid ice. Not white powdery snow. And then, pek, fell flat on my bonbon. It must be pretty hard because my snow cap flew off. Thank god everything is still in tact. Miuu T.T

Friday, January 27, 2012

Malaysian flag

Been feeling pretty sick. My head is spinning these few days. I think my body is finally resisting the extreme coldness.

Yesterday İ showed the Malaysian jersey. 'This is the malaysian football team jersey. Malaysian people are crazy about their national team'. And i explain the slogan tanah tumpahnya darahku, where our blood is spilled? Then he said 'Is tht malaysia flag?' Yes. Ohmygod, looks like america! -.-

Thursday, January 26, 2012

History of Istanbul

I'm sitting on my bed with a headache. I didnt go to work today, hopefully will feel much better tomorrow. Well, just writing some stuff Ive read about Istanbul *history geek mode* I'm summarising, its open for discussion.

So basically, during the Roman empire, there was the East Roman empire. They wanted to break away and found out Istanbul was a good place. It was far from Rome and was in the middle of the Silk road. So they went there and built an empire. The King named it Constantinople, from his name Constantine and it became the capital of the Byzantine empire. This kingdom was huge and strong, spanning from east Italy, Greece, the upper area of the Black Sea and Constantinople. It was a strong empire that lasted several hundred years, from 395 until 1453 AD (the year the fall of Constantinople).

Touching about the fall is epic. Towards the end of the period, they were facing huge pressures from other empire, including from the Ottoman empire. At that time, Bursa (2 hours from Istanbul) was the capital of the Ottoman empire and large of Turkey now was already under the Ottoman. Constantinople was a strong area for anyone to conquer due to its strategic place, bridging Anatolia and Europe. It was also hard to attack, being geographically solid as one had to enter the Bosphorus strait, vulnerable to attacks from land. Several times, the Ottomans tried to attack Constantinople but to no avail. Until, came Fatih Sultan Mehmet, get this, at age 21, commanding the attack to finally break down and securing what is today a huge success in Muslim history. When he was 14, he was already the Caliph for 2 years, but had to step down due to some political problem as he was too young. He finally took the reign from February 1451 to 1481 at age 19. He grew up with the intent to conquer Constantinople, and was a fine Muslim. He was highly motivated by this authentic hadith by Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him;

"Lataftahanna al-Qustantiniyya wa lani`ma al-amiru amiruha wa lani`ma
al-jayshu dhalika al-jaysh."

"Verily you shall conquer Constantinople. What a wonderful leader will her
leader be, and what a wonderful army will that army be!"

In other words saying, whoever conquers Constantinople, is an awesome leader.

He was not only faithfully strong, brave (lead army at 21), but was also clever (fluent in several languages, including Turkish, Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, Persian, and Latin).

Okay my head is killin me. I need to sleep. Just found another interesting piece from what else, wikipedia

Mehmed II's Firman on the freedom of the Bosnian Franciscans
"I, the Sultan Khan the Conqueror,
hereby declare the whole world that,
The Bosnian Franciscans granted with this sultanate firman are under my protection. And I command that:
No one shall disturb or give harm to these people and their churches! They shall live in peace in my state. These people who have become emigrants, shall have security and liberty. They may return to their monasteries which are located in the borders of my state.
No one from my empire notable, viziers, clerks or my maids will break their honour or give any harm to them!
No one shall insult, put in danger or attack these lives, properties, and churches of these people!
Also, what and those these people have brought from their own countries have the same rights...
By declaring this firman, I swear on my sword by the holy name of Allah who has created the ground and sky, Allah's prophet Mohammed, and 124,000 former prophets that; no one from my citizens will react or behave the opposite of this firman!"

This oath firman, which has provided independence and tolerance to the ones who are from another religion, belief, and race was declared by Mehmed II the Conqueror and granted to Angjeo Zvizdovic of the Franciscan monastery in Fojnica, after the conquest of Bosnia and Herzegovina on May 28 of 1463. The firman has been recently raised and published by the Ministry of Culture of Turkey for the 700th anniversary of the foundation of the Ottoman State.

The edict was issued by the Sultan Mehmed II the Conqueror to protect the basic rights of the Bosnian Christians when he conquered that territory in 1463. The original edict is still kept in the same monastery in Fojnica.

It is one of the oldest documents on religious freedom. Mehmed II's oath was entered into force in the Ottoman Empire on May 28, 1463. In 1971, the United Nations published a translation of the document in all the official U.N. languages.

Peace out. May the spirit of Fatih Sultan Mehmet the conqueror run in our young bloods. Who says we cant make change to our country while we're young? This person conquered Constantinople at the age of 21.

p/s view from my balcony :)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Night out in the neighbourhood

This guy tried to drive his motorcycle up the hilly streets. It was so interesting because he was moving left and right, his tyres spinning really hard. I couldn't help but follow him :p

Suddenly its New Year in Kağıthane. While I was googling for the right spelling of my neighbourhood im staying, I found this on Wiki.

Kağıthane (Turkish pronunciation: [kaɰɯtˈhaːne]) is a working class district of the city of Istanbul, Turkey, in a valley inland from the upmarket Etiler. Built along a stream that runs into the Golden Horn. The mayor is Fazlı Kılıç (AKP).

Basically I am staying with 7 other guys who are in college to prepare for uni. They are very nice people and speak good English, way better than the rest of the population Ive met. (Trying to set up an internet plan for my phone turned out to be the worst experience so far. Its bloody complicated to start with, try speaking about  4 gig internet a month on a phone which apparently needs to be registered because if ur staying more than 1 week you have to do so and ive mistakenly bought the local simcard rather than a foreign simcard which will block my handphone in a week; to people who dont speak english. confusing? yeah this was intentional. note I went to at least 4 vodafone stores)

Details of snowing Istanbul

Around and about

First day of snow

Kids tasting their snow

Start of the snow fall that resulted a few days of white Istanbul

All of the lights

Random thoughts

Istanbul is such a big city. Bussing and walking to and fro work, by the end of the day, i am totally worned out. Or is it just because of my shoes.

Traffic is insane. And by that i mean red light does not always mean stop and green does not always mean go. Not in nz whre if its green, u cn read a book while crossing; Here, even green and cars can cut you. Or more common, people running across while red and making cars stop accidently.

While the people i know, that is whom im staying with and whom im working are super nice, people on the streets are generally cold. Ive never seen people smile, people are always grumpy in the bus and people saying "thank u driver!" like in nz is basically never. When they want to stop, its generally shouting at the bus driver. Its just the authoritive tone that i feel people r being forced to be. Its not a place for scared loners. They can sense your fear

Turkish Furball miu2

A lot of furballs in Istanbul. This one's at the Blue Mosque. Cutely curling due to the cold weather. Nak bawak balikkkkk

Saturday, January 21, 2012


Hagia Sophia (from the Greek: Ἁγία Σοφία, "Holy Wisdom"; Latin: Sancta Sophia or Sancta Sapientia; Turkish: Ayasofya) is a former Orthodox patriarchal basilica, later a mosque, and now a museum.

Haha wikipedia. I didnt have time to enter this world famous piece of architecture. Will come back soon and tell stories about it. In the meantime, nah la gmba se.

For this is a journey that I must take

And I must go alone.
It's all part of the Master's plan
A step on the road to home

Mimar Sinan

This is a story about the Süleymaniye Mosque, opposite Haghia Sopia. The Sultan, Süleymaniye always played himself as the '2nd Solomon' (Nabi Sulaiman, kn die bina istana besa gila). So the story is, when King Justinian built the Haghia Sophia church, he boldly boasted  "Solomon, I have surpassed thee!". To counter this, Süleymaniye ordered the best architect of all time in Islamic architecture world, Mimar Sinan to build a more magnificent mosque, opposite the Haghia Sophia.

In response to this, Mimar Sinan carefully drew the design and he made the minarets taller than Haghia Sophia, by just 1 metre. Shows how humble the thinking of the architect, showing he can actually go further but does not need to do so. =)

Nearing sunset

Ade mcm Alhambra, Granada punye style

Perfect Harmony

Islamic architecture emphasise a lot on geometry. Meaning, every line has to make sense; be in proportion and are responding to other lines. 

The Dome

Blue Mosque, standing opposite to Haghia Sophia like a boss. Considered the last great mosque of the classical age.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Blue Mosque

The Mosque with the six minarets, Sultan Ahmed Mosque. Now the story with nickname the blue mosque, is because the interior tiles and windows was from blue elements. 20,000 handmade ceramic tiles, made at Iznik (the ancient Nicaea) in more than fifty different tulip designs.

6 Minerets

Count how many minarets in the picture. 5? Yes, but its supposed to be 6. Somehow I lost the other one. Its quite an interesting story behind the 6 minarets, as it is usually four minarets. In fact, the world made a big fuss about it as usually there is only four minarets in a mosque, until Masjidil Haram in Mecca added a 5th minaret.

So the story, my friend told me, was that when the Sultan, Sultan Ahmed ordered the mimar, (architect), Sedefkar Mehmed Agha  to build the mosque, he wanted the dome and minarets to be made of gold. Hearing this, the architect did not agree with the idea as he thinks its wasting the kingdom's money. So he designed a mosque with 6 minarets, which 6 in Turkce is  altı , is close to the word altın, gold. So when it was finished and the Sultan asked, why 6 minarets? where is my gold minarets? The architect said, owh gold minarets? I thought u said 6 minarets! Pandainyeee


So many people. And you gotta move quick. Once, I stopped for one second, and I got a stare from the uncle behind.

Right no left

Still getting used to having to look left before right


'New' in Turkish timeline

Sixty six domes and semi domes, 2 minarets. Did some research but coudn't find why its called the new mosque. Camii, is Jamik, or big. They pronounce c as J #infoserius

The New Mosque

Yeni Cami in Turkce

The fırst mosque I visited in Istanbul. My friend told me he was taking me to The New Mosque. I was like mm, dtg jauh2 xnk tgk new mosque, nak tengok old mosques. But when I came to the place, I was like ow even if its new, it still uses the old architecture style.

I soon realised the year it was built and what 'new' is in Turkish timeline lol

Thy golden Light came down into my heart

Smiting my life with Thy eternity,
Now has it grown a temple where Thou art
And all iıts passıons poınt towards only Thee

Inside New Mosque


A Turkish proverb:
Ruzgar eken firtina bicer. -
(It is not disgraceful to ask, it is disgraceful to not know.) Used to encourage people to be inquisitive.

Some basic observations

I will write sum observations that I've noticed so far. Note Emir, I am merely using ur template from ur so called "p/s: i dont write blogs, i write travel notes. peace."

Turkish people's look vary a lot. In general, I would say they look like Arabs with straight hair. But its such a big country and Istanbul being the capital, there is a wide range of Turkish people, from very European looking (blonde, blue eyes) to black hair, the ones from asians looking well, asians.

It is after all bordered by several countries, this info is highly unreliable, I am picking it off from my head; Bulgaria, Romania, Greece on the East, to Russia, Armenia, Georgia, the tans2 country. And sum gulf countries, Syria one of them, because I have a Syrian housemate so this info is correct.

On the streets, people are well dressed. This includes the uncle selling pretzel to auntie selling flowers. To kids selling tissue paper. I think. Betul, jaket die cam style, I feel underdressed -.-

So yeah I'm here

Me ist here! For those who haven't known, (mcm la org update life aku), erm I'm basically doing an architectural internship cum travelling. I have started working but that's for another picture to story tell. 

So yeah, I'l be here for 5 weeks or so. 
Its winter, but so far, I've seen pretty nice days. This is one of them

Istanbul aku datang

Quick facts about Istanbul

The only city that connects Europe and Asia. It is divided by the Bosphorus strait, the European part known as Thrace and Asian part as Anatolia

Third largest city in Europe after London and Moscow(approx 18mil)

Capital of the Roman Empire (330–395), the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire (395–1204 and 1261–1453), the Latin Empire (1204–1261), and the Ottoman Empire (1453–1922).

1st day

The flight was okay. Had omellete which was so so. Watchd puss in boots halfway before they took bck the headphones. I arrived at the airport n the quick chill rushed thru my body to announce that I am now in European soil, on a winter morning. Asap stret came out frm my mouth as i speak n breathe, i can never get enuf of those. It ws raining slightly n my friend who picked me up, mily told me i ws lucky. I asked him why, n he said because its raining. I assumed they dnt get much rain. I ws lucky to get out of airport at arnd 7, the peak time in Istanbul. Everyone goes out for work n school in this hour, so i got to see the faces n clothing style. Mostly wear black, n thick coats. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

1.5 Turkish Lira to work

The bus I take to work in Mecidiyeköy

Günaydın Istanbul

Good Morning in Türkçe. May god bless this journey InsyaAllah =)
I'l be posting photos of my trip in Istanbul, and if I'm feeling it, sum travel notes. Please do comment. Their highly appreciated.