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Being a Foreigner in Istanbul
Being a foreigner in a country and visiting only the museums, the parks, and the restaurants and diving into daily life and the transport problems in addition to not being able to find the customary goods in the markets are completely different things. So, when you decide to live in Istanbul, you will most probably find an environment which is very different from what you are used to.
The first shock you will get in Istanbul is that only a very few people speak English. The number of people who speak English is higher in working life, but you may need to use signs to describe everything at cafes and in shops. That is to say, the faster you are able to learn Turkish, the easier life will get for you in Turkey. Turks appreciate it very much when foreigners try to speak Turkish.
Get used to drinking tea; a lot of tea
An average Turk drinks tea all through the day. When offered to you, you shouldn’t turn it down but remember that soon you will become a tea addict. The meals in Turkey are very different as well. We recommend that you do not turn down anything that has been offered to you when you are a guest somewhere. Try it. You may like it. But again, be wary of this if you don’t want to put on a lot of weight.
Turks remain faithful to their craftsmanship traditions which have been passed from generation to generation. These include pottery making, carpet weaving, the making of ceramics and of course, Turkish cuisine. Turkish men are very good chefs. They are masters, especially on the matters of rolling pastry dough and kebabs.
Of course, there are some negative aspects among which, it will be to your benefit to take care while shopping, in particular. For instance, be prepared for inflated prices from time to time. And sometimes, you may not be given your change, thinking that you may not ask for it anyway. Of course, not everyone is the same, but such incidents do occur.
You might also experience other negative aspects. In addition to some peculiar characteristics of Turkish people you will observe, you might have to get used to several negative situations such as a large number of people smoking and throwing rubbish on to the ground. Some do not even step aside to avoid hitting a person coming in the opposite direction. Additionally, be prepared for the occasional intense interest in you on the streets and in public transport.
Despite all of these, Istanbul is still one of the most beautiful cities in the world. With its religious and cultural mosaic, Istanbul is one of the few cities that never sleep. With the palaces which have been woven like lace on to its shores, its mansions, pavilions, bridges which stand out like pearl necklaces and waterfront residences, the Bosphorus is unique in the world, with an insatiable view. You can watch the Bosphorus while sipping tea in the gardens of a palace, walk around among skyscrapers, take a swim in the sea, go around museums, take trips to the islands, be on two continents on the same day, stay up to the morning having fun at the night clubs, experience Turkish cuisine, walk around brightly lit streets at daybreak, or go to church.