Monday, October 24, 2011

Getting the feel of modern Istanbul

Beyond Galata is the modern Istanbul
Unlike the city of Sanandaj in Kurdistan that had made us felt so wanted like a celebrity, nobody gave a damn at us in the crowded Taksim.  From Sultanahmet, we took the tram to Kabatas and there we took a funicular to Taksim . It is nice to have a look at Taksim as it is known to be Istanbul's "Mecca of Fashion", the heart of modern Istanbul and the symbol of the secular Republic. But above all, Taksim is most remembered for it bloodiest Taksim Square Massacre on 1st May, 1977. Hence, even these days you'll find the presence of police at all times here. I was here before and it never change; people thronged through Istiklal Street and Taksim Meydani (Square) was flooded with people.

Istiklal Caddesi (Street), Taksim
From Taksim, we hopped on the Levent metro line with the intention of wandering in Istanbul biggest shopping mall, Cevahir in Mecidiyekoy/Sisly.  It was peak hour, the metro station was busy and the coach was full of young vibrant citizens; perhaps tertiary students or working professionals. I sat with my hands clasping onto my day-napsack…ahh.. how unfashionable I look in comparison to them. They were all dressed up in chic European style…yes it is Winter after all…time to flaunt your stylish winter jackets.

The coach was spotless clean but not until my "dog-nosed" friend sniffed something…she said in my language, “Do you not smell something like urine?” “Ermmm…I do…but I was engrossed looking at these people…they all seem well-dressed and the coach looks clean :)!” Unlike Konya, there are not many ladies wearing head scarves here.
Cevahir Shopping Mall, Sisly

As soon as the train stopped at Mecidiyekoy, we got off, saw the wide roads and pondered which direction would take us to Cevahir. Ahhh…I don’t want to waste time and so I kindly asked the man at the small petty shop for direction and he brilliantly showed us the way. I learnt this from my Iranian friend, Ebrahim…shout, wave and do what ever you can as long as you get your direction right and don’t waste time.

In a few minutes stroll we were at Cevahir Shopping Mall, it is so huge…just like any other shopping Malls in big cities in the world. Right in front, is a huge Starbuck CafĂ©…a house of its own. I never get to explore this part of Istanbul the last time I was here. Opened in 2005, Cevahir boasts to have 320 shops carrying several international brand names and local designers too.
Starbucks Coffee in front of the mall

Excitedly, we approached the entrance and was mildly surprise to find that all bags had to be scanned and we had to go through the normal body scan you would find in the airports. Nothing to worry as we’re absolutely bomb-free. We passed our security test and soon we started exploring each and every levels of the mall.

Half way the shopping spree, we decided to have dinner…after browsing the whole floor of eateries we opted for Burger King...what a choice! Anyway, I was trying to avoid the greasy Turkish food to save myself from any stomach upset.
Istiklal Street, Taksim
Near Taksim Square
Cevahir Shopping Mall
Shops in Cevahir
Taksim Neighborhood

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