Tag Archive | vacation

100 days – Day 50: the “jokes”

100 days – Day 50: a collection of really bad jokes posted by me on Facebook when on holiday in Istanbul


  • “You want Raki?” asked the barman. “Only if you have tennis balls”, I replied.   “No,” he replied, “just housemaid’s knee”


  • Tried to buy a Hookah – but the shop seller insisted that I “come upstairs” and meet his sister


  • Excellent fish restaurant meal one evening: deep fried crab balls ( bet that hurt), then sea bream with Glasgow salad (chips); spoiled only by an old guy who was on the fiddle (I kept my legs firmly crossed) who was joined by his fellow musician who was plucking his balalaika (disgusting!)


  • I asked at hotel reception if there was a nearby Christian place of worship that I could attend tomorrow – he replied, by asking: “you Cat’lick?”. I answered in the negative, but told him that I hug my dogs a lot


  •  So I asked this guy if he knew where the Golden Horn is; he said that he had no idea. However, he added that his somewhat promiscuous brother had a green one. The latter had claimed it was caused by verdigris, but since it had fallen off last week, his sibling thought that was probably not the case
  • Tried another shop to buy a Hookah – the guy behind the counter said, “So you wanna play around?”  I answered by saying that I didn’t have my golf clubs with me.
  • I tried to buy baklava today – it’s very sticky, but, at least, it’s not as itchy as the camouflage one I wear at home in the winter


  • Tried today to buy a ticket to cross the Bosphorus – instead was asked to bless a fertiliser factory


  • Tried to buy some pistachios today. I asked the shopkeeper to show me his nuts …. and,then, to my shock and horror, he started to take off his trousers
  • I noticed last night that my usual restaurant was selling a new brand of Turkish spirit. “What’s that Raki?” I enquired. The waiter replied that it was one of the junior staff beating the dust out of the owner’s carpet – and praying to the “god” of beer – Efes! Efes! – in a loud voice



100 days – Day 49: yet more about tea

100 days – Day 49:  More about Tea!


I tried pomegranate tea yesterday.  I know that sounds disgusting, but it was actually very refreshing.






Meanwhile, here’s a reprint of a famous article about tea, written by George Orwell


A Nice Cup of Tea By George Orwell

Evening Standard, 12 January 1946.





If you look up ‘tea’ in the first cookery book that comes to hand you will probably find that it is unmentioned; or at most you will find a few lines of sketchy instructions which give no ruling on several of the most important points.
This is curious, not only because tea is one of the main stays of civilization in this country, as well as in Eire, Australia and New Zealand, but because the best manner of making it is the subject of violent disputes.

When I look through my own recipe for the perfect cup of tea, I find no fewer than eleven outstanding points. On perhaps two of them there would be pretty general agreement, but at least four others are acutely controversial. Here are my own eleven rules, every one of which I regard as golden:


First of all, one should use Indian or Ceylonese tea. China tea has virtues which are not to be despised nowadays — it is economical, and one can drink it without milk — but there is not much stimulation in it. One does not feel wiser, braver or more optimistic after drinking it. Anyone who has used that comforting phrase ‘a nice cup of tea’ invariably means Indian tea.
Secondly, tea should be made in small quantities — that is, in a teapot. Tea out of an urn is always tasteless, while army tea, made in a cauldron, tastes of grease and whitewash. The teapot should be made of china or earthenware. Silver or Britanniaware teapots produce inferior tea and enamel pots are worse; though curiously enough a pewter teapot (a rarity nowadays) is not so bad.
Thirdly, the pot should be warmed beforehand. This is better done by placing it on the hob than by the usual method of swilling it out with hot water.
Fourthly, the tea should be strong. For a pot holding a quart, if you are going to fill it nearly to the brim, six heaped teaspoons would be about right. In a time of rationing, this is not an idea that can be realized on every day of the week, but I maintain that one strong cup of tea is better than twenty weak ones. All true tea lovers not only like their tea strong, but like it a little stronger with each year that passes — a fact which is recognized in the extra ration issued to old-age pensioners.
Fifthly, the tea should be put straight into the pot. No strainers, muslin bags or other devices to imprison the tea. In some countries teapots are fitted with little dangling baskets under the spout to catch the stray leaves, which are supposed to be harmful. Actually one can swallow tea-leaves in considerable quantities without ill effect, and if the tea is not loose in the pot it never infuses properly.
Sixthly, one should take the teapot to the kettle and not the other way about. The water should be actually boiling at the moment of impact, which means that one should keep it on the flame while one pours. Some people add that one should only use water that has been freshly brought to the boil, but I have never noticed that it makes any difference.
Seventhly, after making the tea, one should stir it, or better, give the pot a good shake, afterwards allowing the leaves to settle.
Eighthly, one should drink out of a good breakfast cup — that is, the cylindrical type of cup, not the flat, shallow type. The breakfast cup holds more, and with the other kind one’s tea is always half cold before one has well started on it.
Ninthly, one should pour the cream off the milk before using it for tea. Milk that is too creamy always gives tea a sickly taste.
Tenthly, one should pour tea into the cup first. This is one of the most controversial points of all; indeed in every family in Britain there are probably two schools of thought on the subject. The milk-first school can bring forward some fairly strong arguments, but I maintain that my own argument is unanswerable. This is that, by putting the tea in first and stirring as one pours, one can exactly regulate the amount of milk whereas one is liable to put in too much milk if one does it the other way round.
Lastly, tea — unless one is drinking it in the Russian style — should be drunk without sugar. I know very well that I am in a minority here. But still, how can you call yourself a true tealover if you destroy the flavour of your tea by putting sugar in it? It would be equally reasonable to put in pepper or salt. Tea is meant to be bitter, just as beer is meant to be bitter. If you sweeten it, you are no longer tasting the tea, you are merely tasting the sugar; you could make a very similar drink by dissolving sugar in plain hot water.

Some people would answer that they don’t like tea in itself, that they only drink it in order to be warmed and stimulated, and they need sugar to take the taste away. To those misguided people I would say: Try drinking tea without sugar for, say, a fortnight and it is very unlikely that you will ever want to ruin your tea by sweetening it again.
These are not the only controversial points to arise in connexion with tea drinking, but they are sufficient to show how subtilized the whole business has become. There is also the mysterious social etiquette surrounding the teapot (why is it considered vulgar to drink out of your saucer, for instance?) and much might be written about the subsidiary uses of tealeaves, such as telling fortunes, predicting the arrival of visitors, feeding rabbits, healing burns and sweeping the carpet. It is worth paying attention to such details as warming the pot and using water that is really boiling, so as to make quite sure of wringing out of one’s ration the twenty good, strong cups of that two ounces, properly handled, ought to represent.

(taken from The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell, Volume 3, 1943-45, Penguin ISBN, 0-14-00-3153-7)

100 days – Day 48: Spices and Sailing

100 days – Day 48: Spices and Sailing




Old Spice











Me and ma twa chinas (actually, delightful guys – father and son – from South Korea)


100 days – Day 46

100 days – Day 46

Old Istanbul



The Blue Mosque



No comment


Hagia Sophia






Hagia Sophia



Hippodrome – Obelisk

100 days – Day 45: “Turkish Delights”

100 days – “Turkish Delights”



The day begins – “Hey Ho! It’s off to work I go – to make my daily bread”



All manner of treats at the Grand Bazaar




Irish Stew (in the name of the law)




“Do you know Cheesus?”  “I’m Raki’n my brains”

100 days – Day 43: to Turkey

100 days – Day 43 – to Turkey





Here we go – Edinburgh Airport to Istanbul for six days; then Izmir for three




from “Tripadvisor”:
Perfect Location
5 of 5 starsReviewed 8 February 2014

The hotel fits the name. A cozy nine room former Ottoman mansion on a hill overlooking the Sea of Marmara right at the mouth of the Bosporus on one side, and on the other a close up view of the magnificent domes of the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia uphill just a couple blocks away. This is how you begin each day along with a satisfying (and free) breakfast (w/great coffee) in the rooftop restaurant…a comfortable glassed-in room with optional outside seating. The guest rooms are small, but very clean and have nicely sized modern bathrooms. The hotel is extremely well located within easy walking distance of the above mentioned mosques, the sprawling Topkapi Palace, the site of the former Hippodrome, the beautiful Underground Cistern, and many nice-but-not-expensive restaurants, pubs, and shops. Even the Grand Bazaar, Spice Market, and Galata Bridge (with its many shops and restaurants beneath the roadway span, all overlooking the Golden Horn waterway) are within a 30 minute walk.




 Getting to the Hotel from the Airport….

…. this is wonderful:

At Ataturk Airport taxi services 1960 dayanmaktadır.o year yet in institutions without the individual as a taxi service to çalışılıyordu.resmiyet transport, the records of these non-group cabbies craftsmen work until 1981 has continued.Righteousness and justice in the idea of service with the principle of this people, May 14, 1981 a cooperative under the roof meets the future of Turkey’s largest taxi rank structure that will be the foundation of atmıştır.o times are 12 members with SS 34 No. Istanbul Province Bakırkoy the Yesilköy Tourism cabbies Motor Carrier Cooperative with the name registered with the cooperative, he when only three square iron cottage in services was trying to give. airport taxi 645 vehicles and 2000 drivers and 92 co-workers with a numerically on-site Training and Conference Room, Diner, Drive Recreation Hall, Berberh valve, 600 persons Mosque, Law and Health Unit consisting of and structurally in Turkey taxi cooperatives in a separate location with a olmuştur.kooperatifi of that initial state can not even imagine that he first founders, each of our fidelity to be kuşkusuzdur.b debt payments the quickest way, the basis of fairness, honesty and friendship with the principles laid this institutions to love, to protect, to hurt all kinds of attitudes and behaviors kaçınmamızdır.3 metrekare’lik an iron hut these days is coming unutulmamalı.biz from the previous ones, as did a basis and together as a brotherhood sharing, friendly cohesion and live peacefully us pass on should be able to. The objective of all members of the cooperative and drive forward in UNION THAT, should be to reach more beautiful.






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