My debit card got stolen!!

If there’s one thing you have to know about me, it’s that I am vey careful and very kiasu when it comes to my money. (I know it’s a long way from my spendthrift days in JC – I would be spending so much my friends threatened to cut up my debit card or throw…

LONDON: scammed by “FREE cash withdrawals”

I make these mistakes so you don’t have to. If you’ve read my previous post on using cash or card in Istanbul, you’ll know I prefer POSB to make withdrawals because of the $5 flat fee. We arrived in Heathrow Airport and saw these ATMs advertising free withdrawals – which I thought meant the WAIVER of…

Old City Guide

I’m pretty sure you can’t cover all of these in a day, but you can try. Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Camii) The Blue Mosque is spectacular and so serene. They also provide modesty-covering robes and headscarves for tourists who need them. Only Muslims are allowed to proceed to the front for prayers, and visitors should…

Game night in Besiktas

WEW the Turks are a passionate bunch. Sunday evening, we caught the Beşiktaş-Fenerbahce game at a cafe in Beşiktaş (pronounced bey-shik-tahsh). It was near impossible to get tickets to this game – the only available category was going at 450TL (S$180) a ticket. The cheapest ones had been snapped up by season ticket holders, which was to…

What I Love About: London

FINALLY, a place where I could eavesdrop on other people’s conversations!!! And people here were so chatty. A cyclist remarked to me about the trash on the park bench when I was reading in Hyde Park. He shared with me how he felt Londoners were regressing in terms of etiquette. A local at Shoreditch complimented…

Nights out in Istanbul

I’ve always been fascinated by the secular culture in Istanbul, despite it being a Muslim country. (Whether this might change after Erdogan’s referendum win, we don’t know.) Alcohol is readily available here and the nightlife scene is very *happening*. For Westerners, alcohol here is considered more expensive because of the “high” tax. Ok tbh these people…

Winter Skin Woes

I know spring has sprung but if you’re in a Scandinavian country for exchange then spring is barely any different from winter anyway. Turkey, on the other side of the continent, has begun to see sunny days!! But cold winds can be biting, especially when we’re in areas near the Bosphorous or the Black Sea….

Week in Eats 3: Non-Turkish Delights

People like to ask if I like Turkish food so far, whether they’re local or foreign like I am. I’m very easygoing when it comes to food (I didn’t even bring Singaporean food packets here because my diet mainly consists of simple veggie stir-frys and eggs) so Turkish food was definitely yummy to me (except…

Week in Eats 2: Bastardising the Mantı

Mantı seviyorum. (I love mantı.) I had my first mantı when Khai ordered it at Asli Borek. We were surprised it was a hot dish because it was topped with yogurt. The meat ravioli really reminded me of Chinese dumplings, and was a welcome break from all the heavily-spiced (but not chilli spicy) Turkish meats…

The Sultanahmet Shoeshiner

“Shoe-shining! Shoe-shining!” called out the old man sitting outside the tall glass window. We’d seen him when we walked down the cobblestoned alley to our restaurant. We’d seen him from the other side of the glass, safe from the cold and warmed by heaters and tea. “Ne kadar?” asked Esna. “5 liras,” the old man…

Exploring Sultanahmet: Snowy

The first time we went to Sultanahmet it was snowing. It was beautiful but my tropical self felt mostly miserable, wiping snot trying to get a good shot of the Blue Mosque. The Sultanahmet area is full of historic sights. The Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya), Basilica Cisterns and Topkapi Palace are all within walking distance….