As much as I’m enjoying Istanbul, there are also things that frustrate me or have frustrated me in the first weeks after my arrival. I felt a comprehensive list was in order.
10) People thinking I’m a tourist.
I generally dislike being seen as a tourist. I’m not a tourist. I prefer to discover places by living there instead of just going there and not truly experiencing it. I did this for Sofia, Bulgaria and I’m doing this for Istanbul. I have a negative opinion of most tourists and don’t want to be perceived or treated as such. However, it’s hard to hide the fact I don’t belong here, because of my Irish skin and blue eyes, but I don’t mind being seen as a foreigner. Hopefully I’ll be seen as a foreigner who lives here as time passes. Which brings me to the next point…
9) Getting ripped off.
Like in Bulgaria, if someone thinks they can take advantage of you, they will. This is true just for a minority of people (and a great majority of people at the bazaars ), but whenever it happens it’s very annoying. The first weeks I was very cautious of it, but it seemed to happen more… Or maybe I’ve just realized something about Istanbul that I didn’t realize before.
8 ) Istanbul is not as cheap as I thought it would be.
When I paid 4 lira (about 2 euros) for a coffee on a terrace somewhere, I was sure I was getting ripped off. Looking back, maybe I wasn’t. It’s a very mixed city and in one street you can find a tea or coffee in a bar for just 1 lira, but in the next you can pay 6 or more. Apartments are cheaper than in Holland, but not by much. Although I’m comparing furnished apartments in Istanbul to unfurnished apartments in Holland. This difference makes it a lot harder to settle in Istanbul than it was to settle in Sofia. Sofia, for a Dutchman, is cheap… for now.