[Update June 20, 2014: This post is from the 57th day of my round-the-world trip in 2013. I had been travelling alone until my mom joined me in Turkey. This post marks the day my mom flew back home, leaving me to travel alone for the next 63 days.]
Location: Istanbul, Turkey
(I don’t think anybody’s checking but the post for Day 56 June 2 will be up a bit later. I was on the bus all night long and didn’t have time to update about our visit to Troy.)
5:26PM The sun is still bright outside but I’m now back in my solo travel mode and I won’t be going out until tomorrow morning.
10:25PM Finally back to writing this post after a lot of web surfing and tidying up of future posts.
In the morning, mom and I walked around Istanbul, doing last minute souvenir shopping. To us, souvenir shopping means a trip to the nearest supermarket and grabbing local stuff instead of decorations for the house.
Before noon, I wanted to bring mom to a restaurant that was highly praised. We took the tram to the Asian side of Istanbul. I found the restaurant but it wasn’t serving lunch until an hour later. In the end, we went back to a little cafe near the hotel and had lunch there.
Mom’s shuttle bus came. I went with her to the airport. I felt sad that mom was leaving but I didn’t want to show it. Instead, I became surly and refused to help mom ask where the right passport lane was. In the end, mom figured it out and left.
I waited until mom was inside before leaving the departure area. When I saw mom look back at me after her passport check, I was teary. I thought that it would be lonely being by myself.
Turkey’s 3G data policy is horrible
Since my phone’s 3G stopped working since yesterday, I checked with the guy at Turkcell airport counter to see what’s wrong. On my first day in Turkey, I already had problems with the Turkcell folks in Istanbul not giving me my mobile data so it was really annoying having to check with the company again.
After the Turkcell dude served a few tourists, he helped with my phone.
Him: When did you sign up for data?
Me: About 11 days ago.
Him: Oh… Foreign phones can only use 3G data for 10 days. Have you tried switching to another phone?
Well buddy, that’s news to me. Obviously I didn’t read all the entries about Turkish 3G on Google. From Wikia:
All mobiles phones purchased outside Turkey using a turkish SIM card must be registered with the government. There is a grace period that can be as short as 2 days, after which the phone will be blocked for the Turkish SIM.
Thank goodness I bought spare dumbphone with me. I switched my SIM card to the Nokia dumpphone and used it on the super slow 2.5G.
Of course, the first thing to do is to check-in on Foursquare. The dumbphone didn’t support Foursquare apps so I used Opera Mini instead for the check-in because the default Nokia browser takes forever to load. I’m glad that the Opera Mini browser was built into the phone so I didn’t need to download anything.
I decided to check out Carrefour as my first solo adventure after mom’s companion. I reached Carrefour’s area by Metro but the place was giving me weird vibes (someone tried to follow me and waiters were yelling “Coffee, tea or sex.”) so I went back to the Metro to the city.
But I got back to my solo travel routine so easily that I scare myself. I ended up at a mall and had a meal of KFC to cheer me up.
I was pretty lost then but after tinkering around some of my apps, I found the right direction back to the hotel. After I settled in, I haven’t been out but I do have a list of things to do tomorrow:
- Go to a hammam
- Eat Turkish delight
- Be at the airport on time
I will be in Buenos Aires on June 5. See you when I reach!