Pinay Turista Diaries (PTD) contain casual and arbitrary thoughts in my head; said aloud; exchanged with friends; probably written in my journal; and, re-written for your consumption.
- June 1, 2009, via KLM -- Manila to Amsterdam, 14 hours; Amsterdam stopover, 3 hours; Amsterdam to Istanbul, 4 hours.
- STOPOVER -- I‘ve never used that term during flights. The only countries I’ve been to prior to this trip are Thailand, Hong Kong, Macau, & China. So to repeatedly say, “Oh, and we have a stopover in Amsterdam,” make me sound fancy schmancy. Oh just to say Amsterdam is so fucking good.
- I have never been outside Asia--Southeast Asia for that matter, so this is really a huge deal for us.
- Us comprises of: Julie Ann, my best friend; Issa, recently good friend, and I. And how could I forget, Chepard Toofah. Chepard is RCXY's (pronounced as (ar-si) doll. Whoever friend is traveling at the moment gets to take random photos of her around the world. Her latest adventure I believe was Lendro’s Australian trip and my USA trip earlier this year.
- Amsterdam stopover was where Europe started to mess with me at the first leg of the trip. #1 We were supposed to land sometime 8:30pm. But, the sun was streaming in our plane windows that I had to put on my shades. Is this a joke? Am I being punked here? Who brings out the sun at night? We get out of the plane, sleepless and teary (we watched the in-flight movies so we can easily adjust to the time difference), and confirmed our suspicions. It is, in fact, 8:30pm-ish in Amsterdam, and we are officially outside Asia. In our continent (sounds geeky), at least in my part of Asia, the sun is at work for 12 hours: Sunrise 6am, sundown 6pm ALL YEAR ROUND.
- My body clock is already feeling the mess-up with the sun outside and brings me to ask this: Do you say, “Good evening,” after 6pm even when the sun hasn’t set? Just asking.
- #2: I took out my My Minolta Maxxum Htsi film camera for the first few European shots and it ate my film. And yet, another film. It automatically rewinds after the first couple of shots. Bummer.
- #2: The plane touched down Istanbul a little after midnight. I didn’t make arrangements for the hotel pick-up since it is a city. Cabs would be easy. Yes, they are all queued up outside the airport, but barely any driver speaks English. After all the language hurdles, a nice non-English speaking Turkish cab driver took us in.
- # 3: Sultanahmet is a district in Istanbul, not a street. With no GPS, we were hunting for our hotel. Thank you, Lord for nice Turkish people. I will be saying this the entire time I’m talking about Turkey. They are one of the most accommodating, and warmest people in Europe. The driver made phone calls, and we finally reached our hotel, closed for the night, FU#4.
- #4: Who closes hotels at night? Evidently, this hotel does. There was a confusion on our date of arrival. We were expected the following night so we were disposed in our temporary room: a little room with little beds with a lavatory inside. But, where the hell is the toilet and shower room? We get to share it with the other people on the floor until we get transferred the next day. I just want to brush my teeth, take off my contacts and sleep.
- I am in Istanbul and I am just tired. So, I opened my window. And, this view silenced my whining.
Not bad. Not bad at all.
After a few hours of sleep, we were ushered onto the terrace for breakfast. Look what we had to see every morning as we sip our coffee.
WELCOME TO EUROPE, BABY!!!