The following memos are written in 1989. Turkey became a friendly country as the travel at that time was recalled when fighting against Turkey in the 2002 World Cup final tournament.
I had tried to reserve a ticket in the middle of October, but it’s impossible to depart after Christmas and back before January 7. It became 120,000 yen by Aeroflot ticket December 20th – January 10th.
Aeroflot! Aeroflot… The transit of the next day’s flight was miserable. I arrived at the airport at five o’clock in the evening, but passengers must have been sitting in the dim lobby until 11 o’clock. I talked to the person who was using Aeroflot many times, he said this was a usual thing and passengers must stay in the lobby until the morning when a transit hotel was full. The hotel room is comfortable. It gives only one cup of coffee or one cup of tea at breakfast. We asked to have another cup, but they said no.
Someone got angry and threw the cut at the wall, we all greet him with applause and “Bravo”.
The taxi from the airport to the city is 10,000 and several thousand Turkish lire with a meter. The driver says 30,000. I had no problem in the city because I caught a taxi at the hotel. There seem to be a train and a bus, too. The service bus of Turkish Airlines is from 8 AM.
You can find a hotel reservation counter at the airport. I found hotels around $10 on a list. There are many hotels downtown. It costs 20,000-30,000 Lira with shower ($1=2200Lira). In general, the budget class is 10,000Lira, at 20,000-30,000 w/ shower class hotels, you have too few minutes to get the water hot or don’t hot forever. If you pay 50,000-60,000 Lira, you have a bathtub in a room and hot water anytime. I stayed in a good hotel, it was $54, there are a heater, TV with CNN and video, and a refrigerator. In a resort area, such as Antalya and Pamukkale, you find many pensions around 20,000 Lira, they have no heating. (Situations may have changed from 1989)
LOKANTA (Turkish restaurant) has no menu. You can point meals you want. All meals are around 8,000 Lira. There are McDonald’s in Istanbul, its prices are the same as in Japan (which means expensive). There are Chinese restaurants, but it’s not so good. I didn’t go, but there are Japanese restaurants. Turkish cuisine is very good, but oily, I wanted other kinds of cuisine. In a resort area, you can find stylish restaurants, which costs 20,000-30,000 Lira. Once I went to a restaurant at Izumir. I ordered grilled fish it was 70,000 Lira.
Turkish people like tea (Chai). They drink chai very often. You can find Turkish coffee but Nescafe easier. Nescafe is expensive around 2,000 Lira. Chai is 200-500 Lira.
Long distance bus
From Istanbul to Cappadocia, It takes 13 hours and 25,000 Lira. For destinations that take 4-5 hours, it takes 4,000-5,000 Lira. The quality of service and cleanness of buses are very different from bus companies. Most bus companies use Mercedes-Benz.
I joined a one-day tour. It took 70,000 Lira includes entrance fees and lunch. I stayed in Urgup which is a small town in the Cappadocia area. Italian couple and I joined the one-day tour. I met Japanese at Nevsehir, he joined 10 people group tour. At Nevsehir, he found one-day tours which take 30,000-45,000 Lira without entrance fees and lunch. Cappadocia is excellent. You must go there if you go to Turkey.
Turkish like Japanese. They are very kind. The size of Turkish is almost the same as Japanese. They don’t speak English, but they need it, so they have to learn English. It’s the same as Japanese.
When I took a bus in Istanbul, I didn’t know which bus was one I should have taken, I asked a person there, she took me to the right bus and asked a driver something. When I got off, some passenger told me a bus stop I should have to get off.
When I walked around Konya, a young man talked me, “I’m a student, I like Japanese. Do you look for a hotel?”.
Then, He showed me a hotel. I didn’t like the first one, then he showed me another hotel. After that, he talked me, “How about having tea?”. He seemed to want to talk to Japanese in English.
In Konya, I didn’t know which dolmus (share taxi) I should take, I asked a person who was waiting for a dolmus. He took me to a dolmus and paid a fee for me. At a pension in Antalya, an owner and his friend guided me to walk around at night and play chess. They also said they like Japanese.
Of course, not all people were kind. Some person asked me for some money for his guide, another person showed me a ticket counter at a bus station and took me to the bus, and finally wanted some money.
And peddlers were very annoying. At Blue Mosque, Istanbul, some guy talked to me and took me to his carpet shop.
In general, the business person seemed to need to speak Japanese and English. Not only for business but also ordinary people wanted to learn Japanese and English. In Antalya, a student asked me to check his Japanese. I taught English to a younger brother at a pension in Pamukkale.
I didn’t meet Japanese so much. Many Japanese came to Turkey by packaged group tours. I met a few Japanese who traveled alone, including women. I met a Japanese group at a very good hotel in Izumir.
My ticket to Japan was from Roma. I went to Roma from Istanbul. I bought a ticket to Roma in Istanbul, it cost 680,000 Lira. It’s a comfortable flight by Turkish Airlines.
Roma is a big city and looked smarter than noisy Istanbul. Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia were good, but Churches in Roma was great.
Italian was very stylish. Fashion sense was very different. Italian ladies looked very beautiful because in Turkey I didn’t see women except at banks and boutiques.