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Mar '14

Trip Report: Stranger In A Strange Land – Istanbul Suburbs.

Nothing like booking a hotel solely for the fact that they have a free airport shuttle only to learn on check-in that:

  • You are in the middle of the Textile MANUFATURING District in the suburbs
  • There are no services around the hotel other than a recently opened truck stop (they were still stocking the shelves with candy bars)
  • There is no public transportation
  • That the free airport shuttle only runs starting at 7am (I have an 8:20 flight so that won’t work) and only runs every 2+ hours
  • One upside – a shuttle to the Sultanahmet (Blue Mosque, etc.) and Taksim Square (home of the recent Turkish revolution and the second floor of the McDonalds filled with gay boys, or so the Berliners told me). Granted – only four times a day.

So, it seems like my time in Istanbul is revolving around textiles – my first hotel was in the wholesale textile district – finished goods — and my final hotel in in the manufacturing district. A little searching into the industry yields some very interesting figures with regards to textile production and sales in Turkey:

  • About 10% of GDP,
  • 17.5% of industrial production,
  • About of 20% of manufacturing labor force,
  • 32.2% of total Turkish export earnings. 2003 numbers, sorry, nothing more recent.

Those are actually HUGE numbers for a national economy in a single industry.

But, I digress.

From the train station, got cash, caught a cab unknowingly (as in gave him the address of what I’d booked) to the suburbs (32 Turkish Lira which is $16, which for the distance was crazy cheap) and ended up at the Ramada Plaza Tekstilkent. I think Tekstilkent means “town of fabric”.

Arrived at the hotel a little before ten, got quickly checked in, ran to the room, dumped luggage so that I could make the 10am cut-off on the breakfast buffet. It was a little scrappy by the time I hit it, but it filled me up.

The hotel:

The room:

The view:

The downside is that it’s in the middle of nothing. The convenience store next to the hotel (past the VW dealership) was so new that they were still stocking the shelves:

And row after row of these factory buildings:

On a humorous note, somebody stole my car and put Turkish plates on it!

But while we are on the hotel – holly crap, the spa… well, gym, pool, sauna, steam room, hamman (Turkish bath)… just let me die here:

And just in case I don’t know which way Mecca is – there is a handy tag in the nightstand pointing me in the correct direction…

What a strange place to end up.

Ordered an early dinner in the bar:

No – that isn’t milk behind the burger – its Raki, the national drink (a bit like Ouzo). The burger was surprisingly good – and I love the way they stacked the fries.

An early night (which I need after the less than perfect sleep on the train) for tomorrow I go exploring.

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