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Mack when Megan and I were hanging out regularly we planned this trip. But for the last month or two we haven’t hung out much so I  was expecting sort of a strange vibe between us. I didn’t know what to expect when we would meet at the station at midnight to catch our bus to Madrid. Besides having already bought my bus ticket she brought me a sandwich a yogurt and a banana for the 6 hour ride. Sara, another american friend of ours joined the trip a few weeks after we bought our tickets and would be flying on a different flight arriving an hour before us.

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Our layover was in Zurich, Switzerland. This may top my list of most beautiful arrivals at an airport. you fly in over little cottages and some timberland. We had a while till we headed out on the next flight so we sat and waited. All of the sudden we both shot up and ran for the gate. we hadn’t realized that boarding had began and was about to end. We were the dead last to get through the gate, not including the one flight attendant who still remained.

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Normally I take the Aisle seat so I can stretch out my legs and get up and move when I feel like it. this time I was stuck with what ever the airline gave me at check in, which turned out to be a window seat. an hour or so into the flight I was flipping out with excitement and was so thankful for having been put in my cramped little corner. I had the view of the Swiss Alps all to my self. They went on and on and on. Every time I though it was awesome a bigger and snowier peak would rise up. Having seen this I would have been content to turn the plane around and head home at that point.

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We had anticipated getting in much earlier but it was already dark by the time we found Sara and got on the tram. as we rattled down the busy avenue blinking with LEDs and neon signs i was reminded that Asia was not far away. Since getting off of the plane I kept seeing this word, çıkışwhich I learned meant exit, but didn’t know how to pronounce it. Turkish uses the Latin or Roman Alphabet, like i’m writing in now but they also have several letters we Dont use in English like the C and S with a little tail, which are pronounced like the “ch” and “sh” sounds respectively. They also have two different styles of the letter I one with a dot above and one without, like in the Turkish word above. according to a nice guy we met on the Tram, the I without a dot is pronounced like “uh” so the word exit in Turkey would be [chukush]. Saves room on writing; I like the special S and C. Additionally there is a letter G with a tiny V above it that means to repeat the vowel sound that comes before it. ready to speak Turkish now?

Besides the overwhelmingly stressful, but somehow exciting feeling of not understanding anything going on around me,  the unknown of a darkness filled with pushy, overly enthusiastic people trying to help us I was hungry and tired. First thing off of tram, we crossed the street and a guy starts trying to sell us a trip to Cappidiccia, a trip I would love to have taken but its too far, expensive and simply off of the books for now, for me at least. But the girls get sucked into his sales pitch maybe out of a sense of politeness not wanting to just blast past him “rudely” as I did. I couldn’t leave them standing there so I stopped as he asked questions; the original one that started the whole conversation, what are you looking for? to which someone responded, Big Apple Hostel. If he were a creep, thief  or anything other than a good person well he knows where to find us. next how long you going to be here? A few days I blurted out, cutting off any more detailed response that might otherwise have surfaced.

With bags finally in our room we headed out to get some food, passing the lit up mosques and tricked out taxis waiting for customers. After eating we went up some stairs and found a chill little hookah bar where we grabbed a tea and shisha. Upstairs, next to the restrooms there was a living room, where a group of about 10 people were sitting around doing the same as us except that one guy was playing a bouzuki, a string instrument similar to a guitar and another guy was playing a drum, while three guys linked pinkies and were dancing around the room.

With food in my stomach and a few hours of just mellowing out I think the rest of the trip might be sufferable.