An Istanbul Experience

My experience in Istanbul, Turkey was harsh, to say the least. Within 24 hours of being there, I was doubled over with some kind of stomach sickness that sent me and a very concerned GTA to the Koc University medical clinic for a three hour log IV drip.

This experience gave me a unique look at development and its effects. Turkey is technically a developing country. What does a Turkish clinic look like though? An American one. I would have thought I was in America if it weren’t for the EMT crew’s broken English and Turkish combined.

Our time at the clinic was sharply contrasted by our taxi ride to the hotel. Our completely Turkish, non-English speaking driver took us on cobblestone roads past stores lined with traditional Turkish lamps through a labyrinth of old stone buildings, framing the immense mosques towering in the background.

While my stomach healed, I couldn’t eat for the next few days. When I could eat, I weirdly craved chicken nuggets and fries above anything else. Luckily, while we were shopping and walking beside the Bosphorous Strait, lined with massive ships and Turkish sailors, we found a McDonalds and my craving was curbed–yet another example of a development pocket in what otherwise was a richly Turkish city.

So if you’ve never been to Istanbul and wonder what you’re missing, go check out a hospital. Or a McDonalds. Hang up a Turkish lamp or two. Throw in the smell of saltwater from the Bosphorous and some cute stray cats outside, and your experience of semi-developed Istanbul is complete.

-Kelly Cline

 

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