My first thought in a cab this morning was “wow, Russia really prepped me for driving in Turkey.” My cab driver seemed most comfortable cruising around 160 km/hr. Luckily, the roads here are much better. There’s lots about Russia and Turkey that are similar, especially borrowed words, but Turkey’s economic success in the last few decades marks it apart from Russia’s bumpy transition to a market economy. The difference in state investment in infrastructure is obvious.
I really like Turkey. It’s modern, surprisingly clean (at least this far) and cheap. This evening I did one of my favorite new city things: I rode the tram to nowhere. I love easily breezing through several neighborhoods to start to get feels for them and the people watching is unparalleled. The trams/streetcars in Istanbul are clean, fast and very economical at 3 Turkish lira a ride (roughly $1.65). Even on a Monday night the cars are packed with families, friends and a few folks still headed home from work.