Friday, November 29, 2013

The Traveling Hillbilly Feels Like a Celebrity at Dinner!

And spends like one too!

As I mentioned in my last post, I arrived at the hotel too late and too exhausted to go out exploring so I decided to just have dinner at the hotel.  I had already read a couple of reviews on Cipriani, the Italian restaurant in the hotel and the net, net was it was a MUST while you're at the hotel so my decision was made.

By the time I arrived at the hotel, I was starved. I'd pretty much had a banana and a piece of toast of all day and it was almost 9pm.   After a quick shower, I headed downstairs to feast!

I'm not sure whether it was due to the late hour, or if it was just an unusually slow night, but there were three tables in the restaurant.  One had five people, one had one guy and the third one was me!   There were like 7 waiters in fancy white coats, plus the hostess and another guy in a fancy suit, he may have been the manager, but I'm not sure.   Anyway, with all that staff and so few patrons to wait on, you can imagine the service we three tables got!   No sooner than I put down my glass, it was instantly refilled.   These boys hovered around our tables like they were afraid we were all going to band together for a mass exit out the door at any minute.  Don't get me wrong, they were not rude or anything.  They were all very pleasant. I just think they were bored and each just wanted something to do.  When I was finished with dinner, three of them came over bearing tempting offers of dessert.  While each of the offerings look delicious, I was just too full to partake.  I had started with burrata mediterranean and then had a pasta dish with eggplant, not to mention the bread!  All in all a great meal.

I settled my bill and headed to my room.  And here is where the spend part comes in.  See I had forgotten to check the exchange rate before I left my room and of course the prices were all in Turkish Lira.   Based on the prices on the menu, I knew there had to be a significant exchange rate, otherwise I was about to consume the most expensive dinner I'd ever had!

When I got back to my room, I was happy to see the exchange rate is significant, about 50%.  So 10 Turkish Lira is about $5 US dollars.  It did make me feel better, but I still had a very expensive dinner.  Although given my state of exhaustion, I wouldn't have changed anything.  The food was delicious!

The Traveling Hillbilly Spends Turkey Day in Turkey!

Well, a lot of it was spent in airports or in traffic, but at least I arrived in Turkey on Thanksgiving!

When you get the chance to go London for work, you have to take advantage of the opportunity and extend your trip, especially when that trip is right around Thanksgiving!

As most of you know, Turkey, Istanbul specifically, has been on my list for the last four years.  A trip to London for work so close to our U.S. Thanksgiving , seemed like the perfect opportunity to finally make that happen.   So being the Traveling Hillbilly I am, I immediately starting looking into flight options to Istanbul from London.

The morning after my work was done, I hopped on a plane to Istanbul.   Unfortunately, my flight landed right at rush hour. Even more unfortunate, it was raining!   For those of you who live in LA, you know what traffic is like.  You also know what traffic is like in the rain!   However, LA has nothing on Istanbul when it comes to traffic and traffic in the rain.   It took me just over 2 hours to get from the airport to my hotel!  

While I arrived at my hotel much later than expected and didn't go out to explore after I arrived, I was still so excited to finally be in Istanbul!