When I arrived in Istanbul, I had the feeling to arrive back in western culture, as it was a stark contrast to the south east of turkey. It felt like I arrived in the 4th culture on my trip after Georgia, Turkey and the kurdish regions of Turkey in the south east.
I used the first days to let some impressions sink in, to develop and select my pictures, and write down some of the experiences I had in the last weeks. I slowly arrived back in western culture: I went rock climbing, tried hot yoga and attented lots of parties, concerts and contemporary art exhibitions. I also enjoyed to be finally back in a more vegetarian friendly environment with a good selection of vegetarian/vegan restaurants and cafés.
Istanbul is a very clean city compared to other cities in turkey. There’s still trash on some street corners, but not big piles and it doesn’t smell very bad, and the air is breathable as there's not much smog.
The public transport in Istanbul is a bit messy as I expected it for such a enormous city. The only reliable ways of transportation are the (relatively new) metro and the ferries. Every other transportation which is street based has huge delays and sometimes never reaches its destination.
Because I spent on average 2 to 3 hours a day in public transport, I imagined it would be a good greeting for people from Istanbul, to make the gesture of holding on to a handlebar with one arm up :)
There's an uncountable amount of cafés, bars, clubs and little shops in Istanbul. Most of them are in houses where every story is used for another venue. Mostly a café or store at the ground floor, some restaurants and bars in the middle floors and a club or fancy restaurant at the top floor.
Similar shops are always next to each other, so I found streets where you could only find shops selling music instruments, leds, paintings, antik chairs or supplies for a chemical lab.
After being in the east for some time before coming to Istanbul, I could feel that the peace might be only temporary.
I met lots of artists, engineers and other kind of intellectuals who openly made plans to leave turkey or already married someone from Europe or North America so they have the possibility to escape.
They are escaping because of missing freedom, because of missing women rights and also to escape the mandatory military service, which you could otherwise only escape by paying 30.000TL(~11.000€).
They see future conflicts between the advocates and opponents of Erdoğan and his political ideas. After some talking I also saw a potential conflict between the kurdish people, who work as guest workers on the fields in the west, and the jobless Syrian refugees who might do that job for even less money. Last summer you could earn about 30TL(~11€) for one day of fieldwork as a guest worker.