I’ve heard several longtime expats here use the term “maganda” to describe people, but I have no clue what it means. What is a “maganda”?
Rose says: Many expats lament the magandas they encounter out and about in the city. Dictionaries define a “maganda” as a lout, a bully or a hick, but I think the Sublime Portal’s wiki entry on the term does better justice to the concept: “A maganda is a sleazy Turkish guy who is disgusting and uneducated.” (The rest of the entry is also sarcastically entertaining.) The term is generally used, among the expats I know, to denote the guys they encounter while out and about in the city that turn the encounter exasperatingly negative because of the way they interact with that expat, usually because of the expat’s status as a foreigner and a woman.
I was on the metro recently and noticed that the signs now read as though the line goes all the way to Unkapanı, Yenikapı, etc. It looks like the M2 line still ends at Taksim, with the side train to Şişhane, though. Is the rest of the line about to open?
Rose says: I wish! It seems the İstanbul Transportation Authority (İETT) has jumped the gun by a few years at least in updating their in-metro signs. The line hasn’t been extended across the Golden Horn yet and there’s still lots of work to be done to get the line to Yenikapı. I wouldn’t expect to be able to take the metro directly from Levent to Yenikapı for at least three years, probably a few more. When it’s finished, though, and when the Marmaray project is complete, Yenikapı will be a transport hub to rival Taksim, with connections to the M1 (Aksaray-airport), the Yenikapı ferry port (ferries to Yalova, Bursa and fast ferries to Kadıköy, among others), the European-side banliyö (Sirkeci-Halkalı), the Yenikapı bus depot, the tram (Kabataş-Zeytinburnu) and, of course, the M2 and Marmaray.
Any suggestions on haircuts in İstanbul? I am overdue for a haircut and have so far avoided going to a stylist here in Turkey. I don’t speak much/any Turkish, and it seems quite intimidating.
Rose says: As one whose hairstyle has gradually morphed from short, choppy and frequently cut to longer and easier-to-space-out-the-hair-appointments during my time living in Turkey, I definitely hear you. It is indeed a bit intimidating to walk into a salon and say “Saç kestirme isterim, lütfen” (I’d like a haircut, please). I’ve had guy friends emerge shocked from the kuaför after going in for what they assumed would be a routine trim and instead getting the true Turkish kuaför experience, including the straight-razor shave and the burning off of ear hair with a lighter or matches. Fun to watch, although I don’t know that I’ll be lining up for that experience anytime soon.
If you’re quite particular about your hair, the best idea would be to take in pictures of the style you have in mind, multiple pictures from different angles. Heck, if you want a style similar to a friend’s, just bring the friend along and tell them you want exactly that. Without pictures, even with detailed descriptions in Turkish, some things get lost in translation, although I have honestly never hated a haircut I’ve had here in the country.
If you’re not so sure about your Turkish, several salons in expat-frequented areas have stylists who know English. They may have prices that are much higher than you’d expect, though, so make sure you’re on the same page, price-wise, before climbing into the chair. Although I’ve not been, I’ve heard several friends speak highly of Babyface, near İstiklal. If you’re planning to try a salon in a less central or less expat-heavy area, I’d suggest looking up and writing down a list of critical terms before heading to the salon -- “layers,” “short,” “long,” “bangs/fringe” and perhaps “that’s short enough,” for starters, although of course the crucial terms will be different for different hairstyles. You may luck out and find an English-speaking hairstylist even in the hidden, virtually expat-less corners of the city; ask around, they’re out there. A final note, be aware that haircutting is more of a communal process in Turkey: In my last haircut, there were no fewer than four guys working on my hair at any one time. It was a bit crowded