“Travels to a Different Time” August 15, 1970: Istanbul; Welcome to Hippieville! Police Profit from Hashish Stings

Letter from Margaret Mary Stephen to Barbara Stephen (daughter): Hi Barb: So help me if it was hard to make oneself understood in Greece it’s almost impossible here in Istanbul. I think we are in Hippieville. I have never seen so many. You can see the Turks laughing at them. Most we have talked to are very knowledgeable and are university students or graduates. There are lots of schoolteachers too. A girl who helps run the hotel has a husband that works at the U.S. consulate and he comes by the hotel to warn the young people not to smoke or buy hashish in Istanbul. Three years for smoking it. There are many sting operations here setting up people who buy hashish so they are arrested and the police blackmail the victims for money so that they are not arrested. Today a black marketeer wanted to change money with me. We hear that the money you exchange for is counterfeit. Turkey is not a good place. It is filthy and honesty is not a virtue in Turkey. We will be trying to get a flight out from Athens on August 23. I hope that you will be our stewardess but that would be crazy. If you know the girls on our flight please tell them we can share a cab with them to get into New York assuming you’ll be there. We are heading out for dinner and they have devalued their lira and immediately all prices rose and that’s why everything is so expensive here (compared to Greece). Well my dear this is my last letter from our trip.

Aust 24, 1970: We landed at JFK in New York at 1 p.m. We phoned Barb but no answer so we made a reservation on Eastern Airlines back to Montreal from LaGuardia. We had a four hour wait for the flight, The captain took my speargun away and said he would return it when we arrived in Montreal. SEE YA NEXT YEAR! IT’S A LONG WAY OFF!

Photo: IMDB

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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