I learned that l337 ninja skill at last that makes you invisible to the hardsell crew, even if you wear a huge camera identifying you as a tourist. I really think it's like sorting chicklets (male/female); a skill that can be learned only by observation of a master, not by instruction, which makes it different from sleeping right through the muezzin's early yodeling, which you can learn all by yourself. Still hate to haggle over something without a price-tag as a starting point, though.
Something I wasn't actively aware of before is that the people you're pretty much constantly accosted by to buy, to visit a shop, to patronize a restaurant, are universally men (and so, it appears, are wait-staff, taxi-drivers, …). The things you notice as you get more hip to the ways of the weasel. Opposite the heavily-clad pious, there's the belly-dancers; but I advise against that. Watching half-naked women jiggle for the benefit of (mostly) men is just too icky, and besides, the dancers I saw didn't even try what I considered many of the harder, more interesting moves. Or at least the ones that I
found harder when I tried my hand, or rather, my non-existent belly at it a few years back.
Yeah, I'm sure I could find better dancers, but I'm also pretty sure I wouldn't care to.
All in all, it's an interesting and often beautiful place, but I don't get the
I wouldn't mind spending a year or three here
-vibe from it that people will get from Rome or Paris.
Score: Istambul: cool. Berlim: Superafim.