A life ordinary by Amit Sarkar - Issue #40

Welcome to another edition of my newsletter.

A lot has happened since the last newsletter. And life has been very busy.

There were the festivals of Navratri and Diwali. Which meant there was a lot of dance, music, food and sweets. We were invited to multiple places and it was really fun to catch up with many people over the course of multiple weekends.

We also travelled to Istanbul, Turkey to celebrate our son’s second birthday. More details about our trip are in the newsletter below.

We also recorded two podcasts with a few guests. The first one was with the co-founders of Bubble. The second one was with the co-founders of Orkes. The first episode has been published here. The second one will be out shortly. Both conversations were insightful and we learnt a lot in the process.

Me and Rinat also recorded an episode on building our website together. Watch it here. This website is hosted on Hostinger.

I also ran my fastest 5K ever in 22 mins 02 secs since my last newsletter was published. This was during an afternoon run. I have now been consistently running 5K in under 24 mins. And my VO2 max has also gone up to 51 ml/kg/min. This is also a side effect of running greater than 15 kms every week at Zone 2/3 pace.

📷 Smartphone cameras

Our smartphone cameras are really amazing. To pack so much technology in such a small factor is incredible. And most smartphones now have really good cameras that cover the basics. And the majority of them are now augmented with computational photography. It’s basically enhancing the photos we click with software.

Mrwhosetheboss talks about why we have 2 or more cameras. How does the software handle changing between different lenses? What are the basic camera technologies? And many more things are discussed in this video. Must watch for everyone who wants to better utilize their smartphone cameras.

✈️ Istanbul trip

I recently went to Istanbul, Turkey with my family to celebrate our son’s second birthday. Of course, he won’t remember much but we still managed to get a lot of new experiences for him.

Food - Turkey is famous for its Doner kebabs, Turkish coffee and tea. Turkish breakfast is also quite famous. We tried the Turkish delight and the Baklava as well which are very famous and you can find them everywhere.

Sightseeing - Over the period of 1 week, we did three walking tours and one cruise over the Bosphorus Strait.

  • The tour of ISTANBUL Old City - This tour covered the famous Obelisks in Sultanahmet Square, the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia, Gulhane Park, the Egyptian Bazaar, and the Hodjapasha local food market.

  • Free Tour of Alternative Istanbul - This tour covered the Book Bazaar, the University of Istanbul, Sulemaniye mosque and insights into the local life of a citizen. The guide talked about politics, religion, employment, economy and many more things.

  • Explore the Asian side with a local tour guide - This covered the Üsküdar area, Kuzguncuk Bostanı, and Kadikoy area. We tried Taş kadayif from Tarihi Medine Tatlıcısı shop. The most delicious sweet I tasted in Istanbul as a vegan.

  • Afternoon Bosphorus Cruise with Stopover On The Asian Side - This tour was on a yacht with free snacks, water and Turkish tea. This covered all the famous spots along the Bosphorus Strait on both the European and the Asian sides.

  • We also explored the areas of Galata, Karaköy, Istiklal Street, Taksim, Besiktas, and Kabataş.

  • In the Sultanahmet area, we visited the Basilica Cistern, the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia. These are really worth a visit. We skipped visiting the Topkapi Palace and the Dolmabahçe Palace as it would have taken a lot of time.

Cost - We found the Asian side to be much cheaper be it food, alcohol, coffee or any shopping items.

Public transport - Istanbul's public transport is quite good. We used the taxi, metro, tram and ferry. My favourite transport medium was the ferry. The views were fantastic on it and it was very comfortable. The best part was that it covered most of the tourist bits if you travelled on multiple routes.

Running - I ran 14.7 kms along the Bosphorus Strait and took a ferry back on the return. I ran from the Fındıklı-Mımar Sınan Ünıversıtesı tram stop all the way to the İstinye ferry terminal. The return ferry was an amazing ride. Loved the early morning views of the European side of Istanbul.

Smoking - Turkish people smoke a lot. Like a lot. Like really a lot. And they smoke everywhere - indoors, outdoors, in parks, restaurants, bazaars, outside mosques, on ferries, in taxis, etc. Literally, you can’t escape from it. But we got quickly used to it.

Animals - Istanbul has a lot of stray cats and dogs. But they are very well looked after so these animals never bother anyone. And it was such a delight to see our son look at the cats and get excited. The dogs are massive in size and almost like a bear.

Stay - We stayed in an Airbnb close to the Fındıklı-Mımar Sınan Ünıversıtesı tram stop. It was very comfortable and we had grocery stores and restaurants nearby which was quite handy. The city itself is very hilly on both the European and Asian side so be prepared to hike a lot up and down throughout the day.

Coffee/Tea - The best thing about Turkish people is that they love their coffee and tea. We hardly found any drunk people on the streets even late in the night. Which made the streets a bit safer, especially with a toddler. They do drink alcohol but coffee/tea is served till late in the night which my wife absolutely loved.

Overall, I preferred it over Marrakesh in Morocco. The Bosphorus Strait won my heart.

⌚ Garmin technology

When it comes to watches that one can use for fitness, Garmin rules over them all. The kinds of data that your Gramin watch can track are unbelievable. The list is long but you can refer to the Garmin technology page to get a gist of the most important things. I have highlighted them below for reference. Click each of the below parameters to know more about how Garmin tracks them through your watch.

I personally own a Garmin fēnix 6X Pro since July 2021. And have been using it to track all my workouts which include running, cycling, rowing, hiking, walking, yoga, strength training and any cardio (like gardening).

❤️ Things I enjoyed

This section has been inspired by Ali Abdaal’s wonderful newsletter.

🎬 Video - Crushing Huge Lithium Ion Batteries with Hydraulic Press shows how dangerous Lithium-Ion batteries are and how careful we must all be while using them.

📝 Article - How many animals get slaughtered every day? is a very enlightening article about the number of animals killed every day for human consumption.

📱 App - been is a useful app to track all the places you have visited. I am currently using it to track all the countries I have ever visited. My current count stands at 24 UN Member States.

📺 TV show - Eat the Rich: The GameStop Saga is a show about Robinhood and the GameStop stock. It explains a lot of financial concepts in a very easy-to-understand language.

🌐 Website - The online Home Fire Safety Check is a useful website to spot fire risks in your home.

🎙️ Podcast - How to Think Like a CTO is a great podcast about what one must know and do if one becomes a CTO.

Thank you so much once again for reading my newsletter this week. Please feel free to Buy me a coffee if you are enjoying what I am sharing.

If you want to follow me around the internet, then please do so here.

Until we meet again next week, eat, sleep, exercise, repeat 😁.

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