Friday, March 26, 2010

Essays are Cool!

Right, so I def suck at this!! Finished a wonderful chapter of my life called Istanbul almost a year ago, and I still haven't gotten around to tell the finals months! I'm so sorry!!

BUT!

I have accidently found a great photo essay of Istanbul that you may enjoy even more than my rambling stories:

http://matadortrips.com/photo-essay-the-many-faces-of-istanbul

It captured a handful of great things that make Istanbul so unique.

Enjoy!

Friday, February 6, 2009

A Series of Random Events

On Jan. 6th, we celebrated Armenian Christmas! We didn’t have time to exchange gifts before our trip and Mike suggested we do it on the Armenian Christmas Day! We invited Suzie (aka Jeff) and Ginger (aka Grant/Greg) to join in on the holiday! Thanks to Katie’s mom, we had loads of Christmas decorations (tree and a string of colored lights included) to decorate the pad! On top of that, she sent Christmas sugar cookies and icing powder so all we had to do was decorate them with icing and chow down! Since Katie and I had work till 10 that night, Kidman (aka Mike) and Suzy stayed home finishing off the cookies! I guess it’s a good thing these boys have female nicknames! Anyways, after work, we exchanged gifts through cookies and drinks! It really felt like Christmas, especially because these particulars have become my family here!
A few nights later, we kinda threw Katie a surprise bday party at one of our many local watering holes. Katie never does anything for her bday and I knew if we told her, she would try to brush it off and make it another day. So I told her that Ginger, Kidman and I wanted to take her for bday drinks! She blindly agreed to it and we secretly invited the masses! Needless to say, we had quite a crowd gathered for her day! She told me that night that she hadn’t had a bday party since she was 16! So I’m gonna go ahead and call it a successful night! I’m really glad we finally did something for her bday since it’s such a special day that she should really celebrate yearly! On top of that, Suzy had wrote her a hilarious bday poem/story chalked full of inside jokes! He read it to everyone to the tune of ‘Twas A Night Before Christmas’ and the story even fitted the theme!
Next up would be some pretty sweet incidents…literally! One of my classes brought in a fatty bday cake cuz it was this guy’s bday. Then, the following week or two, one girl brought in a fresh baked cake she made for no reason at all. It was still even warm from being so fresh! Then my hilarious level 1 class, that has already ended, brought in baklava! I have this horrible obsession, and I stupidly (well smartly really) told them. Then one day, this kid brought some in!!! They liked making fun of me for liking it, so we all got a good kick out of it! He brought in this huge box too! Now typically, they would bring in a cake or something, but because of my obsession, it was baklava. And bringing in something entails a reason, minus the girl from the other class –uhhh she just likes my class I guess?! Hah! – but he said it was to celebrate getting his driver’s license! Sweet! But Psyche at the same time! Apparently, he was celebrating before he took the test –dumb ass…he failed!! I guess lucky for me he doesn’t know timing for celebrations; otherwise, I would not have gotten any baklava! Mmmm baklava…great, now I want some! I seriously have a piece almost everyday! This website needs to be called Katie’s turning into a piece of baklava, not any of this Turkish Delight stuff!
One of the weeks we went to Babylon (a club in Taksim that always has live music, and it’s smaller so much more intinmate -friends think HOB in SD) to see a well known band here called Baba Zula. They’re a pretty crafty band that plays Turkish music. They’ve been around for like 15 years. They have a singer who plays guitar, a congo drummer, a girl (that Kidman has a crush on) that draws on her mac and is projected on a wall, and every other song or so a belly dancer! They were super entertaining and their music is great! Even Ginger enjoyed it and he can’t stand Turkish music! So I totally thought I went to see this super popular band, they even had a packed building! But when I went to tell my classes, judging by all of their reactions, which was pretty much nonexistent, they are not cool –or no longer cool! Haha! Wow! Did I feel like such a foreigner! Getting all excited to tell my classes this, thought they would be super into it, and all I got was crickets! Lol! But whatev, I like them and I have their cd!
The next big deal was moving!!!!! I think this incident clearly defines bittersweet. Our old flat was absolutely amazing and contemporary and our bedrooms didn’t look out onto other buildings like 5 feet away. The house was in great, newly renovated condition and even hailed painted walls. The location is amazing, we are in the center of coming from either end of Kadikoy and have loads of the cheaper grocery stores near by, not to mention one of my fave baklava places round the corner (oh there goes that obsession)! But the owner of our building must have realized all of this amazingness and told Bulent he wanted back in come February. Luckily, Bulent owns a ton of furnished places all around Moda (neighborhood we live in) and have a few that are empty right now! So he gave us our choice of 2 since he likes us and off we moved…er…uh…I should say he moved us! Ha! We got super lucky! The people before us were moving out on Saturday so we couldn’t move in any sooner. Moving on a Saturday is out of the question for us, however, since we work like dogs the whole day through! So Bulent was like oh no problem, put your bags in a pile on the living room floor (as he motions with his hand a very small area for this small amount of bags we have) and he’ll take it over for us! Saweet! Now we don’t have to lug everything over ourselves!! We’re seriously a few blocks away from the old pad, but the hull over with all of our crap wouldn’t be a pretty one on foot! Speaking of pile of crap…lol! So he motions this tiny little area right, well we don’t even own a bag that small! Instead, he wound up with more than half of our living room floor FULL of bags! I guess you could say we have accumulated quite a bit of things since the move in! –lots of my accumulation is due to papers and papers of material since the book we must use is complete crap (and I mean that crap in a very literal way, not like our load of crap called luggage!) Anyways, the poor guy must have had a heart attack when he walked in that morning! Yowsas!
So this new place of ours is pretty sweet but lacking in loads! First off, its def more of what we thought we were first going to move into. Meaning, it’s old and very Turkish looking. It badly needs to be renovated and the furniture he has in here is pretty old and cruddy. The walls are a yucky white with brown trim everywhere. The living room is huge but they forgot to think about the bedrooms when building –or so Katie and I believe. They built this great flat, and then towards the end, ran out of room and was like oh crap! We gotta build bedrooms still and randomly divided up the space! And I mean random! And the kitchen, dude I swear I’m stepping into my Tante’s cottage each time (Aunt Jemimaaahhhh!)! The décor is crazy! But it’s sweet cuz this one’s bigger so we can fit more than one person in and comfortably! The best BEST part of our flat is right now, we can see the Blue Mosque and the Aya Sofia from our balcony at night!!! Holla!! Our balcony (if you turn right) faces a park (wha?! A park?! In Istanbul?! That’s crazy talk! I can’t even believe it!). There’s all of these trees surrounding it (again, another strange, strange thing here!)!! Since it’s winter, there are no leaves on the trees, so at night we can see across the Bosphorous the BM and the AS! Holla! Plus, we live at the bottom of a peninsula, so if you stretch out over our balcony to the left, you can see the Maramara Sea! Sweet hook up!! I think I can make due with being farther away from everything and all of the other drawbacks I’ve mentioned because of that, easy! Plus Kidman actually has a big bedroom now that has windows to the outdoors instead of my room (though I have the itsy bitsy room now)! And by tomorrow, our second, yes SECOND, bathroom will be working!! Which will be amazing when all of these visitors come and stay –esp at the end of March! That could be an ugly wait! Though only one shower, and for whatever reason, the hot water never lasts! Oh cold showers…mmmmm what a way to end a shower….
So the next part would be to tell you how we completely trashed the place on the second night in, and I mean seriously though! But remember the fact that we got a bunch of old stuff going on in here, so it’s all just waiting to break –right?! We threw an early birthday sort of party play for Ginger. Mike has just gone home for a month (which sucks mucho!) so we needed to do this before he left, which turns out to be the second night in the new pad! Suzie came up with having an interactive play for him. He did it before back at home and decided that we should try it out on Ginger. So he and Kidman wrote an entire script, making fun on of the original Manchester Candidate film, and wrote Ginger as the star of the play. But Ginger doesn’t know it! So it’s this huge surprise, and you throw the person into it and you start the play and stay in character for the whole thing, despite how the person reacts! So we got a group together, even practiced several times, the night of we had props and costumes, and then we surprised him with the play! He reacted great and played along with the whole thing, though in utter shock! It was a complete success and absolutely hilarious! Luckily Jim’s gf video-taped the whole thing for us, so one day you can see this 20 minute play of ours! It’s hilarious! The best birthday idea ever, even if that makes me now sound like one of them drama geeks!
I played Janet Lee from the movie, so my lines were full of super random sentences! Jim is an insanely good actor and played a drunk better than an actual drunk! Suzie played the really controlling mother with the nagging voice and wig and all! Katie played this girl that was obsessed with Ginger. Mike played the push over of a husband to Suzie. Padric, whose like 7 feet tall and super skinny, played a Korean fresh off the boat! Owen played an obnoxious Scottsman, and he even had the duty of going out and dragging Ginger over here in character (btw they are more of acquaintances and Ginger was thinking he was going to find Katie at the bar)! Ben played a Blacksmith’s wife –don’t ask, but he mainly got to scream it out in an old hag voice while selling roses! We had some other characters as well, but not important to mention. So it was a smaller group, but the perfect amount! Everyone was super excited at the end and I think we’re going to make it a bday tradition! Even the guys that weren’t to into it were the ones to suggest such an idea! So much fun and really more touching for the receiver –it’s really a play for one person! Now that is love!
K, so back to immediately ruining the house: so of course, we drank after and that night turned into a super crazy night! A chair, a ladle, a long scratch on our table, a hard plastic chair off the patio was broken in many a places, some prop we had for the play, oh and a wine glass! Lol! I have nooo idea! What really got us, is that this one chair that is just waiting to collapse, with stood the test of time (or party I guess) and somehow didn’t break!! So ya, good night!! Now I’m only worried for the actually bday party for Ginger’s that we have to host next week…there’s going to be a ton of people here! Dun dun dun…
A part from that, we’re getting ready for all of our visitors coming! Soo stoked! Manisha is coming next week already!! So awesome! It really sucks that Kidman is gone for so long, and on top of that won’t get to meet two friends. But, it works out great for them because now they have their own room to sleep in!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A Budapestiful Christmas and New Years!

Yay! Budapest!
WAIT!!!!!!!!!
Make sure you read my post below! I posted the one below minutes before this one! These all take loads of time to do! Plus you just gotta read my life chronologically yo!


So off Katie, Grant and I go to Budapest! Yup! Just the 3 of us. We were hoping for more, but due to some unfortunate and uncontrollable circumstances, others could no longer make it. Budapest was super lovely though, it reminded me of a bigger Prague only dirtier. The beautiful, beautiful architectured buildings are creamed with dirt and graffiti. It was pretty sad to see. Also, it was FREEZING! With no snow, any sort of cold just sucks! It made it really hard to want to go anywhere! Not only that, but everything was pretty much shut down the whole time! Everything was closed on the 24th (our arrival date) and the 25th for Christmas day, and the majority of things were closed down on the 26th. So that limited us quite a bit! Also, things shut down early on New Years Eve, like 2pm early, if they were even open at all, and closed the next day –actually we heard most would be closed until the 5th of January! Mainly, people celebrate the holidays with their families in their houses –so it made the town pretty desolate for most of the time. After coming from a busy, crowded, and noisy Istanbul, it felt like the world had ended and we were the only ones left! I was also hoping to make some friends at the hostel to hang out with and leave Katie and Greg on their own, but there wasn’t really anybody until New Years. So that was a bit of a bummer. But the hostel staff was super duper cool and the hostel was awesome! So I managed to talk with them lots! Actually, one of them, Scott, is also a DJ from LA. He literally mapped out one of our nights (Katie and Greg’s place was across the street from the main hostel that I stayed in)! It was such an awesome night! Greg was going crazy white-boy dancing/jumping/flailing about! It was both hilarious and embarrassing! Lol! At one point he came up to Katie and I and was like “Out of the whole year of 2008 this is the best night! The whole year!” Haha!

After getting settled in to our hostels, we walked around looking for open things. We took a gorgeous night walk along the Danube River to Vaci St, the main shopping street, where we were told we should be able to find some sort of restaurant open. Sure enough we did! It was a cozy pub filled with tourists! Naturally, I ordered sausage! And we all got NON-Efes beers! Mmmmm! What a rare delight for us over here!
Christmas day was more walking and wishing for things to be open. I really wanted to go to a Christmas Market while they were still open (most shut for good by Christmas day) and while we were in a Christian country. So we went to the biggest one, only most of it was closed! But! The food places were open, and ooooweeee that was worth it! They had huge, huge sausages, lots of giant and super tasty potatoes, and both white and red mulled wines to warm you up –you can openly drink anywhere there! Oh so good! Afterwards, we walked around the Jewish quarter. On our way back we stumbled upon an Irish bar around the corner from our hostel. Unfortunately it was also closed, but we did manage to go back several times there after! That night we exchanged presents at Katie and Greg’s as we watched super cheesy MTV music videos from the early 90s! Anyways, I called it a night pretty early, wanting to let them have a Christmas night together –so I went back to the hostel as they went out to eat.
The next day we walked over to Margaret Island. It has some
historical ruins on it and was super pretty just to see lots of greenery and trees, which Istanbul so lacks! We walked the whole of the island and decided that we needed to defrost in a bad way. So we decided to take our chances at the Irish bar. It was open and great! Caught some football (soccer) games and enjoyed cider!!! Yay!!! Cider!! So exciting!
The next day we went to the Gellert Bath House. Budapest is known for its natural baths, and I decided it was necessary to go to one! Plus I slept really badly the night before and wound up with a kink in my neck! I got a massage as well, it was only 20 mins long, but well worth every penny and every second! Oh baby! It was good! Otherwise, I’m going to say I like the Turkish baths better. The Budapest ones were just that, baths. The Turkish have some baths, but it’s mainly steam room style as you wait your turned to be scrubbed down and massaged –I guess I just like the massage part of it! Plus, in the Hungarian baths, you have to stare at saggy old women all day that no one should ever have to see nakie. Whether you’re looking or not, there’s no avoiding it! Yuk!

Then we went back to the same Christmas market and it was opened! So awesome! Lots of tiny little wooden shacks with random arts and crafts for sale along side some amazing food places! Of course we had to chow down on some more sausage!

We even got in a long ass line for this special Christmas treat! It’s this dough wrapped around this round metal thing and slowly turned over the fire. Then you get your choice of cinnamon, sugar, chocolate or pecan toppings. I got a cinnamon one! Mmmm, kinda tasted like the mini donuts on Pier 39, only without the poof in it. Yum! That night we went to Szimpla (this underground, grungy looking, crazily cheap bar) and Corvin (enclosed rooftop club) that Scott had suggested us to go; whereupon Greg had the best night of his 08 ever!
The next day I let Katie and Ginger do their own thing. I took my time getting ready and talked to one of the girls that worked there for a while –actually she owns the place. So that was nice. I then just went over to the nearby mall as I only had a few hours until I had to meet Katie and Greg at the Irish bar. After a few drinks there we hit up a Japanese food place for dinner! Also very exciting –again deprived of any sort of Asian here even though we live on the Asian side! Weird! I think that night we called it an early one and I went back and talked to 2 girls I met. They had all of this boy drama going on and just had to tell me all of it every chance they got! It was pretty funny and I’m not sure why they were so interested in telling me! Haha! They were amusing!
Next, we went to Statue Park. They took all of these giant communist statues that were once placed all over the city to this park on Pest side, located far away and up a mountain, after the war. That was by far the coldest day ever, and I wasn’t so thrilled to do an outdoor thing! Hah! But I sucked it up and it was cool to see the enormous statues! There was frost everywhere but no snow, though it did make it gorgeous!


That whole day Katie and I were planning on going for Mexican food! We even had a count down going all day long! We were even more excited because we decided to go to this Mexican place Scott suggested to me. He told me that a Californian guy owns this place! Yay! Authentic! If you can find Mexican in Istanbul you’re going to get yogurt instead of sour cream, need I say more?! But we wound up at the Irish bar for get your body warm drinks before hand and never left! We ended up hanging out with the band that plays there and hangs out there on a regular basis. They were just hanging out at the bar, drinking and talking when they started singing and one was playing the guitar (one guy is Irish and the other is Hungarian that knows English). They weren’t performing, just singing for fun. They even played some Dave Matthews! Katie even mentioned how she likes Jon’s voice over Dave Matthews to Grey Street! I tell you, they’re good! Anyways, they came over and talked and sang some more, their other friends filtered out not too long after as it was a work night. So we really only hung out with 2 of them in the end. It was a lot of fun! Plus we got 2 shots of nasty Polinka, the special and strong Hungarian alcohol. Oy-vay! Nasty! But it turned out quite nice after the cheap shots of it we got on New Years….
Another day I left Katie and Grant to be together and did my own thing. I would have done it many more times, but they needed my money. Greg managed to get a replacement credit card in time, but it only let him take out so much money –good ol’ banks, tell them your out of country and you still can’t get anything out, and Katie had nada, so I couldn’t leave them. Anyways, my day solo I went to the Ethnography Museum, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the Opera House, and walked up to Castle Hill to meet Greg and Katie at the Hungarian House of Wines.


Which major bummer: it was closed!! So we had a warm mulled wine at some place and made our way down Castle Hill, wound up at some hole in the wall pub –had a ridiculously cheap glass of tasty wine and literally ran to the Chinese place! We were doing sprints we would have to do when we were all on sports teams in high school! Haha! Hey! It was cold out! We literally feasted family style at the Chinese place! There was way too much food for the 3 of us to eat, but we polished it off like champs! Hey! We’re deprived in Istanbul! The Chinese food was great, not the usual -but all in all, amazing!

A few days prior, Scott also told me about his New Years Eve plans and invited us along! So I was super stoked to have others around that we knew for the holiday! Plus going to a place a dj knows, you know it’s gotta be good! Right?! It was electronic music and was super! Only everyone there was like 15! Lol! Scott has only been in Budapest for 5 months (before that Prague) and has never made it to Traffo, the place we were at. He had heard great things about it –even the hostel staff mentioned how great it is, but once we got there, all of us were like oh crap! It’s a kiddy club! But the music was soo good! Plus we already paid to get in and we didn’t know where else to go and actually make it into before midnight! So we decided to stay! Plus they had free Polinka shots ready to go at the door! At one point Greg came down (dance in basement, enter at ground floor), and said he saw older people waiting in line to come in! So after a few minutes, Scott, Evan and I decided to go check out upstairs to see if other dance rooms were filled with older people. Sure enough, empty, but we managed to quickly grab more Polinka shots on our way down! We proceeded to do this a few more times! Also, some chick knocked over 4 of our beers –which I don’t think she really did, but she felt so bad and went and bought all of us another round! So that was sweet! The countdown was in Hungarian, of course, but I didn’t know the numbers, so it didn’t feel like a countdown, or maybe I was just to drunk to know it… However, we did get a free glass of champagne at midnight!
Anyways, stumbled back with really only enough time for a catnap before it was time to leave and catch the plane. By morning, the ground had a good dusting of snow on it, and it was absolutely gorgeous –plus no longer cold! It was a perfect ending, minus the bad hangover!
Unfortunately, we didn’t get to go to Parliament.

I almost went on my day alone, but knew Katie and Ginger would want to do it so I waited it out. The day we were going to go was closed due to the New Years holiday. I also didn’t make it to some other places I would have enjoyed, primarily because it was all freaking closed! But I did really enjoy the things I did see, and have more waiting for me to go back to…in the summer months…someday! The hostel was one of the best ones I’ve ever stayed at and it was super homey, which helped make the holiday. Plus, the morning we had to leave to catch our plane, we were eating our free breakfast at the hostel and this new Japanese guy was sitting next to me. When Katie came, she brought me two leftover packages of ketchup from McD’s from one drunken nights as a joke (Turkish ketchup is not ketchup). This guy immediately pickups up my ketchup without asking or hesitation and opens it up and spreads it on his buttered bread!!! Lol! Katie and I looked at each other in utter shock, dumbfoundment and had to hold our laughing in, I think I teared. We couldn’t tell him since he was chowing down, nodding his head with satisfaction! Plus he even went for seconds!! So he must have enjoyed it! Lol! Yuk! There’s a hungover treat for anyone to see! Yum! Haha! I really do wonder if that next morning he asked the staff for some more of that red spread and wound up confused with jam...lol!
Upon return, Katie and I showered and watched movies. Mike brought back a giant chocolate cake for Katie’s bday and we sung to her with a match as our candle! Katie finally got 1 of 4 big boxes her family sent her, in it lots of American grub that makes anybody’s mouths water. We enjoyed chips and salsa and then bed!
Getting back to work is always draining, but it’s fun to see my classes.

The Rest of Bayram up till Budapest

I gotta few holidays to catch you up on, so much happened in the month of December and all I did was blink my eyes!

So we’ll get you finished off with the Kurban Bayram (a sacrificial holiday), which had started when I last wrote:
This holiday can be very controversial and most students don’t even like talking about it. I think of it as a horrible yet good holiday. They sacrifice animals and give the most of the meat to the poor, or mainly, those that have less than them. They buy an animal, whether a cow or a goat or lamb, slit it’s throat, let it slowly die, skin it, chop it up, plastic bag it, and give it away…but out in the open for anybody to see -done by the masses (masses of animal load, not masses of people hacking). I believe there’s supposed to be this ceremony for it done with your family, but now they pretty much just hire a guy to do it for them. A few of us were going to go to our friend’s to watch the sacrifice, but fortunately enough, their grandpa had decided not to do it this year. I say fortunately enough, because I saw WAY, WAY, WAY to many slaughterings on the actual day they sacrifice. Michael, Podre and I went to the Greek quarter, Fener, on that Monday to walk around, check it out, and hit up some historical sites. Welp! That’s not so innocent as it sounds! This area of Fener is super poor. People seriously hold their houses up with anything they could find:


Since they don’t really have a home, they don’t really have a yard to sacrifice.
Firstly, we stumbled on a big group of guys literally hacking away at cows, axe and all, in a yard next to Constantine Lips Mosque. Mike and I were super excited, as we thought the slaughter day had already passed and we didn’t see any (I initially just wanted to see one, I have a strong stomach and have seen some nasty and inhumane things before, so one shouldn’t be a problem…plus it’s for the poor). So at first, it was really interesting to see what they do. Which again, the sanitary laws are extremely lacking in this country. So after sneaking several pics in (if you dare to see any of these pics from my day’s event, please email me, otherwise I don’t want to make you a vegetarian with out you being ready for it!). We didn’t see any sort of ceremony, just large sheets of plastic covering the pavement and one area where they seriously axe the cow to pieces, and another area where they lay the meat in piles. Then an area where the hide is laying before they roll it up, bag it, and toss it –no Indian about them, they throw out whatever’s not edible. So after being stunned and awed and felt we were watching –hiding in bushes, we take off to our next destination. As we are touring about, catching some great churches turned mosques with Christian mosaics fighting to stay on walls, we get deeper and deeper into poverty. Kids rule this area and all somehow seem to know a fair bit of English. They light up and yell hello! at us. The whole day tiny kids were staring in awe and talking to us! They were so cute, except for when they whipped out their fake guns and started shooting at each other! Seriously, all of these boys had a fake gun! One of them was dressed like the Godfather (he was walking with his family and they were all dressed up for something). As we are about to pass him, he reaches into his chest pocket, whips out a real-looking gun, and pretends to shoot someone across the street. I still can’t believe myself. This kid did it like he was from the movies or something –he even had that slow stroll of a walk with all this confidence, all was needed was that background music! Watch out Brad Pitt! I can’t understand why they’re allowed to do this!!!! Anyways, so we had decided to get lost on our way to each place. Instead of taking the main road, we would just stumble our way there through the crazy streets. As we are walking along, saying hello to all of little Istanbul, we would randomly catch a glimpse of more slaughterings. They had to take over car repair garages and what not, as they were the only ones with a big open area. This pretty much means it was street side due to the lack of walls. There were many instances where blood had filled the streets just like a slow moving river reaching towards the drain. Sirin, a Turkish-English teacher, told Mike that just a few years ago the streets were filled with blood, slaughterings everywhere, and the smell was unbearable. We thought this was just an over exaggeration, but after what we saw, we learned very quickly that she was only telling the truth -not even giving full detail! There was a point where Mike tried to walk around a puddle of blood on the sidewalk and didn’t even notice he was only walking in it! Another time I halted in my steps and Mike bumped into me as I jammed on the brakes before I splashed into a big stream of blood. No exaggeration!
We stopped for lunch at this dirt-cheap place, and these kids came in to eat. One of them even came up to us like he was 50 years old to shake each of our hands (I think all of the kids in Fener are in some sort of mafia). So cute though –not the mafia part but how old this young kid acted! Anyways, after we ate our thin-crusted lamb pizza-like-food, Lamacun, and saw a goat shoved into a closed restaurant across the street, we took off to our next destination. Only 2 doors down, I saw the worst thing in my life. It was enough to make the strongest of stomachs puke and was the prime reason I became a vegetarian for over a week. So if you have a weak stomach, which I don’t, don’t read this next part:

There were several cows being cut by a big group of men. One of them had its neck cut open; we must have missed the slit of the throat by 2 minutes. The worst part was this young cow was facing us, so we had a clear shot of its blood gushing out of its neck. Pieces of it coming were out as we had a good look into its neck. Only now, and I strongly urge you not to read this part, it wasn’t dead. It laid there still, but every few seconds, it would try to move, struggling to stay alive. It proceeded to do this, for what seemed like a lifetime. What made it super eerie was these animals don’t make any noise, they just seem sad, knowing they are about to die. So this cow struggling for its life didn’t even make the slightest peep of pain. There was this other cow, dead, right behind it and these guys were kinda struggling, trying to cut its leg off. These people just seemed like it was a natural, every day thing to do. -That was another amazing thing. They didn’t even really change their clothes! There was this one guy nicely dressed whom we talked to for directions. As he was directing us, actually he ended up walking us half way there (I tell you these streets are crazy!), I noticed that he had drops of blood on his shirt! Actually, that was a warm up! We saw these two little girls at one point, probably aged 5 and 7, they were so excited to see us and they started staring and talking to us. One of girl’s finger tops were all stained red and she was sucking on them. No joke! For the rest of the day, we were trying to figure out if it was really blood or not…
On our way back to the ferry, we walked by this dumpster, piled high to the brim of bloody bags with, no not a cherry on top, but 2 cow hooves attached to its ankles. In an open bag next to it were cow guts. The gut looked like it was ready to explode the gasiousest of farts. So needless to say, Mike and I, and Podre for that matter, got our sacrifice-seeing share. Just the very first one would have sufficed for a lifetime!

*OK TO READ NOW:
The rest of the night I was really disturbed and trying to figure out if I could put a piece of meat in my mouth again. Now you might be thinking this happens all of the time in actual slaughtering houses to the very meat we buy and eat everyday. But after witnessing such an inhumane way to sacrifice these poor animals, with the eerie silence and the sheer amount of massacres I saw that day, I think my questioning is allowed! Even just questioning it is being nice! I think the only reason I can, which I have to keep reminding myself, is we saw a family of gypsies all carrying sacks of meat over their shoulders they received as donation from some passer-by. That was really nice to see the end result in that way. I only wish I saw more that one family being donated to to help ease the disgust…
On a lighter note, we did get taken in by this mosque’s caretaker and shown one of the rooms he has locked off. Apparently 2 big emporers were buried there which they have marked off with caution tape, no engravings or headstones. We were also shown tiny remains of a mosaic that was done in the Byzantine times. Apparently there are a lot of secret things buried through out various mosques and you either have to ask the caretaker, hoping he’ll take you in, or be at the right place at the right time to get grabbed in to be shown! Pretty crazy!
All killings a side, my holiday was pretty relaxing. It’s nice just being a tourist here! We even got to go out on the weekend, which are our busiest days, so we’ve never got to experience this wild nightlife we always hear people raging about! We hit up Taksim, the big clubbing area, both Friday and Saturday night! A bigger group of us went out on Friday and we went pretty much all night! It was loads of fun! We wound up at this café turned club and danced the night away! Actually, I should say laser sworded the night away! They had glow sticks all over the ground and I immediately pick it up and started laser swording people! Others followed suit, even the 2 Turkish people I befriend (one of them jumped into our group picture and when I looked at it I thought it was hilarious! So I ran and hugged her laughing as I would have done the samething!)!

For the whole night I made sure my friends kept sword fighting, poking at them if they stopped to real dance! Unfortunately, on the way back to catch a dolmus (or mini bus that’s really just a giant van), Katie and Grant decided that they needed another beer and disappeared before we knew they were gone. Somewhere along the way, the 2 of them were pick-pocketed. Losing both their money, credit cards and ID. Katie also got her residency permit stolen. Luckily they weren’t hurt, they just somehow didn’t feel or were aware that anything of the sort was being done to them. The biggest blow was Budapest being a little over a week away and me being the only one with money. Luckily Katie was able to get her residency permit expedited, so she had no problems leaving or entering the country. A part from that, we all had a great night and Katie and Grant even came out the next night! No one got their things stolen, but Katie did manage to lose her phone at the beginning of the night! Can you say bad weekend for Katie?! Though the phone thing was inevitable for her: something always happens to her phone right around New Years!
The rest of the week was pretty quiet as it got super cold and was pretty rainy. We spent most days in and recovering from the night before. I did manage to hang out with Chloe one day and we grabbed some “Mexican” food (boy is that hard to find) and went to a really weird art museum –which has become our tradition. We always wind up at really strange museums and walking out not to long after going what the heck did we just see?! Always good fun! I also got some more sightseeing in, most importantly, the Blue Mosque!!

I’ve been meaning to get there for quite some time, but I wanted to wait for the tourist season to die down and go on a day I had loads of time to really appreciate it. That day I also went to the Mosaic Museum and some arts and crafts building thing, both were a major let down. Yet I did see the Basilica Cistern, which is by far one of the best pieces of history I’ve seen out of all of my worldly travels! Something about just felt so real.

Oh! And another day Katie and I walked around a whole different area of Sultanhamet, which was super gorgeous and it felt way European! That was great! We kept trying to look for cafes at the top of hotels for good views and we almost got sucked into getting a Turkish bath! We somehow slipped out and wound up at some other place with this super gorgeous view of the Blue Mosque and Aya Sofia. Saweet!

The whole week off came and went way too fast as most holidays do. Within a few days I got a call from one of my favorite people in the world’s friend saying he was in town. Lauren goes to Yale and has a friend that decided to up and travel over this way. She gave him my contact info and sure enough, he did! He was staying on the Euro side, but after talking with him and finding out how he was already annoyed of being haggled after 2 just days here and how he just loved to hear English, we thought we better bring back to our side where he can have beers with our English speaking friends! He got wasted that night and crashed on our couch –thanks to Raki! Though most people got wasted that night….Jeff (also known as Suzy) taped any and everything to Mike’s bedroom walls and ceiling when we got back from the bar! Lol! We’ve been slowly taking things down as we need it: say a shoe for example, the toilet bowl scrubber, ladle…! Lol! Zahir stayed a few more nights at our place and then went off to Cappadoccia –which I almost went with on my days off, but since I had to supply the money for the upcoming and Budapest trip, I decided it was best for my bank account not to go. All in all, it was really neat to meet one of Lauren’s good friends from Yale (can’t wait for you to visit Laur!)!

Anyways, that Wednesday me, Jeff, Mike, Ginger (also known as Grant, er Greg) and the other Katie went to see the Whirling Dirvishes. That was super disappointing and I struggled to stay awake, and Greg won’t admit it, but he fell asleep. Now don’t get me wrong, I love their way of worshipping God, but for someone watching: snooze fest! They make it appear on pictures that they whirl super fast, but they do it pretty slowly and the songs last a lifetime! Ouch! I think we were overcharged but I must say it was pretty cool to at least witness it. Plus I learned a little bit about it before going, and it’s quite interesting.
That weekend one of my classes going to end and my students wanted to have a party. They came in with this giant gourmet cake, with lit candles that they made me blow out; some chips, and soda! Now most students just want to leave after the exam but they wanted to stay and say bye to me! They were really upset when they found out I couldn’t be their level 3 teacher! Though it might be a good thing, because on this cake they stuck a card in it that reads, “We love you Katie! Don’t forget we!” lol! CRINGE!! Haha! They also kept telling me not to forget them and wouldn’t believe me when I told them that I wouldn’t!

That Sunday, my friends Jim and Owen invited us over for an “Egg Nog Soiree”. Another thing I miss about Christmas here is no Egg Nog. So the boys conjured some up alcohol and all! Mike and I rushed over after class with Jim –whereby Owen greeted us with a giant bowl of it! We also convinced our Turkish-English teacher friends, Sirin and Yelize to come and try some! The next day Yelize wanted more! Jim’s gf, Basak, was also there. We were supposed to have Timtams (amazing Aussie cookies. Jim is an Aussie and this boy doesn’t shut up about them. His parents only send him one package at a time and he has to continually hide them from Basak cuz she’ll eat them all on him!). Basak remembered that we still didn’t have our Timtam day so she busted them out! I don’t think one can say enough about them! Soo soo sooo tasty!! Must have more!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Another dear and loved family member of mine has passed as I'm away on my adventures abroad. My grandfather, Allan Campbell, has passed on Dec. 19th. At a mighty age of 92 his heart of a horse finally gave out. As it makes me yearn for home even more during this Christmas season, I have been able to find peace and happiness in knowing that it was for the best as the last decade of his life can be defined as a vegetable. I know I speak for the entire family when I say we have loads of hilarious memories of him that we will cherish for the rest of our lives. I will never forget his deep voice and a mouth bearing no teeth in each summer (visit) morning as his caved in face would say "Why hi-lo there Ky-tee!" and freak me out at my young age -year after year! He will always be loved and we all will hold each memory dear and deep within our hearts until we meet him again. Until then, he will be truly missed and will remain the basis to which I can say: I am a Campbell.

I wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas and a love-filled New Year! Enjoy your time with all of your friends and family. I can't wait to see all of you again and I order each of you to not die while I'm gone!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Ketchup

Are you ready for a whirlwind tour of my life since Oktoberfest? Well strap your pants on! Stand up sit down, do a little dance, brush your teeth (proven fact that it helps you read better -like coffee stunts your growth and I’ve been drinking it since the 3rd grade and I’m giant!) go on, do it and read:

1.)Oktoberfest was nothing short of Ahh-mazing! Both of them! Katie and I went to Munich and Stuttgart. Mom, you are worried about losing me to Istanbul, well it’s got nothing on Stuttgart! It's gorgeous and I feel so at home in Germany! Unfortunately we didn't get to tour around Munich because by the time we arrived and got situated, it was time to drink! We met some really fun people at both fests and had a crazy time drinking with them!
Oooo speaking of feeling so at home I think I can pick up the language really fast! At the Stuttgart Oktoberfest, we hung out with a group of Germans. At one point they started speaking in German instead of English and I was able to participate in the conversation -though I only spoke English back. But they kept replying in German and the conversation kept on for a while! I guess the alcohol just brought back all that I had lost from when I was little....
We also enjoyed real huge tasty sausages atleast once a day, and trust me when I say I mean more like twice a day, not to mention the real, freshly baked buns that come with it! Wooooweeee!!
Everyone was so holly and jolly while drinking together! And these costumes they wore! So many people in the traditional dresses and laiderhosen! Awesome! All ages too! There would be groups of people my age and walking around like it was normal! Even men covered in tattoos; you know the ones that try to be all tough and then they have laiderhosen on! Haha!
In Munich, I went on rides that one sober would have problems going through! We met some crazy English boys on a bachelor party weekend at the Munich Oktoberfest, and they were absolutely hilarious! They were also responsible for me going on these rides I should have died on (I'm not sure what happened to Katie at that point. We were walking and suddenly she was gone! Apparently she met some group of Spanish or English girls and hung out with them!)!! One in particular was a fun house...er...“fun” mountain we’ll call it. I’m not sure how I survived it, nor really remember waiting in line for it, but I did have the bruises to show for it! I also thought I could wrestle with one of them, who is a really really big guy, needless to say I wound up thrown over his shoulders! The beers were huge and tasty, but as if that wasn’t enough, we even got served apricot brandy shots with whipped cream on top in little mini beer mugs. Again, like the rides, why this was such a good idea, we shall never know. Apparently, the gigantor mugs of beer were not enough!
Here’s a clip of merry men!:
video
Need I say more about this? Didn’t think so!
And these “tents” are sooo massive they put Costco to shame! Honestly, this video doesn’t do it justice! You can’t see all of the seating on the side and the second floor, and people are still crowded in the aisles with nowhere to sit! There’s even lines up out the door at night!! Not to mention the fact that there are atleast 12 tents that size!! Amazing!
The beer here is a grand and vast selection. I’ve gotten used to having only one brand of beer here in Istanbul and then I go to Germany and they have tons of it extraordinarily lined up and referidgerated at each corner store! I even saw a few grandpas getting an early start at crackin open a cold one at no later than 8 am! Now that is love! It def gives coffee quite a competition!

2.) Next up: film festival! One of my friend’s, who has already upped and left to go to India to extend his yoga career, invited me to the film festival to catch one of the movies. We saw Rachel’s Getting Married. It was a good movie but a bit of a downer because I was expecting the film festival to be this huge event with carpets and famous people and this huge building full of movies, but it wasn’t. It was just unusual movies for a week long in an old theater. We saw the Surprise Movie, apparently they don’t tell the viewers what they will play until that day, which is the last day. But I must say it was a really cool experience to be able to be apart of a film festival, even if it was no Cannes!

3.) Then Katie’s bro came to visit! Lots of touristic things were done with him and lots of drinking as he is a thirsty boy! That was fun! We even managed to be first on the ferry, which he really should be made famous for. People here rush on and off the boats like nobody’s business here. It doesn’t make any sense, nor are they all really in that big of a rush! Old men are even jumping ship before it’s tied to the dock! It’s unreal! We happened to be first waiting for the next ferry to come, and as people piled on top of us, we decided to try to be first on! I thought it was going to be rather easy, but men seriously started running, giving us a bit of a challenge! Lol! I even brought him into one of my fave classes (who were level 5s, they can speak fluently) and had them ask him really weird questions in order to surprise and catch him off guard! One of them asked him if he were a fruit what would it be and he replied a pineapple! After he left I made them write a personal ad for him and they all had it as one of his major selling points! It’s great!


4.) We also thew a Halloween party!! That was awesome! Especially since it was the first time for some of our Turkish friends -they don’t celebrate it here!
I was no other than the colonel from the KFC! The white beard with stache, glasses, and a big gut -no less were worn! And let me tell you, it attracted all of the women! So fellas out there, if you want to attract some honeys dress up as an old fat man! It somehow does the trick! Grant had an awesome costume too! He went to the extent of shaving off half his head, beard AND even one of his
eyebrows! LOL! He was 2-Faced from Batman, so it was only necessary!
The cops even came, our neighbors didn’t call on us, they drove by and heard the noise. Luckily our Turkish friends simmered them down and away. We also shut off the music to keep them from coming back! So that was a bit scary, especially since our Turkish friends left immediately there after! One of our friends had forgotten her ID at home and jumped in Mike’s wardrobe when she had heard they came! LOL!
















5.) We tore it up on the dance floor at this reggae bar one night. Katie and I met up with Dylan and some of his friends since it was one of his last nights here in Istanbul (same guy I went to the film festival with). Since it was a Wednesday night, the club was pretty bare so we got the entire floor to ourselves doing ridiculous dance moves! Awesome! But then later on this group of foreign high schoolers came in, we made some of them and left!

6.) Unfortuneately, we all had to say goodbye to Natalie. I was lucky enough to get to know her for these past few months. We go to do some touring around Istanbul together and lots of other funs! I was also very lucky to get the chance to go to some of her dinner parties! She is an amazing cook! She had been living here the past few years but decided that Istanbul is no longer her definite place. She is from a Carribean island and will be there until she goes to teach in Mexico. Needless to say I will def go and visit her in the near future!

7.) I also went one night with Jeff and Mike to a Turku bar. Jeff writes for the Time Out Istanbul magazine and was doing this bit about Turku bars and had to go to several. It was a lot of fun. There’s lots of varieties of traditional Turkish music, and this tiny interior decorated cabin bar had great music! It was funny at first because this couple that was singing kept parading their famous friends up on stage to let them sing a song one after the other! One of them spoke English and since we clearly were the only foreigners in the bar, she made a point to use her English! It’s funny, everybody here wants to be a professional singer, they all think they have this amazing voice (hmmm...a bit like me, but they are scarily proud)! As the night went on, people got drunker off nasty Raki (you know it as the Greek Ozo) and started dancing. The waiters randomly pulled out these huge drums which swung over their shoulders and started pounding away to the songs! One of them even started traditional dancing with the customers! It was great! They tried to get us to come and dance which naturally, I was itching to do, but by that point it was getting close to my leaving time (hey, I had a class to teach the next morning and once I get started on a dance floor good luck stopping me!) So needless to say, I held back! But we are planning to go back for more and discover others! I can’t wait to do some traditional dancing!

8.) There were lots more inbetween, not to mention the butt load of work I’ve been having, but lets jump to the Thanksgiving feast! That was amazing! And yes, I can officially say, I have had turkey in Turkey! Wahn wahn! We ran into the 2 guys that were hosting at the grocery store the night before. One’s british (which they don’t have this holiday) and the other is American. They asked me if we were vegetarians because the dishes we were both bringing were just vegetables. I was like no, why would you ask that?! And they’re like well no meat! So I told them how the only dish is really just turkey and they were quite surprised! I def had my doubts about the dinner after that convo but man, did they surprise me! Such a huge turkey and it was soooo moist!! Also, the brit made a cottage pie (which I learned is a shepard’s pie but beef instead of lamb) so that was super tasty! It has been a while since I’ve had one of those! Plus, he said how I can call him up for the recipe or if it’s too hard to make, I can call to order and he’ll whip one up anytime! So naturally, I told him he better get ready for some phone orders! Which I should make one soon….

9.) We finally made it to a hamam!! Soo cool! Not being a tourist has its perks as we only had to pay a quarter of the price the tourists do over on the other side! Woohoo! Though I imagine the experience is a heck of a lot longer and perhaps a little more sanitary! Anyways, Jeff’s 18 year old niece and her friend were visiting and he wanted to bring them to one. They divide the girls and guys into separate hamams, so he asked us to escort them. After a strong “pull” of my leg I went with these two sheltered, innocent, conservative, young girls from the south – Georgia!! Ahh! At hamams, you are pretty much naked. Being that they were visiting a male, they had no idea what any of the details of what they were in for! They give you a room with windows, to change out of your clothes, but these 2 wanted to get naked in a bathroom! It turned out not to be possible for them to do so since the bathroom was in the bath part and you aren’t allowed with your clothes on! Katie and I had out bikinis and we dropped trou immediately. Ok, so you’re not super naked. You are completely except for you keep your bottom underwear/bikini on – so topless. The girls had no choice but to get over it and had to deal with going in their underwear. So we go on in and there’s this customer that happened to speak English there! She was super nice and explained everything as we didn’t know what the heck to do! As she was explaining to us, it was her turn to get scrubbed and washed down on the giant marble slab in the center of the room (Everyone sits along the outer edges of the wall next to their own marble sink so you can constantly wet your body down. The room is quite hot, sauna style, but not so sweltering.) So as she’s explaining to us, this old saggy fat women was scrubbing her about in her chonies as well! At one point she put this English speaker’s face right in her naked chest so she can scrub the back of her neck! And this woman just keeps talking acting like it’s a normal thing to practically motorboat this half naked woman! Lol! Luckily, she didn’t do it to us, as she new we were first timers! She did give us perma wedgies though! Each and everyone of us! Hey she had to make sure she gave us a good ass scrubbing! Oh man, you should have seen all of the nasty black flakes of skin that come off of us! Especially after living through the nasty heat of the summer here in such a dirty and polluted town! Wait, I guess I shouldn’t have said that after talking about an ass scrubbing! Haha! Our entire bodies were flaking! But so soft afterwards! I didn’t even have to put lotion and I tell ya, way smoother than a baby’s bottom! Delightful! They even wash your hair and give you this wicked head massage! Unfortunately the massage isn’t as long as I would have enjoyed, it was more of a tease than anything! But nonetheless, it was super relaxing! Katie and I are def planning on going back! And earlier to, as we went close to closing time, so we think that’s why the massage was kinda cut short. The girls seemed to loosen up after a while too, I think they found it to be an awkward delight in the end!

10.) Alright! I'm stopping there! Hopefully it'll be sooner than later the next time I write on this thing! Sorry guys! I'll just stuff myself in a canon for you!
What can I say?! Time flies and then all of the sudden it's been months since I've written! Hope you're all well and Happy Holidays!!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Vunda-bah!

So we only had one night of internet-well, ok so it seems to be on again off again. Definitely not cool, an evil trick, my mouth is still watering from the little taste of it that I was able to indulge in. Also, that video is not going to happen. I’ve tried several times and it’s always a no-go. It has dawned on me that I might just know why: Youtube is banned in Turkey, so I think putting any form of video online is just not cool with the Turkish government. I’ll keep trying, but in the mean time, I’ll take some photos and post them…one day…

So the very first night I got teased with the internet was also the day I ventured off into the Haghia Sophia (Aya Sofya). Despite the inside center of it being currently under construction, it was breathtaking. Though I’m still not sure if I feel ripped off or not for the 20ytl they charged me to get into a house of God. So I made sure I got my money’s worth and stayed there for a few hours! I’m really glad I did though, because there is sooo much detail everywhere, that you really don’t see it until you just sit and stare. Plus it was a cloudy day, and since I stayed there longer, at one point the sun came out and lit up the church. It was gorgeous! Oh and I stuck my finger in the healing hole, it didn’t come out moist. But then we all already know I have no ailment that needs healing, right!? Plus, another little bonus, there was some photo shoot going on and it happened towards the end of my visit! It was just one model. The dress however, oy vay! It was this sequenced gold mess and they even stuck red tights on her! But she was beautiful, hence the modeling career I sa-pose!

On my way back home from the Aya Sofya, I even got my own little photo shoot! Hahah! Or so we have yet to see! I got off the ferry and saw this long line of people that ended at this trailer, which appeared to be handing out a styrofoam pack of food asking for no money in exchange. Do I need to say more?! I mean I know free when I see it and I jumped right in line without a moment’s hesitation! Haha! While standing in line, I looked at the trailer to try to figure it out. I saw this giant Turkish word written on it that looks very similar to the French word for beef. So I immediately assumed some fast food place is opening up so they were doing some great marketing by handing out food, etc. Sweet, I’m getting free beef, right?! Well this one newspaper reporter eyed me and came right on over. Unfortunately, she knew English. She didn’t ask me really anything that I think would give a good story –just what I’m doing here, how long I’ve been here and how long I’ll stay. Then, and a little more importantly I must point out, she asked me if I knew what was going on. Haha! I told her I saw free food being handed out and got myself into the free line. She then told me it was for Ramazaan. She has very poor English, so I thought she was just telling me that they had been waiting to hand out the food for iftar (the time that allows you to break the day’s fast during Ramazan). But it wasn’t until my treck home that I realized that they were handing out free food for all of the people that were fasting! Haha! Woops! They took tons of pictures of me too and made sure they had good ones of me getting handed the food from the truck! Lol! Jeez! All of these people actually fasting, and little ol’ me comes barging in to snag some more food even though I can eat at whatever time pleases me! Unfortunately I don’t think I made it in though. It’s been over a week now and I have given up checking the paper (she honestly doesn’t have a story on me)!

So I was planning on risking my life to the Black Sea of Kilyos this past Thursday. This beach is supposedly dangerous to swim in, but then again the Turkish are really picky about where they swim…but Wednesday night blew in a wonderful thunderstorm (truly, wonderful –it was huge and I love it!) and left Thursday morning drousy, so the big group of us (apparently my last adventure to the beach sounded really enticing and a bunch of people were up for a round) decided to ditch the beach. After a morning nap (we woke up at 6:30am only to fall back asleep again), Michael and I decided to explore. We found out that the Istanbul Modern Art Museum is free on Thursdays and were planning to get in on the free the following week. Now that we had an open Thursday, it was off to take advantage of the free (what I’m so good at) and do a ridiculous walking tour my Istanbul guidebook has. Well we didn’t make it through the whole museum, we got too hungry and left. We were so comatosed (I think from those fluorescent lights) that we decided that we shouldn’t go back in to finish it off, even though it’s the temp part of the museum and the most interesting. So we decided to do my walking tour. We had to do it backwards though, as we were at the ending point of the tour. Oh dear God that tour they got going on! Haha! We’re still cracking jokes about it! We got a lot of check marks off atleast! The tour just offered things to look at for a few minutes and then you keep trecking, only most of the things in it were missing. Like 2 fountains at separate locations, which are typically quite big and hard to miss, were instead, nonexistent. Even more peculiar is that these fountains “have been” there for a few hundred years! We were definitely on the correct route, otherwise we would have never found our way to Taksim, and there were a few existent things that we were able to see. The best part is in the “hall of mirrors” (another grandiose error, well almost completely), is that there are a ton of shops in this hall and lots of ones with antique pictures, advertisements, and postcards. You best bet there were ones of Ataturk, one of the coolest ones yet, and Michael purchased it and added to the collection that is called home! We then went to a bar to enjoy non-Efes beers (this is a rarity here). Oh but back to the trip to the Black Sea- who knows if that could even happen until next Spring! Ever since Wednesday night it has been raining and cold. No there was no gradual shift of seasons, it was like someone flushing the toilet during your steamy hot shower! Bam! Ice cold never sounded so wrong; only it never went back from the slapping cold! So it’s a little hard to be optimistic at this point.

Because I have seemed to be a wanderer this whole week, the next day, I found myself back in Taksim. I happened to wander by a bar that has 3 lyra beers! My second gold mine find! I found “Heaven” (it’s our local watering-hole here that I found right by work about a month ago while I was wandering around Kadikoy. This place has 3 lyra 70cl beers –which is about half the price around here! It’s so cheap I started calling it Heaven and it has stuck with everyone ever since! A group of us often find ourselves there after our night classes. As soon as the waiter sees us walk in he immediately turns around to go fetch our giant beers!….I suppose I really didn’t need to give an explanation of why this place has been renamed. Oh, and I’m pretty sure he often undercharges us!). So now that I found this other place, but over in Taksim, we are all itching to go test it out! It’s on the other side, so it makes it a bit of a hike. But because it’s on the other side, this is even more of a mind boggler. The other side is much more expensive, so to find such a price just doesn’t sound right. So I’m excited to actually venture over there in search of truth! Actually, speaking of venturing and beer, Oktoberfest is just around the riverbend!! Holla! I’m stoked!

This week has even more wandering, some hardcore wandering too. Plus I even got to enjoy an Indian dinner at Natalie’s. It was sooo delicious! She invited me and a group of friends over to feast on delicousness! She is an amazing cook! On the weekend, a group of us went to another Fenerbahce game. We had some pretty good seats too! Plus not as many people go to these games, or so it keeps turning out that way, so there wasn't half as much groping going on! Another day, I went with Grant, Mike and Jeff to this museum in Istanbul, but it takes over an hour to get to (yup this city is giganto) to go check out the Dali exhibit. I pretty much left as soon as I got there though cuz I was so sick with hangover! Haha! The museum just seemed to intensify the pain. Plus I had to be back for my night class and I was worried about how bad traffic was going to get and being late an all. I found out later that night that Grant saw me resting up against this wall holding my face and he thought I was having a moment! That Dali man, he just makes you weep! Haha! Jk! I made myself go through the first floor (which is that big) since I had to pay to get in and all the time it took to get there, but the longer I stayed the more I had to force myself to stay. So I just gave up! But no worries, I was much better after a Simit and loads of fresh air from the ferry back! Haha! I don’t normally get hungover, boy that one was a doozy and out of no where too! I did some other wanderings too, but those were the highlights!

Welp! That’s it for me! The next blog will be all about Oktoberfest and it’s glory!

Yup, your eyes do not decieve you. 27 bucks for some jif! Sad part, that's the norm if you are able to find the wonderful spread. Wahn wahn!