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Published: June 17th 2010
After an early breakfast with Ryan and saying goodbyes, I went back to the room, packed my things and went to check out of our hotel, paying with a combination of the Euros I'd taked out from the airport ATM and the few Turkish Lira I had left. Then, I headed over to meet Brent on the other side of town at the hostel we had booked for the next few days.
Having run out of tokens for the tram, and not wanting to walk that far with all my things, I stood in line at a kiosk where they sell tokens. As I finish buying my tokens, I turn around, and I hear someone say, "Ben?" Right behind me in line is Luke, a fellow recent law grad who I know because we worked together last summer. His girlfriend had seen my backpack, which happens to be amongst the law firm schwag I've got, and pointed it out to him. So don't let the size of the world fool ya - you never know who you'll run into. So why is it that we haven't found Osama yet?
We hopped on the tram and caught up until we
At the moment where he was telling me how he got mugged a couple days before in Jerusalem.
reached their stop, and then I continued on to meet Brent. After walking around for a while and not finding the hostel, even though I knew what street it was on and although the street was only a few blocks long, I popped into an internet cafe to find the address. Turns out, my intuition about which building it was had been right, it's just that the sign was so tiny I wouldn't have found it unless I knew it was there. I plopped down, waited a little while for Brent, and then the two of us spent several confusing minutes checking in (made confusing because the owner thought we would wait for Amy, the third person under our reservation, before we checked in, but she wasn't to arrive until later that evening).
Brent took a nap, while I went to try and get my iPod fixed. Since it had died right before I left Tel Aviv, and since I didn't know where to get it fixed in Israel (since Apple doesn't list any service centers in Israel), I figured I'd have a chance to get it fixed or swapped here. Well, I went to the Apple store, a
Sultan (I think) with a lion.
mall way uptown that was actually pretty cool and easy to get to, only when I got there they told me that they don't service iPods. After some difficulty communicating with the employees, I got them to give me both the name of the place and a map of the general area where it was. After a couple more hours of traveling, and wandering back and forth through poorly marked streets, I eventually found the service center and showed the lady at the counter that my iPod wouldn't turn on. Although she could see through the Apple service website that my warranty was supposed to last for another 10 months or so, and although the model iPod is less than a year old, she still insisted on a receipt to avoid the ridiculously high charge for repair, which of course I didn't have with me. I asked her how long it would take to get fixed to see if it would be worth trying to have the receipt faxed over, but she said it would be four days, and I had only three left in Turkey. So I gave up, bought another sesame bagel/pretzel-thing, and went back to wake up
Looking over the city. Below us while I was taking this picture were a few kids who started yelling "hello!" to us.
The two of us took a long walk through I don't even know what part of the city, and saw a bunch of funny stuff, like the tens if not hundreds of stores selling mannequins. We stopped to have lunch at some point, which was a kebab of some type that I could compare to shawarma, but served with rice.
Later, back at the hostel, we met up with Amy, and I introduced the two of them to Biray, who took us to a fantastic place for dinner (the place Ryan and I had been looking for the other day), and then to a really nice bar overlooking the city afterward.
The next couple of days, I played tour guide to Brent and Amy, showing them the sights I'd already seen, and for the longer ones taking my own visits to the Basilica Cistern and the Archaeology Museum, both of which were really cool.
After our first full day together as a trio, Brent took down some terrible looking and apparently terrible tasting hot dogs from some kiosk, which I really couldn't understand. As a snack, perhaps, but with so much good food in the
A unique house.
city I don't know what prompted him to eat that crap. Maybe it was the woman behind the counter, with her devious but coy smile and dark features. A little bit later, Amy and I ate fish sandwiches (ekmek) by the bridge that were really fantastic. I went back for a second, just to make sure it wasn't the hunger talking (it wasn't).
We stopped to smoke some hookah at one of the clubs/bars under the bridge and have some tea, but the service was incredibly slow and the hookah wasn't very good (it felt clogged). At least we had a beautiful sunset over the water, good company, and the entertainment of the fishermen's lines being cast and buckets dropped from above us.
On our second full day, while the others were visiting the Ayasofia, I took a nap in the park between the Ayasofia and Sultanahmet. I was soon disturbed by a police officer, who was telling the crowds of people that they could not sit on the grass. Grudgingly, I walked over and sat on one of the benches and fell back to sleep until Amy and Brent came back. For lunch, we went to a
America is everywhere.
kebab place ("Turkish Meatball" style) that had been recommended, though the food there was only okay, in my opinion.
We also stopped back through the spice market, where we bought various spices and candies. Yum. I love the smell of that place.
On my last day, I took my companions back to the hookah place I went with Ryan, and had another clay-oven baked potato (yum), tea, and a waffle with all sorts of delicious fruit and chocolate on it, while I taught Brent to play backgammon. After that, it was time for me to say goodbye, so I left them some cash for the bill and made my way to the airport, to get back to Tel Aviv so that I could babysit my little brothers while my dad and Serena took a long weekend in Prague.
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