When we went to bed the forecast called for cold winds and rain so when we got up to the terrace for breakfast and saw sunshine and blue skies we had to alter our plans for the day to take advantage.
We went walking through the park that leads to Topkapi Palace but decided not to go inside and instead headed to the coastline, where we were told we could get cheap fish sandwiches. on the way back out of teh park we were asked to stop walking and wait for a minute. then a group of four girls dressed in similar pastel colored spaghetti strapped workout tops and yoga pants rode past on bikes followed buy a guy on a skateboard and a guy on roller blades while they were filmed. Curious, I found out that it was for some Indian food or drink it looked like drinkable yogurt.
Along the seawall there is a rocky area where homeless people, fishermen, teenagers, cats and everyone in between go to hang out. After a good walk we came upon a street vendor set up, grilling fish. He created a neat little outdoor restaurant with fluorescent, child-sized plastic, furniture. I really hoped they had cleaned the trash can they were storing the fish stored in but after tasting it I could have cared less. the cook was an expert, removing all the little bones in a few quick moves, where as the sandwiches at the bigger, more commercial place we went later was full of bones.
The street hustlers have an interesting and amusing way of earning money. A guy who was missing a hand had strung line along a fence and pinned up some balloons, making a bootleg version of the carnival game where you shoot them with a pellet gun, minus the stuffed animal prizes. There were two options; one shot for 50 cents with the riffle or two shots of the hand gun for the same price. Having shot my fair share of aluminum cans as a kid i just watched as Megan and Remi, one of the french people from our hostel room who joined us.
Walking along the lower level of the bridge we faced one of the most negative aspects of being in a tourist spot; the aggressive tactics of people working in restaurants and stores. They don’t take no for an answer it can have a really negative affect on your perception of the place but I soon learned to turn to humor or to random polish phrases that actually didn’t apply to the situation but no one ever questioned it. After lunch we went towards Bayoğlu and stopped for a climb up the Galata Tower, which gives a great panoramic view of Istanbul.
We grabbed dinner near Taksim Square. the whole process was an ordeal. We sort of had an idea of how it worked but we didn’t have the luxury of using English very efficiently. Luckilly there was a guy who spoke perfect English who walked in and helped us. he was a professor and had been teaching in Turkey for a while. After Eating we walked out to the plaza where the police had barricaded themselves and their vehicles in. I walked over to take their picture but they put their hand up and waved no. so I kept walking and asked them why there was such a heavy police presence. “we are always here”, he responded. I told him I was just taking a picture of their funny looking police bus/van and that i liked it. he didnt look amused so I added, “but i’m not interested in seeing the inside” and wished them a good night.
The night before I said no more hookah but we found ourselves at another hookah bar… it was more of a strip mall of nothing but hookah bars.