Monday, 5 February 2018

Visiting Taskin... Huh? BKK - IST ..... What a day ;-)

Here we go again. 
I'm leaving Indochina again. 

The BKK Airport Rail Link
But NOT in the usual direction. 


I'm continuing WEST instead of flying back East.

 Pretty obvious, cause This Airline does NOT fly from Bangkok to Vancouver.....
The stewardess looks at me a bit funny when I tell her NOT to print a boarding pass for the Istanbul to Athens portion of my flight.   I don't want to check in for that because they'd be calling my name forever for nothing.  But booking that extra flight saved me 200 bucks. 
Too bad, because Greece is one of the countries that I haven't visited yet.

I feel a little bad when I e-mail the following picture to Eda in Vancouver.

And I feel even more guilty when she e-mails me back that she just threw a screaming tantrum in the underground parking after seeing it.

I get the aisle seat behind the bulkhead right behind the boarding door of the plane.  Legroom enough and I sleep about 6.5 or the 10.5 hour flight.  

 Too bad, I would have like to experience flying over Burma, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran .....

At Atatu"rk, I exchange my last Baht for 80 Turkish Lira, not a lot but that should be enough to get me to a new Istanbulkart.

When I take this selfie in front of the Metro sign, the taxi drivers descend on me.  I'm cold & tired and I would have to first buy an Istanbulkart and then take two different Metro lines for a total of one hour.   Or I could listen to the taxi drivers and could hop into one of their warm taxis and be delivered to the door of my hotel in 18 minutes for 20 Euros.    I succumb to temptation ;-(  

But I promise myself to take the Metro back to the airport in a few days !!!

The hotel owner has e-mailed me the door codes, so I just let myself in to the building and my suite.  But I don't stay for long.  It's time to hit the bun man at the Metro Bridge.   

5 YUMMY buns for 5 TL and a quite a lot of grins (He is wearing a down jacket while I'm standing there in shorts and sandals) and smiles thrown in for free.  

And it's a fabulous way to start a morning!

The moon over the Golden Horn


Time to head to Migros to do some grocery shopping.
Galata Kulesi 
Walking in Sandals and BLUE as opposed to the almost mandatory BLACK jeans gives me the distinct feeling of sticking out like a sore thumb.  
At least I'm not wearing shorts like last time, LOL.
Instant reward time for C$ 9.24
Good thing I slept on the plane.  Time to some more shopping. I need shoes !
.... alas ....
NO big shoes here either ;-(

Simit !

When I try to make a phone call back in my hotel room, I realize that FREEDOM MOBILE SCREWED me AGAIN.   Yes, the phone indicates that it IS ROAMING in Turkey.  Unfortunately, it is impossible to make a phone call.   

Thank you for delivering World-Class Service again, SHAW !

By 15:00 I've paid Taskin for the hotel nights and walked back to Galata Bridge.

For 100 TL (CAD$ 33) , I get 2 GB of Data & 60 minutes of International calling. IF my Freedom Mobile phone WAS roaming, those $33 would have gotten me 10 minutes of international calling and ZERO internet. So all is good, because I'd rather pay that money to some Turkish company than to Shaw for crappy service.


Time to go out again.   I'm STILL running around in Sandals and taking the Metro to Taksim Square might just help to remedy that ;-)
Jenerato"r = Generator.  Well, Yes, I DO speak Turkish, LOL

What a panorama; I get goosebumps just walking over this bridge ;-)

The Metro train runs about every 2 minutes (Hear that, TransLink? LOL)

2 Metro stops later: Taksim Square

Selfie with Atatu"rk 

It's running again !!!
Walking this shopping street, another epiphany is forced upon me.  I had forgotten how extremely well-dressed Turkish people are.  Vancouver could learn something from Istanbul.  Also from the gait of these people.  Heads high, shoulders back, and a positive expression in their faces.  NOW I remember why after my last visit I had decided that THIS is a city that I would feel comfortable living in.
After 3 failed attempts in Stambul. 
A Bosnian gentleman sells me these Made-in-Turkey babies ;-)
I get back to the hotel and Taskin is ASLEEP in his cubicle.  After the usual politeness dance (when do you want to go?  NO, when do YOU want to go?; repeat for WHERE ..), he takes me literally around the corner to Akin Restoran
It's February and probably below 10 degrees Celsius by now .....

NO, this is NOT Borat ! (or Ali Baba ..)
But we're sitting on the outside patio.  HOW?  Plastic tarps against the wind and a bucket of red-glowing coals (I kid you NOT ;-) under the table.
After dinner in this dry restaurant, Taskin wants to take me for drinks.  And he knows JUST the PERFECT place for that.  When he crosses the road just before Galata Bridge, I have an inkling of where we are going.   "Is that the place where EVERYONE has a bottle of Raki on their table?" I ask when we're still 2 blocks away.   He stares at me as if I'm from another planet "You KNOW it?"
I certainly do.  Zu seeing her first fish head in June 2016
Alas, every table is reserved.  So instead, we head to Olimpiyat Restaurant.  

The wine is excellent and so is the company.  Taskin's daughter calls during the first bottle.  "Baba, where are you?", LOL.                He tells me how a British artist had blocked his contact request from him an artist himself on Facebook or Instagram or some such service.  When he dared to inquire WHY he was told that she would not communicate with ISIS terrorists.  A mustache is enough to be judged these days.            Thank's a LOT for opening Pandora's Box, Dumb Trump !                                                  Remember that box? Once it's been opened all the stuff you don't want comes out. And it's impossible to put it back in.  
I wish I could pretend that this was the only & last bottle, but we succumb to the temptation of ordering a second one.  His son calls during the second bottle. "Baba, where are you?" LOL
 And this is when I notice that Taskin becomes a chugger at the time of a second bottle.   But he is a very HAPPY chugger, LOL.  But I make sure to direct him to his feribot before the phone rings a third time because that would have been his wife.
I'm not the only one stumbling home through the dark alleys 

It's when I'm sitting back at my desk in the hotel, uploading the pictures of the evening, and I find myself unable to stop grinning, that I realize that these are THE THINGS THAT DREAMS ARE MADE OF.    

OMG, where is my bed ........

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