I’ve just left my dad, half asleep, listening to Deep Purple in the hotel room. This is the night I will try and experience nightlife in Istanbul. I’ll admit I’m not off to a great start considering I’m sitting at a swanky cocktail bar, sipping on an almond-cinammon Disarono concoction, and hunched over my laptop. I’m a real party-starter.
Today kicked off with a very Maxim-esque adventure. We (ahem, “we”) accidentally left Romania with a borrowed cellphone and GPS unit, which my dad was now hell-bent on returning to his cousin as soon as humanly possible. It somehow turned into a two-hour endeavor, but we made it to DHL location and shipped our package off to Bucharest. Side note: we later received an email from Sergiu that there was no rush returning the items and to take our time. I’m pretty sure my dad opted for the one-day delivery, but I wouldn’t know because I waited outside and watched guys try and scam tourists.
After our Turkish DHL experience, we headed over to the Blue Mosque. We arrived during the prayer hour, so we waited in the courtyard until we could enter the mosque. During that time we people-watched the hell out of our fellow tourists and were amazed at some of the outfits women had on. Were they really that tone-deaf to show up in mini-skirts or did they just not care? Maybe that’s anti-feminist of me to say.
Great. The bar I’m at is closing. I am a nightlife-curse. Time to gulp down this syrupy monstrosity of a beverage and change locations.
I am now at a bar called “Ugly” and I’ve just ordered a drink dubbed “Love Juice”. Aside from vodka, I have no clue what’s in it. Bottoms up!
Once we entered the Blue Mosque, the first thing that caught my attention was the stench of dirty feet. I know, surrounded by all that beauty and all I can think about are the stinky feet surrounding me. Once I worked past that hang up, I realized just how cavernous the mosque feels from inside. It possesses an understated type of beauty—much different from the exterior, which I found myself more drawn to. We moved quickly through the mosque, pulled by the waves of people around us. My dad made a point to take me to the place where my mom was yelled at when they visited. I guess she was in the wrong place at the wrong time (the men’s area of the mosque during prayer).
Leaving the mosque we had a clear view of Haga Sofia, our next destination. This is the historical site that won my day. Its exterior has a really intriguing structural style with varying depths and heights between rooms and domes, the result of centuries of remodeling. Inside was also a treat, where walls engraved with Islamic scripture stood in harmony with faded frescos of Jesus and his apostles. It was the most beautiful culture clash I’d ever seen.
Our final historic visit of the day was Topkapi Palace. My dad and I are still unclear as to where exactly the palace is actually located. All of the buildings we walked through were designated for council members, or events (such as the circumcision room). The palace grounds were large and had a mixture of old and modern buildings, making it more museum than palace. The real show-stopper (other than the circumcision room) was the terrace that gave a stunning view of the Bosphorus and surrounding land. Not to mention there was a fucking rainbow over Istanbul at that very moment!
After our exhaustive string of tours, we headed back to the hotel with a pit stop at Kurukahveci Mermet Effendi Mahdumlari to buy some coffee beans. After an impromptu nap, during which I allegedly punched my dad, we set out for dinner at Ficcin, a great Circassian restaurant that had the most delicious potato dumplings. Like I told my dad, there’s nothing better than starch wrapped in starch.
That leaves me at this moment. Sitting alone at Ugly, drinking my teal-colored Love Juice.