Sunday, January 18, 2015

Istanbul- Day Three

Day 3 - 2nd November 2014.

"Did you know there's an average of 3 million visitors at Istikal Cadessi on a weekend day?"


The morning started with us cooking some sausages that we bought from the Turkish grandmother. Along with some bread and cheese. It was a way of cost efficiency for us.

We decided to go towards Galata Tower, on the other end of Istikal.

It was about 9am when we left, and Istikal was still all empty apart from people like us, and the shopkeepers.

Note: The amount of cats that distracted us everyday is a lot. Mainly cause Eli is a cat lady and Turkish cats are so fluffy and friendly. Stray Turkish cats like me more than my own.

As we walked further from Taksim Square, the shops became more traditional and there were fresh juice shops, where they press it in front of you.

Eli: I want promegranate.

Hanis: APPLE.

The apple juice was very yummy, but .. the promegranate was very acidic to me that I coughed and my eyes teared up. But Eli really enjoyed it.

We then got to a crossroad, and had no idea which one to take. Help came in the form of a man sitting at a table in front of this Cultural Museum.

He spoke English.

And was selling tickets for a Whirling Dervish show later that day.  

Imagine the look on our faces when we saw the note stating "Sunday only". We glanced at each other, made some comments on how it must be our luck to walk by here today and BAM bought two tickets.

"Where is Galata tower?"

"You go straight and it would be on your right. You will not miss it."

The sun was bright, the air was cool and thankfully we did not miss the tower. Nor the long line to go into it. We took pictures and decided to skip paying the entrance fee and climbing up the stairs.

We walked down another alley, more quiet and peaceful. I stopped by a grocery store and bought a drink I keep seeing people drink over there.

It was a .. salty yogurt drink. An acquired taste. Well liked by the locals. (Apparently this is one of the drinks to try if you're daring enough.)

I managed 2/3 before declaring defeat. I did not acquire the taste for the drink.

Eli spotted a place overlooking the sea between the two continents, so we walked over there, crossed a main street and basked in the sun. But then, we wanted to get even closer, so we walked down a pavement beside the busy road. It was about 10 mins downhill before we had to cross two busy roads and found ourself at a park/small pier area.

There were people waiting to get on a boat, and we bought some nuts and sat on a bench while watching an old man feed the pigeons.


Remember how in Istikal you can walk any alley, as long as it is in the right direction, you can just cut through anywhere and arrive where you want?

Well, never ever use that logic away from the Istikal Cadessi.

We got lost, because we decided to use another way.

"We can just go uphill here, then cut to the right and go up and voila."

Voila my foot.

It was okay until we found ourself in a part of town we have never seen before. But there were shops, I remember looking into a kitchen appliance store and ogling the big mixer.

We then decided to climb uphill between some residential flats to cut through.

It felt ghetto. Old women looked at us from their windows while we huffed and puffed up the cobblestone path.

Youths stared.

We got to the top, take a left and it was a dead end.

Cue: mortified laughter.

I was ready to roll and die before going back down when we looked the other direction and saw that the road led out.

Cue: relieved laughter.

It took us another 30 mins of walking before we got to a cafe 10 mins from the apartment.

The cafe was recommended by the apartment owner, for being cheap and it was. What I had was, two grilled boneless chicken thighs, salad, rice and grilled vegetables. Add on a bottle of Coke and it was around .. 12 Lira.

I promptly fell asleep in the apartment before Eli woke me up to go to the show. It was a scramble of getting ready, and we both power walked to the place, dodging the crowd of Istikal and basically, just being badass.

The show was .. amazing. It was moving. It left me breathless as I listened and watched. As they whirled around. It went on for 45 minutes and it was 40 minutes of ... I felt like I was part of something great.

We then decided to make it an early night because the next day would involve a trip to the Asia part of Istanbul.

Power walked again and then we saw it.

We saw something that made us cross from one side to the other, risking our limbs through the Sunday night crowd.

It was a window display, full of chocolate bars.

Let me describe the scene in detail.

White, dark and milk chocolate bars. With assorted kind of nuts; almonds, hazelnuts and pistachios.

And it did not look like chocolate bars with nuts. It looked like nuts with chocolate binding them together.

And we stared, wondering if the display is a lie because surely ... no one will sell that much nuts in a bar of chocolate.

I peeked in to look at the price and squealed:

"The big bar is 14 TL"

Note: Funnily enough, both of us was quite restrained from buying sweet stuffs over there for some reasons. We kinda regretted that the moment we got home.

We got dinner from the same place we had lunch, but I decided to get pilaf rice from a cart outside.

Pilaf Rice Cart:

A cart found on the sidewalks, filled with pilaf rice, chickpeas and pieces of grilled chicken. A serving of rice is 2TL, and they will sprinkle pepper and offer mustard. Add on chicken and it will cost around 5TL. Its a simple, plain but fulfilling meal.

While waiting for the man to wrap up my rice, two little kids stared at the food hungrily. They looked like the beggar kids we see at the Cadessi. 

My heart was tugged. I asked the man to wrap up another serving for them. He raised his brows, nodded and did it right away. I waited, just in case.

The little boy got demanding, asking for tons of pepper and mustard.

Dinner was enjoyed at home, in a heated up apartment while we made plans for the next day.

Friday, January 16, 2015

A Letter to Someone.

Dear You,

It was an amazing 3 months of being friends with you.

I want that to be the first thing you read cause I know you know this blog exists. In fact, you had snooped through it and commented on the idiot I once dated.

How are you?

Its been a month, half a month since I have given up. Logic and some persuasion from worldly friends told me that you're doing the right thing.

Its either that, or you're just being a first class asshole. (I prefer this one because it lets me be angry and pissed off at you, hence tons of evil wishes are sent to you via my thoughts).

Today I realised why I was so intent in believing the worst of you until another friend made me see the other possibilities. 

When I am angry at you, I don't have to admit that I miss you.

I don't have to admit that I miss the conversations we had in the mornings, and the way you can get serious within a moment from being funny. The way you would ask me my opinion because it interests you to know how a Gen Y might think.

That career advice you gave me? What if I needed more advice in a year or so? Who should I turn to and ask, knowing the answer will be made of honesty, experience and no bullshit at all.

That love/life advice you sternly word out to me. I was wide eyed, showing my age when you told me that someone's refusal might not have to do with me, but its just them not looking for anything at that time. And then you added on; "Why bother with people who are not interested in you? Move on, to the next."

Oh how ironic that one is now.

I miss you because you made me realise the kind of person I want to be. The kind of person I want to be with.

I read somewhere that some people are meant to be in your life for a short time, but would affect you greatly. I think you're one of those people.

I might have given away the hand painted note book I chose for you in Istanbul. I still have the postcards though. I considered sending it to your office, but that just screams "Stalker Chick" so if you want it, just inform me.

And oh, those jokes I always make? I never meant it. I'm too selfish for that.

Before I fully let myself feel sad, remember that song you got me hooked on?

I have to admit, I listen to it and think of you. Every time. 



Monday, January 12, 2015

12th January 2015.

I owe you guys Istanbul Day 3 until Day 8 but I have been really busy lately, with finishing up my accounts at work and transferring to a new department.

I promise I will try to get Day 3 and Day 4 typed up and posted before I go off for my Hong Kong trip.

Yes, you read that right.

Hong Kong trip, end of this month with the family. It would be our first trip abroad as a family since we came back from Saudi (umra' trip) in Jan 2012.

Of course, my objective is Hong Kong Disneyland followed by shopping for bags and shoes (does not need to be branded, all I want is pretty).

I haven't really looked up where else to go, or made any plans because I have been tired and lazy (Dad is doing research) so if any of you have been there before do give some suggestions.

And if any of you know Halal places over there, that would be really helpful because I do not want to resort to eating Fillet O Fish burgers, bread, canned tuna spread and instant noodles all the time over there.

Anyway, I have realised that the travelbug has bitten me because it seems that I wanna go everywhere. My initial plan was:

Hong Kong in Jan with family.

Krabi in May with friend.

Seoul in November with a group of backpackers.

Greece in October 2016 with friend (Mama keeps going "Nope nope nopee").

But then, I can afford it but it will be killing any leftover savings because my travel fund = savings.

Mama even said "Imagine you fall in love and want to get married after buying your tickets." because its kinda the ... norm here for people who want to get married to completely devote their savings for the wedding.

I was like:

Nope nope nopee.

Ain't gonna happen. Ain't gonnna sacrifice my travel dreams.


Korea seems .. not do-able this year but maybe someday or with the family one day.

Here's to a year of savings and travelling and planning.


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