Can, a 25 year old business student was a good sport today
. He waited an hour in line with me at the Dolmabache Palace and another hour inside on the tour. By 2:00PM my feet had failed me and it was time for a nap. Although I specifically asked Can if he lived in Taksim and he said yes, I was a little disappointed to learn that he currently stays with his brother in Bakikoy. Bakikoy, although a nice suburb, is a 35-40 minute drive to the center and only accessible via a taxi or dolmus. I quickly learned about the "special taxi" which cost 20TL to any point in Istanbul.
Can had another friend from Germany (Martin McFly) in town for a conference so that evening, we all met up for dinner and drinks. Martin had a particular place he frequents whenever he comes to Istanbul and now I know why. Libiderya sits overlooking the Bosphorous with the Hagia Sofia in the distance and where they make fresh cocktails. I had the guys impressed when I created the Stacey Spa drink made with vodka, basil, cucumber, lemon juice and simple syrup. The best part was my hand gestures as I explained the muddle action shake and strain process into a martini style glass. Needless to say I had the guys ordering one of their own by the time I was done.
The night was still young, we eventually made our way to Tophane area to smoke shisha and play backgammon. I felt like I was back in Egypt.
I had lined up a Couch with Can to stay for the next two nights and the plan via email was for him to meet me at the Metro bus office in Taksim when I arrived. I intended to call him when I was on my way, but just my luck, the way the Turkish mobile phone system works foreign phones have a limit of 15 days before the registered number expires. So even though I had credit left on my card, the sim card locks up and I'm unable to make or receive calls. I would’ve been better off not registering the phone until 24 hours before returning to Istanbul since I wasn’t making any calls while floating at sea but who knew. Luckily in Taksim there is no shortage of internet cafes. I was able to reach trusty Erin who had been kind enough to house my additional luggage over the last two weeks. Conveniently I swung by her hotel, chatted with her briefly and then Can met me there and we made a day of visiting the Dolmabache Palace.