Let's all GO ALL OUT

Trip Start Jun 19, 2008
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34
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Trip End Sep 04, 2008


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Sunday, August 3, 2008

Ok, Stan just left an hour ago, and I am really sad. 
I only have 11 more days in Istanbul.  11 more days to write two 3000-word papers.  11 more days to sulk about leaving this place.  11 more days to visit the 6 places left on my to-visit list.
Instead of facebooking and wallowing in sorrow all day, I made a dinner reservation for 9 at Leb-i-derya, a semi-expensive bar-restaurant with one of the nicest views in the city.  My friends were only too happy to go somewhere nice and classy for once- we deserve it!  One of the girls had been there before, so she led the way.  We climbed up the hill towards Taksim for about 10 minutes.  Wearing heels and colorful dresses, our stamina was thinning.  I pointed to a crumbling manilla building and said, "Gosh, I really hope it's that building right up there."  Little did I know that the hole-in-the-wall place WAS Leb-i-derya.  The elevator had buttons for floors 0-5 and one that said "Lebiderya".  It was smaller and less crowded than I had imagined, but the view really was great and open.  The gigantic windows allowed a lot of light in, and I could imagine the place to be very romantic at night.  We ordered our hearts out: seafood pasta, salmon, fancy salad, legit kebabs, tiramisu martini, apple majitos, glasses of wine, and desserts.  The bill came out to 340 ytl, haha!  It was easily the best meal we have ever had in Istanbul.  I could have eaten anything on the menu!  Thanks, mom and dad.

After resting our bellies for a bit, I had another ingenius idea.  Let's go to Reina!  Reina is THE best club in Istanbul; we have heard so much about it.  Apparently it is one of the world's top 10 clubs as well.  The other kids had gone to 360 last night and were a little disappointed by it, so they hopped on my suggestion.  We dressed to the nines.  There are a lot of fancy clubs around Reina; many of them charge 30-50 ytl for ENTRY plus 1 free drink.  Other places may not have a cover, but the bouncers profile you to see if you look like you would spend 200+ ytl at the club.  Thankfully Reina does not have an entrance fee on Sundays, so we got in for free!  We took a 15-minute cab ride (15 ytl among the 4 of us).  One of the guys could not get in because he was wearing shorts!  We tried to get one of the other guys to take his pants off in the bathroom, but Christian somehow ended up getting in (not without a lot of begging and pleading)

There are no words for this place!  Reina really lives up to all the hype.  The main floor and the center bar are out in the open, wrapped around by a two-story seating area.  The entire place overlooks the Bosphorous and is right next to the color-changing bridge.  The DJ played fun pop and techno songs- I recognized some American and Turkish songs.  It was not an outrageous clubbing scene but rather classy people lounging and socializing, drinking Grey Goose and Jack Daniels.  Even though guys were not allowed to wear shorts, most of the girls were wearing skirts and dresses that came down to mid-thigh only.  I wore a halter top from Mango, lucky jeans, and gold Aldo heels and did not feel over- or under-dressed.  Next time I would wear a simple mini dress with some accessories and heels.  Laura and I danced a little bit and met some Turkish people.  She wanted to dance with a really attractive Turkish guy who was sitting at a couch across from the center bar.  We chatted him up... the conversation began with the guy asking, "Where are you from?"  "Chicago."  "No shit!  I went to Northwestern!"   "Wait, I go to Northwestern!"  What a small world!  When he started talking about Chipotle and the wing place on the campus, I freaked out.  It was just too weird!  On the way out, we also met some Yalies who were taking a 10-week tour with their acappella group.  Fun.  Reina is where we belong.  Screw Taksim!  If the place is so nice on a Sunday night, I can only imagine how hopping it must be on a Friday or Saturday night.
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