Headin in to the 'Bul

Trip Start Apr 12, 2006
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Turkey  ,
Monday, June 12, 2006

With the song 'Istanbul-Constantinople' by 'They Might Be Giants' well and truly entrenched inside my skull, I woke in the usual zombesque night bus fashion for the final time on this journey at roughly 8 in the morning, and took in my considerably different new surroundings. Early morning Istanbul was bustling like crazy, freeways a blazin' with city bound turks and the energetic feel of a really big time city. I managed to get a few hours shut eye on the bus, not before watching a very discomforting and graphic film that dramatised the scandals of Abu Grahib and the Iraq War, on a bus full of Turks and Kurds. The Iraq War is heavily unpopular in Turkey, and I wondered what everyone on the bus was thinking as we all watched those shameful scenes.

Wading through the touts and brown toothed taxi drivers, I hesitantly jumped into a shuttle bus that thankfully did arrive in the touristy old school zone of 'Sultanahmet'. Met an Aussie couple living in London, Joe and Sarah, and walked with them to the main drag in Sultanahmet where the hub of hostels and bars are, directly past the cornerstone architectural bohemoths of Istanbul, the much heralded islamic Blue Mosque, and the duotheistic 'Hagia Sophia'.

Found my hostel with the greatest of ease, the comfy, popular 'Bahaus', and hooked up with Jess, a Sydney chick I met back in Selcuk two weeks ago. Together, we threw on our tourist gear and checked out the impressive interior of the Blue Mosque, an enormous Obelisk, and the nearby Topaki Palace, the lavish residence of many a big knob Sultan, including the big man himself, Suleyman the Magnificent, who pulled off a whole range of kickass Sultanish stuff in his day. (Maybe I should have got the guided tour with some real information)

Headed back to the Bahaus when tourist duties grew boring, checked out a small bazaar, and got prepped for the impending World Cup clash between Australia and Japan. Met up with Joe and Sarah around the corner at the backpackers pub and got stuck into some more Efes, meeting mutual travelling acquaintances Wress and his sister whose name I cannot recall, and Kiwis Mick and Anna, who were escorted out of Heathrow on a technicality the other day when they tried to return and came perilously close to the rubber glove treatment. With no Turkish contender for this years World Cup, the Turks seemed to get right behind Australia, and the place absolutely went off when the socceroos came back in force to win the match 3-1 in the final stages. From then on, it was nothing but a raucous cacophony of mid-1980's anthemic bogan rock, as every pub along the main drag churned out a looping playlist, including 'Land Downunder', 'Khe Sahn', and 'This is Australia'. After such a mammoth win and a sturdy regime of brews, Joe and I felt considerably proud at the fact that we were Aussies.

We all went back to the Bahaus and sank more Efes on the hostel terrace, with a regiment of birds circling the lit up Blue Mosque leering in the distant backdrop, and the illuminated sprawl of inner-Istanbul bustling below down by the Bosphorus river. It was a great day to be an Aussie, and a great night to sink more longnecks. I later got talking to a crazy dutch bastard called Goemell (or something), who shared his melon flavoured nargile pipe with me, as we began to discuss all manner of deep life jargon, from destiny versus chance, to science as religion, to consciousness and reality, and the underlying design of life itself. The dutch accent is hilarious and I found myself suppressing laughter a number of times, as this dude sounded a dead ringer for Goldmember from Austin powers 3. 'Yeeesssch....Shalty'.

With my brain in meltdown from the long bus, the beers, and the metaphysical discourse with the crazy smoking dutchman, I called it a night and retired in my dungeon-esque dorm with 3 chileans and some other randoms.

Lovin the 'bul.
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