For the past five months I’ve been traveling the Mediterranean. I figured I would just cut my would-be successful career dead and live a more noble life as a nomad…alright, alright! I got arrested at 05:30 in the morning, pulled away from my cheap bottle of Pinot Noir and got deported ok?!
After a few drifting months, upon letting my ticket to Africa burn like wildfire and leaving the lovely flight attendants high and dry, I found myself in a coffee shop in Istanbul. A city packed with ridiculous amounts of culture and diversity. A sweet cocktail of the many empires that occupied it over the past couple of thousand years. Needless to say, I was astounded. I felt like a teenager undressing a woman for the first time. The more I explored, uncovered farther my chin dropped to the point where my bottom teeth were visible in China. At first glance it was just beautiful which can be said about many cities around the globe so overall, not that new. However the trick to truly experiencing this city was the, well let’s just say, easter eggs (not literally).
Built to throw off outsiders and tourists was a front as if a shiny designer store with lots of eye candy. Everything looked suspiciously too…smooth. Back alleys dark as a well diggers ass and as tangled as a Sheiks pubic hair to the eyes of a stranger. Hard to take that first step into darkness in a country that has a stained rep due to it’s geographical location and it’s extremist neighbors. Once you take that leap of horrifying faith, you find a world of most interesting characters hanging out in bars you’d only see in a Johnny Depp movie drinking Danish Pilsner.
Behind the fish market and grocers of Kadikoy, past the port and cheesy night clubs and overpriced restaurants targeted at dribbling tourists you find hidden a street called Kadife Sokak. Hipsters, hippies, bikers, models, gypsies, actors, musicians all come together in this short stretch to drink, literally, shoulder to shoulder. Everyone with a bottle of beer at hand singing, chanting while others hang out in the cool kids corner. Some make out, some dance, some talk and some glance. It takes balls though, to go there (especially alone). Everyone will give you attitude no matter who you are and it’s a hot spot for the Hells Angels attacks. Not kidding about that, they come with knives and chains out of nowhere and assault everybody without a cut. Which to me, makes it all the more better! As far as you wondering what the fuck the Hells Angels are doing in this part of the world, well Turkey happens to be the largest distributor of heroin in the world.
I happened to have one sick night at this burlesque bar drinking my soul off till dawn. Around 03:00 am the government shut the power to the street so the people would leave and the wickedness would stop but it only got more movie worthy! In the middle of what seemed to be an eclectic but driven song called “Raging Lung” everything went dark. A single second of utterly beautiful silence so vibrant from everybody’s energy it gave goosebumps to every living thing in the place. It was soon ruptured by the wooing of all the drunks in the place. The bartenders quickly lit as many candles as they could and kindly let us know that, as he put it, “the fucking beer is getting warmer by the minute LET’S GO PEOPLE!“ And everyone who wasn’t binging up to that point started pounding down pints of Pilsner followed by shots of watered down whatever-the-hell-that-was. Enough candles were lit to see all three floors of what seemed to be a bar designed in Tim Burton’s wildest fantasies.
I could go on, maybe I will on my own but I’m not about to tell you about who I took home and how. My point in this post was GET OUT! Travel! This is the only planet you’re gonna live on and you’ve seen literally less than %1 of it. The more places you go the more you grow as a person. Trust me, I’ve had the (mis)fortune of traveling my whole life from the crib to right this moment as I wait for the ferry in Kadikoy, I know what I’m talking about. Don’t buy that new MacBook or whatever, buy a ticket to Berlin, Zurich, Cyprus where ever!
It’s 05:09 pm somewhere and I need a quick cigarette before I watch the sun set on a ferry ripping through the waves of Marmara (oh by the way I just found out there are dolphins swimming around here!) So I’ll leave you with this thought: !