My second weekend

That weekend started on Friday night. We were taken to Fasıl by our IAESTE committe.

Some information about fasil from The Guardian: “Fasil is what makes a good night great in a traditional Turkish meyhane (tavern) – a motley band of violin, lyre and clarinet-playing musicians and singers who usually mix classical Turkish music, well-loved songs from the 1950s and 1960s and sometimes a cheeky arabesque drumbeat to suit a crowd of diners. This kind of music is quintessentially crowd-pleasing, to the extent that, as the night progresses and the raki flows, the performance becomes the realm of the people and the diners themselves do most of the singing and a great deal of boozy dancing.”

Our Fasıl night took place in some restaurant in Taksim (party area of Istanbul and favorite destination of all locals and tourists for shopping and fun). We had a dinner and drinks included. There were 2 options – limited and unlimited menu. The unlimited menu included unlimited alcohol… Some people took advantage of it and after that spent the half of the night in the toilet and were taken back home by taxi. Me and some others preferred the limited menu with 3 drinks included. 3 beers is more than enough I suppose. The food was ok but nothing special to be honest. And the music… Well, 3 beers were definitely not enough to start enjoying this kind of melodies 🙂 The fact is you have to be part of this culture to really like the music and to know all the songs. As a foreigner you might find it interesting and culturally enriching I would say… Anyway I liked the night, it was nice to experience Fasıl and to see all the Turks singing and dancing together. The only thing I really didn’t get was why the music had to be so loud? Seriously, I would sit next to someone, shout him directly in his ear and he  would still shout back – what, what did you say?! Probably, once you have reached the required amount of alcohol in the blood you don’t need to talk anymore and then the volume of music is becoming quite ok. You sing and dance and drink … and love the whole world =)

After Fasıl we went to one of the many bars located on the last floors of the old buildings near Istiklal Caddesi (the main shopping street and the heart of the Taksim area). I’ve been to several places like this and they are almost all the same – very tiny and poorly decorated. This one had a nice terrace so we were dancing outside and we had a lot of fun! At around 4 in the morning we went to the Taksim square to get a taxi to go back home. Oh well… Here comes the story with the taxi drivers. What can I say? They are (&&%$&^^#&%&^%&! This one wanted 50 lira for the ride that normally costs 25 and maximum 30! We had a long discussion and in the end we gave him 40 (still a rip off). But we did it because we were 7 passengers in one taxi…hahaha.. 5 people on the backseats and 2 on the front one. Let’s say we paid a fee for overweight =)

Those days a friend of one guy was visiting him in Istanbul. She was going out with us and that night joined us too. As it was late and I was staying alone in my room, I invited her to sleep over. At 5 in the morning the security in the dorms wouldn’t really recognize the faces of true residents, so we thought it would be ok. Our assumptions regarding the security guy were proven to be true… but we didn’t count the cleaning lady in! Oh those cleaning ladies… the secret spies! At 9 in the morning she entered the room without even knocking (oh yes… no private life at all here in Turkey .. ) and she has caught us. After that I was called to talk to the security and they made me talk to the Big Boss on the phone. After hearing the words “100 lira fine” I returned the phone and pretended I didn’t understand Turkish 🙂 The poor girl had to run quickly down the stairs and to flee… The security followed her.. And… and nothing 😉 My girl was good in fleeing and the incident was resolved. Though I really don’t get why did they have to make such a scandal because of her staying in my room for 4 hours?!?! And the way they talked to us and handled it.. brrr…. like if we were criminals. Seriously I felt very sorry for my guest (((( But in the end everything was good and I hope it didn’t upset her too much ))))

After this unpleasant start of the morning I went to sleep for a while and then at around 1 o’clock we went to Beşiktaş to a local bazaar. Very authentic place with local people doing their weekly shopping. There were 2 floors, “downstairs” you could buy food – all kinds of vegetables, fruits and other stuff, and “upstairs” mostly clothes but as well some home untensills. We shopped for a while and then went to our favourite cafe Hakan Pastanesi to chill with a glass of tea … Chilling and drinking tea is a must in Istanbul and Turkey in general. We adopted this tradition very fast and enjoyed it a lot.

The bazaar

The Hakan pastanesi
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The next stop in our touristic program was the Sapphire tower – a skyscraper with an observation desk. I wouldn’t call the view from the top stunning or a must see and additionally the weather was bad, so I didn’t like it that much. But …

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The girl next to me knows how to make a good pre-party )))) She made a bottle of cola-vodka mix and we were enjoying it there on the terrace… This part was really really cool! I like the attitude!
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After that we went to Galata tower to drink some beers and to mix the rest of vodka with juice (have I already said that I love the girl?))) Then there was a party in some club and a taxi ride back to the dorms at around 3 in the morning I guess. I don’t really remember anymore =)
For the Sunday we planned a trip to the island Buyukada. It was really tough to wake up early in the morning and to make myself go there… Off..being an IAESTE intern is a hard job both on weekdays and weekends))) The ferryboat was very crowded but we found some places and I tried to sleep a bit on the way there …

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The cars are not allowed on the islands, you can only have horse driven cabs.

We went to the top of the island to see the orthodox church.

And we had a lunch there.

Nice houses of some rich people.

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IAESTE people going back to Istanbul …
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The end of the day …))
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