Saturday, November 3, 2007
Istanbul by night
So, we are back in Istanbul and have settled once again in our hostel in the Taksim area of town. Yesterday began rainy and dreary again, just as it had been when we left the city a couple of weeks ago so we thought we might be in for another two weeks of wet weather and were non too happy to think of this. We spent the day trying to get quotes for shipping my bike back home: on the phone, online and even in person. So far, the prices we have gotten are much higher than expected, so we were a bit unnerved by the end of the day.
However, as fate would have it, we found out once again just how small this world is when Kevin ran into a friend of Jan, our host in Munich! Marco is a fellow RTW motorcyclist who has been traveling for the past seven (yes, seven) years. Kevin made plans to have dinner with him and his girlfriend and we soon invited a Frenchman named Gilles whom we had briefly met before we left. It was our first proper night out in Istanbul and we were very happy that the rain had stopped by the time we were ready to step out. Gilles met us at our hostel on his bike (he has an F650GS just like mine, but black) and he went ahead of us to meet Marco at our predetermined spot in front of the Blue Mosque. Kevin and I took a taxi because I had "dressed up" meaning I had somewhat done my hair, applied some eye makeup, and put on some earrings, so I did not want to wear a helmet and ruin my girly feeling. Traffic was horrendous and it took us about 1 hour to travel about three miles. We were late, but Gilles had found Marco, his girlfriend Carla, and their roommate Casper, and they were happily chatting away when we finally caught up with them.
We found a restaurant near by with some outside seating and settled in for an evening of great conversation, good food and lots of laughs. We talked travel, motorcycles, movies, pop culture and of course, politics. We were a multicultural group comprised of a Colombian, an American, a Frenchman, a South African, a German and a Dutchman, and so we found lots of things to disagree about, but also enough things in common to make the evening really enjoyable. By the time we headed home around midnight, Kevin and I were tired but happy, and looking forward to a good night's sleep.
Since we arrived in Istanbul a day earlier than we had predicted we had to share a dorm room with a loud snorer the first night, but last night we were in our own room and got some delicious sleep.