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Part 10: Istanbul and Prince Islands

7th of May 2004•17:58 hours

At last I have some time to write again. Now I am on the boat, coming from an island to the mainland, together with Oytun from the hospitalityclub. Since my arival yesterday morning we spent all time together. He picked me up from the station and after I dropped my backpack in his car and we eat someting on a terrass, we went sightseeing. First we visited a large underground cover from the 6th century, the Yerebatan Sarayi (sunk palace), a splendid dark space with water dropping everywhere from the ceiling. Then we went to the Ayasofya Camii Muzesi (Hagia Sofia), the most famous religious colossus from early Christianity, of splendid natural stone. Built in 532 as a church, but turned it into a mosque by sultan Mehmet in 1453 by renaming it and adding some tours. In the same area is the castle complex Topkapi Sarayi, where we spent a couple of hours examining the superb buildings, art treasures and weapons. Especially the harem labyrinth was very particular, although tourists were pushed through the complex in rapid speed. Afterwards we made a walk through the park to the car and visited the art academy, which is directly on the waterfront and has a terrace with a wonderful view. While Oytin and his girlfriend followed a lesson I enjoyed the time dreaming away and enjoying the view on passing ships. After Seray, his girlfriend, was finished with her sculpture, we drove to the central Taximquare on the hillock with a taxi to walk along the busy but car-free mainstreet. Underway they let me taste their favoriete snacks in the passage. Downstairs we ended up in a narrow street full of chairs for terrases. While drinking beer and eating fried potatoes we spoke about Dutch and Turkish singularities. On the way back we passed Seray’s loved clothing fair and found even more delicacies. Underway to the apartment of Oytan’ s parents I felt tired and dirty. I took a delicious shower at Oytan thuis and whereas I had not much more to say, he let see his photocollection on his computer. Once in bed I slept already before my host had turned offt his computer .

The next morning I woke up at half past six again, but fortunately I was able to sleep a little further. Still half sleepily Iexamined a little guide book about Istanbul and I discovered that I had seen already much of its main monuments. On a small square for the corn bazar we had breakfast with tosti’s and tea, whereupon we went to smell the sesonings inside the bazar. We passed the Yeni Camii mosque with so many cupolas and minarets and then strolled towards the water, where decided to take a boat to the Kizil Adalar (prince islands). Several beautiful old steamers were ready for departure and quite regularly a ship arrived and left, leaving behind hundreds of suburbians. On the water I am totally in my element and a considerable wind was blowing, so big waves were splashing against the ship. But Oytan found it pretty cold near the water and went sitting inside. On the first island, Kinaliada, we got off right away, Here he had also never been. It was still cuite calm on the island, we were the only tourists. At many places people were reparing their houses and prepare the streets for the summer. Also in the little restaurant we were the only guests. The traditional Turkish salads with small fishes and köfte (meatballs) tasted delicious and two cats enjoyed head and tails of the fish. After a walk we could obtain still exactly the boat to largest of the islands. On this island beautil villas can be found; surrounded by huge gardens with palm- and pine trees. After a second walk we came on picknick place, where we enjoyed the view, the smashing waves and the spring sun. On the boat Oytan was considerably exhausted and slept almost the complete trip, whereas I had enough time to write again in my diary.

9th of May 2004•10:52 hours

I had not seen that not only the times and the airport changed but also the day of my cheap flight from Corendon. I had therefore gone for nothing to the airport and had to endure a strict terrorist control. No matter if I wanted or not, I had to remain one day longer in Istanbul. It was not possible to stay again at Oytun’s place for an extra night because he got family visit, and I also did not want to bother him as well. But still he wanted to pick me up by car and bring me to a place to sleep. We decided to try it at the youth hostel but ended up in the traffic-jam. Hours later, with a side-trip through the Russian market district, where we first could not get out anymore, we succeeded nevertheless to come at the youth hostel. Moreover, there was enough place, so I could select a bed select and afterwards I went roaming round in the district Sultanachmed. I had the time to examine all large mosks from in- and of outside. A certain Moustafa addressed me and walked up with me for a while. He wanted to help me by accompanying me as a guide, but rapidly I thanked him for that and said goodbye. I finally wanted to be on my own again. Afterwards with sunset I nicely paraded on the bridge over the Golden Horn and twisted up through narrow streets and stairways in the direction of Taksimsquare. Underway I came along a beautiful old hammam, which seemed interesting to me. Unfortunately it was quite dissapointing. Dirty and onhygienic, expensive tourist tariff, the sauna was not really warm and quite soon it was closing-time. While I dressed again I talked with a half-turkish german man. He had funny jokes and proved ‘bi’ as well. Although he was totally not my type, we are nevertheless went to eat together in a place frequented by many gays, as he told me.

After dinner we walked a little firther, when two young guys said ‘ hi’ to us. They wanted to show us the nearby park but this was not safe, the german indicated. But drinks something in a cafe could do no harm. One of them seemed to me a nice guy. The german man wanted to get back to his hotel because he would have an eye operation on the next day . I went alone with the two of them to a dance club, but as soon as we entered the place I did not trust it. Too chique service and too little public, who stayed drinking along the tables. A couple of girls from Belarus came sitting next tu us and although it was quite amusing, I had no good feeling about it. I said that I rather wanted to leave but the pretty guy asked me nevertheless to stay a little longer and we went dancing. The girls drank champagne all the time and I thought: this is getting wrong. So I said that I wanted the bill. On the bill there was written an amount of 6 billion lira, which is about € 4000,-! So in trouble, I think , let’s clear off here. I make a lot of noise, put € 50,- on the table and leave. The boss seizes me at my collar and I start to shout loudly against him that I do not let swindle itself. He gets some more big guys and tries soothe me. I show my (second) purse and say that I do not have more cash money and also no credit cards. He does not get to mee my real purse. I explain him that I am just a poor student and stay in the youth hostel, therefore that there can not be taken any more from me. Then he obtains the other boys and says that I must solve it with them. I run out of the door to a taxi while the two boys come running after me. The taxi driver closes the door and I close the window. Fortunately, he drives away and they canot do anything anymore. This never again, I thinks while the taxi crosses the bridge.

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all along the miniature faultlines of this little life