Turkey!! without any of the stuffing…

I made it safe and sound to Istanbul late Friday night and found my way to the Taksim Lounge hostel not far from the middle of Taksim Square. The place is fantastic for me and I got lucky as I did not book a room ahead of time but got hooked up with a 4 bed double without anybody else in it! Over the past three nights I have only had one roommate. The staff has been incredibly friendly (I am on their computer now) and the location is unbeatable. Everybody has been friendly and the place is decently clean and fairly quiet.

On Saturday I met up with my new friend Kerim, who is just about literally the financially gifted yet Turkish Siddhartha! Kerim is from Istanbull, went to Bucknell in the States and then worked in NYC, London, and back to Istanbul. In early 2012 he quit his job, became a vegetarian and now runs a small non-profit that is sending aid to Gambia! Yes, quite literally, he is the man. He was most generous and toured me around the new part of Istanbul before the rain came. Btubs, some of the craziest, most intense rain that I have ever been a part of. We were waiting for a soccer game to start and literally the canvas awnings were leaking and rain was rushing down the alley as if it was a river. A Turkish guy at the bar said he had never seen rain like this. It was so extraordinary that the soccer game was cancelled, which seemed to be the only thing that threw Kerim off all day.

Kerim and I were having such a good time getting along — discussing financial\credit issues in the states, the development of Albania, Turkish culture, and how to become a centered self in a crazy World — that he invited me to join him at dinner with a girl that he had being begun dating recently. Thankfully I have immense practice at being a third wheel, (see: jon\emmy, mishy\aj, the list could go on! haha). Kerim and I got to dinner early and began enjoying Raki (way better than Albanian Rahki or Greek Ouzo), which clouds white when mixed with water and tastes like delicious licorice alcholol, and Kerim ordered us many meses (spelling?), similar to Spanish tapas, as we waiting for Ozgee to arrive. Kerim, being the man, has fantastic taste so Ozgee was a beautiful, successful, and delightful Turkish woman who was incredibly friendly to a random American. We had a super dinner and decided to continue the night at a nearby Turkish bar\club. Thankfully ordering beer is just as easy in Istanbul as in the States, but talking to new people in a loud place is a little harder, though the people watching was hilarious and a lot of fun. All in all, a fantastic day and evening, thanks Kerim!!!!!

Now it is Monday morning as I write this post and I just booked my flight to Antalya, Turkey, for Wednesday. Currently, I am planning on staying in Southern Turkey, some call it the Butterfly Coast, thru the weekend and likely early next week, Monday or Tuesday, I will fly from Antalya to Munich and stay for a night or two before taking a bus trip to Prague to meet up with the one, the only, mister Gregory Pirate!!

OK, off to shower after my morning workout at a random park in Taksim square and then heading off to the Hagia Sophia and the Great Bazaar. Today is more for seeing the famous sites as yesterday I walked around the University area and the Western side of the Bosphorus River. The best part was that I located a popular park, per directions from the extra-nice hosteller host, and played basketball with a bunch of Turks for an hour or so yesterday! We played half-court, and the rules were a bit funky, like no checking the ball to start play and games were played to 21 or 31 by 1′s and 2′s… LONG games! It was a great time and I met a Turk born in New Jersey named Luke who grew up in Istanbul and now is an electrical engineering master’s student. Oh, of course, nobody knew what I was saying when trying to talk during help defense, and I got blindsided on screens numerous times as I had no idea what they were yelling to me! haha. At least my jumper still worked…!

Off to start walking around in what should be a gorgeous day in Turkey!!

About Jimmy

Just a young man living. see -- "Clinton Portis"
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