Thunderstorms and Political Storms

It’s 2 AM here and I just got home; now laying in bed posting my blog just so everyone doesn’t think I was raped, murdered or otherwise incapacitated…

Today, Friday, was a pretty chill and relaxing day in Istanbul. Early in the afternoon the rain clouds gathered and the skies darkened. The ground shook with the echoes of thunderstorms and the rain fell from the skies as if each water drop was attached to a microscopic rocket. It poured as fiercely as one could ever imagine.

I walked with my umbrella about the city streets, which proved to be a completely useless tool in the FullSizeRenderoverpowering rain. I still got soaked. I stopped for lunch at a fried chicken restaurant called “Hotbut” with only one “t” (maybe the the chick only had one butt cheek). C’mon, how many times do we get to dine in a Hotbut?? The Turkish fried chicken was amazing!

Later in the day I stopped by an outside stand with all you can each clams (technically mussels) with a couple friends I had metimage the previous day.  Each clam cost 0.5 lira which is about $0.20. The clams were amazing! Each one was hand stuffed with rice and spices, and absolutely delicious!

I went with the young German guy and a young French girl to discover parts of the city when the rain paused. We sat for hours at a cafe, drinking Turkish coffee (which is crap), munching on a bag full of fresh cherries from a market I had gone to on the way, and talking about local Turkish politics and the pending elections in a couple days. It’s a pivotal election where the President is trying to consolidate power to turn this pseudo democratic nation into one more resembling a dictatorship. It’s rumored that the elections could spark massive riots and social unrest potentially, so this Sunday and Monday should be quite interesting.

We walked to a park that is often used as the site of many political activists and where progressives often hang out.  There had been a number of protests and police abuse that had occurred there in the recent past. We had gone there because there was supposed to be a free concert in the park, but we had just missed it as they were already tearing down the venue. As we sat at the cafe, we covered a broad range of conversations about the world and life. It was quite interesting. These two young adults were intelligent and aware. She was dark and cynical already about life.  Based on her statements I asked her if her parents had divorced when she was about 10 years old, and sure enough, yes they had, exactly at that age.  It had caused her to become cynical about love and relationships; proclaiming she never wanted to marry, and having commitment to one person seemed like a silly and outdated idea.  The German guy, however, was much more optimistic and grounded in life.  His parents were still married and seemed to be fairly happy together.  It was amazing to see the stark contrast of two young people of similar age, having gone through almost exact opposite family experiences in their young lives.  I told the girl, Lu (I have no idea if I’m spelling it right, it’s f* French), sex is great and something we all enjoy.  But the happiness it generates lasts for a moment and then it vanishes.  Being in love with someone creates far greater happiness in life than all the random sex encounters throughout out lives, no matter how numerous they are; random sex will never outweigh the feeling you have when you find true love. There’s no comparison.  It’s not even close. Her attitudes about life and love and relationships will change as she gets older I’m sure.

When you travel and often meet foreigners, they typically tend to be the more intelligent and curious types. And the differences in backgrounds and perspectives is always enlightening to learn about people and the world.

Later in the night we went out to an area that had tons of outside bars and restaurants and music. The scene was vibrant with people just enjoying life.  We slowly drank beer, chilling, people watching – one man in particular who was sitting alone and eating for hours; he reminded me of the Dos Equis “most interesting man in the world”, with his black suit and white shirt, facial hair, and his consistent posture perfectly emulating him. We observed him the entire night to our amusement, with his rather unique facial expressions and pseudo formality.

Often the best part of travel is meeting new people and engaging in bizarre and diverse topics of conversation, including what each of us perceived to be sexy in a person. Not surprisingly the girl said confidence was one of, or the most important trait.  This is why you should read Chapter 5 about Self-Confidence!

Of course, we joked and talked about random stupid shit too.  After all, everyone knows I can’t be serious for too long. For instance, at which point does an act become a homosexual act?  When two close girlfriends kiss intimately (as girls often do), it isn’t necessarily gay.  If two guy friends “accidentally” intimately kiss, I assure you they are both gay.  You can’t be a little gay, or sometimes gay.  After some length of joking about this topic, the French girl randomly quipped, “maybe my Father is gay.”  She was closer to her father than her mother, but a strange statement nonetheless. But frankly, I don’t care if anyone wants to be or just is gay.  To each their own.  I joked, as I often say, “I wish every other man besides myself was gay.  This would leave all the women for me!” To which the French girl quipped, “you’re so sexist.”  I couldn’t follow the logic.  I don’t think that’s a sexist statement, a little bit stupid and classless perhaps, but not sexist!

All in all, a pretty chill day discovering the city and discovering new friends and people. It’s these small things that makes travel and life so interesting.