Back in Istanbul

I walked about Sultanahmet to try and get my bearings. I turned up a hill and all of the sudden there’s that huge bluish mosque.

“Ahh. Now I know where I am,” blared the InMo. “Isn’t that place with the MGD around here?”

I found a Starbucks, had about three coffees, and checked the multiple of emails that had piled up. I looked up some hostels and found one right near the little hotel where The Girl and I stayed last time around.

I checked in and went to retrieve my luggage. Every time I think I’m packing light, until I actually walk with all the shit I brought with, I realize that I did not need as many t-shirts.

Or socks.

As I trudged the tapering streets of the hill, I decided it may not ahve been such a good idea to try a new route as people bumped into my Mandarin Oriental duffel bag.

I eventually found the hostel, relaxed with a beer, and watched the most recent episode of Entourage, thanks to Starbucks’ fast connection and my eye patch.

Yarrr.

I took a walk around the area some more, spent way to much on some art and sat down for some döner kebaps.

As I looked at the empty seat across from me, and thought about who should be filling it. I realized that this would be the first time I traveled alone for pleasure. Business was one thing. I’d always get room service traveling alone on business. Sitting in a restaurant by oneself is no fun.

I ate quickly.

I returned to the Hostel and looked at the high schoolers running around. Disgusted, I took my things up to my dormitory room and headed out into the night. I stumbled upon a the Four Season.

“Now this is more like it!”

Shut up InMo. We’re traveling on a budget.

Well, you do have a point.

I bet there is a fantastic lobby bar.

OK fine.

I could use something high proof with a caramel color

I used to loathe the hotel industry and never thought I’d be in it. Restaurants and bars were my thing. But Vegas turned me off a little from my love. Any schlub can walk into Bellagio and feel like a king or queen. The clubs and restaurants, another story altogether. You had to have the right look, the right clothes, and the $$$$$$$$$$$.

I walked into the Four Seasons, bemohawked in my Thai Red Bull shirt and ratty Levis, and got the same welcome as anyone from the man in a funny jacket opening the door. I had to walk the bartender through a decent manhattan, but the bar snacks were phenomenal. Bread sticks with a goat cheese and basil purée and shelled, roasted pistachios and deliciously meaty olives.

“I don’t even like olives,” muttered the InMo.

“Hey man,” I said to the piano player. Can you play any Billy Joel?

“I just played some”

“Queen?”

“No.”

“Lionel Ritchie?”

“Yes!”

“‘Easy like a Sunday Morning?'”

“No. I can play, “Hello.”

“Sigh. Elton John?”

“Sure.”

I was hoping for Tiny Dancer or Rocket Man or Benny and the Jets, but I didn’t recognize the tune. He did play Turkish march, which I called him on immediately, praising the appropriateness.

He didn’t seem very amused.

In fact he gave me a look like, “Piss off, plebian.”

“Oh really, piano man? Reeeeeeally?” growled InMo. “You have no idea who you are fucking with.”

Then I really went for it.

“Brubeck’s Take Five? Flight of the Bumble Bee? Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue? Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody?”

He shook his head each time and continued playing.

“Say it,” the InMo urged. “Say it!”

Fine. “Rachmaninoff Concerto Number Three?

He looked at me out the side of his eyes and pursed his lips tightly.

For the record, I was the only person in the bar on a Friday night. As the only paying customer, he should give respect the bartender and the doorman did, mohawk or no mohawk.

I finished my manhattan and headed back to the Hostel. Walking up to it, music blasted from the roof top bar. Huh.

I headed up there was a group of beautiful little Portuguese students with their bespectacled chaperon. The chaperon gave me a look.

I was trying to be good, anyway.

There was a dude with curly hair and side burns at another table

“Can I join you?”

“Sure.”

This guy was Swiss and traveling with a buddy. They were studying in Latvia, and got a cheap flight to Turkey. We talked about women, beer, traveling, Americans, Europeans, just about everything.

We got drunk and laughed a lot. It was fun hanging out with some guys, just shooting the shit. Maybe this solo thing wouldn’t be so bad after all.

I went to bed early, since I’d been up since seeing off the beautiful woman who should’ve been sitting in the chair at dinner.

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One Response to Back in Istanbul

  1. intlxpatr says:

    Heartodarkness, marry the girl.

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