Istanbul + Raki vs Tash. Round 2

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Ok raki, so you kicked my ass last time, but I am definitely going to take a different approach this time...

So I have some friends in Istanbul for the weekend, which is nice as again conversation in the office hasn't really been flowing. Though my new friend (the older Turkish guy that just asks one question and walks off) lets call him Fred, has been busting out a couple of great questions, this weeks fave was asked during my lunch break while he stood having his glass of water - "what star sign are you?" I replied "Cancer, do you know lots about star signs?" "No" was his response, then he turned around and walked out... Brilliant.

So I get ready to go meet my friends in the main tourist area, near the Blue Mosque, we are going to do what we did last weekend, Meyhane for dinner then head out. Now getting ready to go out is an interesting balance - as I am going out in the main area Taksim, and we will be hitting the clubs, so I want to be dressed for that, but in the mean time I am living in a fully Turkish area, with Muslim woman who are all covered up, and I have to walk 20mins to the Metro first, so I can't exactly dress too skimpily... so jeans and a sheer shirt (I will come to regret this decision) it is, I wear a jacket over top and have some new boots to wear with - as I have been living in jandals (yes they are called jandals in NZ) for the last 6months.

So I head in to meet my friends, 3 aussie lads, which should be good fun, and Emre is going to join us later. Once again we walk down Istiklal Cadessi, and the volume of people still doesn't cease to amaze me. As we are making our way through the swarms of people, every second person seems to be a busker - though actual talent does not seem to be a prerequisite for this; as we walk past a girl 'playing' the recorder (playing is being generous, more like attempting to make sounds), one of the boys comment that he refuses to give money to people like this, as it only encourages the talent-less (just like sing-star rewards and encourages those that can't actually sing, but can move their voice up and down at the right time...) I feel this is kind of harsh, but also contains a hint of truth in there - if you want money, at least try and play something that sounds remotely like 'Mary has a little Lamb' - on the other hand maybe she was actually really good, and was rocking out some solid Turkish nursery rhymes that we just didn't recognize...

The night seems to follow a similar procedure, food at the Meyhane, with a bottle of raki between 3 of us, as Emre joins a bit later and one of the boys isn't drinking, this does not bode well. But I drink a little slower than last time, and drink more water as well, so hopefully this is enough to keep the raki ninja at bay. 

Emre arrives, and we head back to the same bar where I sung Amy Winehouse, it is the same guitarist, and he waves at me, and gets me up to sing again, except this time around I am a lot more sober - last time I swear the crowd were all cheering and getting into it, but this didn't seem to happen this time around... tough crowd maybe...




Anyway, so after my captivating performance, we head to the same club as last time, which again does not match my few memories...it isn't as big as I had thought, so I have no idea how I kept losing my friends, nor were there as many people as I would have thought - I love the gloss over that the drunk eyes seem to do of a venue and people. So the raki ninja has managed to stay away thus far, as I am far more lucid this time around; then someone (being me) decides that it is a good idea, and works out more economically if we buy a bottle of vodka and some redbulls... Now they weren't actually redbulls,but called 'Winner' and you know you are in for a good night when the energy drink is called 'Winner'... And just like that, BANG, the raki ninja fueled up on 'Winner' attacks!





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Next thing, Tash wakes up in her clothes to the sound of the afternoon prayer and the hostel room being cleaned - "hostel room?" I hear you ask, oh yes, it turns out drunken Tash decided it was a better idea to crash with the boys in their hostel room as we had decided we would go to a Hamam the next day, which is near where they live, and it would have been a mission for me to get there hungover the next day from my Hotel. Seems logical enough. 

So we drag ourselves out of bed at around 1pm, all hideously hungover; and head to the Hamaam. Now this is where the my 'logical' plan of staying at the boys Hostel doesn't quite come to fruition, I may have overlooked the small details of what I would be wearing walking past the Blue Mosque on a Sunday... It was a hot day so I was boiling in my denim jacket over my shirt, so took the jacket off, and my feet had blisters all over the backs of them, so wearing my boots were out of the question. So I was feeling pretty trashy walking past everyone on their way to  the mosque in my see-through shirt and no shoes... Turns out Classy Tash is out today.

We get to the hamam, and separate as the boys are in one, and girls are in another. We all had high hopes of the scrub down and massage making us feel squeeky clean and relaxed - and clearly washing away the hangover. In hindsight, again we should have thought this concept through a little more. We had images of this




In reality however there is nothing relaxing about being fragile and naked in a hot room full of strangers. After lying there sweating, self-conscious and fighting the urge to not walk out for about 15min, a lovely big Turkish lady comes over, and says "come!" before she takes me by the hand and walks me to the bench. It feels like I am about 4years old getting lead around by the hand naked... the scrubbing begins, and combined with the movement - "stand up, lie down, on your side, on your other side..." I am mustering all of my strength not to spew on this lady, and the mantra "don't spew, don't spew" is being repeatedly chanted in my head.


After what seems like an eternity, it is all over; and definitely not the most relaxing experience. Note to self - hamam is not for when you are hungover. I get outside and the boys are looking a lot more worse for wear, one of them looking extremely pale, turns out he was also battling to not spew all over his large Turkish man.

The boys are heading straight back to the Hostel, and I decide to go with them, thinking I may as well make the most of having some company - even if we are all the worst company at the moment. We all have a little afternoon nap, then head back out for a traditional hungover meal of McDonalds... then an icecream sitting in front of this to finish off...




Not a bad end to the day, but the final score is Istanbul + raki 2, Tash 0!!


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