Sunday, May 17, 2009

Leaving Istanbul/Arriving in Kusadasi/Heaven

Last Day In Istanbul

Our last day in Istanbul involves free time in the morning, before we leave for the airport at 2. I pull myself out of bed early despite the sunrise ending to the night before. After splashing some cold water on my face, I am good to go. We decide to just walk around town without a clear direction, although I have a feeling gelato will play into the day at some point. Everybody gets some last minute souvenir buying in, and I get some much needed Starbucks. We head into an underground marketplace, and I grab a replacement set of sunglasses as I lost mine somewhere along the way. They are only 6 lira, and they say Rayban on the side….no doubt they are real. I have never seen more blatant rip offs than I have seen in Cairo and Istanbul; it is actually pretty funny. The “Rolex” that Joe bought fell off his wrist on day 2 of ownership. He wasn’t even doing anything; he was literally just standing there and it fell off his wrist. Oh well, live and learn. I think he is gonna mail it into Rolex to see if they will fix it. I head off with my new found sunglasses into the marketplace. After an hour or so browsing around, we decide to head back to the café near our hotel for a quick drink before leaving town.

When we walk out of the market, there are about 50 taksis, but for some reason, it is hard to find one that will take us up to our hotel. One guy tries to get us to get into a cab that is clearly on the road that will take us around our elbow to get there….nice try, we are smarter than that. Rob, Paul, and I hop into another cab and tell the guy “Mara Para Hotel.” He says “no problem.” I have been in this country long enough to know that “no problem” clearly means “that is no problem for me, but it is about to be a big problem for you.” 5 minutes later, we find ourselves in front of the Para Para Hotel, which is clearly not the Mara Para. “Oops” says the cab driver. I have a feeling he has pulled that one before. We finally get to the place we were shooting for, and it is 50 lira……the “smart” guys just got taken. Istanbul 1, KFBS 0. Oh well, we shove 42 lira at him and tell him that is all we got. He accepts this as he knows it really should have been about 15-20 lira. We can’t find the rest of the group at this point, so we just head back to the hotel. We meet up with the group at the Richmond, and everybody is very excited to headout to see what Kusadasi has to offer. As we start to walk towards the bus, I realize this is my last chance to get gelato at the best gelato place in the world. I run across the street, and of course this is the time in which there is a healthy line formed. I grab a double of crème caramel and mint, and I hurry towards the bus. Of course the bus isn’t where the bus has picked us up every single time we have ridden it in Istanbul. Great, Drew is left in Istanbul. I stand there contemplating my options for about 7 minutes before I hear Husam yelling at me that the bus is down a street. Once on the bus, it does a loop to get on the expressway and passes right by the normal meeting spot where I was standing…..pretty sure they did that just to freak me out.

Once in the Izmir airport, I pop on my sweet Raybans. I am mid conversation with Joe when they one of the arms just falls off. There was nothing that sparked this, it just fell off....amazing. 6 lira well spent. The flight to Izmir is about 40 minutes in the air, yet they serve us a meal anyways. I find this odd on such a short flight, but I soon find out that you have a total of about 156 seconds to eat this meal before they take it away from you. Oh well, it wasn’t Doner Kabob anyways, and it was going to clearly cause me to have to use utensils which Drew In Istanbul doesn’t like to do. We land in Izmir and head towards our new bus. I am over carrying my luggage at this point, so I just drag it behind me; wheeley luggage is in my immediate future. The weather is absolutely perfect for our bus ride to Kusadasi.

As we get close to Kusadasi, it is clear that this is gonna be absolutely amazing. We are driving in right as the sun is setting over the Aegean Sea (pics from last posting are from this ride in). It is amazing, and my Canon Photoshot, is the best medium to capture aforementioned amazingness. As it turns out, not only is Kusadasi amazing, but our hotel is absolutely 7 star… is ridiculous. We are greeted at the door of the hotel by a beautiful Kusadasian that has 25 Kusadelicious cocktails for us. Paul and I get up to our room and it has the most unreal view. We are on the top floor, so our balcony doesn’t have a ceiling to it, which is really nice. We head out to grab dinner at a seafood place that Husam recommends. Our waiter is hilarious, and we have a great crew at our table. Laughs are a dime a dozen. Voeltz, Micaela, and Joe order the sea bass which comes with a face on it. Micaela promptly digs for the vertebrae and rips out the whole spinal cord….that is how we do it in the north. The meal ends with our waiter coming over to tell us a Turkish joke. It is a funny joke, but really it is all in the way he delivers it. He giggles the whole time he tells it, so we are never really sure when the punchline is coming. After that, we head to the “bar street” This street is slightly annoying as every bar has a guy that stands out front and begs you to come in to their bar. We settle on a bar that has a guy who introduces himself as Mr. Bean. He is actually freakishly like Mr. Bean in many ways. After serving us drinks, he offers up a Turkish joke. He tells the same exact joke that we just heard…..apparently this joke is very popular in Turkey. After one drink here, we head to the parallel street that has dancing. It is just a street full of clubs….not really our thing. The thing that disturbs me the most is that most of the clubs have Irish pub names with techno playing. Lame. Oh well, we head back early as we are hitting up Ephesus tomorrow morning. It was the 2nd biggest city in the Ottoman Empire and it has a ton of Christian history; it should be interesting. Parasailing is in my near future….

Drew In Kusadasi,

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