Transexual clubs, menemen, Dynasty, minimal techno and Efes Dark
just some of the key components of our festive period here in Istanbul…
It’s taken more than a few days to consider what to write in this next post on our adventure cycling blog. I wasn’t sure how our tales of late boozy nights and long lazy days would fit within the existing themes of wholesome adventure, exercise and intrepid exploration.
Our first couple of weeks here in Istanbul were spent at a friend of a friend’s apartment (I feel confident we are now in a position to refer to him simply as a friend) enjoying the luxuries of a fixed abode: a kitchen, hot water on tap and, specific to this fixed abode, a beautiful panoramic view of the Bosporus. To add to an already brilliant first couple of weeks in this city, we had the pleasure of sharing some of our evenings with Aaron and Jacqui, an Australian couple who have spent the last year and half cycling from Australia to Istanbul. It was great swopping stories and lapping up their wealth of cycling touring knowledge, especially as they had just ridden through many of the Countries we will be heading to on our departure from Turkey:
Georgia > Azerbaijan > Turkmenistan > Uzbekistan > Tajikistan > China
After a couple of weeks spent trawling through various Istanbul classifieds websites www.sahibinden.com/en and istanbul.en.craigslist.com looking for a place to call home, last week we finally found a huge and beautiful shared apartment not far from Taksim Square, a modern and lively part of the city. Making the choice to rent a room is obviously incomparably expensive compared to camping, at 700 Turkish Lira per month (apprx £250) for the two of us, not including bills which we hope won’t be much more than 150 TL per month. However we felt that Istanbul would offer an exciting way to avoid the worst of this part of the World’s winter weather.
A few weeks late for Christmas, snow hits the streets of Beyoğlu, the location of our temporary residence in Istanbul. Sat in our living room high up on the fifth floor of a crumbly old terrace building with a bowl of scaldingly hot soup (a confused concoction of packet soup mix and organic vegetables bought from last sundays farmer’s market). As delicious as it nearly is, the combination of budget camping food and healthy fresh vegetables seems to be an apt metaphor to reflect the contrasts of our current situation; scruffy cycle tourists on a tight budget and an equally limited wardrobe, trying to fit in with cosmopolitan city life. I guess in this particular situation we’d be represented by the cheap and convenient blend of dehydrated vegetables and msg, and the beautiful and historic city straddling Europe and Asia would be the aubergines, peppers and button mushrooms…. perhaps that’s not as clear in type as it was in my head.
With the reality of staying put for three months kicking in, so are the considerations on how we’ll use our time and how can we prevent the spending of time from turning into the spending of money? Prior to our arrival in Istanbul many people told us of the abundance of English teaching positions for native English speakers. As a qualified teacher, albeit not a language teacher, this would seem like the logical choice for me to take whist living in Istanbul. Take a five minute stroll along Istiklal Caddesi, the main commercial street in the modern area of Istanbul, and you’ll come across dozens of English language centres. If you’re reading this in the hope to find out about teaching English in Istanbul you could try looking on the education section on Craig’s List Istanbul. Helping others learn is a beautiful thing, however for the time-being I’m doing best to avoid teaching English.
*Bike bits ordered from www.sjscycles.co.uk
1 x White Lightning Epic All Condition Lube 8oz Bottle
4 x KMC Z610HX 1/2 Inch x 3/32 Inch Silver Chain
1 x M-ighty Chainwear Indicator
1 x Rohloff 2 Stage Oil Change Fluids Only for Rohloff Speedhub 500/14 – 8411
1 x Rohloff Full Oil Change Kit – 8410
1 x Rohloff Speedhub 500/14 Hub Gear Reversible Sprocket Steel 16T
1 x Rohloff Sprocket Removal Tool for Rohloff Speedhub 500/14 – 8501
2 x Schwalbe Marathon EC XR HS359 HD CeramicGuard Rigid Tyre – 26 x 2.00 (50-559)
1 x Thorn 110 mm 5 Arm Reversible Single Chainring 3/32 Inch – Black 42T
1 X Park Tool CNW2C Chainring Nut Wrench