Posted by: cousindampier | 27 May 2014

The Way Home: Day 2

Sunset over Istanbul, May 26, 2014

You better aim before they tame you, boy
Tt’s a wild world they’re coming for your pelt, young boy

-Doomtree, ‘String Theory’

Food is a funny thing when you are broke.  It becomes an all-consuming obsession.  My old boss often said, “People always want what they can’t have,” and while I’ve encountered that with such things as a nicer pair of headphones and motorcycle, this is the first time I’ve encountered it with food in a while.

To be fair, I’m not totally broke – I just might as well be.  I’m on an extreme budget to make it until my flight on June 11.  The next two weeks involves a trip to the UK to prepare for graduate school, and the UK is the exact opposite of cheap.  So, to channel Ben Affleck’s Boiler Room Speech, I’m acting as if.

And so it provides for strange days.  I spend the morning typing away over a coffee somewhere, after spending $.50 on some bread.  I try to eat a kebab in the late afternoon, around 4 or 5, and then have a tiny snack around 8.  I drink a lot of water – its cheap and it fills me up – and it provides for a different picture of Istanbul.

The last time I was here – December 2013 – I wasn’t going crazy, but I’d have a beer.  I’d pay to get into a mosque.  I bought gifts. Now, I spend most of my time walking or reading on a bench.  This is a very different experience, as it puts into context just how much of a tourist city Istanbul can be.  A lot of the busy areas are geared around seeing things and buying stuff, and the places to sit and relax are few.  There is no real equivalent of a downtown park – the Hippodrome comes the closest, but it is packed during the day.  Walking over the bridge to Galeta tower makes for a nice afternoon, and provides for some amazing photos – provided you are okay with wandering around back streets for a while.

It also makes me appreciate minimalism, because who needs all that stuff anyway?



  1. You coming to London? I want to hear about Kazakhstan!

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