2. I am a grade-A, international, public transport expert.
So despite being exhausted physically, mentally and emotionally, we both slept like crap. We got up at 4 am, read, watched tv, called home. Wide awake and it sucked.
This made us a get a late start and altered our plans. But behold, good news! The morning desk clerk (our favorite) said that a delivery company had called and confirmed the address. However, the driver said he only had one bag. Since the bags are separate, we didn't let this worry us. Maybe he would find the delivery ticket further down the stack, maybe it got put on a separate truck. We just felt positive that something was happening.
So it turns out that the hospital next door runs a shuttle during business hours to their clinic closer to Istanbul. It's also very near a trai stop. We hitched a ride on that then took our train, ferry combo into the city.
We headed right up to the Blue Mosque and arrived just I time for prayers. As we meandered about outside, a volunteer approached to tell us about a free presentation. On a smaller structure next to the mosque was a giant banner that said free event. While we could have been going to a human trafficking set-up, he did have an official volunteer badge and the building was part of the complex. I doubted the mosque would let traffickers hang banner willy-nilly.
The presentation, which they give regularly while the mosque is closed for prayers, had info about mosques in general, the Blue Mosque in particular and the Islamic faith. Most of it was review for us except for the details about the Blue Mosque. We both enjoyed the presentation, particularly the very matter of fact approach to presenting the information. The presentation was timed to coincide with the repenting of the mosque to the public.
Inside the Blue Mosque
View of the Galetta Bridge from the Galetta Tower
After the tower, we tried to make it to Tunel to take the historic tram to Taksim Square. We got turned around several times thanks to a very nondescript area on the map. We finally found it and the token machine was out of order. Two other ladies said the driver had said there was one in Tunnel but we didn't know what that meant. We looked around and finally went to beg the next driver just to take our 2 lira. He said there was one in Tunnel and pointed to a very specific place. We found it, got tickets and headed out.
On the way we witnessed someone fall getting out of the way of the tram and had to stop for a bit. We finally arrived at Taksim Square and set out in search of an Indian restaurant that Laura's husband wanted us to try.
Well, we looked. Then we asked in Starbucks. Their directions yielded nothing. Then we asked in a liquor store. Their directions yielded nothing. Then we asked a hotel concierge. He didn't think there was one but gave us directions to where there might be one. So we popped in a nice looking restaurant to check out the menu. It looked like any restaurant back home. The manager spoke fluent English and said he had spent time in LA. He told us that it didn't hurt his feelings that we didnt like his menu. It was trendy to serve burgers and pizzeria in Istanbul he said. But it's rubbish. He asked us what we wanted to eat. We said local food but no more kebabs. He said kebabs were greasy and rubbish. He tried to give us directions to a really, really traditional place but we couldn't find it. So we gave up and went to an upscale kebab place. The food was good and overlooked a gated courtyard full of feral cats. As cat people we watched them interact like a soap opera.
All this running around left us in a position to be cutting our transportation cut-offs close. So we took the tram to the funicular(underground tram) to the ferry to the train and then caught a taxi.
Our taxi driver, Adof?, was adorable. He gave us gum. Then offered us a smoke which we emphatically declined. Once he introduced himself and asked our names, I tried to make small talk. He didn't know Kentucky or KFC so he called his friend who speaks a little English and handed me the phone. I thought maybe he had called the hotel for directions and was very confused. I kept yelling at his friend, "who am I speaking with? Where are you located?" I caught on when he said, "let me talk to my friend". Adof must have thought I was hot in my pink t-shirt and teal pants.
When we got back to the hotel we raced upstairs and guess what, no luggage! I called downstairs to see if they just didn't bring it up but no such luck.
Well, I gotta go wash my panties in the sink again.