We’re leaving fabulous Istanbul today for the warmer climes and dry heat of Jordan. Istanbul has been my favourite stop on the trip so far. It’s a great city. We spent 9 days here and I felt that we barely scratched the surface. The sights were great but my favourite thing to do was just walk around through the neighbourhoods and side streets. You’d pass by a shop where a guy was getting a shave with a straight-razor next to a shop with someone grilling meats or fishes on sticks over open flame next to a guy in a cafe strumming some forlorn love ditty on his guitar next to…you get the idea. It’s the one place so far on the adventure that I can see myself returning.
One of the more interesting (not necessarily necessarily in a good way) things to have happened was a con a shoe-shine guy pulled on us. We were walking across a busy bridge when a guy ahead of us, carrying his shoe-shine box and supplies, dropped his brush and kept on walking. I was about to say something when someone tripped over it and alerted him. We kept on walking. A few minutes later another shoe-shine man dropped his brush. This time Swanson picked it up and handed it back to him He seemed grateful, saying thanks and then a few seconds later he pulls Swanson aside and starts shining his shoes (Gus was wearing sneakers at the time). I thought, that’s pretty cool. Swanson didn’t really want to have this done but obliged the guy anyways. Then he grabbed the other shoe and hastily started cleaning. It was then that Tami clued in and asked “How much”? The guy jumped up and said “18” (about $9 Canadian). I jumped in, “How much?!” He repeated “18!” I told him “No way I was paying that!” I thought he was doing it because Swanson picked up his brush.” “It’s 18!” I looked at what I had in my pocket – a 20 and a 5. I handed him the 5. He wanted the 20. “Make change!” he barked. I told him no way. He looked at Tami who had about 1 in coins and he took them saying, “Give me your money!” He then grabbed them out of her hand.
I was so mad at this point. What went from what I thought was a nice genuine moment to a scam and bullshit. I called him an asshole and we all walked away. I hate being scammed as it’s happened a few times already on this trip – almost always by shifty cab drivers – and I was fuming. It took a while to settle down and then when I started thinking of the con he pulled – the dropping of the brush, playing to the kindness of tourists, I started to appreciate his game a little more. He only managed to get 1/3 of what he wanted, but it’s better than nothing, I guess. Too bad he did a shitty job on Swanson’s shoes.
We stumbled across this cool, weird curio shop the other day. They supplied the artifacts for the Museum of Innocence which is a museum (of innocence) that was built after the book was written. Here’s a few shots of the jam-packed place. I could have spent a hours looking at all the demented (as they call it) stuff.
And a few random shots from around the town.
We’re sitting in the Athens airport waiting for a connector flight to Jordan in a few hours. I imagine that we’ll have some sweet photos and stories for you soon.
There is a memorial for our beloved John Skibinski this evening at Black Dog. I wish that I could be there. I hope a few of you manage to drop by. I’ll be thinking of John and all my friends tonight.