A Boat To The Island

Things are changing in Istanbul.

I remember good old days when taking a boat to the island meant reading newspaper and having tea in peace, having a nice conversation with elegant old couples trying to deal with their energetic grandchildren, feeding seagulls with leftovers of your simit, and finally reaching one of the four major islands and getting off there to meet your loved ones waiting for you at the pier.

Now that’s all gone!

Nowadays, if you are really determined for an island trip, than you have to prepare yourself, physically and mentally, for a ‘’survivor island’’ kind of challenge.

What I mean is, boats are crowded, noisy and tea is not as good as it used to be!

BUT, there is always a BIG BUT everywhere…

If you take a small ‘’motor’’ from Kabataş to Büyükada, then on a normal trip which takes an hour and fifteen minutes, you might get to know one of the most interesting salesmen of our might city. He sells walking sticks, lemon squeezers, and some fake pashminas… Until this point there is nothing extraordinary! The show starts when he starts to talk!

I think this old man with short white hair and a round belly, could have been a really good stand up comedian in other circumstances. He speaks fluent English with only 3 words… He makes up new words by ENGLISH-izing Turkish words. He imitates Arabic ladies headdresses with his pashminas while showing off the wonders of his walking sticks jumping and limping around the vessel. He squeezes lemons with his magic squeezer and serves the yellow liquid in a tea glass to whoever is interested and after that he cuts open the lemon to prove that there is no juice left in there… And this show, believe me, takes around half an hour with only 3 words… And GOD, he sells a lot!!!

So, yes, things are changing in Istanbul and sometimes that change is not what we wish for BUT there is always some extraordinary-ness that makes it all up for us!