The school year in Istanbul is intense. A week long holiday in October and a weeks holiday in January, then nothing but kids, bogeys, tantrums and the ensuing stress induced hair loss until January. Did I mention the permanent state of illness inevitable when teaching infection ridden children? The life of a kindergarten teacher is far from glamourous.
Last week saw the gods of luck smiling upon us as we were bestowed with a blessing in the disguise of eighth grade exams. No school on Thursday or Friday for fear of the children being characteristically uncontrollable and not shutting the hell up. Hallelujah for unruly, uncontrollable, unpredictable Turkish students.
What to do with our four day weekend? The crisp winter air brought with it murmurings of excursions to lands as exotic and far flung as Cappadocia and Izmir. Inevitably we decided to stay put, what better opportunity to revisit Istanbul, to scratch away a bit more at that grey surface we are constantly complaining about not having enough time to do. Ample opportunity. Apparently.
Day one saw a tumultuous journey to Basaksehir (nothing to see here) for a part time job interview and our first time on an actual bus (the metrobus doesn’t count as it has it’s own dedicated traffic free lane- the E5). Previously having been too intimidated to jump onto these seemingly confusing things due to our shameful lack of language skills, in this case the bus was a necessity. Unfortunately the E-5 will not get you everywhere.
Day two had us bowling in Bahcelievler. A random decision on the metrobus saw us back amongst the kids, the very things we are usually begging to escape. When not in Rome…
Day three started out in a mildly positive way, out of the house before 3pm we decided to board the Bakirkoy bound bus, with a view to finally getting ourselves on the ferry to Asia. An hour and a a half later, with traffic induced headaches, we were finally in Bakirkoy, albeit too late to beat the sunset into Asia.
Not wanting to have suffered the bus journey in vain, we defiantly jumped on board the continent crossing ferry to Kadikoy. Only to be greeted with darkness on the other side. Trying to muster all the enthusiasm we could, we went for a short lived two minute wander before the dark and the cold got the better of us. F**k it lets get a Chinese.
From Kadikoy to Eminonu,
from Eminonu the uphill walk through Galata to the source of our salivation, Hong Kong Restaurant Taksim. With Chinese restaurants being scarce in Istanbul we have long hankered for that which we once took for granted back home.
Greeted with a plentiful menu……
……. and reasonable prices we went for some of the cheapest dishes on the menu, curry rice noodles (alike Singapore rice vermicelli but lacking the lovely eggy bits), duck chow mein and spring rolls with a side helping of Chinese green tea, leafy bits and all. Definately the highlight of our long weekend.
A refreshing change from Koftes and Kebabs (lovely as they are) we shall definately be returning when our pockets are feeling fuller.
Day 4 being hangover day and a complete write off it felt like another weekend had been wasted, but having achieved a fair few firsts in those four days (bowling, chinese, bus, Basaksehir, Bakirkoy) alongside a well deserved rest, perhaps it was a long weekend well spent after all.