I leave Lisbon to fly for 5 hours over to Istanbul. Arriving somewhere around midnight and weary, I had to truck across the city to find my hostel. I arrived at my hostel close to 2 am and my poor host waited up for me. She was nice enough to let me in and to deal with the payments the next day. Thank god.
I follow her down a narrow rounded stairwell to the basement where I would be sharing the room with one other guy in the 4 bed dorm. My luggage was heavy (with a stupid tripod my dad encouraged to bring to photograph Petra) and I’m pretty sure I woke everyone up with my luggage banging against the wall and stairwell. Navigating in darkness with my cell phone backlight being my only light source, I unzipped my luggage, changed in bed and tried to sleep because… f–k trying to brush my teeth and wash my face.
I was too tired for that nonsense.
Whoever my bunkmate was, I definitely woke him up. He starts coughing and is completely congested. It was quite clear he’s sick. Great. I literally just got over my own sickness and now I’m trapped in this tiny basement with this sick f–ker. To make things worse, I couldn’t sleep. The windows were on the same level as the main road which means I heard every footstep, car, cat, and dog.
It was clear that we were both awake and start talking. It’s 3 am and I offered him nasal spray I purchased in Portugal (which, by the way was a life saver). Him, a bit weirded out about the whole thing says “who offers nasal spray in the middle of the night?” Geez, I offer nasal spray in the middle of the night because I’m a nice person and I hate hearing people struggle to breathe!!!
Fast forward a few hours and I’m up and ready to tackle my new city despite being (a lot) tired. Jumba Hostel is fantastic because it’s a small hostel and was just everything I needed. As you have probably read in my previous post of Introversion, I can’t handle big groups of people – but, only a handful? Easy peasy. Eating toast, fresh fruit, and drinking fresh coffee made by my host Aliv, I was mentally plotting out my day ahead with Googlemaps and TripAdvisor.
- Check out Bosphorous Straight
- Haiga Sophia
- Galata Tower
- Grand Bazaar
That looks like I’d only be scratching the surface in Istanbul but that was all my body could handle since I’d be walking all of it. At the breakfast table, I end up meeting Annie, an American girl that just arrived in Istanbul after being in Ghana for a month. After 30 seconds of talking, we decided to tour the city together. A fellow seasoned solo female traveler, we were so in tune with each other on so many topics.
Whilst sharing our lunch at the Grand Bazaar, we had a moment like this:
Annie is a hilarious, free-lance journalist travelling the world on her own and with her banjo. For myself, Istanbul was one of those serendipitous moments where everything was just perfect. Here I was, a few weeks into my trip, thinking I would have to be “on” and hyper-vigilant in Istanbul and I end up meeting a seemingly old friend I trusted.
Our exploration of Istanbul brought us back to the Hostel just before supper time and we meet the sick bunk mate, Michael.
Michael: Valllll – Do you know how often I should be using this nasal spray?
Me: Woops. Should’ve told you that you should only use it 2-3x max per day because you could get addicted to it.
Michael: Oh no… I’ve used this like at least 8 – 10 times already.
Annie: Looks like you’re going to be addicted to nasal spray! Sucks for you!
Annie and Michael plotted our night ahead and decided to get wine before dinner. Unwilling to forgo a great night out, I willingly agreed but only after a small nap. That was that. It was all plotted out. Annie was going to shower while Michael grabbed wine while I took a nap.
A+ for teamwork, guys.