Istanbul, Turkey Impression

Turkey won me over.  I originally saw Turkey as a good starting point because it was the southernmost point of Eastern Europe (That I haven’t seen).  I ended up meeting some awesome people who helped with the film and generally made the experience that much greater.  Istanbul itself is a relatively modern city with a western european vibe.  Prices are a lot higher than they were a few years ago but you still feel like you are getting more than your money’s worth.  As many know, it’s the only city in the world that is on two continents (Europe and Asia).  The touristy side with the Blue Mosque, Aya Sofia, Grand Bazaar, Cisterns, etc… takes several days to see and is worth it.  The side of the water I stayed on, near Taksim square at Route 39 Hostel, was like any major city.  It has a long walking road with shops and restaurants that turn into clubs and hookah bars at night.

The night scene.  A lot of the bars have roof decks or outdoor seating so you can enjoy an ice cold Efes and watch the pretty turkish girls stroll on by.  However, be warned; If you’re not with one of those pretty girls, the chances of you and your group of mates getting into a popular bar is very unlikely as they are almost always too full for a few more guys.

Last night I did have the pleasure of going to one of those trendy bars alongside two pretty girls from Denmark, however, the move in for a kiss was greeted with “the pull away” (ouch), as fighting with your boyfriend warrants a little misleading flirting but not disloyalty… still hurts.

A shout out to everyone at Route 39 hostel in Istanbul for helping kickoff the Backpackers Union and making it such a great time (especially Dean and Craig for help with filming!).   I’m now off to Sofia, Bulgaria to get things under way and start building the momentum.

Decisions after a night out…

What started as a quiet night quickly turned in to an unexpected adventure.

Galata tower in istanbul is known as the worlds oldest lighthouse.  It is quite beautiful and after you pay your turkish lir, it offers a nice view of Istanbul.  However, what was once used as a prison is now an ornate cafe with a gift shop and crowded elevator.  Thanks to the advice of some awesome Germans staying at the hostel, the Galata tower was given a second chance to impress.

On the weekend during the evening Galata tower is turned in to a local hangout for those looking to have a beer, sing a few songs, have a few laughs and be spared from the lines and overpriced drinks of the local bars.  Some very friendly Turkish allowed us to join them, gave us beer and welcomed us as part of their crew.

It was a great night which consequently isn’t helping my brain make any decision this morning.  As of now the choices are stay in Turkey and head south, or start heading north through Eastern Europe.  Most likely I will head north because of cost and not wanting to retrace my steps later on (which would mean a 10+ hour bus ride back the way I came).

The Film:  With the help from Dean, a Kiwi teaching english in Istanbul for the next year, we will be shooting some footage in a Bazaar this afternoon.  Should be some really funny footage, but we’ll soon find out!

The idea that grew.

I wrote this in 2009 and thought it would be a fitting way to start things off;

“Backpackers Union

I’ve had this idea that if you could capture the adventures that are inherent in backpacking around the world, and put them on a TV screen, people would be captivated.

The debauchery, the cultural mix, and promiscuity; but still waking up every morning and learning the local culture and history.

Having it so cameras would follow you, but you would be interactive with cameras and would court others into becoming the stars.

Every new destination would be a new stage, a new playground.  Every new face an over caffeinated, under slept, overindulgent character.  Your plots would unfold, dramatic twists would self develop.

Backpacking is a stage where cultures intertwine, commingle, and clash.  A place where common sense is replaced by adrenalin, but somehow rarely renders consequences. Where people find themselves by losing themselves.

To capture that on film would be a feat.

That is what I want to do.  This November I’ll be traveling to Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam.  I have destinations but no itinerary.  I want to learn the history, the culture, but more about the people, and their international personalities; both locals and travelers alike.  The adventures would be inevitable.

Camera angles, the sound quality, not missing a shot will be tough. Although when you travel, particularly backpacking, the experiences are rolling.  You miss an unforgettable moment; wait seconds and another will surface.

Capturing this debauchery, cultural mix, sex, culture, history, and splicing it together will be a challenging feat, but that’s what I want to do.”

Game time…

The world is ours.