We went to Turkey to attend the wedding of our good friend Burak. Not only was he planning his wedding, he was also nice enough to put together a few activities for his friends from the states. So on the night before the wedding he planned for us to board a large passenger boat for a floating party called the White party. Note: you were supposed to wear white.
We spent the early afternoon with another couple of friends on Baghdad Street, the main shopping drag of the Asian side of the city. We planned to cross the bridge back to Europe to change clothes and board the boat at 7 pm, but we had not budgeted our time well.
At 6 pm, we were still waiting in traffic, not even close enough to see the bridge, much less cross it. Luckily, the boat party was planning a stop on the Asian side to pick up more passengers. After a few phone calls, we all planned to meet at the second stop and Burak, the world's best host, was on his way to get white T-shirts for all of the hopeless traffic castaways.
We arrived at the boarding point at 7 pm in three separate cars. Right on time, except that it wasn't the boarding point. Or at least, that was the consensus at the time.There was a lot of discussing in Turkish and then we drove to another boarding point. No, that one wasn't the boarding point either. And so we returned to the original point in a mad rush, parked and ran through a city park filled with picnickers, strays, and fishermen to catch the boat at the shore of the Bosporus.
Even though it was 7:15, the boat had waited. We later realized that this was because the party that was designed for 200 or 300, was attended by only 50 or so. The early boarding time meant that people couldn't make it from work in time. Friday traffic in Istanbul is incomprehensible.
So we took a nearly private cruise of the Bosporus that night to the loudest mix of 80s and Salsa you can imagine. As the natives around us danced, we watched the city slink by, absolutely amazing, shimmering with light, and dotted with glorious, crumbling bits of history.
SOUNDTRACK: "Big in Japan"
The best Alphaville song I'd never heard. But if you're in Istanbul, you'll hear this at almost every club.
Image: "Bosphorescence" by icemanigation.