The Day I Met Hasan


It’s been raining since morning, today. Dim light, silent eve, it reminds me of someone I’ve been missing for past few days. It’s my friend, Hasan…


 

10.30PM

I was running a bit when Hakan and Saf dropped me at Taksim Square. Rain was pouring right after I came out from the taxi. I couldn’t just walk towards my hostel so I stood inside the entrance of Taksim Station. The air was cold, for me, it was too cold. 

I smiled. I promised to myself that I had to enjoy everything from that journey. Rain made me frozen for a sec, but my smile that eve was still bright.

11.03PM

I was already inside my hostel. I managed my breath. I couldn’t even lie that I was exhausted. Very. I sat on the couch at the reception with few Krispy Kreme left.

“Hey, I think there is a birthday party going on upstairs. You don’t wanna check it out?”. I just smiled. I smiled to the guy in the reception that told me about the event upstairs while I was trying to warm myself. Rain in spring was something else. At first, I had no interest to see what was going on. I could hear some giggles, boisterous laughters. What I truly needed was a bed, pillows and blanket cause I had to go to the airport to catch my flight to Cappadocia the next day.

Something came in my mind. I remembered how excited I was when I met a person in Tokyo that later became one of my best friends. You know, random people, random stories, random moments that could probably only be found if you stay in the hostel. I knew that feeling. It was gone for the past three days since I arrived in Istanbul. My mind said no yet my heart said yes. I went inside the lift and pressed 6.

I was a bit surprised when the lift doors was opened. Something jumped on my mind like “Oh no, I’m too old for this.” cause as far as I could see were mostly teenagers. It was a cultural night kind of. Something interesting was happening. Alcohols, spirits, snacks, flags, you know, when different people from all over the world were in the same room and made a midnight party. I just stood and felt awkward a bit. Wish I knew it like hours before, I could manage myself among them.

I chose to see what I could see at the terrace.

11.58PM

It was two minutes before midnight. I thought I was nuts pretending the air wasn’t that cold outside. It was fucking freezing. There were two people smoking cigarettes. I bet they were European tho I wasn’t that sure.

I stood and breathed. It was so serene I might say. I could even remember the smell after the rain was. I felt frozen yet blessed at 12.10AM. I sat on one cushion that was a bit soppy after I managed with an iPhone picture. I just wanted to feel the night. I just wanted to ensure that I was still under the same sky but in another part of the world, far away from home. I couldn’t literally stop smiling to the sky.


Then someone came and offered me a cigarette.


He sat by my side. With a cigarette in his hand we acquainted ourself. His name is Hasan. Hasan Tasci. My cheesiness came out instantly when, “Oh no! you were born in France! Hasan, I met with two guys also from Paris!” (you know me, I have a very high cheesiness level, esp if you mention about Paris, or France, so please don’t judge me). I felt nasty to myself as I remembered. I know, but I wanted to become who I really am. Paris, croissant, what else again that could turn myself into the cheesiest person on earth? 

“Hasan, you know what, I just want to sit down at one cafe with a warm croissant and a cup of cappuccino, in Paris”, the same sentence I repeat every time I dream about one fine day in Paris. I said the same to Hasan. Hasan was smiling when he heard it. We sat very close cause he barely speaks English. When I asked and answered in English, he looked a bit puzzled. Few times I had to wide my ears open when he spoke. Sometimes I found it a bit funny when I knew what he meant to say but took for minutes arranging the words to a sentence. Hasan is Turkish by blood but born in France. He is French, speaks French and Turkish very fluently. Tho few times I apologized when I spoke too fast but he was kinda fine, “That’s okay Azis, I want to exercise my English. I’m happy to hear you speak English”.


Oh, I said also, “Like me when I hear you speak Hasan, I’m dying to be able to speak French!”. In fact, I just know some, “Merci, bonjour, de rien, what else again? je vais très bien?” 


“Azis, I can pack croissants for you when I’m back in France and fly them to Lagos”

I was laughing. Hasan, you were too funny. I wanted to say, “No no, send me a ticket to Paris and I’ll eat my fresh French croissant”. Yes, it was definitely a crap if I said so, no, I’m not that bad. I shaked Hasan’s hand and said “We will see in Paris” with some giggles.

01.38AM

“It’s time to sleep Azis”

“I know, wish we had more time to share stories. Paris, haha but I also need to rest Hasan, I have to go to the airport to Cappadocia by 8”. Hasan said he was staying in that hostel for 7 days, but that morning was my last day. I didn’t want to make the same mistake like what I did in Kyoto. I asked his number but he couldn’t remember his French number. Hasan gave his email instead. “Are you in Facebook?” he asked. “Sure, but it has been a while I do not open my account, I feel Facebook is so boring these days” . He let me typed my account in Facebook on his smart phone. That was the only way we could connect each other after all. “I’ll let you know if I come back from Cappadocia, we can find Turkish coffee and continue our stories” 

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The second time I met Hasan was late night after the drama. I flew from Kayseri with a positive mind that my last two days in Istanbul would be unforgettable. It was unforgettable, indeed. In so many ways.


An evening with someone kind named Hasan, an evening I won’t forget. 


21st April 2017. 9.43PM

In a cold evening on my last night in Istanbul, I came to where Hasan stayed after I found an adaptor for my iPhone. I sat on the same couch. I felt warmer inside. My Zara couldn’t even help me fighting the weather. Hasan came. I had told him that somebody had sent me $160.

“Wait a minute Azis, let me Google it. Maybe there are some WU open by this time. Oh there is, but this is quite far”. I looked at Hasan and said, “No, don’t worry. This is late. How about tomorrow?”

“I’m working tomorrow till 3PM on Saturday. When is your flight? How about if I take the money when I’m on my way to work”. When he said that, I thought the same thing like the first time I met him. This man is kind-hearted. Genuinely kind. He just helped somebody who he knew for only 1,5 hours, sincerely.

“Have you eaten, Azis? Follow me, I’ll take you to find Turkish tea. It’s good for this kind of weather”. I laughed, “I have Hasan, you know cheap KFC”. I mean, I had to manage Turkish Lira so no fancy dinner for myself. I followed Hasan when he stepped outside. “Hurry up Azis, it’s windy. You are not feeling it?”. Sure, wish you knew how I ran with my hands crossed. It was very cold. Hasan and I went to the park near Taksim Square. He was laughing at me, “Azis, what is your problem, you took a cold water in a cold weather like this”, oh come on, I was thirsty. “You know how to use the water heater in the hostel? seems like it is not working”, Hasan asked and I answered, “You have to wait for minutes before you stand under the shower. It’s bad but it will work”

We arrived at one place like a restaurant. It was quite. I was so sure we came at the wrong time when they had closed. Hasan told me they have a very good Turkish tea. I saw number 10 on my wrist watch. I told Hasan, what was his next plan. He said he only wanted some light food for his dinner. We both headed to İstiklal Caddesi but I stopped my steps for a sec when I saw a beautiful bridge from that park. Night lights could be seen from where I stood. On our way, I thought about something. Perhaps, the essence of traveling isn’t the joy of relaxation where we visit somewhere new. When we take a break from our busy life. But the opportunity when we can learn to know new people. When we meet with some kind people and become friend. When they just come to our life with pure kindness when we are in a place far away from home.

Losing my personal thing when I was in Istanbul might be the one that lead me to learn more when I met Hasan.

Hasan sat with some fried chickens at the same place where I had my dinner earlier. It wasn’t that long till I asked something and he replied, “No Azis, you can talk to me but no picture”. I understood. Not everyone loves having pictures of themselves. Hasan is among. Tho I was still expected he changed his mind cause you know, photograph is the only way to freeze a moment that gone forever.

22nd April 2017. 4.23PM

I ran a bit to meet Hasan on my last day in Istanbul. I had packed all my things and counted how much my time left to see Hasan. There is one WU near the hostel. I couldn’t believe that the time to say goodbye to Turkey had come in end. I waited Hasan at the same place. On the same couch, at the same space.

I thought I would have time to sit with cups of coffee then. It was just happened so fast. Hasan said he had an appointment to see his friend. “Come on Azis, let’s take the money”, he said. We were in hurry. It was just minutes after he came back from his internship in one production house in Istanbul.

I sat beside him when he signed the letter to withdraw the money. I looked at Hasan and said to myself, “I wish we had time, I just want to treat you with a lunch as a thank you”. Hasan made a joke to me why I put his name as a receiver. I said the truth, that was my first time accepted money thru WU. I thought we must have an account, but as simple as it was, I gave him an honest answer. I changed $30 to Turkish Lira in case on my way to the airport, I stopped to grab some fridge magnets.

I sat with Hasan before we left WU. I thanked again and again for what he did to me. For that night, for the money he lent me, for the friendship. I had faith in what I saw that day. I made a promise before I met Hasan for the last time. I made a promise that I had to give him something. I wrote a long sentence in my iPhone, he understood when he read French. “Please do take this”, Hasan was quite. He wrote in French and translated to English, we did it to ease what we wanted to say. “Azis, I just helped you cause you needed. I would call you if I had the same problem if I were in Lagos. I don’t want to take this if this is expensive. Look Azis, I’m not wearing any”

I begged Hasan to keep it for me so I will remember his kindness. He said he would receive it as souvenir. “Azis, if you are in Paris, I’ll be the one that pay your croissant and cappuccino, deal?”, Hasan smiled. My smile was ear to ear. I was pleased when Hasan accepted the gift. For me, it was the simplest thing I could only do that day to express how grateful I was for everything. My smile became brighter when I finally saw Hasan on my iPhone’s screen for a selfie. “I don’t mind but we take together”, Hasan surprised me when he changed his mind after I asked how about the picture. “Hasan, see the background is perfect, haha, Western Union, I’ll remember you every time I see WU”, though it was only one picture but it was enough to end my trip with gratitude.

Before I left, I hugged someone kind-hearted who I met only 1,5 hours, who accompanied me when I had a big problem in somewhere far from home. Someone who I learnt from that in this world we will always have a destiny to meet kind people, for a reason.

 

 

See you in Paris, mon frère.

 

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Galata, Topkapı & Ortaköy I

were three places we created those friendship memories…


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Spring breeze that night was icier. I was running in hurry on my way back to the hostel with a happy smile on my face. Had to admit that I was so stoked on the day I met Hakan and Saf. It didn’t come to my mind I would meet and became close friends instantly just like that, spent time together till midnight (anything better than ice creams and friend’s laughters to end the day?). Back to where I met them for the first time, Saf was the first person who offered me to join him and Hakan if I had no place to go. I almost said no to Saf yet I kept it in my mind till I remembered something: “while you have no itinerary on this trip, so make it memorable with unpredictable, unplanned, unexpected things!.”

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“Where do you have in mind to spend tomorrow at, Hakan?”


 

Since it was Saf’s first visit in Istanbul, Hakan was his guide if I may say. Key questions about the city went directly to Hakan if we had some. When Hakan mentioned about “boat” on Bosphorus Strait, I won’t say no when he offered me on the second day. If you googled things to do in Istanbul for the first time, boat tour is among the top must do. Before boat tour, Galata Tower was the first place we visited.

We agreed to meet there at 11 in the morning. Hakan said 10am before but I knew we won’t make it cause hello, spent a whole day and ended by walking from Sultan Ahmed till Taksim Square in midnight wasn’t a joke (Istanbul has many uphill alleys, kindly note). I took sometimes earlier before I met them by enjoying a buffet at Parole İstiklal on my way to Galata. I shouldn’t tell you the truth this brekkie scenes more like ‘picture-purpose’ yet I did enjoy Turkish chai in spring. I’m serious.

As much as I enjoyed Istanbul, I tried to take my time to do one of my favourite things when I’m traveling: starting my morning with a cup of cappuccino in a coffee shop. When Hakan sent me a message they would be a bit late, I took my time to linger around to take some pictures and ended with a coffee right in front of Galata Tower. I was about to tease myself spending my Turkish Lira to bring home one of cute vintage table lamp from a small shop (designer’s temptation, classic – full stop). Nevertheless, I didn’t enter when I finally saw Hakan and Saf were walking hurriedly. A bit confused but I understood why it took sometimes for them to arrive at our meeting point. Hakan said, “there were three men behind us when Saf wanted to get a new ring but we didn’t take it” while Saf added after, “so sorry Azis, we didn’t mind to unrespect you by came late”.

I answered, “so let’s get tickets and enjoy Istanbul from above”. 

Surely, with a bright smile on my face cause we would spend a whole day together.





More pictures to come on part II :)

 

Happy Eid Mubarak for those who celebrate! I wonder to celebrate Eid next year in somewhere new. Marrakech perhaps? Or even, Paris? Dreaming is free, right :)

Nuriev From Kiev

Talking about traveling, I have one dream I really wish it would be happened anytime soon: exploring Europe by road with my very best friend, Ruli. Renting an old Fiat for three months, start the slow journey from Denmark, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, till stop for a month in one of our dream destination in Italy, Tuscany. Staying in a country side and living like locals. It won’t be bad if we could enjoy the end of our trip with something a bit fancier. Doing nothing with a thick wallet in Santorini could be the perfect ending. Man, dunno when that will happen yet just imagining this dream could make me smile ear to ear for a whole day. 

Okay, back to REALITY.

There is one thing I have always loved from traveling is the people I meet along the way. Lucky me, most fellow travellers have become my friends for life. It is amazing every time I meet random people in another part of the world and feel connected after all. A fellow traveler from Kiev, is one of my new friend I would remember from my recent trip.

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“Hey, are you OK? Did you drink too much last night?”


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A question I heard right after I opened my eyes. I dropped my head on the pillow without an answer. My head was a bit dizzy from a horrible night when Hasan and I left the police station after 1am. Three minutes later I wrote, “so sorry, I don’t mean to be rude. I’m Azis, from Indonesia. I just lost my wallet last night.” on my iPhone. I went straight to the restroom to retch and left my iPhone in his hand. I came back to our room that has four beds, it wasn’t that spacious yet I felt more comfortable than my previous hostel. I introduced myself to Deniz, a fellow traveler from Ukraine.

My mind wasn’t clear enough looking for solutions how I would survive in Istanbul. My mind was divided into two. Staying in hostel for a day or went outside to soothe my mind with camera in hand. Both options would have some of TL100 Hasan lent me for food. While I was looking for solutions, Deniz tucked himself with a thick white blanket, “I think I’ll sleep for two hours”. 

When I looked at him I said to myself, “I wish I could also tuck my body after I bathed, took a nap few hours and went for a proper lunch, with few new Zara after, that’s how I should enjoy my last two days here. It’s pesky I know”. Otherwise, I was busy thinking how I could get at least $150 till I left Turkey the next day. Deniz was still awoke with his smart phone in his hand. He didn’t close his eyes for napping yet busy browsing some infos how to transfer money to Ukranian bank. He showed me his card and laughed, “there’s no money here, Azis”. I laughed, too.

I had blocked all my cards last night so the only way to transfer money from my account was using token. And had no one with me, suck, sigh. I was busy contacting one of my good friend in Lagos a whole day to send me money, but I knew Lagos is funny (and in the end was zero, poor her). I didn’t give up till I finally got $160 from my colleague when she was in New Jersey, US. Stupid me, I gave Hasan’s details to her when she sent thru WU, it meant the final answer to get the money was meeting Hasan, ugh.

 


“I just want to grab a beer and breathe fresh air, wanna come along?”


 

Deniz was looking so fresh after he took a bath. I felt like, “damn why I had to stay a whole day in this room and tomorrow I’ll say bye to Turkey?”. I looked at Deniz and said “so sorry because of me you couldn’t even take a nap, but hey I don’t mind for a cold vodka”. Sure, the last sentence was a jest since I don’t drink (I promise).

I followed Deniz outside. That day was a pretty day in spring. We were walking around İstiklal Avenue, the weather was cool, the crowd was the same. Deniz offered me something to eat and I couldn’t lie anymore that I was starving. I said I didn’t mind for a cheap kebab, I laughed. Most affordable street food in Istanbul is delicious. With only TL100 I had no choice to be fancy. Deniz took me to a food stall near our hostel that sell döner kebap and friends.

We sat outside with warm wraps on the table. He had ayran while I had coke. Deniz was laughing when I said that I didn’t drink coke but it was an exception for that day. Not because he paid the bill, yet what I wanted was enjoying every second, every single thing I had in Istanbul. We had a very warm random conversation, about our dads, what we wanted to be in the next 5 years, when the first time we drank (he laughed again for this), and what we wanted to do if we are in Amsterdam one day.

“Why you love photographing food like that? Come on, eat”, he said. “I’ll remember this wrap in the next few years when I look at the picture you know”, I responded. 

After our quick-lunch, Deniz took me to one small cafe for Turkish coffee after I mentioned Starbucks (why Starbucks when Turkey has fantastic coffee, he said). We sat inside since the spring breeze was colder in the afternoon. We continued our random conversation from why I interested in interior design and would like to capture buildings in Amsterdam (Deniz shooked his head for this), why he studied obstetrics and gynaecology at Bogomolets National Medical University, how busy he is with his internship in Kiev, till when he started playing violin, saxophone, and piano.

 

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We went back to our hostel when he had to prepare his next trip with his uncle who lives in Istanbul. We said goodbye after I asked for some photos of him, few thank you’s for the wrap, the coffee, plus two cigarettes I took when I accompanied him smoking in front of our hostel (believe me, I don’t smoke and can’t live with smoker, but smoking in a cold day in spring could make you warmer, Deniz taught me how to smoke right).

Deniz was leaving when his uncle was arriving, and I kinda happy could hug him to say bye for a very short meeting with a friendship left behind.

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“I think Deniz really had no clue what he did was meant for someone who only had $30 for the last two days of vacation”


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Hey Deniz, if you read this post, let me make confession here. Do you remember when I slow down my steps in front of one market where fresh strawberries and blueberries were neatly displayed? And you were asking me, “do you want that?” and I said, “don’t worry, I’m fine.”?

I was lying to you that afternoon, lol. I was really, really wanted to taste those berries in spring where the weather was cool. I think it’s just my nature that I can’t ask too much when someone already helped without I even asked. You used to reply my message “forget it” when I said thanks again for that day.

Dear Deniz, what you did to me was more than enough, and it taught me one thing: sharing is a good thing, indeed. We don’t need to be rich to share something, it could be the real meaning of being rich when we do it wholeheartedly, unconditionally.

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спасибі за доброту Йора.

See you in Kiev.

And The Rest Was Such A Long-time Friendship

 

..was one of the best day I had in Turkey.


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One of the lesson I learned from my trip to Tokyo and Kyoto last year was simple: give yourself time to sit down at one corner, feel the ambiance and surrounding, breathe easy, and forget about destination. As mentioned that I had no itinerary when I was in Turkey, it gave me more spaces and options how I could enjoy my day. On my first day in hostel, I took an hour to do a small research and decided where was the best place to visit the day after.

Day two was when I headed to Sultanahmed area. I sat on the bench and enjoyed the view of the park in front of Hagia Sofia before strolling around Sirkeci, Grand Bazaar, and an afternoon treat at Hafidz Mustafa. I headed back to Hagia Sofia (though I didn’t enter cause I read the best time to visit is 9am) but I entered to one of the most beautiful sacred place nearby, instead.

There, I found some magical moments. The echo of call prayer from the mosque was magical. The architecture of the mosque was magical. And the thing I loved the most that day was an accidental friendship I found inside the mosque. I honestly love unpredictable moment just jumped up like that while I traveled. Magnifique, as French says.



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“If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.”


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I’m pretty sure you guys know the sentence above is one of the basic rules in life. If you do not ask for something, you’ll always have no as an answer. That exactly what I had in mind when I was inside Sultan Ahmed mosque.

Right after Asr prayer, I was still admiring the beauty of the mosque with a camera in my hand, typical tourist. Taking some pictures while my mind thought about every details on those fascinating domes. Five minutes after, I dropped my camera and what I wanted to do was recording the moment in my brain till there was a whisper knocked my mind, “take one with yourself in the picture.” 

If you ask me, I’m more like BTS person when I’m traveling. I do prefer to photograph the objects/people than seeing myself in the picture. But I said like, “come on, you are in Turkey, just do what you want to do. Having one with yourself in isn’t a bad idea, nah? even just one.”  I stood from the floor after I saw a gentleman stood too. The whisper was sounded louder than before,“if you don’t ask, the answer is always no.”

I had a fickle heart to ask to someone who I saw was busy taking picture. I bet you will think the same like what I thought then. If you are a solo traveler, you’ll prefer to ask somebody who looks like traveling alone. When I saw Safoine stood with his smart phone, I asked him if he could help me with my camera. The first time I gave my camera, he handed over to a gentleman that was standing in front of us, which I later knew his name is Hakan. Saf said Hakan could take photograph better. I offered them to have some photos from my camera after Hakan took myself twice. After that moment, we introduced ourselves. I never felt such a welcome acquaintance like what I had with Hakan and Saf before. It was warm, gracious, and genuine.

We left the mosque together and headed to somewhere near Galata bridge for sunset, with interesting conversations in between. Enjoying the late afternoon just before the golden hour will always be one of my happiness. And enjoying it with a view of Bosphorus strait, cool spring breeze, shrieking seagulls, and two new pleasant friends like Hakan and Safoine, could be one the best happiness I won’t forget on my second day in Istanbul. Sadly, I couldn’t show you our picture we took together here as requested by Hakan. That’s not a big deal right? Saf’s smile you can see below’s such a prove how bright the day we had then.



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Thank you to the internet nowadays for making everything easier. I connected to Hakan after we exchanged our WhatsApp numbers before he and Saf went back to their hotel. We met again for a dinner at Mom’s Corner Istanbul as suggested by Hakan (he’s Turkish by blood and a real foodie anyway, so we just need to follow him for the best places in Istanbul). A cozy beautiful evening at a restaurant with strong elements, authentic Turkish food, a warm conversation with InstaStories plus Snapchats and our new friendship.

We were walking to İstiklal Avenue after dinner (gosh, it was such an exercise walking on uphill road in the evening!), passed Galata Tower, took scopes of ice cream and ended by chilling at Taksim Square.

I want to share some fun facts on my second day :)

  • I had 4 different interviews kind-of from some pupils around Hagia Sofia. They were having an English assignment and had to find somebody who could be asked some questions in English and recorded. The last one was when they stopped me, Hakan and Saf with the same purpose. Kinda funny yet interesting
  • I have to admit that most time I could be so garish when I meet someone new. When Hakan and Saf said they landed in the morning on the same day we met, flew from Paris, and they speak French, I said “I hate you guys”. Excusez-moi, call me garish and I don’t care
  • It was so fun I could record our dinner scene and posted on my Instagram Stories that day, I felt so cool you know :D (this is beyond garish I know)
  • An iPhone selfie we took together above was the better photo than the one Bangladesh man took from my camera. I did wish he could take the photo perfectly but a picture of myself with closed eyes was like “WHYYY?”
  • Hakan is so much better taking selfie photo rather than me. Most time I always shake holding an iPhone for a selfie
  • I just knew that croissant means crescent moon in English. I heard Hakan said “our meeting point is where that croissant is”, when he pointed the moon shape on one Turkish flag. I thought Hakan was jested for a real “croissant” after I told him and Saf that I’m a croissant lover
  • I met with Ali Murad, originally from Cyprus that works and lives in Qatar when I was waiting for Hakan & Saf before we went for a dinner. He was on a business trip in Istanbul and asked me if I could join him to the club in Taksim. I told him that I had an appointment with Hakan and Saf, he said “you can ask them to join later” ((oops! maybe next time Ali! :P three of us do not drink!). We became friends after exchanged WhatsApp number, the last time I spoke with him on the phone when he heard that I lost my wallet in Istanbul

 

Next post is when I thought was one of the most memorable day I had with still, Hakan and Saf.

 

Merci, H


“That day was colder, as I didn’t expect spring could be that cold.”


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I looked at the sky when I came out from Taksim metro station. It was grey and a bit dark. Rain just stopped pouring and left some drizzle from up. The hustle of people was still the same like the first time I arrived in Istanbul. That evening I arrived a bit late. I had a slightly longer flight because of the weather. I had a very pleasant short trip in Cappadocia and expecting my last three days in Istanbul could be a perfect ending. 

I said to myself that rain won’t stop me to enjoy every bits of the city. I had four beautiful days before flying to Cappadocia and I was so sure I would have a better time then. 

A cold day made me wanted to enjoy a warm Turkish street food at Taksim Square. Standing on one corner with a warm beef kebab while watching random faces enjoying their days under the drizzle could be one of a simply happiness. I decided to buy one for 11TL and thought it would be enough to fill my stomach before I continued looking for the way to my hostel. I finished half of my kebab and continued walking again pretending that drizzling made the evening scene in Taksim looked like a movie. 

The sky got darker and rain was started pouring again. I had to step faster so I won’t get wet on the street. Dragging my small suitcase under the rain on a busy Istiklal Caddesi wasn’t funny. What I had in mind that evening was I would find a soft bed with a thick white blanket in a warm room after I dropped my things in. Taking a bath with warm water under the shower, rested a bit and went out just to capture the evening scenes around. But all my imagination had disappeared instantly when I found that something serious was happening to me.

I couldn’t find my wallet when I wanted to pay my stay. I was so panic till I couldn’t talk for seconds. I couldn’t believe it. All my dollar, euro, naira, my debit cards, my green card, everything was inside. I felt so numb a bit.

The reception man suggested that I should go back to where I bought the kebab and tried to look around in case I got some lucks. Then after, I should go to the police station to get a report. Police? When I heard about it, my mind gone scarier. I was trying to calm myself down and started looking for solutions. My iPhone was about to die. I decided to charge it while I was thinking few people who I could ask helps to. Saf, my new friend that was on the conversation since I was on my way to Istanbul kept asking how I was doing. I couldn’t keep anything but told him what happened. He was already in Paris and a bit shocked, we talked on the phone for minutes. I kept trying to call one of my best friend in Indonesia, Mas Andhi to tell him too. It took minutes to finally speak with him on the phone after he was in another call. He told me to keep calm and started thinking clearly what to do. I was so confused, scared and tired in the same time. After I tried to calm myself down, I remembered the only person who could possibly help me in Istanbul was Hasan. 

I had no choice but told him everything. I had to see him wherever he was. I had to sort my lost. When Hasan answered that we could meet in Taksim square I said it would be better to see him at his hostel. I vividly remember how messy I was under the drizzle and the wind. My mind thought about where I would sleep at and what would I eat with for my last two days in Istanbul. I had nothing but 8TL left in my pocket with the most important document, my passport.

When I finally met Hasan in the hostel reception I had hopes. I held his hands to ensure he was real. I looked at him with half of my sense on, just wanted to say thank you. I repeated the same thank you for times cause truly, I had no clue what to do if he wasn’t by my side. 

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“Azis is okay, it’s normal. Don’t panic. I’m here. The most important thing right now is you. You’re safe.”


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I froze after Hasan spoke like that. Tho Hasan can barely speak English, his words was beyond enough to calm me down. I had no words to explain how lucky I was. He was true, I might be sad and confused cause I had no wallet, no cash, no cards, nothing. But I still had a genuinely kind person that I met only 1,5 hours after midnight, was helping me unconditionally in Istanbul.

I was still shocked but I had to get up.

My mind wasn’t complete when Hasan offered me to go to the nearest police station. I told him I was there before I met him but nobody speaks English. He told me to calm down then we went together to the police station. I couldn’t imagine if Hasan wasn’t around that evening. Who would help me to explain in Turkish what exactly had happened. Saf had told Hakan (he’s also my new friend, three of us met in Istanbul) if Hakan could explain to the police about the case though both of them were already back in Paris. Phone conversation could be my last option if Hasan wasn’t around tho I knew it would be more complicated.

Hasan and I were at the police station to explain what happened. I just looked at his face when he was explaining the case to the police trying to understand their language. “I’m dreaming I know. How could this happen to me” was still in my mind. Hasan kept calm me down. “Azis, it’s normal, OK”, and what I could say was only thank you.

10 minutes explanation at the police station, they instructed us to go back to the place where I surely thought my wallet was stolen. We met with two policemen there to get more information from me and from the cctv. I couldn’t stay focus cause I was froze, exhausted and ravenous that night. It was too bad. I almost said to Hasan to forget about my wallet. The only thing I thought about was my green card. Without the police report I would have a big problem in the immigration, definitely I would.

I really felt so bad dragging Hasan in my case. He wanted to enjoy his evening by watching a Turkish football match before, but there, he was with me, and two policemen. I kept saying “sorry Hasan, so sorry” till I couldn’t say anything again. I was so so sleepy and exhausted but I had to keep awake. The policemen were telling Hasan that they couldn’t see somebody stole my wallet from the cctv. I gave up, I didn’t care anymore with this case. I was just too tired, I just wanted to lay my body on the bed. Running from that freezing night. But Hasan told me to keep calm till we got the report. I couldn’t belive that after midnight we were still at the same place where I bought the kebab. Hasan said, “Azis, we will go back to the police station after the match. Is it okay for you?”

I looked at the wall clock, it showed to 1am. Right after people were cheering up for the winning team, I and Hasan went back to the police station. Our second visit was different. That time we finally entered the police room painted in white, with the room heater that made us warmer. After one policeman asked all the details he needed, and Turkish-English translation in between, 1o minutes later I got the police report. I smiled to Hasan with another thank you. If I had no one like him who speaks Turkish and French fluently after my lost there, in Istanbul, I couldn’t imagine how I would be.

We walked down through the same alley, back to Istiklal Caddesi, passing through the night market along Sahne Sk, till we arrived in my hostel somewhere at Kamer Hatun Caddesi. “You’re hungry Azis?”, “No, I’m fine Hasan, thanks.”

Sure, I was lying to him that I wasn’t ravenous. I sat on the couch while Hasan was trying to make a payment for my hostel.

.


“Hasan, I need to sell this tomorrow, I dont’ know where but I have to pay back your money”

“Azis you can pay when you are back okay, I’m still in Istanbul for 2 weeks before back to France. I will lend you this, is it OK?”


.

He gave me TL100 and I couldn’t speak words again. I was too tired. I was too messy. I packed my jacket, stored and double cross-checked my passport, and I was about ready to carry my suitcase up to my room.

I followed Hasan till we stood in front of my hostel. With a cigarette in his hand, we both smiled. I tried to do an instant recovering, I shook my head, and said thank you again to Hasan. “Azis you need to rest, you are okay? I need to sleep too. We will talk tomorrow?”

And I said goodnight when the clock showed 2am.

I had never imagined I would walk with Hasan almost midnight, in a very cold evening in spring that made me shiver, till we had a business in the police station when I was on holiday. Not even in my wildest dream. But I had no regret right now cause the drama that night gave me a huge lesson about the trip. About life, about kind human and about unconditional friendship. Hasan might think what he did to me was normal, to help somebody that needs help, as simple as that. But for me, he had no idea what he did was meant to me. I won’t take his kindness for granted, his help that night scored in my heart and my mind. It was a drama that made my trip unforgettable one.

P.S. I had to blur an iPhone selfie I took with Hasan. Hasan said on my last night in Turkey after we went to have a dinner that “No Azis, you can talk to me, but no picture.”. So to respect him, I had to blur his face here but in the same time, I want my memory with this kind human stays on this blog. I had time with Hasan after the drama, I’ll keep it till I have time to share it here. Half of this post was written on the plane, when I was on my way from Cairo to Lagos. I wrote it in my iPhone when I was remembering Hasan and all my new friends I met in Turkey. I arrived in Lagos yesterday afternoon with a little drama in Cairo Airport. I had nothing to regret for cause in the end, coming home safe and sound that matters. I’ll share more stories and photos from this trip very soon hopefully, right now, I’m back to a real life.

Three and Four

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.

Once again, HNY everyone!

Who’s with me that was so excited yesterday when found that Ed Sheeran had announced he’ll drop his new music this Friday?! Can’t wait righhht? 

I’m hoping we all have a good start and 2017 brings a lot of wonderful surprises! Beside that I’m hoping too I can improve the content of this blog this year with more deliberate and thoughtful posts, yummy food!, and one of the particular thing I’d like to push is clearer pictures. A new camera is on his way! *closinge-Bay* . The reason why I really want to get a new camera + quality lenses is come on, it’s 2017!, nope, that’s not the reason. I feel like really, I need to upgrade the quality of my pictures here to be more and more sharper and more visually interesting. Don’t want to say that I’m so obsessed wishing a blog like Alice Gao (holy shit her lenses are sick!) but as a visual person, I’ll easily fall in love with a blog that has appealing photos on it. I believe that I’ll make my time more for this blog this year when I get a new gear :P promise!

You guys can count my preamble as one of my NY resolution, too.

K right here, on this post, I specifically wanted to express what I feel about two favourite humans a.k.a my very very good and best friend that having birthdays on third and fourth of January. Though I grew up without one single birthday celebration in my family’s culture but this day, I feel I should celebrate and express more about my feeling to people I love. And I think remembering somebody’s birthday is as sweet as a ripe red cherry!

The idea of this post was born after I read a message on my iPhone when my very best friend, Ruli, stated how grateful he was on his birthday September last year. Me and two other bestfriends, Winda and Maya agreed to send him a green tea cheese cake then. When I saw his face on the picture Winda sent to our group, I said to myself that’s true what people say: “They may forget a thing you give them but they’ll never forget how you make them feel”.

Let me not lie to you that two gifts on this post are just props :P one of them is a Chanel perfume box *coughing*. I’m gonna pick some gifts for Andreas Knogler and Yuriko Liao for their birthdays while you guys can read what my wishes are below (gonna pick real b’day gifts, promise!. I’ll ask another best friend of mine, Rifda, to accompany me sending something for Yuriko :)).

I’ll end this post with nothing to say but grateful for my friendships with both of them is this touched enough? :P

.

celebratelife2

celebratelife31 celebratelife32celebratelife4celebratelife5.



Some Hellos For The New Ones

friendship


 

Hi guys, just wanted to drop something short here bout’ what I’m feeling right now. It is not a secret if you used to live outside country (or you’re one of those who is living like me) that it never has been easy living billion miles away from your family, best friends, and loved ones. You may say internet can bring them closer but still, only on your iPhone’s screen.

Sometimes I can be so fractious if I’m missing my best friends outside there. Though I never cry, I swear, but forgive me if you find glazed eyes. But you know something that is more important than bemoan about it? Being grateful cause I still have kind humans called best friends. And this time around I want to be more grateful while I’m keeping my old best friends and say hello for new ones.

Last week Sunday I had almost two hours catching up with my Austrian friend, Andreas, on the phone. It is always nice to talk to him but the last time I was stoked when I could finally see his face again through Skype (this sounds cheesy right? after 3 years away from Skyping). And this Sunday, I had a pleasant conversation with my Spanish friend, Judith, after a while since we met in Japan. She made my day when she dropped a message in Facebook days ago cause I felt it was a bit difficult reaching her through e-mail before. There was one sentence she sent that made me thought how lucky I am could meet her and became friends. You guys know my buddy Teppo? I believe he’s enjoying a camp somewhere in Finland :) It’s been a while I never drop hi to my super talented good friend. And hi Hiromi! It was so good finally talked with you on your birthday two weeks ago, we really have to sit and enjoy chocolate mousse together from Joël Robuchon if I visit Tokyo again :).

 


“Talking about friendship, I have one thing I believe. We will always have a certain time to meet, know, see, talk and share things in life with our friends. We all never know when we will be separated yet what we need to do is to enjoy every second of our friendship and create moments and memories that will last forever. Just remember that kind humans you can called best friends is a gift”


 

Hope you won’t have glazed eyes like I do right now. Oops.

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