All You Have To Do Is…



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“There was a memory I could vividly remember years back when I was in the middle school”

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My classroom was kind of an old Dutch building that has a high ceiling and tall wooden doors painted in ivory. I remember where I sat, the first chair right after the door. I was the first student who knew if there was a teacher came in. As a ‘kid’, I was like anyone else in the class who would be very happy when our teacher didn’t come to teach us. Every time it happened, I would do my favorite thing: staring to the front yard and enjoying an afternoon breeze while my mind wasn’t even there. Thinking how many hours left till I could pack my bag and went home.

I literally sat on the bench just me and myself on my first year. I found it hard to blend to where those cool kids were. To blend where those mischievous were. I found it hard to blend myself to 39 different characters in the class. Meaning for almost two semesters during my first year I had no best friend and no gang, of course. It was quite tough finding friends who would accept me to be in their team. I was still super introvert if that’s the word for somebody who speaks very less, doesn’t have a communication skill, feeling way more comfortable being alone than standing in front of the class.

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“I remember one of my very good friends Atre used to say: human learns. We are all learning something in this life. By learning we are all growing”

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So do I.

I used to be a very introvert when speaking to someone new was like a nightmare. When what I could do just being resentful to myself every time my Dad said, “Go outside and find friends!”. I swear, he was kind of worry with me if I had no friends. But I kinda felt fine to be honest. The only time I felt bad when you know, if there was homework as a team in Physic class for instance, I started feeling like a left-over plastic bag no one had interest to pick it up. Time flies and I finally found the new transformation on how I open myself.

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“Traveling is where I learn to be more open to people…in which has changed me into “I’m not an -too- introvert like before”

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I was heading to Ginza when I was texting Hiromi with, “Let’s catch-up, I’m here!”. If you just visited this blog, fyi I met Hiromi on my last day in Tokyo on my first visit two years ago. I was literally waiting for Andreas Knogler to wake up at the reception and I saw Hiromi with a man from Afghanistan, an architect lives in Berlin who had Hiromi as his travel guide. Started with a very short acquaintance and exchanged contacts, we’ve been communicating ever since.

Hiromi thought I was joking after I sent an iPhone picture of Ginza Station. That was a quite surprise in my opinion. Even though I wasn’t really sure to meet her again last summer, I let the universe lead the way as always. It was a pleasant thing I felt when Hiromi sent a message where and when we could meet.

The next day I left my hostel, earpieces on my ears and started my morning by walking to a train station. I googled some places before I met Hiromi in the evening at Roppongi Station and I received a message from my childhood best friend: “How’s your day there? Have you met a new friend?” 

His message pinched me like, “Yeah, this is my third day in Tokyo and I haven’t made a new friend yet”

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“Surprises always spark when we travel”

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The day I met Hiromi led me to some new friendships

Hiromi was very kind treating me at Roppongi Hills for dinner. She told me we could enjoy Tokyo from above at Observation Room after all. I did enjoy every second staring at how pretty Tokyo at night till I got a bit distracted by two guys beside me which later I knew his name is Earvin and another one is Eric. Earvin is Canadian with Philippines roots, while Eric is from California. Eric was capturing Earvin with Tokyo Tower as a background before I started a light conversation. We spent sometimes to talk about Japan, and how Earvin and Eric met in the wrong train when they were heading to somewhere days before they visited Roppongi together.

That’s one of exciting parts of traveling when you just meet random traveler and become friends, right?

I must admit I did one of the cheesiest things before we all hugged and wished we could meet again in Japan someday (maybe Olympic 2020? :), I don’t mind another place on earth!). It was oh, recording a farewell video of us. It was actually fun having a short meeting with Hiromi, Earvin and Eric that day although you know, I wished we had longer time to talk about things cause somehow farewell is still hard to do :) (I must thank to myself for the cheesiness cause at least I still have our few selfies too).

When I was in the train with Earvin back to my hostel, I realized two things: that kind of moment will always be one of my reasons to travel more, and hey, universe had answered a question my best friend asked above? I told you :)


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Oh, hello Luís!

I came back to the hostel a bit late and went straight to my room. I almost entered but stopped my steps when someone asked if I had a rough day by looking at how tired I was. We had a short conversation on how our days were after acquainted ourselves. His name is Luís Dorelli, a very friendly guy from Brazil currently lives and works in Google London. Luís was the one I mostly spent my days in Tokyo with.

Even Luís seems so busy right now till we didn’t really have a chance to communicate like before, but I had two favorite moments I’ll always remember when we were in Tokyo. One, we went outside looking for light food after the rain. We both were tired but his idea walking under drizzle in the evening with transparent umbrellas was a good one. I always love the ambiance after the rain, especially in Tokyo where those neon lights makes the scene more memorable. Although in the end we couldn’t find any place nearby but having random conversation, some photo captured at Sensō-ji, and ended by buying snacks at 24hours supermarket was fun.

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Second moment was when we finally ended our trip at Haneda. We left on the same day, so heading to the airport together was a good idea. We took the same train, had a dinner at one restaurant in the airport before passing immigration, shopping time (he got sake while I was fine with whiskey, oh I mean some Tokyo Bananas), and ended with a bear hug. It was actually an impressive farewell I’ll keep in mind. Again, I must thank to myself for another cheesiness in the end of our trip (yes, I recorded an iPhone video with Luís before he flew back to London).

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I hope you still remember how fun the time we had with some fellow travelers at the pantry till midnight, Luís. Perhaps some pictures below will remind you, of course Chang is here :)

(P.S. I had to rip my shame by posting a photo with my face for memory purpose)

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Wait, I’ll say hi cause they’re leaving

Before I went out with Luís after the rain, I saw two guys were ready to leave with their backpacks at the lobby. The guys I saw few times early morning days before. They also stayed at the same room where me and Luís were but had no chance to talk even a single word. They both were so busy, too busy with their days in Japan till I had no courage to start a conversation. I just saw one of them was taking his things from the locker which placed few inches in front of my bed. Few times I saw him, few times I also kept silent till that evening I finally said few words right before I entered the lift.

My heart said, “Come on, few words do not cost you anything”

I was stoked I did it. It might be only 10 minutes but it was one of the warmest and friendliest conversations I’ve ever had.

I could see how magical “hi” to open a conversation and ended with a beautiful one. That was what I found when I finally spoke with Santiago and Omar before they were leaving to Kyoto. This “hi” may not work to everybody (I mean, a stranger we meet) but just remember, when your heart says to do so, just do it. It could be something which will mark in your heart and mind.

I didn’t take time to ask their details so we could keep in touch after. Santiago and Omar were the kindest Colombian I’ve ever met. It was just totally different with what I thought from few days I saw Santiago in the room. Our short conversation that day continues till today, and somehow I think that is more important when we could still keep in touch and remember each other. Oh, don’t blame me if I recorded an iPhone video too with a kind wish I could see them again sooner than later either in Bogotá or somewhere else on earth (from now on, we should FaceTime-ing more often, Santiago!).


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That’s why they both look stunning

I’ll never forget how my conversation with a very kind human, Meryl started. We met few times at the bathroom and there, our random conversations begun. Before I even realized Meryl and Nikki had only three days with very short time to visit places in Tokyo, I ended feeling beyond grateful cause Meryl started with an idea to take picture together before they left. I woke up late that morning and felt very tired but having some photographs with both of them made my day.

If I visit Philippines someday I would definitely let Meryl and Nikki know cause I’m sure we will have a very good time sharing our travel stories. Meryl and Nikki travel the world cause both are flight attendants (how cool, huh?)


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Oh, that was the highlight of my trip!

I actually woke up around 7am. That was a very short from the time I slept around 2am. Even though I was still felt exhausted but I had to wake up to bag few things to my suitcase. After I packed, I went straight to the pantry on the 7th floor. The pantry was empty, I sat on the wooden chair with that ‘feeling’ when you realize you should make your last day unforgettable one. I took my time by staring at the glass doors gazing at some buildings on the gloomy morning. Of course I played a song with earpieces from my iPhone to complete the whole scene. It is just a simple way to create some memories in my brain. Then I was ready for a very simple breakfast. White bread filled with chocolate paste and strawberry jam, pineapple juice, two slices of banana and pistachio (see, I remember every details!). I ate very slowly although I ran out of time.

The day I met Renata was the highlight of my trip. It was just genuinely, beautifully, happened like that. I even remember every single scene the morning I met with one of, le pardon if this sounds so exaggerated but honestly, she is one of the amazing human beings I ever met in my life.

It was just begun with a simply sentence I said to her, “hey, your breakfast is so healthy” and the rest was like we knew each other for years. I felt connected with Renata in so many ways. I might only have two hours but universe had done something I’ll forever grateful for letting me know Renata and created a real friendship. I remember, after we recorded an iPhone video, it felt hard for me to say goodbye to her, wishing we should have met like days before and spent time together in Tokyo. But again, universe will always have ways to surprise us and the thing makes me even more grateful is we both still communicating till today. For me, that’s the point for our friendship :)

I’m probably missing Renata right now but my believe to see her again sooner than later is strong.

Sure, I’ll let universe decides where it will be :)

Galata, Topkapı & Ortaköy II


While I’m writing this sentence, my mind is thinking about Hakan and Safoine.

Perhaps, I’m missing them…


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We didn’t really spend time at Galata Tower. Olga, a Russian lady who works in the hostel I stayed told me, “Galata Tower’s so boring, what you could do up there just to see Istanbul from above”. I must agree at some points, but spending time together with Hakan and Saf and ended with a photo of myself wearing Turkish traditional costume was interesting enough (it wasn’t really cheap but worth to try for a memory-wise). I wanted to have a photograph together with Hakan and Saf but couldn’t be accomplished cause hell ya, the queue was crowded and we had to change the costume very quickly. I had no brave to show how I was on the photograph cause I looked so shabby,le pardon!. I must say Hakan looked so handsome and so royal wearing the traditional costume complete with a sword like a real sultan (he’s Turkish by blood, no surprises).

Writing this post after nine months still give me goosebumps and clear memories how I enjoyed every single second I had in Istanbul.

After we left Galata Tower, we spent an hour plus at a small cafe with friend talks, Turkish sweet delights on our table, some French words Hakan taught me (holy shit it was difficult af!), and for sure, some photos before heading to the harbor under Galata Bridge for a boat ride. It was one of “I’m waiting for this!” moment cause I heard crossing the European side of Turkey to Asian side’s such a must do. The ticket isn’t that expensive as far as I remember. Of course it made me so excited before we finally entered the ferry. We came out from the ferry just less than five minutes cause Saf was faint and I felt so dizzy af but it didn’t stop us to enjoy the day cause our next destination? The dazzling place called Topkapı Palace.

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At Topkapı Palace, I was awed with the fact how time created such a mind-blowing histories years ago. One of the highlight from our visit was when we entered a room where most of important holy relics are being collected: the hair of Prophet Mohammad’s beard, his footprints, letters, also the tray used by Abraham, the sword of David, the rope of Joseph and the chest of Prophet Mohammad’s daughter, Fatimah.

Photographs are forbidden in that room but memorizing the relics only with your own brain and eyes would give you an experience. Especially when you hear the mellifluous Quran verses echo in the air softly, I had a serious goosebumps then. If you are a moslem like me and planning to visit Istanbul, put Topkapı Palace in your must-visit list.

Before we left, we managed our time at one restaurant inside Topkapı Palace with three cups of Turkish tea, a bowl of Turkish delight and fresh strawberries. It was just a casual beautiful afternoon in spring with a view of Bosphorus Strait.


“But for me, it was one of the most memorable moments I had with Hakan and Saf”



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…we didn’t end our day at Topkapı Palace…

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We took a taxi to a place which later I knew was Ortaköy. It was definitely Hakan’s idea to spend our day there since me and Saf hadn’t been there before. Ortaköy is one of most popular districts in Istanbul where a lot of cafes, bars, and stalls located on cobblestone roads. The idea taking a taxi to Ortaköy was a great one I have to say. It wasn’t because I mostly used metro for a “cheaper” option, it was great because I could remember all the scenes on the road. Something I couldn’t do if we took metro (I recorded an iPhone video while we were inside, of Saf, you showed me a picture from your visit at Chefchaouen!!). Even we had a light traffic on the road, it didn’t stop us to enjoy Ortaköy after we prayed inside the beautiful mosque on the coast, Ortaköy Mosque.

After praying, we enjoyed the cool evening by strolling around the bazaar then went to have a snack. Hakan and Saf might call “it” as a snack (I called Hakan double portions till today :)) but for me, it was a huge baked potato (man, it was really huge!) till I couldn’t finish it (was it the time Hakan created “mister half-portion” for me cause I eat small? sigh, I couldn’t remember). It was quite interesting for me eating baked potato with “you could choose any toppings you like” in Istanbul.



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Coffee Scenes & Some Poser


Just wanted to share some throwback photos when I was in Indonesia for vacation, here…


I spent an afternoon with Andhi and Shohib at a coffee shop called Louis before moving to another coffee shop for more coffees (some pose, please). It was our first coffee time before we had this.

There is nothing like leaving a camera shop with a new lens in hand :). These shots were taken with Sony 10-18mm f/4 wide-angle lens. I shouldn’t have had a fickle heart to bring another lens home that day (seriously I regretted not buying on the same time). Although I have it (the one I’m enjoying right now, Sony 35mm f/1.8 prime lens) I should have gotten it before flying to Tokyo for some close-up portraits with my new friends (yes, I visited Japan again this year! more stories to come! :)) 

How I loved Andhi’s outfit that matched with the whole first scene.

To Eferding

 

I was so buzzing picking a wrapping paper, writing a short note on the “I-designed-and-printed” card, and arranging all items together for one of my very best friends Andreas Knogler. I finally made time to send the package today! (two times I postponed sending it cause I used the money for berries lol). Even though he’s currently studying his Master degree in Girona, Spain, I thought sending it to where his home is would be better. I just hope Andreas won’t be grinning when he read what I wrote on the card. Well, he’s used to my cheesiness, anyway.

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Oh, is there any job like: you have a creative license to pick awesome gifts, package them thoughtfully, and send them across the globe as a surprise? If any, I’d be so glad to do that!

Two Days With Andhi

Okay, this is fact: I hate last-minute things. I love something organised and scheduled, or where everything is on place. Since I was kid, I prepared all my needs for school the night before with a purpose when I woke up, everything was sorted. Even when I was in university, I never liked to finish my project late. As far as I remembered, only few times I had to do overnight work for modelling or technical drawing on the last semesters. Even the job I’m doing right now makes me more adaptable with “overnight” and “very last minutes”, I literally hate both.


But funny enough, every time I’m on vacation in Indonesia I always find myself doing some necessary things on last minutes…


I’m definitely not a really “note-book” person when I’m on vacation. Meaning I never write and make a list on what to do on a piece of paper. Even I don’t need to do like list “list”, I should prioritize what and what to do first. But again, vacation is when we could laze all day, huh? when we could do nothing from the time we wake up till almost midnight right? That was I actually did on my first week in Indonesia. I felt like what I wanted was just at home till day twenty just gone like that and realised many things left to be done.

Needless to say, among of necessary things to do, having time to catch up with some best friends of mine few times was one ‘must-do’ while I was there. Although sometimes it doesn’t work like “let’s meet by Saturday 10am” easily, I must say I thanked God for the time I had. Meeting Andhi few times was a good one.

If you read my post here, I mentioned I tried to keep my date of departure from here to Indonesia as a secret. I mean, I love surprise!! Two of my very best friends Ruli and Andreas also my sister knew the day I flew. But I kept Andhi away cause I loved to surprise him till we finally met on the day Ruli and I went together for an evening coffee and best friend talks. Meeting Andhi who’s such my older brother is always exciting. Sharing ups and downs I’ve had this year to him, took some pics of Pikachu when I visited his house, steaks for dinner along with my childhood best friend, Sohib, till the last day we had for coffee cum best friend talks about life and ended with some mini photo shoots and last minutes shopping that made me very exhausted few hours before I had to pack my things to fly back to a real life.

Did I mention when we looked for an empty road on the high-class estate after coffee-time, there was one security deported us? I also took a pic with Sohib and Andhi in one frame but had no courage to show it here cause my pose was just horrible :D

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.

 

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 :)

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